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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