When divorce happens and there are children involved, there are a number of hurdles to jump over: the announcement, the reassurances, the custody decisions.But there’s one more big step for the kids to adjust to: their parents’ post-divorce dating.
Take your children seriously,” says Divorce Help for Parents, while continuing: “On the other hand, you should not be asking permission from your child to date someone. Putting your child in the role of parental decision maker is not healthy for either of you.”Additionally, it’s vital to pay attention if your children raise red flags about a new partner, including teasing, bullying, unsolicited discipline, or any form of touching that your child may find uncomfortable.
Your children need to feel safe and be safe, and this should be at the top of your mind when you’re introducing a new adult into their lives.
It’s understandable that as a parent, you might be worried about the outcome, but it’s important to know that your kids are likely feeling the same way.
That’s why it’s vital to discuss the notion of Mom or Dad dating after the divorce, so any anxieties or grievances can be out in the open and any doubts can be expelled.
Be sensitive to how they’re feeling about this shift, and Divorce Help for Parents cautions that there could be similarities in your situations—you can use this as a talking point.
Since your teens are also likely dating, it is important to talk with them about how it may be awkward to have a parent dating at the same time.Regardless, encouraging open communication and allowing your kids to speak their mind about your dating partners shows them that you consider their opinions to be important.“On one hand, it is important for parents to listen to concerns that their children raise about new partners.Dating after divorce requires some caution on the part of adults.Likewise, a piece at Family Share recommends that you spend time preparing your children well in advance of meeting your new partner, and then when it happens, don’t rush things or immediately seek approval.“Spend short intervals together and let the exposure build over time. “Because they feel safe in their relationship with mom and dad, they are less likely to be threatened by a new adult entering the picture.”Suffice it to say, this is just another reason to keep the post-divorce relationship with your former partner civil.Depending on the age of your children, you may get some pushback when it comes to post-divorce dating.Family Share says it best: “How you approach adding a new partner into your life will affect their long-term relationship with the children. It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.