08/07/2013 03:29 pm ET Updated Oct 07, 2013

Pursuing the Divorced Woman

After I conducted a seminar on Dating After Divorce, I received this email from one of the participants. The subject is heartfelt and deserves an answer. Should you pursue a newly divorced woman in the hopes of a solid commitment? Here's the email and the answer.

I've read a couple of your articles on relationships and thought maybe you might have some advice for my dilemma. Anyway I'm giving this a shot by emailing you. Here's the problem: I have known a woman for over 10 years and have always been attracted to her. Her husband left her for another woman even though they have a two year old daughter. She was married right out of college and the marriage lasted four years.

I was upset for her when her divorce came through. When I called her to ask if there was anything I could do, she invited me over. She was crying and asking me if I thought she was attractive. Of course I said yes. We became very close and ended up having sex. We had sex over the course of several weeks and then abruptly she was "unavailable" every time I called or went over. I believe I have fallen in love with her and want a more permanent relationship.

I have called and texted repeatedly, sent many gifts, all to no avail. She remains aloof and distant. Recently I heard that she joined a dating club online. What am I doing wrong? Am I not being persuasive enough? Should I confront her about her mixed signals? From a woman's point of view please tell me what is going on here.

If gifts and calls could make someone love and commit to us, relationships would be so simple! Your situation, however, is one that is not that uncommon. You went to give support to a friend, she looked to you for comfort, and you became sexually involved. When some women are faced with a husband leaving them for another woman, one of the things they question is their own sex appeal and attractiveness to men in general.

Since you were a close male friend it was natural for her to feel comfortable with you and to see her value in your eyes. This is evidenced in the question she had asked you about her being attractive. The fact that her husband left her to be with someone else was devastating and she needed reassurance that she was still desirable.

You stated that you were always attracted to her. Ask yourself one very important question here. Is it the sex that is a driving force for you in wanting this relationship with her? I noticed you said 'had sex' and not 'made love' when referring to the sexual encounters. You need to make sure that your attraction is more than sexual and you also need to understand that there is a child involved in her life now. She will be part of any commitment you want to make. Take everything into consideration before you go forward.

Her distance and aloofness only mean that she needs time to play the field a bit before she can commit to another relationship. This is not a bad thing. She needs the affirmation that she is indeed a desired woman from other sources. If she had married young and then had her child fairly young she may be trying to relive her single years. In that case, she may need a lot more personal free time.

Keep in touch with her but don't press the commitment issue. She needs to heal her damaged self-esteem and become a confident woman before she will be ready for another serious relationship. A confrontation is a bit chancy at best. The only thing you can do, if you really must, is lay your cards calmly on the table. Tell her how you feel and ask her if there is a possibility for you two to be together at some time in the future. Let her tell you if there's a chance for the two of you. Then, you must accept what she has to say. This is her life.

The very best way to establish the kind of relationship you want is to give her as much space and time as possible. If you relax on the issue of commitment, she won't feel pressured to begin something for which she obviously isn't ready.Don't push her for any permanent commitment right now or I can guarantee that you will push her away... permanently!

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