Posted in Dating / Relationships

A New Relationship After Divorce: The Adjustment Period

When we meet somebody new for the first time after a break up, everything feels wonderful. That flutter of the heart at getting a text or a phonecall, the thought of seeing them, hearing their name, the physical closeness, the kissing, the cuddling, the sex, the having a +1 for events – all of those things feel wonderful for very good reason. Yet there are some (admittedly minor) downsides of which you become hyperaware, things you might have taken for granted as a single.

You Have to Share a Bed

For many reasons, this is quite clearly a good thing. Sharing a bed means a warm body next to you, it means sex, it means not waking up alone, it means somebody to snuggle, it means breakfast in bed. I found that sharing a bed again after nearly three years sleeping in a bed alone was as weird as it was wonderful. Next to you is a gorgeous woman who you hope will still be there in a year. But also next to you is this person who fidgets, snores, talks in her sleep and takes up half the bed (and rolls over to take up more than her fair half). She will also fart on occasion. You will occasionally miss sleeping alone and sharing a bed will take a lot of adjustment.


Getting Ready

Remember that day you decided to jump on the train and go to London? You woke up that morning, and decided to go? How long did it take you to get ready, about 40 minutes, an hour at most? When you’re in a new relationship, all the stuff you used to do alone is no longer just about you. You deliberate over going out for the day, you can’t just make the decision for you both and there will be extra time to get ready, the time she needs to shower, wash her hair, put her make up on and select an outfit. On your own, you’d have been in London already around the time she finally decides what to wear.

No “Me, Me, Me”

When you were single, you didn’t have to give a shit about anybody else. You could do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted. In a relationship, you have another person to think of, another person vying for your attention, another person to split your time with. You can’t really sit up playing FIFA or Call of Duty until 3am any more and if you did it with anything approaching regularity, you’d probably find yourself quickly single again. You lose your autonomy and that is a very big thing when you have become so used to having it. Autonomy is one of the many upsides of being single, especially in those immediate weeks and months out of a relationship, and maybe even the major reason why some people choose to remain single long-term.

Shopping Trips

You have to get used to these again, being taken out shopping so she can spend hours buying new clothes. It’s a well-known fact that men and women shop differently. I’m a typical man as far as that is concerned. I know what I want, I know the shop I want to get it from, I go and get it – end of. But boyfriend duties include the occasional dreaded shopping trip. Definitely the worst thing about being in a relationship is being dragged or nagged into a shopping trip that was only 2 hours long but felt more like 2 days.


Cooking For Two (Or More, because, Entertaining)

Curry tonight, curry tomorrow, fish and chips the day after that, then curry, curry then pizza and finally, curry. This is another of those mixed blessings. I actually enjoy cooking and have been known to prepare food from scratch – roast dinners and yes, curries. I’ve even made my own Christmas Pudding before now including 8-hr steaming session. Impressed? So is Mirror Image! While cooking for each other is one of the loveliest things about a new relationship, long-term means going without some of your favourite food if your partner doesn’t like it or they are not particularly adventurous. It also means you have a level-headed person to remind you that a diet that consists of pizza, curry and beer isn’t the healthiest lifestyle choice.

Overall, when we’re happy in our relationships these things are little more than minor inconveniences but we must be honest with ourselves. Sometimes these things take a lot of adjustment.



I go by the name of Frank Speaking. My blog "In the Mind of Men" (former name Chin Up, Chest High) started out as a chronicle of my mental health recovery. Now it is a forum where I discuss issues related to male mental health.

6 thoughts on “A New Relationship After Divorce: The Adjustment Period

    1. haha. well, there is sex, showering together, bathing together, massages and a host of other things in its favour 🙂

  1. I must have been a man in another life because I hate shopping. It recently came to my attention that I needed a new winter coat. The winter coat I have was old (purchased in 2002) and was showing wear & tear. So the week between Xmas and New Year’s I went shopping to a specific discount warehouse store I knew sold coats at ridiculously low prices. I went, I conquered (found 3 coats, total cost $140.00 USD), I left. I did not look at the other ‘departments’ in this discount warehouse. Why? Because I HATE shopping. I, like you, get what I need and leave.

    I love living alone and I enjoy my singledom but there are times when I wish I had a +1. I think there are pros and cons to both… depending on which lens you favor.


    1. Indeed. I’ve been on two shopping trips with my g/f in the last year. One of them was pleasant because it was one of these special evening openings that some of them do. We were offered prosecco on the door and a selection of biscuits and cakes. Plus, it was a bit of a celebration because she had just got a new job. It was nice because of the relaxed atmosphere (and alcohol!) but I wouldn’t have enjoyed it otherwise.

      My ex was a typical woman shopper. We’d spend ages in a shop, she’d pick up 12 things but buy one of them. Very occasionally, she would walk in, be in there about 30 seconds and say “no don’t like any of it” and be out again.

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