Dating a divorced single father
You don’t have to give your kids every minute detail.Just say something like, “Now that your mother and I have separated, I will be taking things slow and meeting some new people. After a breakup, it’s tempting to lay all the blame on your ex.Children are adjusting too, and introducing a significant other too soon — or someone who is not a positive influence — can have damaging psychological and emotional effects.Every mental health professional underscores the same rule: wait.Nancy Fagan, divorce consultant and owner of San Diego’s Divorce Help Clinic, says that six months is essential, but it must be six months of exclusive dating. “If any of the children are still in pain over the separation or divorce, dads will need to wait longer,” Fagan says.This is to eliminate confusion while kids process their pain and grieve the loss of their former family unit. Fagan stresses new partners who happen to be friends with the ex-wife, have a significant age difference, or are the first partner after a divorce are all very likely to upset children and the father’s former spouse.Relationships that share any of these features, more often than not, do not last.
Her work has appeared in places such as GO (Air Tran Airways’ in-flight magazine), the Providence Journal and Chesapeake Family.
That’s why I advise people to take time to heal and recuperate by following the “1/2 Rule”: Divide the length of your last relationship by two.
That is how long you should wait before dating someone again seriously.
Furthermore, you should be aware of any morality clauses that could be included in your child custody order that might prevent overnight guests when your kids are with you. Fathers are not only looking for a partner for themselves, she explains, but also a stepmother for their children.
This in and of itself could prevent your new girlfriend from getting to know your children. Dads need to learn as much as they can about their significant other before inviting them into their lives.
“Don’t hurry to introduce someone new to your kids,” says Aaron Welch, a licensed therapist with The Lifeworks Group in Winter Park, Fla.