With all that you endured as your marriage ended, nobody has the right to deny you new opportunities for happiness in the wake of your divorce. It is your prerogative to make the most of your new life, and, in some cases, doing so may include pursuing new romantic interests. While casual dating and possibly a serious relationship after your divorce could have a positive effect on your overall health and self-esteem, there are some considerations you should keep in mind, particularly if you are a parent.
Take All the Time You Need
Dating someone new while your divorce is still pending is not usually the best idea, but once your divorce is finalized, you should feel free to start seeing whoever you choose. Keep in mind, however, that you may not be ready jump back into the dating pool right away. Alternatively, you may be fine with casual dating, but not with getting involved in another serious, long-term relationship. A divorce often leaves emotional and psychological scars that may take significant time to heal.
If you have children, you also need to be aware of their adjustment to your new situation. Depending on how old they are and their maturity level, your children may have trouble with a new, serious relationship. You children may feel like you are attempting to replace your ex-spouse—their other parent. Such feelings can easily transform into resentment and fears that they can be replaced as well.
Setting Reasonable Ground Rules
It is important to create guidelines about approaching new relationships with your children, especially if you and your ex-spouse share parenting time. You and your former spouse should make every effort to reach an agreement—or at least an understanding—that new partners will not be introduced to your children too quickly. Determining when to introduce your children to a new partner can be challenging and will depend on how well your children are prepared to handle it. You and your ex-spouse may also wish to create rules about the roles that new partners will play in your children’s lives, including discipline, transportation, and other considerations.
Be Aware of Your Actions
You may also need to set limits for your own behavior as well. In the wake of your divorce, it can be easy for a newly independent person to develop an entirely new persona and build a reality around it. If you are not careful, you could become obsessed with your newfound freedom and, as a result, begin to ignore your existing parenting duties. For example, if you share parenting time of your children, and you still need a sitter every weekend that they are with you so that you can pursue new relationships, you may need to reevaluate your priorities. It is fine to date after a divorce, but not if it is detrimental to your children.
Seek Compassionate Legal Advice
If you have concerns about the process of divorce or how a parenting arrangement could be impacted by the behavior of either parent, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney. At Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., we proudly help clients find the post-divorce happiness they deserve. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation today.