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Jackie Pilossoph Headshot

Doing It After Divorce

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You have slept in the same bed with the same man for what? 10 years? 20 years? 30 years? Now you are separated or divorced. Inevitably, you are going to start dating, and you are going to meet someone you like, and well, you guessed it -- you are going to have sex. What?!

I truly think that the first time you have sex after marriage is a monumental experience. It can be traumatizing, scary, sad, or strange, but it can also be exciting, fun, heart-stoppingly great, or over-the-top, out of the ballpark amazing.

Here are some of the experiences women have when doing it after divorce. The following stories and experiences are based on my past, and what I've learned from my many, many divorced friends and the hundreds of women I've met who have shared their stories with me.

1. Women are overly self-conscious about their bodies. Okay, so your marriage wasn't working, but at least when you had sex with your husband, it was comfortable. He knew what you looked like naked, and he still wanted to have sex with you. Or, maybe he didn't, which makes the thought of having sex even more traumatizing. I am constantly amazed at how hard women are on themselves when it comes to their bodies. They are so critical, and they look in the mirror and they hate what they see. My advice is two-fold: First, just eat healthy, work out and appreciate that you are in good health. Half of feeling fat is mental. So, if you start eating like a thin person, you will feel like one, and then you will eventually become one. Secondly, just be yourself. Think, "This is who I am. You either like me or you don't." That self-assurance you exude goes a long, long way. On a side note, I read in a magazine once (a really long time ago) that men see women 10 pounds thinner than the women see themselves. So, see? You just lost 10 pounds!

2. Many women get emotional and cry. You just had sex with another man, and in your mind, you broke your wedding vow (even though you are getting divorced and maybe it wasn't even your choice.) Still, you beat yourself up and you just ruined the whole experience, because you are feeling guilty -- as if what you did was wrong. Please don't ruin it for yourself! Let yourself enjoy it. The last few months (or years) of your marriage were probably terrible, and you probably didn't feel sexy or wanted for a long, long time. So, let someone make you feel that way. You have that right. You are a woman with needs. It's okay!

3. Some women try to turn the guy into husband number two. Most women have sex with a man and then form a strong emotional attachment to him. We can't help it. You can disagree with me, but I stand firm -- no woman wants a one night stand. We attach emotion with sex and we talk ourselves into the fact that there could really be a future with this guy. Sex clouds our judgment. In my opinion, it's okay to like the person, and it's okay to be in a relationship with him, but you need to know where to draw the line. Don't succumb to the belief that you lucked out and the first guy you slept with is Prince Charming who is going to recue you and marri you. That only happens in romance novels. Get over it. You like him, you want to spend time with him, you may even adore him. But you are not going to marry him. And please, don't introduce him to your kids for a while.

4. Some women don't use condoms. Please don't be stupid. Health should be your number one priority, and you don't need to take any unnecessary risks.

There's something else women should about having sex after divorce. When your first relationship post-split ends, don't be surprised if it hurts worst than the divorce! It's very difficult to get over, possibly because the breakup opens up all the raw wounds you felt when your relationship with your husband or wife ended. So, it's not so much about the guy (or girl.) It's more about the loss. Again, know that it's very, very hard. Trust me. I know. And it's just another reason not to introduce the first guy to the kids.

The first guy you sleep with after marriage is sort of like losing your virginity. It's an experience (and a person) you never forget, no matter how it turns out. Like so many other aspects of divorce, it's just something you have to go through. But I'm not saying that in a bad way. It can be a lovely, sweet, special experience. That part is up to you. This could be your second chance to choose wisely.

Jackie Pilossoph is the author of the blog, Divorced Girl Smiling. She is also the author of the comedic novel, FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE, about life after divorce. Ms. Pilossoph is a weekly business features reporter for the Pioneer Press, with the monthly column, "Heart of the North Shore." She lives in Chicago with her two kids. And she's divorced (obviously.)