Dating After Divorce – Tips to Make the Transition Smoother
After a divorce, it can take time to heal and move forward once again. For many, this means reentering the dating world, sometimes after many years. This can prove quite daunting and uncomfortable. When you have children, there is additional pressure.
- How/when will you introduce your date to your children?
- How will your children adjust?
- What about his/her children?
Being divorced in Utah Valley
“In Utah County, with the community’s emphasis on marriage and families, being divorced is rough,” according to a Provo divorce attorney. “Many of our clients are pretty shell-shocked after a divorce. They aren’t sure how to balance work, parenting, and introduce a social life. We advise them to take it all in stride and go at their own pace.”
Many experts recommend waiting for about a year or so to begin dating. This time allows you to heal, determine your priorities, and be in a better place to form healthy relationships. It’s easy to say, “I would never date/marry someone like my ex,” but in reality, we seek comfort. When we’ve grown accustomed to an unhealthy relationship, we tend to subconsciously look for a substitute to fill that spot that we’ve grown accustomed to.
Take it slow and ask a lot of questions
There is no rush in forming a new relationship. When you meet someone and are interested, take time to learn about that person, watch them in their dealings with others. Ask a lot of questions, especially the hard ones. Ask about their ex, their habits, their beliefs, their families, children, expectations. Among touchy subjects, ask about their use of pornography, money management, debt, etc. While challenges in any of these areas can signal a red flag, keep an open mind and get to know the person. Having struggles makes us human, and if someone is genuinely open with theirs, that’s significant.
Learn about their past relationships, especially if they are divorced. Be cautious if they blame their ex for everything. As you’ve probably seen from your past experience, divorce is rarely caused by one party.
Keep the kids out of it for a while
As you begin to date, try and set up times during your ex’s parenting time. This allows you to safely enter the dating arena without bringing your kids in. Depending on their age, children of divorced couples process their parent’s social life differently. Some kids resent the intrusion of a new person and are very resistant, manifesting in behavioral and vocal outbursts. Others go to the other extreme and try very hard to make everyone like them. While easier to handle, this behavior may be masking other concerns and should be watched.
“When you are ready to move into dating, depending on your relation with your ex, it is often better to inform your ex, rather than let your children do so,” advises a divorce lawyer in Provo. “Having kids give messages, especially about this topic, is unfair to all parties.”