I and Andrew got divorced through mutual understanding. We worked out our differences and ended our marriage without any major arguments or fights, so that our children would find it a bit easy to deal with the divorce. Usually, children are adversely affected by their parents divorce. My son Josh (age 12) and daughter Mia (age 9) had been through lot of stress due to our decision to end our marriage. We ensured that we provide them required support and counseling to deal with it. It had been 3 years since my divorce with Andrew, when I met Peter (now my boyfriend). I wanted to move ahead in life and start dating, but wondered how it will affect my children. There were several questions that filled my mind. I researched, read several books and found out the effects of dating on children and would like to share those with you.
Here’s what I found out:
After divorce, most individuals find it difficult to start a new relationship, as they have experienced betrayal, loss, loneliness due to end of their marriage. Adults need to take efforts to reduce stress in their life and look forward to a new beginning with hope. If adults feel insecure to start dating again, then how can children feel comfortable about their parents dating someone? My son and daughter were already dealing with several issues like betrayal, loss, loneliness, adjustment, trust etc. It is vital to have a discussion with your children about you dating someone. Children should be made aware about their importance in their parent’s life and told that their place would not be replaced by any other person. When I had a discussion with my son and daughter, they were worried about losing touch with their father, as there would be a new person in my life. It is important to understand children’s concern, clear their doubts, and support them.
As per the recent research, it has been found that teenage children idolize their parent’s dating behavior. Therefore, parents need to keep guard on their behavior with their partner during the dating period. Most children are emotionally close to their mother. Hence, idolize her behavior during dating. I had a discussion about this with my boy friend and we made sure that we were well-behaved in front of my children. My children and I had a discussion about love and respect in a relationship, so that they have strong relationships, when they start dating.
Even if children are aware that their parents are dating and may settle down with a new person in near future, yet they would find it difficult to accept anyone in their life all of a sudden. It is advisable to introduce kids to your boyfriend or girlfriend gradually. Sudden entry of a new person in their life and home would prove disastrous. Introduce your children to your boyfriend or girlfriend at some place other than your home. I took my kids and Peter to a new restaurant in the city. Initially kids felt uncomfortable, but after a few outing, they were comfortable seeing me and Peter, together.
Children are definitely affected, when their parents start dating after divorce. It is important that the parents understand the needs of their children and provide them apt support. As I shared a strong bond with my children and took efforts to make them understand my need for dating and starting a new relationship, there are no misunderstandings between us.