One of the most challenging aspects of divorce can be moving forward. It can be difficult to get used to the new reality after divorce – and even more so to re-enter the dating world.
If parents look to start dating again, they may worry about how their children will take a new relationship. Here are a few steps to consider when this time comes after a divorce.
Start small, start slow
For you, the start of a new relationship can be full of hope and joy. For your children, it can be full of complex emotions. They might perceive it as a betrayal of the other parent – even though you are divorced.
Approaching the idea and reality of a new relationship will require you to start slow with your children. You must:
- Be mindful of their feelings and prepared for a negative reaction at first
- Remain respectful of the child’s other parent
- Help your child get used to the idea of you having a new partner
How you broach the subject will depend on your child’s age. For example, you may be able to have a direct conversation with teenage children. You can discuss the prospect of you dating someone new and hear their concerns as well.
A new relationship may be something to discuss with your ex-spouse as well. As co-parents, you can discuss potential rules about dating that you both must follow. While you do not have to officially add these rules to your North Carolina parenting plan, it is often still important to establish them and adhere to them.
When does it feel right?
There are many articles that discuss how you can introduce a new partner to your children after divorce. One of the most important factors to evaluate is whether or not the time is right. You should consider this in terms of:
- Your partner: This is a long-term relationship that feels right, not casual dating. You are planning a future with this person. Are they ready to meet your children, and perhaps take on the role of stepparent?
- Your children: Just as you need time to adjust to life after a divorce, so does your child. Are they in a place and mindset to accept and welcome someone new into their lives?
- Yourself: Are you ready to take this next step? Does this feel like the right time for you, individually?
You may feel a lot of excitement surrounding a new relationship. However, you must make sure the time is right for you to integrate this new relationship into your family life.