It is unwise to quickly jump back into dating after you have completed your divorce. You need time to heal from your marriage, including:

  • Coming to terms with why you divorced;
  • Adjusting to your post-marriage lifestyle; and
  • Feeling emotionally ready to start a new relationship.

Even after you feel ready, there may be others who need time to recover from the divorce. Children can be upset when they see one of their parents dating someone new. You must be conscious of your children’s reaction when starting a new relationship after divorce.

Understanding Children’s Emotions

You may understand that starting to date is more about meeting new people than immediately committing to a serious relationship. However, your children view it as a development that tests their loyalties and casts doubt on their place in your life. Keep in mind that:

  • They may feel pressured to pick sides between your dating partner and their other parent, particularly if the other parent is angry that you started dating;
  • They see someone you date as competition for your attention and affection; and
  • They may be uncomfortable about the prospect of having a step family, even if your new relationship has not become that serious.

Broaching the Subject

If your children are mature enough to understand dating and relationships, you should talk to them about the idea of you dating before you actually start.

The purpose of the conservation is to let your children know your intentions in advance and acknowledge their feelings about it. Some children will become angry or upset at the news. Others may act understanding and supportive about your decision, but you should realize that they likely feel uneasy about it.

Take It Slow

The goal of dating is to find a new romantic partner that you may eventually marry. However, you should be cautious before letting your relationship get to that point.

Your children are the most important people in your life, and your significant other must understand that. You should use your initial dates to get to know each other but also learn whether this person is someone you would want your children to be around.

If the relationship becomes more serious, you should plan activities involving your partner and your children. Your children must be an active part of any serious romantic relationships after your divorce.

Relationships and Parental Responsibility

When dating, be careful about the type of people you allow to interact with your children. The wrong person may put your children in danger, and a court may react by taking away some of the parental responsibilities you were allocated during your divorce.

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