For the divorced parent, the decision to begin dating again is a tricky one. Not only do you have to determine if you are personally ready to get romantically involved with someone else, but children have a way of complicating matters. It can be extremely difficult for children to accept that one or both parents have moved on and are seeing new people. And for dating parents, the decision about when to introduce a new partner to the children can be challenging, too. What is a single, divorced parent to do?
First of all, divorce is hard on everyone involved, and everyone needs time to cope and accept their new reality, especially children. While dating right away after divorce can be a fun distraction and a self-confidence boost, most people are not truly ready to get involved with someone new right away. Especially if there are children involved, professionals suggest delaying dating after the divorce to avoid disappointment, confusion, and additional heartbreak for both the children and the parent.
Many people who get divorced feel that the divorce is finished and over with once the papers are signed, and that they can finally go forward with their life. But for children, the finalization of divorce is often the point when their lives completely change. Instead of living in one place with both parents, they now must split their time in two residences. This can be overwhelming and confusing for children. Adding an additional change, such as a new partner, can complicate matters and add to children’s stress and anxiety.
Of course, you are an adult, and you know what is right for you, even if your children have a hard time accepting it. When you do meet that special someone, and see a future with them, introducing them to the children can be tough. Don’t expect the kids to accept your new partner right away. Don’t take it personally or get angry if the children flat-out reject your new partner. Just take it slow, and give the children time to adjust. Believe it or not, your children DO want you to be happy; give them time to accept their new reality, and they will come around eventually.
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