Dating after a divorce can be complicated if you have children. To lessen the amount of complication the most important fact to keep in mind that in divorced dating, you are not a “package.” Dating on a casual basis is intended to be about two people enjoying each other’s company in a social setting; the key word is “two” people.
If you allow your children to accompany you on your dates, you are asking for trouble. Children have a natural, instinctive desire to bond, and to allow this to happen in casual situations is a recipe for disaster. Much worse, though, is if you have dates who wish to become involved with your children. At the least, although far from minor, is that he or she will attempt to establish a relationship with your children when you have nothing more in mind with the person other than casual dates. Some will go as far as to attempt to use your children as leverage in order to gain a foothold in your life and a relationship that you do not want.
On the worst end of the spectrum, if you allow someone you barely know to give himself or herself a place in your children’s lives, they could be in danger as a result. If someone you have just met, and have no inclinations toward other than a movie or dinner, wants to turn dates into a “family” thing, or expresses interest in getting to know your children, you should conclude that the person is more interested in your children than in you, and get him or her out of your life as soon as possible. These days, with divorced dating meaning more and more single parents, this is a very real possibility which you cannot afford to dismiss.
When you are dating someone on a casual basis, there is no good reason for him or her to interact with your children. Some individuals go as far as to intentionally choose newly-single parents as their dates solely for the purpose of accessing the children. Certainly not all people who truly like children are pedophiles; unfortunately, though, they exist in enough numbers that you cannot afford to overlook the possibility or to take the chance of putting your children at risk.
In that it is inappropriate for one’s children to be included in your casual dating experiences regardless of the circumstances, both in their best interests and for the sake of your own peace of mind keep in mind that casual dating is for two people; and make it clear that you are not a package.