It feels GREAT when you’re ready to start dating after your divorce. It means you’ve moved on and are prepared to begin a new chapter in your life. However, going from being a married man or woman and a parent no less to starting over as single and dating again can be highly stressful. You want to ensure you’re OK with it, especially that your children are OK with it, but how do you tell them? Here are some tips on how to express to your family that you're ready for a new relationship:
Start When You Are Ready
YOU, Y-O-U. You’ve been through a lot; getting your life back on track can take time. Before jumping into another relationship, you must have your life in order, financially and emotionally. Beware of someone with baggage or drama; they will only bring more stress into your life, which will cause more problems than they are worth. Note the below:
You must be stable.
We all have our ups and downs, but if there are signs of depression or anxiety on your end or his/hers, this is not the right time for dating. Remember that you don't want anyone else's problems affecting yours. Remember how hard it was dealing with them alone? Imagine how much harder it would be if someone else had them too, which carried over into your life.
Suppose there aren't any signs of depression or anxiety, but instead, there is anger toward others. This is not healthy behavior either, so please seek help before trying a new relationship. Anger management classes exist for reasons like these, so perhaps you should sign up today and learn more about it.
Tell Your Kids Before Dating & Be Honest With Them
You must be honest with your kids and tell them what’s happening. Let them know that you are thinking about dating again and why it's essential for you to do so. And gently tell them what you expect from them while you are dating (or considering dating).
And note there’s a difference between being honest and sharing too much. You don't want to lie or hide the truth from your children, but sometimes it's best to wait until they are older before opening up about your dating life. Whether or not you choose to tell them about the other person depends on how intense the relationship is and how much time has passed since your divorce was finalized; if you're beginning to date after the divorce and aren't sure if this person could become “the one,” hold off on telling them about yourself and your kids until things are more settled in both areas of life.
Listen to Your Kids and Understand Them
When you begin dating after divorce, listening to and understanding your kids is essential. They are going through a lot of emotions, changes, and growth. They are also facing challenges that they may not have experienced before. But remember, it’s OK for you as a parent (or guardian) to share how you feel about dating again after divorce so that your child feels comfortable talking about their feelings about this new relationship with someone else who loves them dearly, you.
Give Them Time to Adjust
When you begin to date after a divorce, it's important not to rush into anything. You don't want your kids or ex-spouse to feel like they're being pushed out of your life. Give them time to adjust and get comfortable with this new normal for both them and you. It's also important not to rush into a relationship just because you want one badly. It might be tempting when everyone around seems happy in theirs but remember, everyone's situation is different, and there may be a good reason why someone isn't ready or willing yet (or ever, for that matter). You should always do what feels suitable for yourself and your kids first!
What’s the best way to tell your kids?
When you begin to date after a divorce, you'll want to ensure your kids understand and feel safe in their homes. Here are some tips for telling them:
Tell them before you start dating. The earlier, the better. It's best to hear from a parent rather than a friend or family member who might need to have all the facts straight (or even care). Do this in person. If not, write your child a personal letter explaining that someone else will be coming into your and their lives and why it's happening so soon after their parent’s separation/divorce.
Tell them when they're always calm and not angry with either parent (which is always it seems!). This way, they'll be able to process what is being stated more quickly than if they were already upset about something else, such as schoolwork deadlines or having just lost a critical soccer game against another team from across town yesterday!
It's important to remember that kids are incredibly intuitive and innovative and know more than we give them credit for. They understand what is going on in their parent’s lives and want to be involved in the decision-making process. We can help our children by listening to what they say and ensuring they feel safe talking about what they think about the new person coming into their life without judgment or criticism from us.
Everyone deserves happiness; sometimes, it just takes time.
Time to Dish:
· When did you start dating after your divorce or separation?
· How was it?
· How did you find a person?
· When did you introduce your children?
Listen to DIVORCEE DISH TWO