There is not enough said or written about The Transitional Woman—don’t know what this is? She does.


The TRANSITIONAL woman is the first girlfriend you get serious about after your break up with your wife or long-term girlfriend.
She is called “transitional” because she bridges the gap between yesterday and tomorrow.

She is usually the opposite of what you are used to. Everything your former lover didn’t like to do, this woman likes to do. She’ll eat sushi, she knows about cigars, she plays golf or will watch football, and she likes you, your dog, and your blue and purple Hawaiian shirt. And this satisfies your hunger in all the areas where you have been starved.


Yes, she’s pretty close to perfect. Your ex-wife, ex-girlfriend, children, parents and friends now have physical proof of your breakup with your ex. The reality is painful. It’s their reality. It’s their pain. But they become vocal, they become difficult, and they become child-like. They call her SHE. She this and she that. Or HER—the other demon pronoun. It’s all because of HER! And you begin to have doubts about her and your relationship with her. What’s wrong with her that your old world is not receiving your new love with warmth, grace, and open arms?

What’s wrong with her? Sounds like nothing. What’s wrong with you? And what’s wrong with all those other people who are making ridiculous noise and unreasonable demands. You begin to bring trouble to the relationship by doing and saying things about—and to—your lady love. Or, you allow your people to. Like it’s her fault that these people are being mean to her. Or, she actually becomes wicked because that’s the corner she has been painted into.


Big surprise, you break up.

Now you begin to date someone else who isn’t half as pretty, not nearly as personable, can’t play golf, doesn’t like to kiss, and doesn’t make you nearly as happy. But the old crowd isn’t as critical of her, so you think she is a better woman, and you pursue her even though she doesn’t quite measure up.

What you fail to realize is that your family and friends want you to be happy—right? Well, yes and no.

The Transitional Woman is seen not as a person but as a sign of change, and your family and friends are having trouble adjusting to you, the changed you. They say it’s her, but it isn’t her. It’s them. And it’s mainly you. And she’s caught in the web. They see you happy for the first time in a long time, and that makes them uncomfortable. You’re a changed person. And, as I said, they prefer little to no change in their view of your status or their relationship with you. Again, you thought it was her fault that your friends and family didn’t like her. It wasn’t. They would have behaved the same way with whomever you brought to the party, if they felt threatened somehow of losing you, your affection, your neediness...


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After family and friends have exercised their power over your life and sufficiently destroyed your relationship, they are more willing and ready to accept whomever you bring to the next party, no matter who it is. You think that they are endorsing your next girlfriend. But really they couldn’t care less about her.

They have just gotten used to the idea that you are free and single and will be out in the world dating—or will be with women other than your ex. They are adjusting to your new status, and they no longer need to prove that they knew you first or longer or more intimately.

Now, once you have processed all of this material, and you think that you really did like that transitional woman a whole lot more than any woman who succeeded her, you may wish to go back and patch things up with HER, implementing this new wisdom and enlightenment.
That’s a tough call for many reasons. The damage is usually pretty profound and deep:
• She is probably a little hurt.
• Your family and friends may not be willing to accept any culpability.
• A 90-degree difference not 180 degrees from your past partner may be a better fit for  you this time.
• Try not to allow your family, especially your children, to become intimately involved with your love life when you begin to date again. They mean well, but they often are living in the past, living vicariously, and frankly, they do not really know what is best for you. Only you do.


Also, some men who are still part of a tightly-knit extended family (their own and their ex-spouse’s) may feel a sense of betrayal to their ex-wife, her family or their daughter(s), or the established family unit of yesterday by bringing a new woman to a family function. Sometimes even an elderly mother will thwart her son’s efforts to bring a new woman (new blood) into the established family setting, thus changing the dynamics—often, I might add, for the better.

Some men, in order to keep peace, will actually acquiesce to these selfish and unreasonable demands, the no boundary zone, and sacrifice their new love for their old life. And then wonder why they’re not happy.

Caution: Many adult children do not like their parents to date. If you tolerate this behavior from your grown children, you are destined to spend the rest of your life alone and loveless. For various reasons—money (inheritance) tops the list. Children have been known to be very vocal in their selfish demands and disapproval, expecting their single mature parents to live alone, rather than to find love again. Children, especially your grown daughter(s) can destroy a very promising relationship. They can be very jealous and competitive. Daughters can behave poorly by being disrespectful and hurtful to the woman her father loves. Be mindful of this. If you allow your children to control your relationship, you will get what you deserve, the sound of the door slamming.


Barbara Kennedy, MPH, MSW, is a well-known relationship coach, prominent speaker, and public health educator with a private relationship coaching practice in Scottsdale, Arizona. Author of “BABY BOOMER MEN LOOKING FOR LOVE – The Last Dance” and soon to be released “BABY BOOMER WOMEN 1,001 FIRST DATES – Love-On-Line (L-O-L)”