Dating After Divorce: a Tough Climb

Getting back into the dating scene after years of being married fills most divorced people with dread, and none more than parents who face the unenviable task of telling their children there is someone new in their lives.

On the rebound from a failed marriage, many divorced people swear they will never spin the wheel of romance again, but most divorced people remarry within two or three years. Very often the new partner has already been to the altar as well, so dating involves children on both sides.

Dating, however difficult it is for the adults, can be particularly difficult for the children who very often imagine that somehow Mother and Father can reunite. In this regime, Dad’s new girlfriend or Mom’s new boyfriend become an unwelcome presence. When divorced parents date, children become anxious and confused, and parents, hoping for happiness and success, wrestle over how much distance to place between their children and a newly blossoming romance.

Dating can be traumatic for a child because it shatters any hope that his or her parents will reunite. Likewise, dating can be difficult for the parents because it takes a year or more for most adults to recover from the pain and suffering associated with the breakup.

The divorced person soon finds that dating after a divorce is very different than dating before a first marriage. The best that can be said is that dating after divorce is very improvisational, a learn-by-doing regime.

When parents date again, most experts recommend that care be taken in introducing the child to the new person. Most child psychologists suggest that the new person not be introduced into the child’s life until he is a significant presence in his or her parent’s life. This usually means six months or more. A small child who finds a strange man in the bed where his father used to sleep may become very distressed. And parents must estimate how much children need to know before they meet the new person.

Read more about New Relationships After Divorce.

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