Exactly two years ago last Friday, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck announced their divorce. In the two years since, there’s been all kinds of speculation as to whether or not they’re getting back together. As recently as last week, when they were on holiday with their children in the Bahamas, a few tabloids were reporting that they had reconciled even though they finally filed for divorce back in April. 

Last night, Ben Affleck was papped on a date. Her name is Lindsay Shookus. She’s a producer on Saturday Night Live. And, according to E! News, which also secured the exclusive photos, the two are in the “early stages” of a relationship but that “it’s more than a summer fling”. E!’s source adds that, “They are having fun and care for each other. It’s early and they are taking it slow”.

Well. Maybe not that slow? Ben doesn’t look all that uncomfortable in these shots. Lindsay certainly isn’t used to it but Ben doesn’t seem terribly pissed that he’s been seen – and is now being widely seen – with his new girlfriend. Add to that the fact that Gossip Cop, always quick to offer a pro-Affleck publicist-friendly spin, quickly confirmed that Ben and Lindsay are indeed dating and were, in fact, as E! first reported, in London together last week and went to a play together. Which says to me that instead of “no commenting” their way out of the situation, Ben’s team is OK with us knowing that he’s moving on from his marriage. And if that’s the case, could it really be “not that serious”?

After what happened with the nanny, Chrissy O, and all the rumours about his cheating, and the fact that he may not have done right by America’s Favourite Mom, Jennifer Garner, I’m not sure Ben Affleck would risk his fragile public image by introducing us to his first post-Garner romance if it was random, if it didn’t at least have some potential. And the timing works too, because this way, the story doesn’t interfere with his work. We’ve four months to go before the release of Justice League, plenty of time to acclimate to Ben having a new girlfriend and, no doubt, the incoming stories and rumours about how hard – or not hard – it is for Jen to come to terms with it. Because there’s no way the tabloids won’t run with that angle for at least a few weeks even though the two just presented a united front for the Fourth of July. Maybe for her it’s like, good luck with this one, honey. I had to live with his bullsh-t for over a decade. Have fun.