Dating is a difficult venture, even in the best of circumstances. Dating after a divorce is never easy, but when you are divorced and also are a parent, well, life can be interesting.
A lot of “rules” about dating really depend upon your personal beliefs and values. Therefore, dating is different for everyone. Here are some things I learned during my dating years. Perhaps they will be of help to you!
Keep Your Sense Of Humor
It’s really, really important to look at the whole dating experience with a sense of humor. That way, when your child gets sick all over your dress minutes before your date is to arrive, you’ll already be ahead of the game. Seriously, keep your sense of humor. You’ll need it.
My one friend shared with me that she never considered how her dating behavior would set the precedent for her children when they started dating. She was shocked when her older teen asked if her boyfriend could sleep over that night. When the answer was NO, her teen asked why it was ok for HER boyfriends to sleep over.
Another reality check: in some states, there are still old laws on the books which prohibit co-habiting. If you have an especially vindictive ex and live in a very conservative area, you could be asking for trouble as your ex legally might be able to bring up charges. Be careful.
Take Your Time
I have known women who introduce each new boyfriend to their children. It is hard for the kids because they get their hopes up each time they meet the “new boyfriend”. Will this be “the one”? The children also admitted to me that they take all the information right back to their father. This causes increased conflict between the two parents and leads to mistrust.
When I was dating, I was careful to not let my children know about my “friends”. Because we lived in a very small rural community, I actually went out of town to date because I knew word would get around to my children and to my ex. I also didn’t introduce my “dates” to my children until the relationship was serious. Even so, my children took it very hard when one man proposed and then broke off the engagement. They actually cried and felt like they’d been rejected!
One co-worker I had would cry to her children when her dates broke up with her. In my humble opinion, it is never a child’s job to comfort a grown up or help a grown up handle grown up problems. That’s what your adult friends are for. If you are going to share information about your personal life with your kids, do so appropriately.
Dating when you are a parent can be a challenge, but it is worth the effort. Do you have any dating tips you wish to share with other parents? Please post!