After your divorce there will likely come a time when you’ll want to start looking for a new relationship.
Dating after divorce is intimidating for a lot of guys. It’s likely been years since you had to worry about meeting women and fostering a deep connection with a potential partner. Although things didn’t work out with your wife, you at least had a degree of familiarity that you were probably comfortable with. After that, the dating scene can seem like a completely new and unfamiliar world.
However, that shouldn’t keep you from giving it a shot. Plenty of guys go on to find the perfect match after things didn’t work out in their first marriage. But be careful to not get too far ahead of yourself. Here are some important tips to keep in mind if you are considering dating again after divorce.
Avoid rebound relationships
A lot of guys tend to immediately jump back into a relationship after their divorce, and the consequences are often disastrous. Divorce is an emotionally scarring experience. Research shows that guys take breakups a lot harder than women, and you need to make sure you take the appropriate amount of time to heal.
A rebound might seem like a fun distraction, but it’s going to cause more heartache if you haven’t fully recovered emotionally. Take some time to self-reflect and consider why your marriage didn’t work out. Decide what qualities you want to find in a future mate and consider ways you can improve yourself in future relationships.
Meeting new people
One of the most challenging aspects of dating after divorce comes down to a lack of familiarity. It’s been a long time since you’ve done this so your dating skills are probably rusty. And where are people even meeting these days anyways?
It’s important to remain confident. Keep in mind that around 40 to 50 percent of people divorce so you’re hardly the only one out there in this boat. In fact, dating coach Kimberly Seltzer argues some women prefer dating divorced men because it shows they know how to manage long-term relationships.
Figuring out where to meet women is another challenge. More guys than ever are trying out online dating. That might seem like a young man’s game, but Pew Research shows the number of 55- to 64-year-olds using online dating sites doubled from 2013 to 2016.
If you’re still leery of online dating, then work to develop some new hobbies you’re interested in. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, and even if you don’t you’ll be contributing to a good cause. You could also join a gym or look into joining a Meetup Group. It just depends what you’re interested in.
If none of that works for you, then ask your friends to help set you up. They know your personality better than anyone so should be good at judging who you will have some chemistry with.
Introducing your girlfriend to the kids
Every decision you make before, during, and after divorce needs to be made with your children’s best interests in mind. This even goes for your dating life.
Once you do meet someone, you’ll inevitably reach a point where you wonder whether or not you should introduce her to your children. It’s best to proceed with extreme caution.
First, you need to make sure this isn’t just a fling that is going to come and go. Children get attached very easily, so if you bring someone into their lives and the relationship ends soon after, your kids are going to begin to think instability is the norm. They’ve already seen their parents break up and don’t deserve more disappointment.
Every situation is different, but most experts recommend taking at least six months before introducing someone new. It wouldn’t hurt to play it safe and wait a few months longer.
Once you realize this person is going to be in your life for a while, you need to take steps to ensure the introduction with the kids goes smoothly. You might be crazy about her, but your kids might look at her as a threat considering she isn’t their mother.
The younger your kids are, the more likely they are to accept your new partner if they see you are happy with her. Things can be messier if you have teenagers.
Set up the meeting at a neutral location. Afterwards, ask your kids how they felt about her and allow them to answer honestly, even if they feel resentment.
This transition might not be completely seamless, but remaining supportive of both your children and new partner will benefit everyone in the long run.
You’ll want to be conscious of whether or not there is a morality clause in your divorce decree once you begin dating.
Morality clauses prohibit overnight guests of the opposite sex when minor children are in the household. Violating the clause can cause you to be found in contempt of court, which can have a range of punishments and sanctions.
If you have any questions about how to interpret a morality clause in your decree, be sure to consult with a Cordell & Cordell divorce attorney.