Saturday, January 19, 2008

Specific Dating Concerns After Divorce

What feelings can I expect when I start dating again?

Unfortunately, people tend to choose the same kind of mates over and over again. And so one of the things you should really do before you date, during your divorce or after your divorce, is really figure out why you chose the person you chose and whether or not you want to make a similar choice again. And so you have to look at, are your needs the same as they were five, ten, fifteen years ago? What are your projected needs for the future? What kinds of things did you rely on that you shouldn't have relied on initially when you chose your mate? What did you find that was not important to you? What did you find that was really important to you that you never looked at? So you really have to do the work now so you don't have a second marital failure. You really have to figure out how to maximize your chance for success in this relationship, and you do that by a really careful analysis of your dating patterns, your mate selection, and looking at your personal needs.

How long should I avoid introducing dates to my children after my divorce?

In general, children probably need about a year after a divorce to get used to their parents not being together. That's an ideal situation. For many people, they can't wait a year to introduce dates to children because they've already met someone in the interim. Sometimes they're even with someone they were with during the marriage. Children need time to get used to it after a divorce. I suggest that people don't introduce children to their new partners until they really determine that it's going to be a long term relationship. Of course, they can't guarantee it'll be a forever relationship, but it's not a dating relationship. They have to do this introduction process in a very slow, gradual way. Children are often very threatened by new partners. They have a lot of trouble with this. They don't like to see affection until they're ready for it. Children will insert themselves between their mother/father and their girlfriend/ boyfriend - even physically insert themselves - and they'll make comments like, "Why do we need her/him?" The slower you do the introduction process after a divorce, and the less aggressively you do it, the better it's going to be for the child. Give it time, and be sure that the child always knows that you love them. Spend individual time with them. Don't spend all of your time with your new partner and the child because the child will feel like they have lost something.

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