Dating after Divorce
A new relationship can be an exhilarating and blissful experience. But to avoid putting yourself and your kids through another round of family. While dating post-divorce, here are a few key tips to make your kids' lives a bit easier and to have fun at the same time. Don't forget your children's feelings as you are dating after divorce.
If they end up liking the guy they will form an attachment to him. Then, if you end up breaking up sooner rather than later that sets them up for a loss that was totally avoidable. If, on the other hand, they end up not liking him, then your boyfriend can become a wedge between you and your kids, and that creates tension for everyone.
Protect your kids and your home life by holding off on the introduction until you're sure it's worth the upheaval it has the potential to cause. Don't introduce your new love interest until you know him really well and you're reasonably certain he's going to be around for the foreseeable future. I'm talking about a vetting period measured in months, not days.
Feel free to date, but try to schedule your dates on evenings that your kids are with their dad or otherwise away. Don't Treat Kids Like Oscars. If your new boyfriend has kids, resist the urge to wage a campaign to win them over right away.
Women who do this think that getting in good with the kids will help impress their new love interest and advance their budding romantic relationship.
Not only is this strategy unfair, it often backfires. It's not fair because it involves manipulating the emotions of children simply to further your love life. That's a pretty crappy thing to do. It backfires because when you start off acting like a fan rather than a friend, you often end up pretending to be someone you're not. It won't take long for the kids to figure out that you really aren't who you pretended to be, and they will then conclude that you were using them to get in good with their dad.
At that point you will have your first obstacle to overcome -- one that is completely your fault. A better approach is to have the patience to get to know each other gradually. Rather than pretending to like every single thing about the kids only to have your real opinions come out later; you can slowly discover what you honestly have in common.
You won't like every thing about his kids, and they won't like every single thing about you. But you will both be able to trust that your opinions are honest and the developing relationship is genuine. Of course, women aren't the only ones who do this. Make sure you don't let your new boyfriend approach your kids like they are Oscars that can be won if his performance is impressive enough.
Your kids deserve to be treated like people who are worthy of respect, not prizes that are up for grabs. Don't encourage your kids to call your new love interest Dad or invite his kids to call you Mom. These kids already have a mom and a dad, and being told to start calling someone else Mom or Dad only serves to confuse them or make them feel awkward; and it could even cause tension with their actual mom or dad.
How Can I Help My Child Deal With My Dating After Divorce?
Instead, model for them what it looks like to approach a relationship in a mature manner: That's a lesson that will serve them well in many ways.
Your kids don't get to decide who gets cast as your boyfriend -- that's your decision. But they do get to decide whether they themselves like him. And don't be surprised if they don't at first.
Many kids are not thrilled to have a new leading man waltzing into their house and changing up the family dynamic.
While you can't order them to like your new boyfriend, you can insist that they treat him with respect while everyone works through the transition.
The best way to maximize the chances that your kids will eventually like your boyfriend is to be selective about who you choose to begin with, carefully vet him before you make any introductions, and then continue to take things slowly once you do.
If your kids don't like your boyfriend, give them a chance to explain the basis for their opinion. If they tell you that he gives them a creepy feeling, they caught him rifling through your jewelry box, or he told them he's a reptile freak and he's in the process of setting up a snake aquarium in his house, these are serious complaints and you should break up with him immediately. But if they tell you he is an attention hog or that you really don't need a boyfriend, anyway, because you have them, that's a different story.
Complaints of that nature indicate that their objections aren't based on anything specific to him; but rather they dislike the idea of your having any boyfriend at all. Their views are understandable.
After all, these are your kids. From their standpoint, there's a big gross out factor when it comes to the idea of their mom being all starry-eyed over some guy and doing all of those things that go along with dating. And what kid wouldn't get his back up over some new guy cutting in on the time and attention they get from their mom?
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But while their complaints might be understandable, that doesn't make them legitimate. For example, "I'm going to see my friend. I'll be gone for about 4 hours. You'll be in bed when I get home. You will likely want to have a more in-depth conversation about dating. We're going to talk for a few hours after dinner and then I'll be home. Just as you like to spend time with your special friends, I also want some time to be with my friends.
It's OK to actually use the word date. You aren't going to freak out your child. Chances are good that he or she already has a good idea of what dating is all about! And this includes dating after divorce. For example, "I'm going out on a date with person's name on Friday.
Rules of Engagement: Setting the Stage for Post-Divorce Dating With Kids
I'm wondering how you feel about me starting to date. This does not mean that you are asking your child's permission to date. That isn't appropriate nor healthy for your child.
You are simply initiating discussion that is likely to be ongoing.Dating When You Have Kids
This is a good time to reassure your child that even though you are beginning to go out on dates, you will still always reserve time for just the two of you. With teens it is important to be honest about your actions. For example, "I'd like to start dating. It's been long enough after the divorce that I am ready to meet some new people. I'm wondering how you feel about that. It is also critical that you remain in the role of parent and not turn into your child's best friend where you each gush about your new girl or boyfriend.
You are modeling for your teen. How will my children be affected by my decision to date? Every child will react in his or her own way to a parent's dating after the divorce. The research does offer some information about how children in general are affected by parental dating after divorce. Your child must now share you - which isn't so easy to do. It is very awkward for children to adjust to having an adult who is not their parent acting in a parenting role.
Children often experience loyalty conflicts between biological parents and new partners. Children fear future rejection if the new relationship doesn't last. On a more positive note, parental dating after divorce can also offer benefits to children.
Rules of Engagement: Setting the Stage for Post-Divorce Dating With Kids | HuffPost Life
Happier parents in better moods. A role model of a happy adult relationship. New people who care about them.
Should I wait until my children are grown before dating? This is obviously a very personal decision with no one right answer. Know yourself, know your children and ask yourself this key question: Is this a decision I think is best for my children, or am I reacting out of guilt or fear? If your answer is the latter, you may want to address these powerful and often destructive emotions before making a final decision about dating after divorce.
When should I introduce my new partner to my children? Most professionals agree that parents should keep their dating relationships private and away from children until the relationship is serious. Only you can decide what "serious" means for you. What you should avoid though is introducing your children to every person you date after your divorce.
Dating after divorce is as hard on kids as it is on parents.
If your children attach to every person you date, they are likely to be hurt and experience loss each time the relationship doesn't work.