Recently divorced parents must consider how they are going to handle their newly single status. Some parents like to take the time to allow the reality of their divorce to sink in. They want to establish a new routine with kids before they are willing to bring in a potential new partner. But others need to begin looking for a new relationship right away in order to create what they hope will be a new and improved family dynamic. So, the important questions newly single men and women with kids need to ask when they are considering the jump back into the dating game are:
1. When do I want to begin dating again?
· Do I need time to heal?
· Do my kids need time to heal?
· Am I ready to begin dating someone seriously?
· Are my kids ready to share me with a new partner right now?
2. What kind of relationship am I looking for?
· Do I want to marry again?
· Would I rather just live together with my new partner?
· Is the L.A.S.T. concept of interest to me? (Living apart, staying together)
· How much freedom do I need, and how much am i willing to give my partner?
3. What do my kids need from my new partner?
· Do my kids need, and will they accept, my partner as a co-parent?
· Would it be better for my partner to be my kid's friend?
· Will my children respect the importance of my new partner's role in my life?
· Will my children respect my new partner and his or her needs?
4. What do qualities do I bring to the table at this stage of my life?
· Am I emotionally ready to begin dating again?
· Am I emotionally available?
· Have I resolved my feelings about my children's other parent?
· Am I taking responsibility for my needs and my children's needs?
5. What qualities should my new partner bring to the family?
· Your new partner should have the patience to allow a bonding experience with the family to occur organically over time.
· A new partner should be aware that the children may be wary of anyone new that comes between them and their parent.
· A new partner should expect that dating someone with children can present many challenges so creating a solid foundation and a strong bond between the two of you is important.
Be aware that your children will be learning from you, your new partner, and the way you interact as a couple. These are the reasons why you must choose a new partner carefully. Consider keeping your dating life private until you have determined that the person you are dating is someone with whom you want to establish a serious long-term relationship. Go slowly and enjoy the dating experience without involving your kids right away. Once you have established a solid and stable relationship with someone you love and respect, then you can begin the introductory phase of involving your children. This is an important phase for you and your kids because it is important for them to learn from your divorce from their other parent, and to learn from the positive, heathy, and loving relationship that you create going forward.
Creating a New Family
For the newly single parent, the process of dating again, of choosing someone, and of establishing a healthy new relationship can help a divorced parent regain their positive energy and renew their joy for life. But it can also bring confusion for your children. It is almost as if they are asking themselves, "She loved Daddy and now he is gone. Is it possible that she would get rid of me too?" While that question seems impossible to an adult, you must remember that your children are just kids. So, while you are considering all the wonderful new possibilities of creating a new and better life, it is always important to be aware of your kid's needs. Check in with them, seek to understand their fears and their emotions about the new life you are embarking upon. If you and your potential new mate can understand and care how your children feel, and you are both ready and able to face these challenges, then you may have discovered the foundation for a positive, new, and lasting family dynamic.
Elissa Bercovitz, Esq.
Elissa Bercovitz has over 20 years of legal experience dealing with domestic relations matters related to the dissolution of marriage (divorce), legal separation, the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities (parenting time, custody, and child support), maintenance (spousal support/ alimony), paternity, step-parent adoption, relocation cases, the division of assets and debt, LGBTQ family law matters, post-decree modifications, and guardianship. Elissa also handles mediation for family law cases.
Call Elissa Bercovitz at the Bercovitz Law Firm today at (303) 803-1678