Thats a difficult question. Answering the question how long before dating after a divorce really depends on the individual. The way one person deals with the trauma of a marital breakup may be completely different from another. For some newly single men and women getting back into the dating scene is almost immediate. Even though they struggle with the trauma of a marital breakup, ex-spouses may seek to get involved with someone for various reasons. Men, particularly, might engage in a post-divorce romance simply because they are not accustomed to living without a female. Thus, the new woman might simply be a way of rebounding or retaliating from a failed marriage. Others may respond by becoming reclusive or reluctant to get involved with another individual because of the pain and anguish of a breakup.
But regardless of the reason, how long before dating after a divorce is really a personal choice. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).
Really for most ex-partners, the wise choice is to wait until the initial shock and trauma of marital dissolution can dissipate. That is a process which might take many months, if not years. But taking time to decide how long before dating after a divorce is the best decision. Suddenly single males and females must realize that the process of emotionally disengaging from a former mate requires patience. When two people marry, there is a tendency for each personality to become intermingled with the other. Wives who have been married for a long time tend to become absorbed in their mate’s persona with every waking moment devoted to husband and household. A separation or divorce can leave a huge void in the life of a committed wife. For a woman accustomed to having a life partner, deciding how long before dating after a divorce can be overwhelming. A former wife will need space to rediscover who she is, while mentally and emotionally becoming divorced from a familiar lifestyle.
And to really become healed emotionally, newly single men and women need to be alone. A minimum of six to nine months going solo might be helpful in dealing with the emotional highs and lows that come with a breakup. During that six-month period, ex-spouses can begin adjusting to the single life and most importantly, re-assess personal goals, dreams and aspirations. The worse scenario is a newly divorced spouse trying to date someone new, but with all the excess baggage of a failed marriage. An individual undergoing the pain and anguish of divorce will only spew hurt, bitterness, anger and resentment until the process of healing can begin. That is why it is so terribly important to determine how long before dating after a divorce, at least six months, to allow strong emotions to subside. Those who engage in a romantic relationship too soon after a breakup are only asking for trouble and forcing a new love interest to compete with an emotional bond that may still exist between former husbands and wives.
Plus determining how long before dating after a divorce not only depends on an individual’s emotional state, but also whether children are involved or not. Single parents with children are more likely not to begin dating as early as adults without kids. For most single moms and dads, the kids come first. Newly divorced single parents are more apt to exercise caution when bringing a new man or woman into the picture. A new boyfriend or girlfriend complicates the healing process for minor children and teens. While kids are dealing with the loss of a mother or father through divorce they will be reluctant to allow anyone else to occupy a significant place in their parent’s life. Youngsters, especially males, may become overly protective of mothers, making it nearly impossible for an interested man to get close enough to ask for a date.
Single fathers may feel obligated to spend more time with children rather than try to find a new love interest. A single dad may also feel self-conscious about appearing to replace the children’s mother with another female. Thus, how long before dating after a divorce for a single parent can be extremely complicated. The six-month rule may be appropriate for waiting until children have become accustomed to the lifestyle changes a divorce brings. Waiting for a year or more is not unreasonable when younger children are involved. Single parents may be reluctant to become emotionally involved with someone who may or may not become a permanent part of the family. Protecting the kids from becoming emotionally attached to a new romantic interest may also be a priority.
In the final analysis, how long before dating after a divorce depends on the depth of emotions ex-spouses undergo on an individual basis, whether children are involved, and the appropriateness of introducing another love interest into a family torn apart by a failed marriage. The choice is a personal one and every situation is different. But each choice requires really careful consideration, heartfelt prayer and the correct timing.
How Dating After Divorce Affects Children
Caring and intuitive parents can tell how dating after divorce affects children almost immediately because kids seldom hide their true feelings. Unlike adults who learn how to control facial expressions and body language, a child’s reaction may be apparent the moment a single mom or dad brings home a new romantic interest. While most minors are taught to be polite in front of company, parents should realize that to a youngster, a new love interest is a threat or a betrayal of the biological parent. During the divorce process, children may form allegiances to one parent or the other. Because their whole world has been turned upside down through the emotional or psychological trauma of marital breakup, kids will want to cling to whatever normalcy that is left. Introducing a new male or female into the life of a child who has just lost a mother or father to divorce or separation creates stress, instability and distrust of one or both parents. Adults who can see how dating after divorce affects children must exercise caution and discretion when becoming romantically involved or the result could be really disastrous.
Definite signs of how dating after divorce affects children are readily noticeable while other signs might be more difficult to detect. While immediate responses may include facial expressions such as frowning or grimacing, or throwing tantrums; children may grow sullen or act out. School attendance and grades may also suffer as youngsters try to deal with how dating after divorce affects children and what they perceive to be a parent’s betrayal or alienation of affection. Little ones may reason that the mother or father who belonged exclusively to them now prefers a new relationship with an outsider. Some children may blame themselves for somehow causing mom or dad to prefer the new “man” or “woman” over the ex-spouse.
Also because of a child’s allegiance to its mother or father, making the transition from married to single may present multiple challenges for ex-spouses. Mom or dad may need to sit the kids down and explain their need to socialize with the opposite sex. There also should be a discussion about where the non-custodial spouse fits into a newly single parent’s lifestyle. Because intuitive adults understand how dating after divorce effects children, they will want to ease the transition by dating discreetly. Meeting a new individual outside of the home rather than intruding on the children is a wise decision. And there really is no need to include a new love interest in family affairs or try to make the kids accept a new partner unless the relationship is serious enough to consider marriage.
Furthermore discretion is key when determining how dating after divorce affects children. By using good and prudent judgment about letting a date meet and interact with the kids, parents can avoid some of the problems with socializing while separated or waiting for the divorce to be final. While newly single parents may want to become sexually intimate, they must remember that having sex outside of marriage is still fornication. Many singles fall into a sexual snare and become involved with many suitors before finding Mr. Right. But becoming promiscuous in a quest for companionship is detrimental to a single adult and their children. The worse possible scenario is for a youngster to discover mom or dad in bed with someone other than the other parent. Such an act of indiscretion is psychologically damaging, especially to minors or teens who may have wanted mom and dad to reconcile. “When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; Who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness; Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths: To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God” (Proverbs 2:10-17).
And exactly how dating after divorce affects children will become more apparent if the relationship becomes more serious. Adolescents may so deeply resent the intrusion of another man or woman into the life of a single parent that they may run away, become verbally or physically abusive, or make a demand to live with the non-custodial parent. Children may become disrespectful to dating parents or become overly unruly. Mothers dealing with belligerent kids will need dad’s help to correct unruliness. When adolescents and youth become violently opposed to mom or dad bringing someone into the family, the best recourse is to refrain from sharing information about the other man or woman until the relationship is serious enough to warrant it. Certainly, a casual coffee date or going out to an occasional movie does not disrupting the household.
The two parents should also recognize the fact that a new romantic interest may result in a second marriage, but the new husband or wife will never take the place of a child’s biological mother or father. Acknowledging how dating after divorce affects children will enable single parents to deal with a child’s acceptance or rejection of a step parent. Adults should be careful about forcing children to accept or interact with new romantic partners or parents. Allow the child to continue being affectionate and loving towards the biological mother or father; making no demands to call a stepparent “Mom” or “Dad.” Let the relationship between another partner and the kids develop gradually, allowing the child to conclude that mom or dad’s life with another adult does not have to detract from the bond formed with the two original biological parents.
If your children are already older, like in puberty or like nineteen, twenty, and you date too quickly after the divorce, they will loose respect for you. And thats not something you will like in the end. As chances are you will loose contact altogether with them this way.
So, how did this go with you after your own divorce? Were you able to take the time? Tell us about it…