Once your divorce is finalized, you may find yourself interested in dating again. For many people, it is only natural to want to a new relationship after divorce. Children, especially young children, may find it difficult to understand when you bring someone new into the picture. They may take it hard or feel that their other parent is being replaced. It is important that you talk with your children about it before you start dating again. Below is some of our best input on how to share your new relationship after divorce with your kids.
This first thing to remember when approaching this conversation with your children is that they are still adjusting to their new normal. While you have likely had months or even years to adjust and come to terms with the ending of a relationship, your children may have only recently been informed of the decision. This means that you will be much further along in the grief and readjustment process than they are. So, if you start dating again, to them it may all feel very sudden and very fast. It is important that you recognize that and help them to understand your point of view.
Another key factor in approaching this conversation is your children’s ages. There are some aspects of your dating life that younger children do not need to know or are not emotionally mature enough to understand. Remember that in having this conversation with your children to keep the conversation age appropriate. If you have children of different age groups, you may consider having conversations with them separately so you can tailor the wording of the conversation to each child’s maturity level.
As we stated before, children are naturally possessive and protective of their parents. If you bring someone new into their lives, they may view that person as a rival for both of their parents. This means that they may feel like one parent is being replaced and the other parent is splitting their affection and attention between them and the new relationship. It is important that you reassure your children that their parents will always be their parents and will always love them no matter what.
One of the key aspects to remember is that timing is crucial when you decide to start dating again. Your children will need time to cope with their emotions after the divorce is finalized. It can take a year or two for them to fully process how they feel about all the changes. From their parents no longer being together to shuffling back and forth between households and new processes and traditions around the holidays, every little thing feels different for them.
If you start dating again before they fully process their feelings, it may hamper the process for them. Consider waiting to introduce the idea until the children have had time to cope. If you do start dating, try to date when the children are with your ex. That way, when the children are with you, your attention is solely on them. Then consider not introducing any date to your children until the relationship becomes more serious.