Dating After Divorce

By: Alyssa Johnson

Making the choice to begin dating after divorce may cause lots of emotions for you. The thought can be exciting, scary, happy or even sad. But what about the feelings your kids may be having about it?

One of the most important aspects to keep in mind when considering your children's reactions is how long you have been divorced.

This has a huge impact on kids. Divorce research has shown time and time again, that kids take much longer to deal with all of the changes that come about as a result of a divorce than you are. The kids probably are still reeling from the divorce, while you're thinking about dating again.

Your dating makes this whole divorce thing much more real. Before then, you and their other parent just aren't living in the same house. Even though you've told your kids hundreds of times it won't work, they will still think there's the possibility that things may change and go back to "normal".

You going out with someone esle, makes the divorce much more real to them. It's NOT just that you aren't in the same house now. It's that somebody else may "replace" their other parent.

If this happens too soon, it can be overwhelming for kids. They are still grieving the loss of their old family and it feels to them that you're already trying to replace it with another family. It will feel this way to kids, even if it's just a first date.

Another aspect that complicates things is whether an affair is what broke up the marriage. If you begin dating too soon, kids may start wondering if that was the reason for the divorce. This will not start you and your new partner off on the right foot with your kids.

Because of all these reasons, be prepared for your kids to be upset to some extent about your dating. Does that mean you shouldn't begin dating? Not necessarily. But I will offer these questions to you if you're dating less than 4 months after your divorce is final (the keyword in that sentence is FINAL):

1. Why now?

2. What are you hoping for by dating again?

3. What have YOU done for yourself to help heal after your divorce?

4. How well are you getting along with your ex-spouse?

I would suggest waiting awhile if the answers to these revolve around fear of being alone, not feeling a need to look back at your previous marriage or if there is still a lot of conflict between you and your ex. Not only are your kids not ready, but neither are you.

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