- Family and Parenting
Dating and Divorce: New Girlfriends And Boyfriends
Over the years I have somewhat changed my mind about how I view the ex-husband and his new girlfriend. At first, I thought maybe the ex-wife or ex-girlfriend should be open to her ex- boyfriend dating someone new, but if there are kids involved this might be tricky. Many women have expressed concerns about their children being around women that they might consider being a bad influence on their offspring. Of course, it is still practical to work these issues out with your ex rather than dragging him to court over it, but ultimately it is up to you. Honestly, no one wants more drama for the kids than the divorce has already caused, so it is always in your best interest to try to get along with their father. He could be dating a woman you would never invite to your house, but keep in mind that the two of you are no longer together anymore, so why should you care who he spends his time with. If you seem bitter or mean spirited, he could hold these views against you later on, especially if he decides to marry the new girlfriend. On the other hand, marrying a girlfriend and rubbing it in the ex's face is pretty mean spirited and bitter as well, which is one reason to consider why a good break from the dating/relationship/marriage thing might be an interest of both of the exes. Divorced couples can focus on other things in life, such as taking their kids to lessons, or going back to school themselves. People do not have to jump into a new relationship, especially if their previous one did not end on amicable terms.
Should Divorced Parents Really Be Dating?
To me there are certain circumstances where it might be fair for a single parent to date, such as if they are the only parent raising the kids on their own. In those circumstances they may be interested in creating a new family, and providing a new mom and/or dad for their kids, even though this substitute could never stand in for the original. However, I have always had to wonder about people that rush out to date so soon after a divorce, especially when there are kids involved.
It is none of my business and you should live your life as you see fit, but maybe you should be spending some quality time with yourself figuring out why your last relationship did not work out, and not rushing to get in another committed relationship. I only say this as an observer, but there is the perception in our society that people have to be paired off to find happiness and stability. Maybe some of those days spent out looking for new dates could be better spent on building a tree house for your kids for the next time they come to visit.Ultimately it is up to you if you date or not when your kids are young, but remember these are years you will never get back. If you spend these years out on dates or pursuing new relationship then later on your kids may not feel as close to you. When I was young my mom always made her priority to spend time with us first and foremost, and I always felt close to her because of that. If you decide to be out on dates on a Saturday night rather than spending that time reading with your kids or watching a movie, do not be surprised if twenty years later they are not jumping up and down to spend time with you. I am not saying never date, but you were the one that decided to have kids, and with that decision you put on hold having a romantic dating life really.
Yes, eventually you might want to date and remarry, but maybe just take two or three years away from the dating scene. Does this thought induce a panic attack? Guess what? I am a tI am in my thirties and have been single my entire life, despite a few dates that never really went anywhere. I feel no void in my life, and I can say if I were divorced and had kids, dating would be the last thing on my mind. Heck, even right now dating seems really unappealing, but I am not a serial monogamist, so this might be disconcerting to those who fall in that category. All I am saying is try to take a few years away from the dating scene and invest the time in your family and kids. Keep things as much the same as they used to be, which will help to create rituals of balance in the kids life.
If you are looking for companionship, then look for it in your children, or reconnect with your own parents. So many people today love to criticize their parents and the way they did things, but do they ever wonder about the things they might be doing to their own children after a divorce? If you are so hot to trot on the dating scene, and are fixated on a new dress or vacation, while your eight year old is trying to get your attention. Do not be surprised in a few years if she becomes the teen who will not look up from her phone while texting at the dinner table. Many parents complain their teens are so involved in their own lives come adolescence, but in some cases this might because the kids were told to always go entertain themselves.
Connecting with your children as much as possible is crucial in the formative years. I feel lucky my parents always wanted to spend time with me, and now as an adult I always want to be around them. I suppose close familial relationships might feel stifling to some, but perhaps it has to do with the way they view things. Spending time with your kids or your own parents might filll the companionship gap that you are seeking via casual dating.
No one likes it when there is a revolving door of boyfriends and girlfriends, so keep that to a minimum for the kids sake. Consenting adults have the right to engage in no strings attached rendezvous with other consenting adults, but do your kids have to know about it? Believe me: it will bother your kids to see a revolving door of men or women coming in and out of the house, so limit it to your alone time. If you need to go on a date arrange to have a babysitter and tell the kids you are going out for a bit. This would be much better than subjecting the kids to all of that drama.
Also, keep in mind you do not have to date right away, and sometimes it is better to just spend time with the kids. Some men and women end up having more kids sooner than they wanted (or planned) because they were dating in the heat of the moment. Just something to think about.
When you stop looking for a date or marriage partner, you might find the ideal person at a time and place that is not romantically centered. Recently a woman told me her husband had passes away, but they had the best twenty-five years of their life. She said they were friends first, and then decided they got along and wanted to be together. She told me they never fought, and that is pretty amazing, especially considering how many couples fight over mundane things. No one is telling anyone not to date, but sometimes the best things come to those who wait.