If your marriage ended in divorce, you may feel a little nervous about the idea of pursuing another romantic relationship. After all, the way the last one ended with possibly a traumatic experience for you.
When you also have children and share custody with your ex, the idea of moving on to a new relationship can see even more challenging. Not only do you need to find a partner who will make you feel happy and respected, but you also need to find someone who accepts your family and custody arrangements.
If you are thinking about starting to date again as a divorced parent, there are a few tips that can help you take some of the risks out of the process.
Make sure you are ready emotionally
One of the easiest ways to repeat the same mistakes that affected your last romantic relationship is to jump into a new coupling as soon as possible after your separation or divorce. Being married for years, having children and going through a divorce will all change your perspective on life.
You will need some time to heal before you start a new relationship if you want to avoid making the same mistakes again. Attending a support group for divorced parents or seeing a therapist can be an important step as you transition back into the dating world.
Keep your children out of your relationships
When parents start dating, the children in the family will have increased risk of physical abuse from outside parties, and they are also emotionally vulnerable. Children can get attached to someone who may not be part of their family in any long-term sense, especially if they don’t currently have the relationship they would like with your ex.
Recognizing that your new relationship can be a source of risk for your children can help you decide when it is the right time to introduce a new partner to your kids.
Have a plan to protect yourself
Divorce is a difficult experience, but it can also be a positive opportunity that leads to learning and personal growth. For example, you can look back on your relationship and see how you may have put yourself at a disadvantage or otherwise contributed to the poor outcome.
You don’t necessarily need to play the blame game and put all the responsibility for the end of your marriage on yourself, but you should try to identify ways in which you made yourself unnecessarily vulnerable. Establishing better boundaries and having some personal rules in place when you start dating again can protect you and your children.
Parents dating after a divorce may also quickly discover that they need a reliable source of childcare, as their ex may not be particularly enthusiastic about having the children while they go on dates. Properly addressing personal and practical factors that can complicate your dating efforts if you share custody will help you when you start putting yourself out there again.