Sealed but Single: A Phenomenological Exploration of the Experience of Divorced Latter-Day Saints returning to Dating

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Virginia Tech

This qualitative study examined the experience of divorced Latter-day Saints beginning to date again after having been sealed in an LDS temple. Eight divorced Latter-day Saints participated in semi-structured interviews, with areas of inquiry covering the reason for divorce, current romantic relationships, whether participants discussed their prior sealing with new partners, challenges and benefits participants experienced in dating again, what had been helpful to them as they began dating, what they wished family and friends knew, plans for marriage, and whether they would consider non-LDS partners. Data were analyzed thematically and themes were generated by grouping similar responses. Participants over 30 expressed discouragement at the number of available partners in the LDS faith, while those under 30 felt optimism that they could re-marry. Participants also indicated difficulty transitioning back to sexual abstinence and making sense of divorce in light of their religious beliefs. However, participants also reported enjoying singlehood and the opportunities it presented, and some showed signs of personal and spiritual growth. Participants over 30 considered dating and marrying outside of their faith to not be alone, which decision brought mixed support from family members. While family and community members were generally supportive, divorced Mormons continue to report a sense of "otherness" in their community. Recommendations for clinicians in working with this population are included.

Mormons, Latter-day Saints, Divorce, Dating