DATING WHILE DIVORCING

The Analysis:

To many, the logical remedy to the divorce blues is to start dating.  Putting aside the challenges of finding a suitable date, this can be a fun distraction.  But are there other considerations?

The Recommendation:

The two main considerations are your children and your spouse. Children react in unexpected ways to seeing their parent dating.  Older children often urge their mother to date but respond with hostility and excessive criticism when they meet the suitor.  Younger children can feel threatened by another adult’s attention to their parent, and resent the time taken from them.  A young child’s affection for the absent parent may fuel hostility toward the intruder.

Your spouse’s reactions might not be so different from the children’s.  While divorcing, a spouse feels particularly threatened by the introduction of another adult into the picture.  Your spouse will dislike the other adult’s potential influence on the children, and might suspect some unfair advantage to your finances.  If you’re living in the marital home, the other won’t like someone in his home, in their bed, on their property, using their things.  It is not unusual for this to fuel a new round of hostility toward you, for the children to be questioned about the new adult, and for the divorce proceedings to be impacted in some small way.

Do not stop dating, but don’t introduce every date to your children. Be mindful of these dynamics so that you can prepare the children for these changes to your life and help them handle the inevitable questions.

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