While being socially active after a separation or divorce is important, the presence of children from a previous marriage requires some adjustment in the dating process. Some formerly married persons are wary about dating again because of the untold effects it may have on the children, as well as the status of an existing child custody order.
Bear in mind that a perceived wrong while you are dating could be used against you in a case for modification of parenting or visitation agreement.
The following tips will not only help reduce the stress that comes with dating again, but more importantly keep you from being accused of disturbing the peaceful lives of your children.
- In the beginning of any new relationship, it is best to meet your new dates or prospects away from home and from the questioning looks of your children.
- Dates should be introduced initially to your children as your “friends”. If your child appears to dislike your dating, try explaining to your child how parents also need adult friends.
- Avoid having different dates coming in and out of your home and your child’s life. Multiple dates tend to confuse children and may add to their existing emotional baggage.
- If you have joint physical custody, it is best to limit your dating to those times when your children are with the other parent.
- Start the practice of locking your bedroom door for privacy long before you have someone spend the night with you.
- Exercise discretion in choosing who you allow your children to get close to. Remember that children also get emotionally attached to people you may date after a period of time, and break ups may be hard on the children.
- Expect and prepare for scheduling problems when parents accommodate their dates.
- Avoid exposing your children to your sexuality with your new date. It may not help in some cases for your children to witness or be aware of the sexual aspects of your new relationship. Taking trips out of town or going to hotels for those occasions gives you better privacy.
With children to take care of, dating should not be rushed into. Parents usually go to great lengths to keep their love life private. You may also wish to consider keeping things to yourself for now.