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Andrea Holyfield
Oct 15, 2012

How to date

Well the time has come. I’m in my first relationship since my divorce. I am completely smitten. This man has my full attention. The problem is this is my first relationship since my divorce. I’m scared to death. I’m still catching up with old friends who I haven’t spoken to and informing them that “things didn’t work out,” and “we’re still very good friends,” and “the girls are fine.” I’ve finally gotten everything changed back to my maiden name and now I’m giggling about this new guy.

My uber-fascination with all things career makes me hypersensitive to the intersection of my personal and professional life. Where I am normally extremely transparent and authentic with my colleagues and peers, I’m cautious about this change. It’s not that I don’t want people to know that my personal life is changing; it’s more that I don’t want to be judged.

Honestly what’s too soon? How long are you dating someone before you bring them to the Christmas party? When do you mention to the administrative assistant who months ago ordered your new business cards that the flowers being delivered are not from your mom? What is the professional etiquette for dealing with a new relationship in the workplace? What would I tell a client?

A few weeks ago we met for lunch. We were tucked away inside of a booth in a restaurant a few miles from my office when in walks two women that work in another department. He didn’t understand why my face went flush. My mind raced. Was I sitting too close? Did my smile and stare into his huge, handsome brown eyes make me look unprofessional? Why didn’t we meet farther away from my office? They do know that I’m divorced right?

So I’m online looking for books, references, best practices, etc. to help me professionally deal with this transition. I’ve learned that it is standard practice to wait until your second trimester to announce a pregnancy and that you’ll probably want to give 30-days’ notice to your current employer before jumping ship. I found tons of references about public displays of affection in the workplace (which kind of scared me cause that day in the restaurant we were holding hands), but I still don’t know if I should invite him to the Christmas party.

Every new experience that I have helps inform my practice. I love processing transitions with others, but this is a first. What would I tell a client?

Andrea Holyfield is a counselor specializing in career counseling and womens' empowerment. For more information go to

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