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Dating After Divorce? Ask Yourself These 5 Questions First

Dating After Divorce? Ask Yourself These 5 Questions First

The post-divorce healing process gives you an opportunity to learn more about yourself, how you relate to others, and the problems you need to work on. Take advantage of that opportunity before dating after divorce.

The post Dating After Divorce? Ask Yourself These 5 Questions First appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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Dating During Divorce: 7 Reasons to “Chill-Out” on a New Relationship

Dating During Divorce: 7 Reasons to “Chill-Out” on a New Relationship

While your new relationship during the divorce may feel like the perfect medicine, it might have several negative consequences. Read about the top 7 reasons to “chill out” on the new romance.

The post Dating During Divorce: 7 Reasons to “Chill-Out” on a New Relationship appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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6 Warning Signs You Are Dating a Narcissist

6 Warning Signs You Are Dating a Narcissist

Narcissist Man.jpg

Could you be dating a narcissist and not even know it?

After starting to date again after divorce, I often found myself drawn toward highly successful professional men who are competitive in business and strongly determined to continue to build their own financial empire.  Their determined, confident attitudes and visible business successes appealed to my strong desires for security and stability.

A recent first date I went on was with this type of guy. My date with a dentist turned into a three-hour marathon of misery for me when he insisted that we sit in a back booth that he had reserved in advance with the hostess by visiting the restaurant the night before and then he told our server that he would leave an extra-generous tip if she served our meals at a very leisurely pace.

Right away he launched into a one-sided brag fest about how he got elected president of his college fraternity and why he easily scored highest in his graduating class on the dental board exam. He then dropped names of all the famous people he knows who live in our city and then went on to reveal the names of all the famous people his dad knows too.  By the time the pasta finally arrived, I wanted to collapse into my plate from sheer boredom and exhaustion.

After that mind-numbing experience, I ran to my car and swore off dating for several months.

Unfortunately, this was just one more very disillusioning date with a narcissistic man. I had already experienced many others.

Several times I dated a man exclusively for three to six months, expecting things to become more serious overtime, only to have them abruptly break things off with very little explanation or distance themselves with vague excuses about why they couldn’t continue to spend time with me.

After spending many frustrating weeks trying to figure out how to get each of these men I had dated exclusively to connect with me on an emotional level so that our relationship could continue to grow, I finally discovered that there was a big disconnect between the type of relationship I was expecting to unfold and what these narcissistic men were able to contribute in terms of intimacy, emotional connection, and respectful two-way communications.

I discovered that I was living on crumbs and pretending it was a whole nutritious meal.

Are you Dating a Narcissist? Here are 6 Warning Signs:

1. He is pre-occupied with how things around him appear and how he is perceived by others. He aggressively pursues financial success and is not content with what he already has acquired or achieved. He has a strong craving for admiration, praise and his home, car, clothes and high status are a direct measurement of how successful he appears to others.

2. He exploits or takes advantage of others to get what he wants. Narcissists are highly skilled at using others’ talents; taking advantage of their desire to avoid conflicts and their good-natured helpfulness as a means to an end to achieve their own goals.

3. He does not appreciate or even see your unique abilities and natural gifts. Highly self-absorbed, narcissists are so driven by how they can use others to benefit themselves that your own individual strengths, abilities and achievements are often ignored or dismissed as inconsequential.

4. He resents authority and despises correction or being told what to do. He is reluctant to accept any blame or criticism and strongly prefers to be in control of things and those around him at all times. Having his faults pointed out to him or even having to admit that he made a mistake can set him off into a fit of rage.

5. Petty arguments often erupt into power struggles. The narcissistic man thrives on being right so disputes are rarely resolved. Mediation and counseling rarely helps to improve communications with a narcissist because this type of person sees themselves as under attack and can’t stand for their actions to be subject to the opinions of others and held up to the light.

6. He disregards your healthy needs for attention and affection. Since narcissistic men often lack empathy and the self-examination necessary to create an intimate relationship, you’ll often find yourself running on empty. Attempts to get more affection from him often leads to him creating a secret life to run to and evading your questions about what is really happening or not happening in your relationship.

If you recognize these signs in a man that you are dating, it is helpful to remember that narcissists have very rigid expectations (especially for themselves) and so this type of man rarely changes his ways.

Understanding or experiencing intimacy and love within the context of a balanced and healthy relationship is not on the agenda of a narcissist.

Unfortunately, many times we keep trying to change a narcissistic man into who we’d like them to become or the reverse- trying to twist ourselves like pretzels into a perfect version of what he wants instead of cutting our losses. Recognizing the traits of a narcissistic man and realizing how deeply rooted they are is critical so that we can begin taking back control of our own life and start to move forward in a healthier direction.

The post 6 Warning Signs You Are Dating a Narcissist appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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online dating profiles

Only Dating Profiles: How They Can Be Used In Divorce Court

online dating profiles

 

What was once considered fringe is now a full-fledged industry worth over $2 billion dollars. Dating apps like Tinder, OkCupid, Bumble, Hinge, and Coffee Meets Bagel have become a commonplace tool for those looking to find love.

They connect individuals to dozens of potential love interests to foster connections that otherwise may not have been made within the confines of everyday life. While the benefits of online dating are numerous, there are also downsides to the ease of access offered.

Online dating apps can foster choice overload, addiction, and make committing infidelity much easier. An uncommitted spouse could very easily download a dating app and gain instant access to a community of potential people to commit adultery with. Cheating on dating apps is an increasingly common cause of divorce.

If you’re in the midst of a contentious divorce and cheating was involved, you may be wondering what kind of evidence you can use against your spouse or what kind of evidence your spouse can use against you. The admittance of text messages and emails as evidence is now common in divorce cases, but what about dating apps? Can evidence from dating profiles be used as well?

Can Dating Profiles Be Used as Evidence in Divorce?

In short, dating profiles can be used as evidence in court, but there are certain requirements that must be met for the evidence to be admissible. In general, evidence is admissible in divorce court if it is relevant to the case and not confusing, misleading, overly prejudicial, superfluous, or a waste of time.

In terms of relevancy, evidence is considered relevant if it makes a material fact more or less probable than it would be without evidence. Of course, it must also be important to the case to determine if that fact is true or not.

In addition to being relevant, evidence must also be obtained legally and the party asking to admit a certain piece of evidence must be able to authenticate it (establish that the evidence is not fake or forged). If the evidence was obtained unlawfully or it is proven to be fake, it will not be admissible in court.

By this token, dating app profile evidence can be admitted to the court during a divorce if the evidence is lawfully obtained, relevant to the case, and can be authenticated.

On the matter of relevancy, a spouse could argue that dating profile evidence is relevant if accusations of adultery are made. On the other hand, a spouse accused of adultery could argue that dating profile evidence is irrelevant if the dating profile was created after separation, therefore having no bearing on the divorce.

It’s important to note that adultery is not necessarily considered materially relevant to a divorce case in no-fault divorce states. An affair would be considered materially relevant in a no-fault state if marital property was wasted in support of an affair. True no-fault divorce states include:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

If dating profile evidence comes from friends or family members who screenshot the profile or any match messages from their own dating profiles, the evidence would be considered legally obtained. However, if you snuck onto your spouse’s phone without permission, any resulting evidence would not be admissible.

Last but not least is the matter of authenticity. Because screenshots don’t contain EXIF data, it can be hard to determine if a screenshot is real or photoshopped. A party will have to submit circumstantial evidence that would allow a reasonable judge to conclude the dating profile is real. If a spouse believes someone else is using their photos on a dating profile they did not create or that the screenshots aren’t real, they may be able to successfully defend against the admittance of fake and prejudicial evidence.

Dating App Activity Can Be Tracked

If you suspect your spouse has been cheating on a dating app, but haven’t been able to prove it, or you’ve been cheating on a dating app and aren’t sure if your exploits can be tracked, it’s important to know that there are ways to determine if someone is using a dating app.

Apps like cheaterbuster will scan through Tinder to determine if your spouse has a profile. With the input of name, age, and geographic location, anyone can be found in a matter of seconds if they’ve been using the app. Buzz Humble does the same thing for Bumble and there are many other apps for finding a cheater on other various dating apps. The use of these apps can verify whether or not a profile exists so you can set out to obtain evidence.

Using Dating Profiles as Evidence in a Divorce Case

If you’d like to use your spouse’s dating profile as evidence in divorce court, it’s best to work with your divorce lawyer to obtain the evidence. Again, if you use sneaky or suspicious methods to capture dating profile evidence in a way that violates your spouse’s rights, it will be omitted in a court of law. Your lawyer can help you obtain online or electronic information via a subpoena. With legally obtained dating profile evidence, you can prove your spouse committed adultery.

This article originally appeared on DivorceMag.com

The post Only Dating Profiles: How They Can Be Used In Divorce Court appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Saying Yes To Dating After Divorce

5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Saying Yes To Dating After Divorce

I advise my coaching clients to not begin dating after divorce or thinking about a new relationship until they have recovered from the old relationship…the one they have just extracted themselves from.

The emotional upheaval you feel during and after divorce is an opportunity to grow as a person. Consider the first year after your divorce a time-out that offers you to sow the seeds of your self-development. A time in which you give yourself the opportunity to emerge from the experience of divorce knowing yourself better and feel stronger and more enthusiastic about what the future holds.

In order to fully recover from a divorce and move on with your life, you need to understand what went wrong in your marriage, acknowledge the role you played and change negative behaviors that could interfere with future relationships.

It is imperative that you fully accept and understand that you made choices in your marriage that had a negative effect on the marriage. You made mistakes; learning from those mistakes is the best way to not repeat them in future relationships.

Some questions to ask yourself before saying yes to dating after divorce:

  • Step back and look at the big picture. How did you contribute to the problems of the relationship?
  • Think about how you react to stress and deal with conflict and insecurities. Could you act in a more constructive way?
  • Do you accept other people the way they are, not the way you think they should be?
  • Examine your negative feelings as a starting point for change. Are you in control of your feelings, or are they in control of you? Do you respond to circumstances based on emotions or logic?

I’m not suggesting you beat yourself up for mistakes you made or negative behavior traits but I do suggest you take an honest inventory and make constructive changes. The post divorce healing process gives you an opportunity to learn more about yourself, how you relate to others, and the problems you need to work on.

If you are able to objectively examine your own choices and behaviors, including the reasons why you chose your ex, you’ll be able to see where you went wrong and make better choices in future relationships. When you can do that, you are ready to jump back into the “dating scene.” But when you do, beware that pesky rebound relationship.

The post 5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Saying Yes To Dating After Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Is Dating After Divorce A Requirement

Is Dating After Divorce A Requirement? I Don’t Think So!

Is Dating After Divorce A Requirement

 

I’m not dating. I’ve been divorced for seven years now, and I’m not in a relationship. I’m not looking to be in one, either. There have been a few boyfriends, a couple more serious than the others, some purely physical. But right now, and for the past year, I’ve been absolutely, completely, 100% unattached.

And I’m totally fine with this. Am I the only one?

Everything I read about divorce seems to have a message: if you are divorced, you need to date.

Pronto!

Fresh divorcees fret about it, as though there is a deadline for finding new love, a relationship version of the old biological clock that is ticking ominously in the background. That their lives will not be complete until they have someone on the other side of the bed every single night. To this day, people still ask me, “Why aren’t you dating?” or “You should find a man” or my favorite, “You know what you need? You need to date.”

There are plenty of things I need to do: I need to work. I need to parent my children. I need to do laundry and get groceries and walk my dog. Do I need to be in a relationship?

I don’t think so.

Is Dating After Divorce A Requirement?

There is something very liberating in being single. I have learned how to be alone, but not lonely.  I feel as though this is one of the weird little parting gifts of divorce, one that took me a long time to discover and even longer to appreciate.

The gift of learning how to be by yourself.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t spend all of my free time alone. I have four kids, a neurotic dog and a gaggle of amazing friends. I could be out every night of the week if I wanted.  But every once in awhile, I find myself alone. And I kind of like it.

Before my divorce, I hadn’t lived alone other than a month when I was a flight attendant back in 1989. I’d lived with my parents, and then with roommates, and then with a boyfriend who became a husband. And technically speaking I am not living alone right now, what with my four roommates- five if you count the sweet shedding boy who shares my bed. But for the first time in my adult life, I’m single and not looking.

Part of it may be me guarding myself, my heart. My ex husband did a major number on me when he left. I’m not naive enough to think that there wasn’t some damage done, but I am smart enough to know that it wasn’t permanent. Me not actively seeking love right now isn’t a matter of not wanting to be vulnerable again, nor is it a matter of not trusting men (or my choices in men).

Part of it may be good old fashioned insecurity. If you find yourself failing at marriage once, it’s hard to think of trying it again. Who’s to say I won’t invest another 15 years of my life into another person only to be left again?

It might be those things, yes. But I’d like to think that my steadfast-singleness is an education of sorts. I’m learning, you see. Learning to enjoy my own company, which, when you think about it, is laying some pretty good groundwork for any future relationship I may find myself in.  Personally, I think it takes some courage, and some cajones, to face life solo. Some days I feel brave.  I’m learning how to weather life’s storms on my own, which is something I think all women should know how to do.

Now, don’t think I’m dissing those of you who have jumped right back into the thick of things. I have friends who found new and improved loves before the ink on their divorce decrees dried. And that is WONDERFUL. We all have our very own ways of doing things, of growing and recovering and living. Truth be told, there are some moments when I feel some envy.

I see them with their boyfriends or husbands and it reminds me of all the good things that come with couplehood. The companionship, the comfort, the warm strong arm draped over your shoulders on a cold walk to the car. The security one feels when there’s a trustworthy man snoring next to you in bed.

But then I see friends who have gone through a virtual parade of boyfriends, watched them fall in and out of love, or something that kinda/sorta feels like it. They’ve introduced their kids to some of them, brought them to parties and gatherings and then one day, they show up alone. Or with a new guy. I’ve comforted them when things go bad, when they realize that this wasn’t Mr. Right, it was Mr. That’ll Do For Now.

There’s something to be said for their sheer determination to find someone, and I commend them for that. I have to wonder, though, is that the best way to find your happily ever after, or is it simply a way to keep your dating muscles toned and in shape, to avoid atrophy?

I was talking to another single friend the other night, she joined this club by way of widowhood. I told her that I was writing an article about “embracing your singleness” and she plopped down next to me and told me her side of it: “People were asking me about dating within a week of my husband dying” she started. “I mean, look-“ she held up her left hand, her beautiful wedding band shining brightly on her ring finger. “I took this off for about a week…I had been lifting weights and it was bothering me,” she continued. “And right away, I noticed raised eyebrows and the ‘you go, girl’ comments started.” My friend motioned towards the kitchen, where her kids were laughing and messing around with their friends. “Those people in there? That’s my focus right now. That’s my job. I’ll figure out the dating thing later on.”

My widowed friend and I may have found ourselves in this spot via very different paths, but we both landed on the same page. Love is something we both want, both look forward to…but front and center in our lives are our lives. Being moms, taking care of households, nurturing friendships. Taking care of ourselves. Finding our sea legs in order to ride out the rest of this crazy voyage.

Who knows..I’ve heard that love will find you whether or not you’re looking. And if that happens? Great. I haven’t sworn off men and dating and sex and all of that good stuff…I’ve just decided that right here and right now, it’s not my number one priority. I may meet my Prince Charming while grocery shopping or out on the trails while walking my dog. I might meet him at one of my son’s hockey games or while out on the town with my friends. Or, I might not.

Either way, it’s fine with me.

The post Is Dating After Divorce A Requirement? I Don’t Think So! appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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dating new guy

Dating a New Guy? 5 Signs It May Be Time To Abort Mission!

dating new guy

 

For a single mother, maneuvering through the world of dating can be a hazardous minefield.

When a woman is clear-minded about her wants and needs regarding a romantic partner, the mining process ensues. If you are seeking a long-term commitment, the following signs will help save you time and heartache.

As a single mother, an experienced dater, and an educated woman in the field of human science, I have identified the top red flags that require an immediate “Abort mission!”

Dating a New Guy? 5 Signs He Isn’t The Guy For You

1. A man who is unsure or not clear about his life preferences.  

As a woman seeking a long-term commitment and marriage, I have so much respect for the dude who openly admits to just wanting a casual hook up, this way I can immediately SWERVE!  The guy who “isn’t quite sure” what he is looking for in terms of a relationship or “still doesn’t know about the kid thing” is now completely and utterly unappealing to me. Here is sign #1.

When you know what you do want, you know what you don’t want. Say it with me, “Any man who does not know exactly what he wants in terms of his future romantic life is NO longer attractive to me and it is NOT my job to try and change his mind!”

Listen, mama, if you aren’t sure regarding your desires, by all means, jump in and have fun. The best of us were once there, too. No judgment! However, if you have precisely identified what you desire from life, love, and family and this potential suitor remains clueless, just respect his journey and wish him well. You deserve a man who knows. Keep it movin’, mama!

2. You cannot even briefly imagine the man as a future parent or role model for your children.

Hit. The. Brakes. You have reached sign #2. There is something to be said for a mama’s intuition. When your stomach gets tight over the idea of a man interacting with your children and you cannot even imagine said man stepping up to parent your kiddos, take a bow and bounce. The right connection should feel peaceful and secure. A man’s poor habits such as drinking and driving, ignoring his own physical health, or the absence of work-life balance are sufficient indications that send me running for the hills. Girl, grab my hand and come with, knees up!

3. He is critical and puts you down.

Can you say “Hello, ego?” Here’s the skinny; we are on our BEST behavior at the beginning of our dating endeavors. For the first few meetups, we generally worry about possible food stuck in between our chompers and we are cognizant about how we outwardly appear as we gradually reveal parts of our personalities and preferences. The man who demonstrates judgment, criticism, or disapproval of you or any part of your life this early on will only worsen this poor, controlling behavior over time.

If he name calls jokingly and you don’t like it, speak up. If this behavior continues, let me present sign #3. If he happens to see a photo of your family and begins commenting on someone’s current weight status, request that Uber ASAP. Call it quits and then give him the best view yet …that booty walking away! No comments necessary.

4. Your closest family and friends have not said one good thing about him.

We all have a selection of close family and friends whose opinions we value greatly. These people know our hearts, our desires, and preferences, therefore, they are also knowledgeable about what type of man would best fit into our life puzzle. When we first fall for someone, those pesky love hormones are raging in our bloodstream.

Even for the most intelligent women like us, it can be easy to miss those bright, red flags initially. Our tribe, however, is on point and clear-minded. They love us and only want the best for us and our children. After meeting your man, if the crowd falls completely silent, please acknowledge that as sign #4!

When you are big-time interested in a guy, do the faithful friend test. Plan a meetup and remain open to any and all feedback. My people always speak out on the positive traits of others when they see ‘em. When your crew has nada to say, step away and evaluate for yourself. If your folks haven’t outwardly identified one darn-good quality about this hot dog, graciously contemplate, “What could I be missing here? then remove your buns from his access and make him miss you!

5. He is not completely accepting of you, your past, flaws and all. 

If he begins making sly, sarcastic comments about the number of children you “should have had” or how you ought to have a more prestigious career and a bigger house with more bathrooms, this is sign number five! Our past stories, heartbreaks, and losses have beautifully created us to be exactly the women we are here and now. The right man for you will adore those battle wounds and war medals with appreciation and mother-lovin’ AWE for the way you love so hard today.

Any man who cannot accept and appreciate A) what you currently have (or don’t have) in the bank, B) what you are able to bring to table, and C) those cute, little humans that you are singlehandedly raising… well, he should not even be rewarded with a second glance. Just ask for the check and proceed to the EXIT sign.

Remember that every ending is a redirection or a light shining upon a new path, which will ultimately lead you closer towards your heart’s desire. One ultimate and final message: embrace your unfathomable worth, prioritize your own personal desires, have as much fun as you possibly can, and my absolute favorite phrase of advice from my heart to yours, “Keep Not Settling.”

The post Dating a New Guy? 5 Signs It May Be Time To Abort Mission! appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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How to Start Dating Again After Divorce

How to Start Dating Again After Divorce

It takes a certain amount of time to recover from the emotional wounds divorce causes, but you will recover. The next step is to start dating again.

The post How to Start Dating Again After Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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dating while going through divorce

Should You Be Dating While Going Through A Divorce?

dating while going through divorce

 

Let’s say the dating thing worked out and you met someone fantastic, and you are so excited and cannot wait for everyone to meet him because he is so great! While it is true a happy parent can make for happy children, it is necessary to be conscious about how a new partner can affect the dynamics with your kids.

Deciding when and how to make an introduction between your significant other and your children must be done in a thoughtful manner where there is a balance between all concerned parties—this includes you, your children, your new man, and yes, even your ex.

Dating while Divorcing

Depending on when you last dated, the sheer idea of re-entering the dating world can be overwhelming. Then, realizing that this time around you have kids to think about can inspire some paper-bag breathing, to be sure. Yes, it could be an exciting feeling knowing you have once again found romance, and you could even be eager to introduce the new man in your life to your kids.

However, you must be aware of some major pitfalls that could be present outside the obvious concerns of will your kids like Mr. Wonderful or will Mr. Wonderful like your kids?

Should You Be Dating While Going Through A Divorce?

Going a level deeper, you might even want to consider how your ex is going to react regarding this development. And if you are still in the process of divorcing, could the legal proceedings be affected by your love life? Have you even known this new man long enough for him to be deserving of meeting your children?

Of course, another issue should be addressed first. This is so important. If you have a new man in your life but you are still wearing the wedding ring given to you by your current husband or still legally married to him, then do not (under almost any circumstance) introduce your new paramour to your kids. I realize in many affairs, the children have probably already made the acquaintance of the person you might be thinking of introducing them to—it might be a neighbor, a family friend, or even the husband of your PTA nemesis.

Regardless, never let your kids find out about this relationship before your husband does.

Timing Is Important

If you have already filed for divorce and are separated from your husband, then we are dealing with a somewhat cleaner area when it comes to your love life. While you may have some stage fright, and you might also feel you are in no way ready to think about a new relationship, the time may come when you meet someone with whom you feel you could have a future. However, there are some guidelines that must be followed.

First, I would not recommend introducing your new love to your children unless you are 1,000 percent sure it is not going to cause a firestorm with your ex. An ideal situation is if your ex-husband has already entered into a relationship and has introduced the children to his new girlfriend. In this regard, you have carte blanche to call the shots on how to handle the intro. If this is not the case, I encourage you to proceed with caution.

As discussed earlier, divorcing a spouse who is angry and hurt is challenging. Odds are he is feeling upset for many reasons— some might have to do with you and others might stem from his childhood. Ultimately, however, you do not want to instigate more resentment from him.

Depending on your situation and if the split is amicable, there is a chance your divorce is calm and mutually accepted. If this is not the case, or if there are some acrimonious factors involved in your split, introducing the idea of a new dad to your kids could easily make your ex freak out. Realize that you can even significantly destroy a relatively cordial split by making your ex feel threatened by the fact some guy is taking his place in his family.

If your ex loved your Saturday morning pancakes and now he realizes some other Joe is going to be sitting at the breakfast table—in his chair—well, just be prepared for a rocky road ahead. Parents are possessive, and I can tell you that you would probably be having the same feelings if your ex’s new bombshell was in the position to take your daughter to the mall to go back-to-school shopping or pick your son up from baseball practice.

The point is, yes, think about your children—but also think about whether or not the timing is right with your ex.

See the Situation through the Eyes of Others

No matter who was responsible for pulling the plug on your marriage, it is imperative that you take a step back and consider the situation through your children’s and your ex’s eyes. Your kids are already dealing with the fact that Mom and Dad are not together anymore.

How will they react when they see another man put his arm around you, hold your umbrella when it rains, open a car door, or even kiss you? Now, think of your ex. How will he act when he pictures another man doing all the things he used to do with you (even if he was not as great as he should have been in the chivalry department)?

The idea of a new Mr. X fling may fill a romantic void in your life could be disturbing to your ex and your children alike. Your kids have never seen you with anyone other than their father, and this could throw off their equilibrium.

In their thinking, if you have a new man in your life to replace their dad, does that mean you could have new kids someday too? In the children’s mind, you are their mom first, and anyone else should get their hands off! Remember that children can be just as possessive as your ex.

Considering your ex, it is true he might not want you anymore— but he does not want anyone else to have you either. And he especially does not like the idea of his children seeing some other man take care of you, walking the dog he trained, sitting in what used to be his space at the dinner table, or even (maybe if not today, then in the future) sleeping in the bed that he shared with you.

Making a Judgment Call

Let’s take your ex out of it for now and talk about the judgment call you must make with regard to your kids. I have mentioned that kids are very resilient. They have the ability to spring back from a variety of bad or challenging situations without suffering long-term damage.

However, also know these little humans are very perceptive and sensitive—and remember they are also narcissistic. If you are operating under the notion that your kids are simply going to be happy because they see you happy, my advice is to think long and hard about this. You are their mom first. They are going to have to process the reality that they are now seeing you with another man—one who is not their father.

Lesli Doares, LMFT, advises, “The first thing, and this is where I think a lot of parents don’t get it, is understanding that their children may be in a different place regarding the acceptance of the divorce than the parents are. And, frequently, new partners are introduced way too soon. The children aren’t ready for that.”

Depending on the age of your child, their personality, and their relationship with their dad, they could experience some threatening feelings. They could challenge this new relationship or look to undermine it.

Doares explains, “I know there’s this fantasy of ‘Oh, we’re going to form this big, happy family.’ And, unfortunately, because children were never consulted about the divorce, there’s also a strong feeling of not being consulted about this new person coming into their lives and really modifying any expectations.”

She continues, “Most children and even into the time that they’re adults, still have the fantasy of Mom and Dad getting back together again. And, once a new partner is introduced, that idea gets really challenged, and there’s usually some kind of pushback, although it’s not necessarily obvious, and especially because Mom or Dad is really happy with this new person. But the kids feel they don’t know what to do about this.”

After all, how many times has the phrase, “You are not my father!” been shouted on some TV drama featuring a blended family? Children often fantasize about their parents getting back together—and this new guy quashes that fantasy.

Also, remain aware that your children could experience feelings of abandonment, loss, or grief now that their dad is not around each day. Keep that in mind when you introduce a new love interest. You do not want your children to bond with this person, only to have him walk out on you a month later because he is not ready to commit or does not like the way you make your eggs in the morning. Ensure that the relationship is substantial before you spend your children’s time and emotions getting to know and trust someone who might not be around a few months from now.

Dr. Fran Walfsh discusses some of the risks she has witnessed with her younger patients, “The biggest risk is your kid gets attached to John or John’s kids, and if it doesn’t work out, there’s another ripping away of another attachment figure. And it’s painful, unnecessary pain for the kids. The next risk is that no matter how you slice it, every child of every age, and that includes thirty-five-year-olds, holds a secret wish that Mommy and Daddy will reconcile and be a happy family together again. Every kid, even today with the high divorce rate, still fantasizes and wants his or her parents to be together and for them to have one united family. So it’s painful when you introduce some new person. Don’t do it unless you know that person’s sticking around.”

She continues. “Never lie to your children.” Always be truthful, but less is more.

The Legalities of Dating Pre-divorce

Another consideration you need to take into account when you are thinking of blending your Saturday-night-kids-are-with-their-father life with your kid-filled life is the legalities you may face as you start to date pre-divorce. One key issue to explore is where you are with custody and if there is the possibility of a custody fight presenting itself in the future. If there is the slightest chance of a custody dispute (meaning that a parenting agreement has not already been drafted and signed), I would strongly recommend no introduction be made to the person you have started dating.

The last thing you need is your ex making it seem to a judge that you have poor judgment when introducing Mr. Rebound to your kids and letting him use the old toothbrush their father left behind.

A second consideration is specific language could be put into your separation agreement that any introduction to a significant other cannot occur unless the relationship has lasted for a certain amount of time. There can also be stipulations stating that if an introduction were to take place, the ex-spouse would be provided advance warning.

Again, this is not anything done to spite you—and it could be in everyone’s best interests. The last thing you would want to hear come out of your kid’s mouth after a weekend at her dad’s is “Mommy, I had so much fun with Daddy and his new friend Daisy. She is a professional dancer, and they met when she was dancing for Daddy.” So, a little warning is always a good thing.

Actionable Tips: How to Make the Introduction

Now let us get to the part you have been waiting for. If you have established that, yes, it is time to make the introduction between your kids and your new boyfriend, here are some suggestions:

If your child is in therapy, I recommend speaking to your child’s therapist about factors you should consider that pertain to your son’s or daughter’s needs. The therapist might have insight or best practices that could be applied to your child’s personality, moods, challenges, or other issues surrounding your divorce.

If your child is younger, have your new significant other be a tag-along person on a fun activity—like an amusement park or a trip to the zoo.

  • Engage your child without overdoing it so he feels he had a really great day, and hopefully, those fun feelings can start to be associated with your new friend.
  • Involve your significant other in a non-intrusive way. He does not need to be the center attraction; rather, allow your child to interact with him in a way where trust and comfort can slowly be built.
  • If your children are older, the fun activity might not work with them, and they could see through what you are trying to do (and probably call you on it). Therefore, speak directly with them about your new relationship and let them dictate the terms of what would make them most comfortable when arranging this introduction.

Aida Vazin, LMFT, advises, “I would recommend phasing in a new relationship slowly and gradually. Going through a divorce and change requires an adjustment period for everyone, especially the children. A good way to approach this is to have an open dialogue about this with your children. Ask them how they feel about the whole process. Ask them how they may feel about a new person in their mother’s life. Start introducing the idea that Mom will start dating again, and allow your child to build an acceptance and comfort level with the process. recommend brief conversations, as this kind of conversation, may bring up a lot of uncomfortable feelings both from Mom and the children. To go deeper into the conversation, I would recommend involving a counselor as well.”

I agree with Vazin about going slowly. Have patience. While you may be starting to recognize your new man could be a great addition or asset for your family, your child may not appreciate this just yet—it may take time. Although you are understandably enthusiastic about your new partner and all the possibilities this presents, your kid might be in a different place. Take conscious, level-headed steps that support your parent-child relationship and help enable acceptance of your new partner.

You might be ready to embrace the future, but know that your children could still be dealing with trying to achieve a balance between their new reality and what your family looked like in the past. After you get them on board, then maybe you can accomplish the same thing with your ex.

The post Should You Be Dating While Going Through A Divorce? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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I’m Single and Have NO Interest in Dating Since my Divorce

I’m Single and Have NO Interest in Dating Since my Divorce

No, I’m not dating or looking to date. If I happen to meet someone out there in the big wide world, that’s great! Until then, I’m happy with keeping my TV remote to myself.

The post I’m Single and Have NO Interest in Dating Since my Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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