BACK UP BEFORE YOU SHACK UP
Often the first thing that couples want to do following the breakup of a marriage is to start other relationships, usually with people who are the polar opposite of their ex-spouses. Dating after divorce can be tricky, especially with minor children around, but despite some potential pitfalls, many men and women ignore the winds of caution and plunge head long into rebound romances. Fortunately, some of these relationships can evolve into successful second or third (or more – but who’s counting?) marriages. However, when reality sets in, the thrill and excitement of that new special someone can be deflated quicker than a balloon that’s lost its helium. So, if you are faced with starting over after divorce, follow a few simple guidelines:
1. Follow your heart, but lead with your head. You may have wanted and even filed for the separation and/or divorce, but that doesn’t mean your emotions will be left totally unscathed. Give yourself some time to heal and get your priorities in order. In order words, if the Judge grants the divorce on a Thursday at 1:30 p.m., don’t become engaged to someone else by 8:00 p.m. the following night. Take some “you” time and do the things that make you happy. Learn to live by yourself a bit and develop the inner strengths you never knew you had.
2. Don’t bow to pressure. A lot of people get pressured from family members, friends or acquaintances who want to see you get back in the saddle again. Start to date when the time is right for you, not someone else. You’ll intuitively know when that is. Don’t rush it. There’s plenty of time for romance and roses.
3. Shield the kids. Divorce can be confusing enough for adults, let alone children. Don’t introduce your kids to your dates until the relationship is firmly established. If you see your children only on alternate weekends, focus on the kids while they are with you and leave dating for weekends or weeknights when the children are with the other parent. Reassure your kids that you love them and that your new love interest will never replace their mother or father.
There is no magic wand that will make post-divorce dating any easier, but following these tips will get you off to a good start.