Post divorce dating can be a great thing for divorcees. It can help you restore confidence, stay positive, and relieve the feeling of loneliness and isolation that naturally follows a divorce. Unfortunately, however, post divorce dating can be rough on your children. As they adjust to new lifestyle changes, they may be reluctant, or even hostile, to the idea of their parents dating someone else. When introducing a new partner to your child, it is best to be patient and considerate of their feelings.
Depending on the age of your child, they may react differently to your new Mister/Misses Right. Some common reactions include the following:
• Sadness. Young children frequently create an elaborate fantasy that involves you and your former spouse re-uniting, and introducing your new partner will cause that dream to shatter.
• Anger/hostility. Frequently, teenagers react hostilely to their parents’ new partners. Whether it’s because they do not think your family unit needs any additions, or because they are uncomfortable considering you as a sexual being, they may be disagreeable and unreasonable.
• Reluctance/mistrust. Based on their experiences with your former spouse, your children may be reluctant to accept your new partner into their life. Their fear of abandonment may cause them to remain aloof from your new partner.
• Jealous. When a single parent begins dating again, they may spend less time with their children, causing them to be jealous of your new partner. This jealousy can manifest in any number of ways, but it is important to recognize the root of the problem.
What to Do
When introducing your children to the idea of your post-divorce dating life, it is important to be patient and take it slow. Only introduce your child to a new mate if it appears as though your relationship may last awhile. Be considerate of your child’s feelings. They may be experiencing an onslaught of emotions that can affect their attitude toward your new love. Allow your children to react naturally, even if it is unpleasant. Eventually, if your partner remains in your life, they will begin opening up and accepting them.
Frequently, children inquire about your new relationship. Try to anticipate these questions and prepare honest answers; however, it is important to remember that they are not your friend or therapist. Do not “dump” on them or expect them to play a supportive role. Tell them the truth, but spare them the drama.
For more information about the legalities of divorce, contact the Austin divorce attorneys of Slater, Kennon & Jameson, LLP today.