Can You Start Dating Before Your Divorce is Finalized?

When Brandon Harder starting dating again, only a few months after asking for a divorce from his wife of 17 years, he wasn’t worried that it was “too soon.”

“There was never a point where I was like, ‘No, no, I must wait and work on all these things,” the 45-year-old father of two tells The Post.

Still, it can be tough to know exactly when to get back out there when splitting from a longtime partner.

After announcing her divorce from husband Liam Hemsworth in August, Miley Cyrus made headlines when pictures of her kissing Kaitlynn Carter surfaced that same day. Carter, who had announced her split from Brody Jenner the week before, continued to date Cyrus until September, when the pop star moved on to then date singer Cody Simpson.

The internet was quick to comment on the speedy timing of Cyrus’ rebounds, especially because her divorce from Hemsworth wasn’t legally finalized.

That same issue gave Harder’s current girlfriend of two years, Sheila Seleri, pause when they first started dating.

“It was always like, ‘Is he serious about this?’ Is he going to go back?’ ” Seleri, 47, says she wondered at the time. “Not because I thought that he loved her, or he couldn’t live without her. It was more to keep the ‘stable environment of a family.’ ”

Even if you’re dating someone legally single, they could still leave you for someone else, she tells The Post.
Dating expert Angela Holton, founder of the Conscious Dating Method, says that dating someone while they are in the process of going through a divorce isn’t riskier than dating them at any other stage of their life.

“Love is risky. Whenever you get into a relationship, you are giving someone permission to hurt you, essentially,” says Holton, 48.

Holton says that dating while divorcing is becoming more common every day.

“We are in a new and unconventional time where there are many different types of relationships, and I think they’re all becoming more embraced,” she says.

She advises the divorcing partner to make it clear to their new fling that their marriage is over. If there’s any doubt that the marriage isn’t completely over, Holton says to pump the brakes in order to avoid potentially participating in an affair.

Harder, 45, says that he made it clear to Seleri when they first got together that his relationship with his ex-wife wasn’t going to be reconciled. He wanted her to understand “that none of the things that I told her about were bogus,” Harder says.

‘Whenever you get into a relationship, you are giving someone permission to hurt you, essentially.’

Because she had the experience of already going through a divorce, Seleri proved to be a huge help to Harder during the process. At times, she even supported him during conversations with his ex. “She was so patient,” Harder, also a scientist, says of Seleri.

Expert Holton says the No. 1 question daters should be asking themselves is: “Are you getting what you truly want out of this partnership?”

Going through a divorce made that question easier for Seleri to answer. She started dating five months after ending her 11-year marriage.

“It was so much easier to know exactly what you don’t want. I think that helped a lot,” she says.

For Harder, dating helped him move on from his difficult marriage. “It was validating and reassuring,” he says.

“It felt good to know that the situation that I was coming from was not normal.”


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The Only Surefire Way to Get Over an Ex

Bad breakups are the one time where a little hair of the dog won’t help a thing.

When relationships end, especially in long-term situations, everyone’s first impulse is to try to salvage the friendship. After all, this person has presumably been a very important pillar in your life for a long time, so the desire to lean on them during a difficult time is understandable—even if your relationship is the cause of said difficult time. While I personally think people who try to be friends with their exes are slightly masochistic, I recognize that plenty of people make it work. Good for them. They are not wrong, and you might one day be one of them. There’s also a contingent of folks who, while not friends with their ex per sé, are friendly with the people they’ve dated. That—for my money—should be your goal. But there can be no polite hugging at a farmers market run-in or texting about this season of World of Dance unless you first cease all communication with your ex for six months.

Why six months? Because I said so. That’s why. But also because six months gives you time to recover, breathe, and rebuild your life without them. I’ll explain.

First and foremost, while you definitely do owe it to your ex-partner to be respectful of them, their family, their copies of Gabriel García Márquez’s short stories and that weird “nightstand” they rescued for you from the street, you do not need to be their friend. Not ever, and certainly not right away. You cannot help your ex do any of the emotional work of getting over you, nor can they help you. It’s like using a knife to clean out a knife wound. No matter how good it’ll feel to talk to this person who has provided you with comfort before, who was—as of perhaps a week ago—your “best friend,” continuing to lean on them for emotional support after the break up will only cause you to fixate on the relationship’s end for far too long.

Is cutting off contact excruciatingly painful? Yes! But this person is categorically not a friend; they’re an ex. So there’s no need to try to shift them into a new position in your life at a breakneck pace. Being around them might even feel like it’s healing, but it’s not. The hair of the dog might help your hangover, but it isn’t exactly sobriety.

Surely you can just ration yourself a bit? Not text them as much? Restrict conversations to emotionally-benign topics like season 3 of The Crown and whether you might take up rollerblading? NO. No you very cannot. Scaling back might work when you’re trying to eat less sugar, but it doesn’t work when you’re both trying to untangle yourselves from the life you had together. You’re going to have to slowly (and probably painfully) rebuild your life brick-by-brick in a new way to fill up the time, support, and fun they used to occupy.

Now, it might seem impossibly cruel to suggest this cold-turkey no-talking period, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to say, “I’m breaking up with you; do not speak to me for six months. Shhh. No talking. Shhh. I’m grabbing my things now. Not a word.” That would be sociopathic. Instead, after you’re done with the actual breaking-up part, the hashing and rehashing of what went wrong, the division of books, the recollection of your sweatshirts (optimistically), you can say, “This may seem harsh, but for the sake of making a clean break, I’d like for us to not talk for awhile. I need some space to actually get over this hurt, and I think that if we keep talking, we’ll keep getting caught up in one another.” Do not mention the timeline of six months unless they ask, with extreme desperation, “For how long?!!?” Bringing up a timeline that you’ve already had in mind will likely read as calculated and cold. If they insist, you can say, “Let’s start with six months and see how it goes.” Six months will feel like a lifetime when you’re heartbroken—in fact, it is a lifetime when you’re heartbroken—so you can expect pushback, especially if you’re the dumper. Hold firm. You are not being unreasonable or unkind. You’re setting a boundary that will ultimately help both of you.

And then follow through. If you need to have a friend hold onto their number so that you can delete it off your phone, do that. If you need to mute them on all social media, do that. Dating someone always involves a reshuffle of your life so that there’s room for a Them-sized space in it, and when they leave, you’ve got to fill that space up again with other things, like watching I Think You Should Leave for the fourth time and getting really into natural wines. If you keep talking to your ex, that space they’ve left behind will only be half empty and you’ll never know what you need to fill up. You’ll be stuck in a permanent limbo. So you have to follow the plan. Do not communicate unless it is necessary, perfunctory, or transactional. If you work together: stay professional. If someone’s parent dies: send condolences. If you need your Nintendo Switch stand back: ask for it back. Otherwise, leave them alone.

Who knows! In six months, after the ex ban has been lifted, you may just find that you’re actually doing okay without them; that you don’t need them to fall asleep; that you’ve been better about actually showing up to your friends’ shitty stand-up gigs. You may find that you don’t need them to fold a fitted sheet (you can just not fold it), or amuse you on Gchat during yet another unnecessary work meeting (make a work friend), or to remember to buy paper towels (set a reminder on your phone). Maybe you do check in with them a few weeks after the six months pass—you don’t want to seem too thirsty—and you remember how nice it is to have them as part of your life. Maybe you both slowly tiptoe towards friendship together, realizing that you’re both different people after this time apart-apart.



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Tales of Rock – Van Halen and the Craziest, Most Debaucherous Party of 1984

“Lost Weekend” directors Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb on all the sex, drugs and rock and roll you’d expect from Diamond Dave and Co.

In 1984, at the height of the arena rock era of big hair, bigger egos, lots of sex and drugs and all sorts of debauchery, MTV held a contest promising a “Lost Weekend With Van Halen.” Over a million contestants submitted their entries via postcard in an attempt to win a chance to spend a weekend in Detroit partying with the band and their entourage during the band’s infamous 1984 Tour, singer David Lee Roth’s last (for a while at least).

Kurt Jefferis, a 20-year-old department store loading dock employee from Pennsylvania, mailed in more than 10 postcards and had one of them pulled from the lot to win the contest.

“You’ll have no idea where you are, you’ll have no idea where you’re going, and probably, no memory of it after you go,” Lee Roth claimed in the promo for the contest. A promise that lined up with the reputation of the band who laid the groundwork for other hard-partying hair bands from Poison to Mötley Crüe.

Well, DLR wasn’t quite right about lost memories as Jefferis and the buddy who accompanied him, Tom Winnick, actually remember a lot about their trip to Detroit Rock City. What they recall is a two-day binge featuring, among other X-rated happenings, Jack Daniels, beer, champagne, lobster, filet mignon, cocaine, a food fight and a groupie named Tammy.

The pair’s recollections, as well as many others, are captured in Lost Weekend, a new short documentary film from directors Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb (GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of WrestlingA Life in Waves) which recently screened at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The film weaves together clips of the band, interviews with Jefferis and Winnick, and plenty of archival footage from the weekend to create a visual time capsule which will likely evoke feelings of nostalgia whether or not you’re a fan of Van Halen or not.

That makes sense considering how the idea for the project came about Thomason and Whitcomb — neither of whom were actually huge Van Halen fans — tell InsideHook.

“Brett and I have always had a love for all things nostalgia,” Thomason says. “We grew up in the ’80s, so we have explored that in our previous films and this was really kind of born out of late-night watching YouTube clips of old MTV videos and stuff like that and just kind of having a wild idea. We saw the bumper for The Last Weekend trailer and it was like, ‘Well, let’s do a doc about that guy.’ It was kind of a joke and then I did more research and read a bit more his story thought, ‘Oh, this would actually make a good short doc’ so we pursued it.”

Keeping the film short (less than 15 minutes) was intentional and allowed them to capture a snapshot of Jefferis’ 15 minutes of fame as well as the period of time when it occurred.

“Even though we are predominantly feature documentary filmmakers, this one just seemed like a fun one to make,” Whitcomb says. “We’ve been to festivals where we’ve had really good experiences watching short documentaries and they have never left our minds. We kind of wanted to make something like that. Where people can have a good time in 15 minutes and then think back on and go ‘Oh, I remember that Van Halen documentary.’ It’s something short and entertaining. You can get in and out and have a good time.”

Kurt Jefferis and David Lee Roth in “Lost Weekend.” (Window Pictures)
Kurt Jefferis and David Lee Roth in “Lost Weekend.” (Window Pictures)

Despite the film’s reduced length, Thomason and Whitcomb didn’t have to leave much on the cutting room floor and found Jefferis and Winnick to be very forthcoming about everything that went down on April 5th and 6th in ’84.

“Kurt was much younger then so there were things that took place I think he was a little coy about with us but it ends up working out in the film because the viewers aren’t dumb,” Thomason says. “There are some things left to the imagination but I think we explored most of what happened and what they were open to discussing. I think it was a wild weekend, but not so wild that we couldn’t get those stories. It was kind of perfect. Today it would be a lot more sterile, obviously. But yeah, back then it was the wild weekend they promised.”

“It was almost on par with what MTV said they would be doing,” Whitcomb adds. “The experience MTV advertised was pretty much exactly the experience that they had.”

But probably not one MTV would be able of offer in a similar contest today.

“Bands partied differently back in the day than they do now,” Thomason points out. “And obviously that comes with some things that might be frowned upon or might be difficult to deal with today. With our guys Kurt and Tom, they were so young … It’s definitely not something that’s in the forefront of the film but we were definitely aware there would probably be people watching who have those thoughts and we definitely wouldn’t hide from that or anything.”

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