It's no secret that I'm slowly making my way through divorce and out to the other side again, which means one thing: everyone expects that I suddenly want to jump back into the dating pool. They're wrong.
But it's gotten me thinking about dating. Specifically, what dating with kids will look like (should I ever decide to navigate those murky waters) and how one goes about it.
I've poked around and come up with some tips on dating after a divorce with children (I plan to use these myself when I'm ready!).
1) Most experts agree that introducing your children to a new partner should only happen once a romantic relationship is becoming serious. You don't want your kids to become attached to your flavor of the week only to have them experience the loss of someone they liked.
2) Above all else, you should be honest with your partner about your children. If your partner doesn't like or accept that you're a parent, it's a clear sign that you shouldn't be with him.
3) Be honest with your children about your new love. Kids can smell BS a mile away, which means you must do your best to make sure you can openly and frankly talk to them about your relationship.
4) Tell your children that no matter what, you're never going to abandon them in favor of your partner. Dating with kids isn't an either/or situation - make sure they know this.
5) Be enthusiastic about your significant other when discussing him with your children - let them know this person makes you very happy. Kids want their parents to be happy. Usually.
6) Talk about what you'll all do together when you introduce each other. Plan a fun outing, be your true self, and make sure the activity is one that will make all your children happy.
7) Accept that your kids may be slow to warm up to your new partner. If that's the case, don't push the relationship on them too quickly.
8) Reassure your children that your new significant other is NOT intended to replace your ex -- ever. This way, they don't feel as though they're put in the middle, having their loyalty to each parent tested.
9) Accept that many kids hold out hope for a long time that their parents will get back together. When you've moved on to a new partner, the finality of your divorce becomes more real to your children, which may bring out feelings of jealousy, anger, and fear in them.
10) Discuss your new significant other's role in your kids' lives with them so they don't think you're trying to push a surrogate parent on them.
Do you have any other advice for single parents looking to date?
Image ©iStock.com/Emir Memedovski