Rules of Engagement: Setting the Stage for Post-Divorce Dating With Kids | HuffPost Life
The bad news is next to divorce, getting into a new relationship is the . You may feel that talking to your kids about your dating life makes you. In my role as a counselor for children of divorce, my focus is the children. The question about dating arises in every session of “Co-parenting Through The statistics tell us that the failure of the second marriage is at a higher. Dating after divorce - even the words fill some divorced parents with dread. When talking with young children (infants and toddlers) describe the person you .
There are many things to consider when making the choice to begin dating after your divorce. Here are a few of the questions that parents ask: Regarding Your Children How do I explain my dating to my children? What you say to your children when you begin dating after your divorce will depend largely on their age.
If you need a reminder about what to expect at each developmental stage have a look here When talking with young children infants and toddlers describe the person you are seeing as a friend. For example, "I'm going to see a friend. I'll be back soon. 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. 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. 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.Dr. Phil Explains the Biggest Divorce Mistakes That Impact Kids -- Dr. Phil
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. 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 you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email. The good news is now that your divorce is final and you survived the temporary insanity that it caused, you're ready to consider another relationship. The bad news is next to divorce, getting into a new relationship is the second leading cause of temporary insanity.
7 Tips for Dating After Divorce with Kids
I'm not trying to be a buzzkill here. A new relationship can be an exhilarating and blissful experience. Here are some guidelines to help you steer clear of trouble: That initial phase of a new relationship can be one of the most amazing rushes ever. Everything about it makes you want to go full speed ahead, taking your relationship from brand new boyfriend to forever-and-ever life partner in a matter of days. But because you are a responsible grown-up, you know that would be a really stupid thing to do.
After all, you've worked hard to get to where you are today. You remember the living hell that your divorce was. And if you really work at it, you can even vaguely remember how you were once head-over-heals in love with your ex. So, you know full well that sometimes things that seem really amazing in the very beginning turn out to be pretty terrible in the end.
The last thing you want to do is to jeopardize the life that you have carefully reconstructed for yourself and your kids. Just as you enjoy a piece of cake one delicious forkful at a time rather than swallowing it whole; take the time to savor each minute of this phase of your relationship rather than rushing ahead.
Here's a common misstep divorced women make when it comes to new relationships: As soon as they've been on two dates with a guy, they want to introduce him to their kids. Your kids have had enough rough sailing for the time being. The last thing they need is a bunch of waves created by moving too fast with your new boyfriend. Your love life can have a big emotional impact on your kids.
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.
7 Tips for Dating After Divorce with Kids
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.
Rules of Engagement: Setting the Stage for Post-Divorce Dating With Kids
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.