Divorce can create upheaval in your life. Suddenly you don't have that stability to which you've grown accustomed. You might be losing your emotional support and the uncertainty can further weigh on you. It's no surprise that a lot of people choose to start dating again before their divorce is even final. This is a personal choice that everybody makes for themselves.
It was a little surreal. We went to Zaytinya, then afterwards we drove around in his truck. He took me to the artillery room—rifles, grenades, automatic weapons just everywhere. He was giving me meaningful glances. The night we decided to meet, we were both a little buzzed when we got to the date. I made a joke about Chuck Grassley being bad at his job. I love Chuck. She gave me a good 60 seconds of a chewing-out. The takeaway: You should know which congressman or senator the person works for before shit-talking them on a first date.
There was no second. It was a speed-dating event for professionals. I was matched with someone who worked at PBS. I said I watched sometimes. She asked if I ever donated to support it. There was a long pause. She just left.
Divorce, dating & adultery in washington state
I think I was too embarrassed to reconnect with her at the end. He shows up and proceeds to pick a fight about politics. We are of opposite parties—he did health-care policy, I did health-care policy. He was telling me how Medicare should work this way, and I was like, no, Medicare should work this way.
We were, like, deep in the weeds of payment policy, right? We had an okay time. He was totally the town gadfly. It felt like one of the more DC things to do: call a source and get information on this person you just met. He asked me what I did. He worked for some government agency and said he was very liberal. Just tell me. It was really bad.
Thankfully, the bartender was super nice and gave me a free drink. My date [a Wall Street Journal reporter] had to carry me up the stairs two or three times before we found out there was an elevator. I was like, Okay, if you live there, you guys must have some money or some ties. It looked like the inside of a gift shop—almost every White House Christmas ornament is there. Then obviously we go and hook up. All the decor clearly showed that his mom was very content with her job.
Dating before divorce is final could make it more contentious
No one else I know has ever been asked out on the Metro, period. I want to be clear about that. After I said no, I felt a little silly. Like, I go out on dates with strangers from the internet—why does it feel sketchy to go out with someone who actually introduced himself?
I would go to parties and the host would introduce me as the NPR person, and everyone would lose their minds and huddle around me. You get a lot of people who want to go on dates with you if you have a holiday party or some sort of work-related event.
That did not happen when I worked for the DC government. We had dated on and off for almost a year and had coffee every day at Compass Coffee by the White House, where he worked. One day, he texted me saying he wanted to have coffee urgently.
Three months later, he texted me to let me know he was cleared. Fast-forward a year or two after we were already broken up and out of touch—he texted me again to say he quit his job at the White House. I refused to meet with him. He told me how important his job was—something on the Hill, of course. I once put one in a coma. It kind of tastes like shit. I actually ran into him once later at a house party in Georgetown. You thought that was a bad date? It should have been a red flag. So after we had been on four dates and only known each other maybe two weeks, she moved into this really small studio apartment in Foggy Bottom with me.
She ended up staying ten days.
I think we started officially dating exclusively on the day Min moved in. We were hooking up, and he kept running his hands through my hair. He did this for maybe ten minutes while we were making out in his bed, and it was kind of starting to hurt. He went to the bathroom. He had white sheets and I have black hair, and I got up and I looked around the bed.
It was covered in my hair. It looked like he had shaved my head. So I just started grabbing it all up with my hands and made a hairball in my hands that was the size of a baseball, like a dense hairball.
And I shoved it in my purse. I was just like, I want to get my hair and go. I wish I had a picture of that hairball. I showed that hairball to so many people.
The impact of dating while separated in washington state
This lawyer took me around the National Gallery and would tell me about, like, the painter and what the painting was about. It was like, Okay, he looked these up. I had one guy try to take me on a date to see Billy Graham lying in state. He worked for somebody on the Hill and was going to get us in to skip the line. I look forward to hearing back from you.
Dating in is weird. but dating in in tragically divided washington? yeah, weirder.
The attachment was a full spreheet with photos referencing stuff we talked about: hobbies I liked, these joking charts measuring our compatibility, and proposing activities for the next date. But in the end, I think it was very sweet, but very DC. We would text all the time, like it was a thing.
I have to go. It was, like, really shitty. One invited me to his run group, which was way more popular than I realized. The second time I go, I see another ex. And then a guy I used to be involved with sees me going and wants to know when he can come.
There was one day when I was there with all three of them, and none of them knew who the other was. I had to introduce them all.
Then I met this other guy in Dupont Circle and we hit it off. He invited me to his run group, which turned out to be mine. I stopped going. I was like, Whoa, I completely forgot what a small place DC is. He had recently moved to DC for a job at the State Department. We went to Cantina Marina. He was new, so there was a lot about DC he was really enamored with. The ones he had run into at a party were Sebastian Gorka and Kellyanne Conway, and he was very excited to have seen them.
I was pretty horrified. I stuck it out because it was raining and I had taken my bike. But I never saw him again.