Search online and you’ll find thousands of articles about how to go about dating after divorce. While this is great advice for the people who have divorced, what about the children of those people? How does a child—whether they’re 5, 10, 15, 20 or even 30 or older—deal with the fact that their mother or father is dating again after going through a divorce?
Guiding parents through the complexities of online dating is not something that many children are prepared to do. It’s just so awkward. Plus, many children are grappling with their own love lives, and having to deal with their parent’s dating life as well can be a bit too much to handle.
Some parents start dating right away, when the children are young and still living under their roof. Others wait until the child is in college or out of the house. In either case, you may be having trouble dealing with the fact that your mother or father is back in the dating pool. You may even be concerned that their interest in dating may affect the relationship you have with your parent. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Humans have an underlying desire to be loved, so be supportive of the fact that your parent wants to find love again. It takes a lot of courage to go out in the dating pool and spend time finding a good person to have a relationship with, so don’t be negative toward Mom or Dad. It may be weird or awkward, but do your best to support their decision. They deserve to be happy.
While you want to be supportive, you also want to set boundaries. If you have a very close bond with your parent, then it’s possible that they may want to share too many details of their dates with you. This can be awkward for a child, especially if your parent decides to divulge details of their sex life. Let Mom or Dad know early on that while you’re glad they’re happy, you want to be spared all the uncomfortable details.
If you’re in your own relationship, don’t try to compare it to your parent’s new relationship. It’s not the same. You both are at different stages of your lives. Your mom or dad may be focusing on retirement, while your main goal may be to graduate college or start a career.
Also, don’t be jealous of the relationship your parent has with their new partner. That relationship is different from the one you have with your mom or dad. They will always be your parent, but their relationship may not last forever, so let them enjoy it.
It can be awkward for a child—no matter their age—to see one or both parents dating other people after a divorce. It’s complicated for the parents as well, as they are trying to develop a relationship outside of the one they have with their children.
The Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. can guide you through life after divorce. Our experienced Columbia divorce lawyers can give you the advice you need. We have two offices to serve you. Call (410) 774-5987 or fill out the online form to schedule a free consultation.
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