My husband and I met in college. We dated on and off for six years before getting married and having two children (ages 7 and 3). After about seven years of marriage, we decided to get a divorce. We have been separated for about six months and I’m wondering when it is acceptable for me to date again. What are the rules here? I don’t want to be judged by others. How do I tell my children that mommy is lonely and wants to find someone special? I feel so guilty about all of this. Any ideas?
I’m sorry to hear about your impending divorce. Thirteen years with someone is no short journey. I hope you both work hard and try to keep things on good terms for the children. I hope you both come out better for this on the other side. Even though you are no longer married, if civility is possible, you must remain a “family unit” for the kids.
I realize the above had nothing to do with your question, but focusing on the kid’s well-being through this transition is vital. Your dating and sex life, not so much.
Short answer: There are no rules for how long to wait.
More important answer: You do not tell a three or seven-year-old any of those thoughts and feelings.
I’m all for discussing life in an honest way with kids, but don’t put your shit on your children. Your adult life is not a toddler or seven-year-olds business. It certainly isn’t their job to make you feel good and supported while finding romantic partners to replace their dad.
In my opinion, you can start dating when you feel ready emotionally, mentally, and physically.
Consider: If you fell in love, would you have reservations about committing so soon after divorce?
This timing is different for everyone. Maybe your marriage has been over for a long time before the actual divorce, so you’ve grieved and healed already. Maybe things happened quickly and you’re an emotional wreck, but you crave being physically close to someone.
Please, consider others feelings, here. You don’t want to find someone great and have them fall in love with only to ruin it because emotionally, you are still drained from divorce.
Take your time. Breathe. When you feel healthy and balanced… you’ll be ready.
Who cares what anyone else thinks? Live your life knowing you made the best decision for you and those you love. Judgments from afar are almost always wrong.
Dating with children is hard and should be performed with caution.
I am not a family therapist. My opinions are based on personal and professional experiences. You can/should always call your children’s pediatrician and get their advice.
Common sense dictates your children be left out of any dating matters. You are allowed adult time, which is private time. It is none of their business.
If things get serious:
When you do find a special person and the dating turns into a relationship, it may be time to let your kids know about your “new friend.” If the person is around for a while, the kids will slowly learn that he is a special friend. Slow is the key.
Do not welcome a boyfriend into your kid’s life unless it is a serious relationship. You must never show your kids a revolving door of men… if that is your style, of course.
The dating scene has changed over the past 13 years, so try and have fun. When you’re ready to get out there, put your best foot forward.