The Do’s and Don’ts of Dating During your Divorce  


The divorce process is never as quick as one expects it to be regardless of how amicable the Parties are with one another.  The fact is, most divorces are not amicable and the timeline for the process could range from one to a few years before a judgment of divorce is granted.   Given the length of time a divorce could take from the initial break-up to the final divorce it is not uncommon for one or both of the Parties to date.  Depending on the contested issues between you and your spouse, dating during your divorce could be a very delicate situation and your divorce attorney should be made aware of any romantic relationship you are engaging in.

My advice to anyone on dating while going through a contested divorce case would be “don’t do it”.   It’s not that it’s “illegal” to do so, but only that dating during this time is inflammatory to the other spouse who may be unusually hostile, uncompromising or defiant in response.    Dating while the children are experiencing the family divorce can also create additional insecurities and conflicts, including interrogations of the children by the other spouse about your dating life.

However, if you must date here are a few basic dating Do’s and Don’ts you should be aware of:

  • Keep all finances separate, and do not pay for any dates, trips or gifts until your divorce.
  • Keep your romantic status off of social media – this includes pictures, status updates and address changes.
  • Most importantly, keep your dating life separate from your family life…in other words do not introduce your significant other to your children, your divorce attorney will thank you for it!




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.