Dating can be exhilarating, but there’s no doubt that it’s significantly more challenging after a divorce. Instead of only worrying about your feelings, you need to consider how starting a new relationship will affect your children. To help you navigate this complicated family dynamic, The Cronin Law Firm has assembled this list of tips for dating after divorce.
1. Trust Your Gut
No two people are exactly alike. If you and your ex ended the marriage on relatively good terms, you might feel comfortable dating shortly after the divorce is finalized. However, a more complicated divorce might leave you leery of jumping back into the dating pool.
If you’re still processing your feelings over infidelity or other serious issues, it’s perfectly fine to take some time to heal before you worry about finding a new romantic partner. Don’t let well-meaning friends and family pressure you into steps you’re not ready for.
2. Know What You Want
Think about what you want from a relationship before you start dating. Do you want a partner with a great sense of humor who can always make you laugh when you’re feeling down? Do you want someone who likes to spend more time at home, or do you prefer a social butterfly who is the life of the party? Is it important for you to have someone who will readily handle their fair share of the household chores?
A common trap that people fall into after divorce is choosing a new partner who shares the same traits as their ex. Don’t settle for the familiar. Know what you want and being willing to wait for the right person.
3. Let Your Children Know They Come First
When you have children at home, it’s crucial that you are sensitive to their feelings as you begin dating. Children often feel like they have caused their parent’s divorce, so moving on is going to be difficult for them. Let your children know that they will always be your top priority.
Although you should be upfront with your date about having children at home, it’s not necessary to introduce your children to everyone you’re seeing. Children crave stability, so wait until the relationship is serious before bringing a love interest home.
4. Schedule Dates When Your Children Are With Their Other Parent
It’s difficult enough for a child to adjust to having two homes, so you want to keep your routine as normal as possible. Plan your dates for times when your children will be visiting their other parent to minimize disruption in their routine.
If you have sole custody, consider scheduling dates for when they have their own school activities or family members to visit. Again, the goal is to keep their routines as stable as possible.
5. Vet Dates Carefully
Online dating has become mainstream, but meeting new partners this way requires caution. Take some time to research your date online. Public records and social media accounts can give you valuable clues, such as whether your date is still legally married or if the person has a criminal record.
Always schedule initial dates for public places, such as restaurants or movie theaters. Drive yourself, so you have an easy way to get home if things don’t go well. Tell a trusted friend where you are going and when you expect to return. If it would make you feel more comfortable, schedule a double date to see if you connect before planning one-on-one time.
6. Continue to Be Respectful Toward Your Ex
Starting a new relationship is exciting, but don’t let your emotions get the best of you. It’s okay to still feel hurt and a little angry at times, but strive to be respectful of your ex.
Don’t badmouth your former spouse in front of your dates—and never talk poorly about your ex in front of your children. No matter what happened in your marriage, you don’t want to interfere in your children’s relationship with their other parent.
7. Protect Your Rights
If your ex is upset about you dating and using this as an opportunity to violate your previous parenting agreement, you need to act quickly to protect your rights. You deserve to pursue a new romance without worrying about retaliation that hurts your relationship with your children.
At The Cronin Law Firm, our experienced family law attorneys are committed to handling divorce and child custody issues with compassion, sensitivity, and discretion. Click the “Text Us” button on this page, complete our contact form, or call us at 248-258-3500 today to schedule an appointment for a complimentary initial consultation.