Dating after divorce may be the last thing on a single parent’s priority list. However, there may come a time when you feel that both you and your children are ready to have a new person in your lives. After meeting that new person and a decision is made to further pursue a relationship, consideration should be given to how and when you introduce your new friend to your children.
The following helpful tips can be used as a guideline for opening this new chapter in your life.
- Be sure that you are emotionally prepared to enter the dating field – Dating can be scary and a much more different experience than before you were married. Make sure that you are emotionally prepared to deal with the pros and cons of being in the dating pool by considering your feelings, needs, goals and beliefs about your life, your children and a relationship.
- Explain to your children that adults like to spend time with other adults and assure them that this will not interfere with your time with them – Often times, children will adapt to new situations more easily if they feel comfortable and reassured. Maintaining consistency in routine and spending time with them can help in making the adjustment.
- Encourage your children to voice their feelings and acknowledge how they feel by discussing their concerns – Children have the need to feel important and valued by their parents. By giving them the opportunity to voice their concerns, misunderstandings or hurt feelings that may occur can be avoided. For younger children that may be non-verbal, watch for signs of distress or regression. This is their way of letting you know that they are feeling insecure and/or are uncomfortable with these new changes in their lives.
- Discuss the importance of your relationship and commitment to your children with your new friend – The discussion about your values and beliefs for your children should be communicated with your new friend to establish what your expectations are for your children and the role that you play as their parent.
- Avoid introducing your children to friends when you first meet – Save the introductions of your friend to your children until you are sure that your friend is someone you are interested in dating. Consistency will help the children better adapt to their new way of life with their parent and their new friend!
- Include your children in your “date night” – When you are ready to introduce your children to your new friend, you may want to consider including the children in your date night. This can help in establishing a relationship with your friend and help them feel included in your activities.
- Have fun and remember to give yourself quality time to relax – Juggling single parenthood and dating can sometimes be overwhelming. It is important to remember to eat well, exercise, and rest so that you are more prepared to handle all your areas of responsibility.
As you face questions or concerns about your children during this transitional process, please call PAL at 1-866-962-3030. Sometimes it helps just to “talk it out.”