Dating and kids are not necessarily synonymous terms. It’s a careful balancing act that requires a lot of patience and discernment. Kids are a casualty of divorce and successfully navigating your family through divorce and into your adult dating life is not easy. Get ready to feel 17 again but with all the baggage of kids and a bad relationship in your history.
Online dating is a great place to start. It allows you to meet a lot of people, make some friends and get out of the house. It doesn’t have to be a quest for “the one” but it’s a great way to get started and meet people.
Your kids should not see a revolving door of people. Every week or month shouldn’t mean a new guy/girl in your children’s life. They’ve been traumatized enough by divorce. Save the “meet the kids” routine for the really special solid long term relationships. Your job is to be a good parent, and not to injure your kids any further with bad behavior.
Don’t ask your kids what your ex is doing, and discourage them from doing the same. Your partners (and your) interest should be limited to your kids and that’s it.
Every one is the wrong one until you find the right one so, don’t get discouraged. Dating later in life is not for the faint of heart. If you get your heart broken, dust it off and keep going! It’s not a contest to see who gets remarried first. It’s about finding the right person for YOU.
No when to say when. If you’re not having fun dating, then stop. I had a point right after my divorce when dating wasn’t fun anymore. Truthfully, staying home was a guaranteed good time whereas dating was more like gambling. Go for the sure thing if it’s not fun anymore. Dating can wait. Enjoy your kids right now.
Do yourself a favor and get some counseling after your divorce. Most guys hate that word, but this is the one life event where you will truly get ahead if you seek help. It’s time to leave your baggage behind for good. It’ll be good for you and your kids.
Understand that the rules for dating and sex are pretty advanced for adults. I found it shocking but guys often expected sex after only one or two dates. Don’t hesitate to back up and say “whoa, let’s get to know each other first!” Yes, it is a moral thing, but it’s also a human thing. Putting sex before marriage is putting the cart in front of the horse and going there too soon out of enthusiasm just doesn’t work. Take the time to get to know each other.
Embrace being a single again. For a time, you answer to no one, and you can pursue your dreams and live free of scrutiny and criticism. This is a time of great self exploration. Find yourself and seize the opportunity for new experiences. You just might find your special someone along the way.