Starting to Date Again…With Kids

The pain of the divorce has faded and you’re feeling brand new again. You’re ready to start dating again, but how do you do that so that your children accept it? That question has been asked by many women. It’s not typically something you can hide from them because they’ll see the new pep in your step and want to know why you’re dressed up and where you’re going and who you’re going with. Kids are naturally inquisitive, especially when it comes to changes in their mom.

Communicate with your kids. Just simply talk to them. It’s OK to let them know you’re dating, just don’t over-share. They don’t need to meet everyone you do and they don’t need to know how many men you’re dating. Don’t even discuss it with your girlfriends on the phone when the kids are around because they will be listening, even when it looks like they aren’t. Do tell your kids that you are going to dinner with a friend. If they ask, let them know it’s a male friend. If they ask if it’s a date, it’s OK to say yes. The amount of information you share and how you word it should be age appropriate. You can tell a teen that you have a date, whereas a five-year-old may not care or understand. It’s important for your children to see you pick yourself back up after such an emotionally distraught time in your life. This will help teach them that life does go on, which may make any of their own future heartbreaks slightly more bearable.

Avoid talking badly about their father. Don’t compare anyone you’re dating to their father. That will only create feelings of resentment toward you and anyone you develop a relationship with. Let your children decide how they feel about their father without your input. Don’t try to replace their father with anyone you date, whether he’s a great father or a lousy father. And don’t tell your kids things about your dating life hoping it gets back to their father. They are not pawns to be played against him.

Don’t bring your dates home. Save that for someone you eventually get serious with. In those early stages, it’s actually safer for you and the kids if you keep your dating life away from home. Try to really get to know a man before allowing him to know where you and your babies lay your heads at.

The most important thing to do is to carve out special time to date your kids. They need to feel like they are still the most important part of your world. If you’re going on a date every night of the week, they’ll end up resenting you and anyone you ever bring home. They still need their mother. Have a special date night every week or month with the kids so they know they are still special. If you have more than one, try to do group dates and one-on-one dates with them individually so they all know that they still have their mom.

Some kids are going to have troubles adjusting to their mother dating, no matter what you do. However, you can’t just give in and pause your life. Keep the communication open and continuously tell your children, and show them, that they are still your number one.

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