The idea of getting back into dating after your divorce is finalized can be daunting at best; especially if you haven’t had to do so in several years. Although it might be far from your mind at the moment, majority of divorced parents enjoy the company of another – whether that’s right away or in a few years. Although you might want to hold off on the “D” word, here’s how to tell your children by various age groups—when you decide to start seeing someone new.
Young children (0-5 years)
Young children (under the age of five) shouldn’t be given a detailed explanation on what’s happening in your personal life. This is especially true when you first start seeing someone after the divorce. Let the children know that you’re going out to see a friend and that you’ll be back when they’re asleep.
School-Aged Children (6-10)
School-age children can begin to receive more detailed explanations as to where you’re going (and why) – without getting into details of the “date”. Simply explain to your children that you’re going to meet a friend and where you met the friend (work, family acquaintance, school). Although you shouldn’t refer to it as a date, simply let them know that it’s important you have friends – just as they enjoy spending time with theirs.
Pre-teens and Younger Teens (11-14)
As your child gets older, they become more familiar with dating and how it’s a natural process. While it’s important to be open with your children, make sure you take into account how they’re feeling about the decision. Ask them how they feel about you going out on a date – and talk honestly with them regarding any hesitations they might have. Let them know that just because you’re seeing someone new, doesn’t mean you won’t have time for them.
Teenager and Young Adult (14-18+)
This age group can often be the most relaxed about the topic but the most difficult to navigate when you’re dating. While you’re starting to date other people after your divorce, it’s likely your teen is also dating a young individual as well. It’s important to approach the topic lightly – asking how they feel about you getting into the dating scene again; but you’re not asking their approval. Make sure you remain a parent in the relationship – as you’re modeling dating behavior for your child.