24 answers

Dating After Divorce:when/ How to Tell the Kids

Im recently divorced (final as of January 09) and want to date but am scared because of my daughters reaction. I started seeing someone right after I filed, and the kids found out and it did not go well. I pretty much called it quits because I realized I wasnt ready and couldnt handle how uspet it made my kids. No matter how much I told them I am still their mom, no matter what, and they come first, etc. My ex was even pretty cool about the whole thing- we talked to them together and tried to be reassuring. Anyways, it all kind of blew over, then my ex told them he is "thinking about dating" (hes actually been seeing someone for a month) and the girls got all uspet all over again. I felt like he should have just kept it quiet for at least 6 months, but he didnt want to 'betray' them. Im in the process of getting both kids into therapy over the whole divorce(we were married for 10 years). The kids are with me 80-90% of the time...Id really like to keep seeing the man I was beginning a great relationship with ( hes willing to wait) but I just dont know how to integrate him into my life...So my question is: how have other people dealt with this? What are the signs that the kids are ready to handle a new relationship? Or do they always hate it, and do you just have to make them deal with it ? What helps?

1 mom found this helpful

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Featured Answers

Single mom with young girls right after a divorce are a field day for pedophiles. Be careful.

I hated my mom dating after my parents divorced. I was 10. Maybe wait till they're 18?

More Answers

Dear L.,
My kids were 11 and 1 when I left my abusive husband.
The only thing worse than being married to him was trying to get away. No divorce, even under the best of circumstances is easy and I think a woman does herself a disservice by not giving herself time to heal, get her head together and make sure she is a whole person before trying to begin another relationship.
I may be at the far end of the spectrum in my opinions, but I have known so many women that CANNOT be without a man. At least they think they can't. They go from one relationship to the next and they've done it in front of their kids. It makes me sad. I think it sends a signal to children (who have already gone through the emotional loss of an intact family unit) that relationships just come and go and can't be trusted.
I've been divorced 12 years and I'm still a single mother. I made a decision very early on not to have a man parade going in and out of the house in front of my kids. There have been plenty of men who have been interested in me and vice versa, but I can go out to dinner with someone a few times and tell if it's going anywhere or not, with my kids being none the wiser.
My daughter will be turning 23 and my son is 13. It will take someone very special and me having invested the time to find out if things can remain solid before I introduce them to my kids. Do I regret my decision? Not really.
I'm 46 now and I often think it would have been nice to be remarried and have a husband by now, but let's face it...I haven't found the right person. When I do, my kids will be happier for me than anyone.
It's tempting to say it's so important for daughters not to get the idea women are supposed to have a different man all the time, but I don't want my son to have the idea that what men do is be around for a little while and then they're gone. On to the next girl.
If you think kids aren't affected or don't have their opinions about things, you are wrong.
My son's best friend is a girl who confides in him because her mother cheated on her father so now they are going through a divorce and she had to move to a different town to live with her dad and everytime she does get to see her mom, there is a different boyfriend. She's not even with the one that caused the divorce anymore.
Just be careful. Take time to focus on you and your girls. Your personal life isn't their concern, meaning, they shouldn't have to be concerned with it. Or about it. That goes for how your ex handles his dating information too.
Tread lightly.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi L..

As a child of divorced parents, I have to tell you I hated my mom dating. And I was 15 when she dated and married her current husband. It did me a lot of emotional harm. I didn't want her with my dad, because he was a jerk, but I didn't want her with this man either. Of course now that I'm in my 40's I look back and know it was selfish, but those were very real feelings that affected the rest of my life. I'm not sure that I was the most selfish in the situation.

My own story is that I also divorced and have 2 boys ages 8 and 12. They were 4 and 8 at the time of the divorce. When we left my verbally abusive husband, my oldest son cried that he never wanted to see him again and wanted God to bring him a new daddy. So when I met what I thought was the perfect new daddy, both my boys protested that they didn't want me to date anyone. They know and love the man, but they were seriously upset. so I made the decision that I will not date until they are out of the house (18) or they change their minds. In the meantime, their dad has been engaged 6 times in the past 4 years. They hate him for it. They have hated every girl he has brought home and introduced them to. They have no respect for him and even call him names without me saying a word about him. They aren't stupid. I also feel that I deserve to have a love in my life, but I love my children more than any man and can give them a few years if that is going to make them feel more loved. It is only a few years out of my life, but it will make a huge difference in their emotional health. And if they change their minds before then, I might wait anyways. Right now we have a great situation where we all communicate well with each other and live well together. I want to keep it that way for now.

1 mom found this helpful

Why not just see the guy on the sly? There is no reason your kids need to know everything about your personal life. Not everything you do is their business.

They will not be happy knowing you are dating and the knowledge will not help them in any way.

Sometimes white lies or lies by omission are a good thing. When and if something becomes really really really serious with a guy, like after a two or three years, and you know you guys are going to get married, you can start introducing him then.

Actually, I'll amend that a little -- I guess part of deciding if you can marry someone is knowing how he is with your kids, you will have to introduce him a little sooner than that if you feel he is marriage material, but make sure he is really worth putting your kids through all that before you bring him into the home.

And yes, I think they always hate it.

1 mom found this helpful

Single mom with young girls right after a divorce are a field day for pedophiles. Be careful.

I hated my mom dating after my parents divorced. I was 10. Maybe wait till they're 18?

It's way too soon for your kids to be involved or informed about either of you dating. I don't believe it would be appropriate to introduce new people into their lives (especially since with dating, as we know, those people are most often temporary) until it's absolutely certain the person is NOT temporary. After six months to a year, I think it'd be okay to say you might date, but I don't think any details or specifics at their age are necessary. I'm glad you found them counseling, maybe the counselor can help with advice on this.

Dear L.,

How you go about this will/can affect your girls forever. I know you are young and probably lonely and you DO deserve a life.

I would reccommend you see your guy (nice that he is willing to wait), when your girls are spending time with their father.

At 6 and 10 all your girls probably want is mom and dad back together. You can take the high road and talk to them in a positive way about dad's new girl friend. (That is, as long as you know the woman is nice/good to your girls).

If you do this, when it is time for you to introduce a new man into their lives, they will be more reseptive.

Take you time with the dating thing, the kids are way more important.


Hello: Why try to worry your children?
My sister never introduced her children to any man until she had dated them for 6 months and had done a backround check to make sure they wouldn't hurt her children. She dated only on the days that her chhildren were with their father and it has been a healthy inviroment for all of them. Good Luck, Nana G.

In dating with kids after divorce you have to understand their feelings. They will always hope to be a family with their mom and dad again. You both have to sit with them and tell them that you care about each other and always will but that you are not good for each other in a marriage but you will always be there for them. I dated when my son was with his father and didn't introduce anyone to them until there is potential that it could be more. You can have a few family dates and that will make them feel a part of it. At this point there should not be any sleepovers when the children are home.

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