The boundary-challenged therapist in the HBO series, In Treatment, is now a single man. Last season, the soulfully conflicted therapist played by Gabriel Byrne had tormented himself and his mid-life wife over his feelings for a younger patient who came onto him like a 20-something Lolita. Their unconsummated yet life-changing relationship was the catalyst for his divorce and his move to Brooklyn to start fresh. Is he ready for a dating relationship? Would you be willing to date him so soon after divorce?
Friends and therapists often advise us to wait to date someone until they have been divorced a year. Why?
The pain of a break up and rebirth opens the door for enormous personal growth, unless you are distracted by passionate pleasures or rebound relationships that seem to ease your angst.
The therapist played by Gabriel Byrne is choosing the path of personal growth, at least in the opening episodes of this season. He is working with his own therapist to uncover the love lessons of his marital breakdown and the malpractice lawsuit filed against him by the family of another one of his patients who was a possible suicide victim.
Now imagine that you met this divorced, displaced, vulnerable and soulful therapist for a lunch date or a drink after work.
You instantly may be attracted to his physical charm and feel excited to learn more about him.
You might ask how he’s doing on his own after two decades of marriage.
If he told you about his weekend trips by train to see his children, you would realize he may not have the freedom to date for a while.
What if you asked the single most important question about his divorce: Does he accept responsibility for his role in the break up of his marriage and family life?
He might close up and be vague, to spare you his painful story.
If he felt comfortable or interested in you, he might speak from his heart and share his insights and angst over his divorce.
You might be riveted by his soulful revelations and irresistibly attracted to his physical charms. But is he ready to date?
This is a good time to ask yourself if you want to go through the healing and rebuilding process that can continue for years after a long marriage ends.
How would this dating relationship support your well being?
Do you want to be needed by someone in a vulnerable state?
Do you need to receive versus give the emotional support in a relationship?
Are you seeking a more light-hearted, emotionally energizing dating relationship?
These are some of the issues that make dating after divorce so difficult.
If there is click of mutual interest and attraction, you may decide to grow through tough times together from the very start of your dating relationship. If your eyes are open to the personal challenges and growth that lie ahead, this could be the start of a lovely relationship.