After getting a divorce, it is very normal to want to start dating again. However, being a divorced parent can introduce some complex situations that you didn’t encounter when dating your previous partner, and you may want to keep the following tips in mind.
Take some time before starting to date.
Every circumstance is different, after a marriage breakup, some people feel ready to jump right back into the dating world, while some people take years to feel like they can be open to a new relationship. In either case, it may be beneficial to give yourself and your children some time after a divorce to process your feelings, get into a new routine and create stability within your new circumstances before meeting someone new. Making sure you have the time and resources to help your children through the transition as well as give yourself time to find closure is important to be able to successfully move forward.
Consider whether a potential partner fits in with your family dynamic.
Dating as a parent presents different challenges that you may not be immediately prepared for. While It’s typical to date more casually at first and not necessarily be focused on finding a long-term partner that will be a part of your children’s lives, it may be a good idea to think through different scenarios so that you don’t find yourself in a difficult situation. Making a list of what values are important to you and your family, can better prepare you to know whether someone you are interested in romantically is also someone that you can see making a part of your family life.
Your children may not welcome your partner.
It is common for the kids to not welcome their parent’s new partner after a divorce. In fact, they may see them as their rival for your attention. Being prepared for this reaction and making plans on how to handle a possible negative reaction from your children is important for helping you and your new partner have realistic expectations.
Ask your children how they would like to meet your new partner for the first time.
Meeting their parent’s new partner can be scary and bring up some negative feelings for children, even years after their parent’s divorce. Involving your kids in some of the decisions about how and when they are introduced can help them to feel more in control and therefore less resistant to this big change in their life. Once you feel that you are ready to involve your new romantic interest in life with your family, sit down with your children to talk about it with them, and plan an activity to do together that they can look forward to, that takes some pressure off of the conversation for that first meeting. Remember to discuss their feelings afterward and respect their feelings if they don’t immediately feel comfortable.
While it may feel impossible right after a divorce, it is possible to start a new relationship that feels safe and comfortable to you as well as your children.