Dads, after divorce, are earnest, eager to please, and a little unsure of how to begin the experience of coupling up again. Once children are involved they’re not sure of how to approach dating after divorce. Parental concerns become more important than when they were without kids. There are real decisions to be made when considering bringing a new woman into your children’s lives. Below are 5 important tips on how to approach dating when you’re a single dad.
This is the time to be at your best – responsible for your own well being and for your children.
The woman who you’ll want to be with and to build a relationship with wants to know who you are on the level of your character. (Yes, of course, she must be attracted to you and you must be attracted to her!) But she wants to know how safe you make her feel and thereby, will assess how safe you make your kids feel.
It’s not about prowess in bed. It’s about feeling safe. When a woman feels safe, when children feel safe, they can relax. And a relaxed woman will easily please the man she’s dating. So figure out how willing and able, and ready you are to keep those you love safe. The rest will follow.
How to approach dating after divorce an expensive separation.
This is where a little imagination and a lot of fortitude come into play. It’s best to actually go on a date instead of hanging out in front of a TV and then having sex. Be careful of that routine. That behavior is the same as marriage habits, not courtship. After a divorce, while dating a new woman, you’re not married. So you must start courting again to find a new partner. Dating usually costs money but doesn’t have to be over the top expensive and you don’t have to ask the woman you’re trying to impress to help foot the bill.
It’s not easy to have your kids accept your new relationship.
You may not know where or how to start dating because your kids can’t handle it. Dating after divorce for a man with a child is difficult. Your children will not want to share you with another woman. They’re already having a tough time seeing you without their mom. Quite honestly… they’re afraid that you’re going to leave them too and a new woman is a real threat.
How you approach dating after divorce is truly very different than dating as a single man. You know that your children deserve a good woman. But your date will be a distraction when they want and need your attention. Your children may or may not be able to say this to you. Instead, it will show up as a meltdown or a temper tantrum. They may not want to visit on your weekends and they’ll sulk. You’ll feel they’re pulling away.
Your kids pick up on the sexual tension and it makes them uncomfortable.
Kids sense the sexual tension coming from the man who gave them life. From their perspective, as a father, you’re there to keep them safe. They simply can’t handle the shift in your behavior. If instead, you force them to visit you and your new partner (which often happens) you’re simply teaching your kids that their feelings don’t matter. So be careful about that.
Waiting a few months won’t change the years you have ahead of you with the right person.
Putting your kids first looks like finding them a woman who knows herself and is able to show up for you and your children. You may be afraid that you have to put your kids first and decide not to bring a new woman into your life but then you recognize that you’re lonely and don’t want to be alone. That’s okay… loneliness gives you a chance to slow down and to figure out your new life while feeling feelings you’ve probably not felt in a long time. This period of time is an adjustment and is necessary to go through. It won’t last.
How to begin dating may seem completely overwhelming. But sometimes the where or the how approach is super simple.
There are no hard and fast rules on where to find a woman. Except for one… if you know her from your community (especially a school parent) don’t break up with her. That’s a mistake too many make and the embarrassment or anger will haunt you for a long, long time after the breakup. (Please take this advice as a strong warning!)
But otherwise, the rules have certainly changed about how to begin dating and technology has made is so much easier to select the right partner. What you’re teaching your kids is to be discerning. The role you’re ultimately looking for is a part-time mother. She’s got a huge responsibility to share in raising your children and you may even be helping to raise hers. The opportunity is a privilege, not an obligation. You’re not looking to buy a new sofa!
Laura Bonarrigo is a Certified Life Coach and a Certified Divorce Coach. Laura’s a writer, public speaker and the founder of The Better Divorce and doingDivorce™ School – online coaching programs for those ready to shed the pain of breakups. For empowering and practical ways to lose the identity of your past, visit www.doingDivorceSchool.com.