Thanks for joining us again for the third installment of facts to consider when dating after divorce. Moving on, we are going to wrap this up with the last two items. Be aware, however, that while these are at the tail end of the list, they are not, by any means, less important!
Consider your kids.
Be careful of how you include, or don’t include, your children when it comes to dating. Children are often very emotionally vulnerable after a divorce, and can respond unfavorably to you dating. Depending on their age and temperament, they may either attach themselves to every date you introduce them to in order to find a replacement for their “lost parent,” or be resistant to every person you have a relationship with because that person is seen as an interloper.
- Counsellors and therapists tend to suggest that if you are “dating around” with a variety of people, that you don’t introduce them to your children. Younger children may struggle with attachment issues, having gone from two fixed adults in their life, to a single parent and a parade of strangers.
- Teenagers can be openly resentful of a parent’s dating partners. This may be because they believe that the dating parent is trying to replace their other parent with a “newer version.” This can result in rudeness, anger and even depression. Be understanding of your teenager’s emotional struggle, and give them some space.
- A number of mental health professionals recommend keeping your dating life separate from your children, referring only to your dates as ‘friends,’ until you have chosen one person that you are serious about. Only when a relationship is serious enough to consider permanence, should you introduce them to your children.
- Each child will respond differently to your divorce, and later to the knowledge that you are dating. Consider each child’s emotional needs and personality traits when deciding how to tell your kids about your new partner. A bad first impression can take ages to get over, making your new relationship that much harder!
It’s not a race – set your own pace
It may seem strange to have left this one till last, after all, shouldn’t the warnings come first? Perhaps, but people often consider dating after divorce before they determine whether or not they are ready for it. But figuring out when you’re ready is critical to your dating success.
- Divorce is stressful and emotionally draining. Your life partner didn’t turn out to be what you’d hoped for, and so you will need time to grieve for that loss. Give yourself that time to heal, and move on from the pain in a healthy way.
- Don’t let well-meaning friends or family push you into dating before you’re ready. They may not want to see you sad or lonely, but only you can really know when you are ready for another relationship.
- If you are still thinking about your ex, wondering about what they’re doing and who they’re with, then you haven’t moved on. Learning to be alone and value yourself as an independent person without your ex influencing your thoughts or expectations will make dating considerably more healthy, and more enjoyable.
- Time is not a deciding factor. Some people are ready after six months, others take six years. It all depends on your emotional and mental health, and the pace at which you heal and recover. Calendars have no place in this decision – listen to your heart.
For those of you considering dating after divorce, we hope this has been helpful to you. Or at the very least informative. Remember, dating is a choice that ultimately only you can make. If you’re not ready, then don’t let anyone push you into it. If you are, then don’t let anyone hold you back!