One thing I am learning is that middle aged men (i.e.: men between the ages of 45 and 60) have an interesting way of defining “available”. Recently, I have encountered two men who are “looking” under the guise of being available. My definition of available is you are single – not married or in a mutually agreed upon monogamous relationship. In other words, there is no one around who assumes they are attached to you enough to get angry if you are in any way involved with someone else.
If a person was involved in a long-term relationship at some point, single means that that relationship it is over as in you are no longer living with that person if it was a long-term non-maritial situation and if you were married, you are divorced (as in papers signed and finalized). On the outskirts of that definition is the person who is out of the marital home and has the separation agreement negotiated, signed and is waiting for the court’s final divorce decree. A person in any other spot along the timeline of a significant relationship is un-available.
However, I have discovered that many people disagree with my definition. Recently an acquaintance asked me if I would like to meet a nice man who is available – as in coming out of a bad marriage. I agreed to meet him and he represented himself as available. On out third meeting, a game of tennis at his club, he asked if I would like to go to his house for a late dinner. Realizing the possible implication here ( some people think there is a “third date” rule regarding sexual relations to which I do not prescribe), I asked for clarity in terms of his marital status which had previously been only vaguely defined. It turns out that he and his wife are not yet even officially separated. She has been staying with her mother for a few months but they have yet to engage in any negotiations of property settlement or even actually agreed to divorce.
“So, you are actually married.” I say. “Then why are you dating?” (This man had already told me he is on match.com.)
His response, “I just want conversation. I have been totally honest with you. I need a carrot to know that there are other ways to have a relationship so I can stay on track with this whole thing.”
What, in your opinion, is the point in the “break-up” process when someone is considered available?