Dating after divorce – even the words fill some divorced parents with dread. The idea of getting back into the dating scene after years being married is daunting at best. But, we humans are instinctively drawn to partnering up. So chances are very good that sooner or later you (along with nearly every other divorced parent) will be dipping your toe into the waters of dating after divorce.
There are many things to consider when making the choice to begin dating after your divorce. Here are a few of the questions that parents ask:
How do I explain my dating to my children? What you say to your children when you begin dating after your divorce will depend largely on their age. If you need a reminder about what to expect at each developmental stage have a look here
When talking with young children (infants and toddlers) describe the person you are seeing as a friend. For example, “I’m going to see a friend. I’ll be back soon.”
With preschoolers (ages 3-5) still describe the person you will be going out with as as friend. For example, “I’m going to see my friend. I’ll be gone for about 4 hours. You’ll be in bed when I get home.”
With school-age children (6-10) you can begin to provide more information. You will likely want to have a more in-depth conversation about dating. For example, “I’m going to have dinner with a man/woman that I met at work. We’re going to talk for a few hours after dinner and then I’ll be home. Just as you like to spend time with your special friends, I also want some time to be with my friends.”
With pre-teens and young teens (11-14) you can broach the topic of dating after the divorce. It’s OK to actually use the word date. You aren’t going to freak out your child. Chances are good that he or she already has a good idea of what dating is all about! And this includes dating after divorce. For example, “I’m going out on a date with (person’s name) on Friday. I’m wondering how you feel about me starting to date.” Note: This does not mean that you are asking your child’s permission to date. That isn’t appropriate nor healthy for your child. You are simply initiating discussion that is likely to be ongoing. This is a good time to reassure your child that even though you are beginning to go out on dates, you will still always reserve time for just the two of you.
With teens (15-20) it is important to be honest about your actions…
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