The 7 Best Insider Tips for Dating After Divorce if You Have Kids…
Jumping back into the dating scene after a divorce can be overwhelming, and when you have kids, there’s an extra layer of complexity added to it. While dating when you have children can be challenging, it’s not impossible. You deserve to find love again, and your kids ultimately want to see you happy. Here are the 7 best insider tips for dating after divorce if you have kids:
1. Consider adding language to your divorce agreement about dating.
Many divorcing spouses choose to add language into their Separation Agreement pertaining to the appropriate time frame in which to introduce a significant other to their children. Discussing this with your co-parent beforehand can often alleviate a lot of drama once you both do start dating. It can be difficult to get both parties to agree on such an emotionally charged topic in the midst of a divorce, but it’s a good idea to have language like this in your agreement if possible.
2. Take your time with the introductions.
You may want to move on right away and start dating after your divorce. While you might be emotionally ready for this (especially if you detached emotionally from your marriage long before it physically ended) your children will need some time to adjust. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least six months after your divorce to introduce your children to someone new. The time frame depends on the age and maturity of your children, and how they are coping with the divorce. That doesn’t mean you can’t start dating early on- just don’t involve your kids right away.
3. Prepare your children (and your significant other) ahead of time.
Once you are ready to introduce your kids to the person you’re dating, you’ll want to tread lightly. Most children are naturally curious and will have a lot of questions about your new significant other. Answer the age-appropriate questions, and feel free to tell them interesting facts to get them excited about the meeting (i.e. if your new love has a cool hobby, kids of their own, a cute pet). Do the same with your significant other. Tell them things about your children to help them feel comfortable about the meeting, too. Knowing a bit about each other in advance will help break the ice once the meeting finally takes place.
4. Expect the first meeting (or two) to be a little awkward.
As with any introduction, there are bound to be a few awkward moments during the first meeting (or even longer). If you expect this beforehand, it won’t leave you as disappointed. While your kids and new love may hit it off right away, don’t expect a miracle. Your kids may feel like they’re betraying their other parent in some way by liking your significant other, and your new love may feel like they are intruding on family time. Time and patience is key here.
5. Be willing to work through any negative feelings your children may have.
Divorce is a major change in your children’s lives, and meeting your new love interest can only complicate that further. Be understanding if your children express negative feelings about your dating life. You may even want to consider having them talk to a therapist about how they are feeling. Your children should adjust eventually, and ultimately, they want to see you happy, so don’t get too discouraged.
6. Set boundaries with your co-parent.
Finding out your former spouse is dating someone new can be a shock and can bring up a wide range of emotions. While you want to be respectful and not flaunt your new relationship in front of your ex, you also want to set clear boundaries. How much information you share with your ex depends on how healthy your co-parenting relationship is. They really only need to know the name of the person you’re dating and when you will be introducing them to your children. Anything shared beyond that is at your discretion.
7. Try not to get discouraged.
It’s natural to want everyone to get along and live happily ever after, but each divorce experience is unique. Most children will adjust to their parents dating post-divorce if given the time and tools in which to do so. Remember that they will take your lead. If you talk positively about the experience, they will catch on to that and think positively, too. You all deserve to move on and be happy- it just might take some time.
Not sure when to start dating after divorce? We understand. Run your questions by our Split.fyi Community, and talk it out with people who are in the same situation.
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