Sometimes in life what we think we want isn’t always what is best for us. If you were a person stuck in a marriage that was not healthy then you are probably excited beyond belief to be divorced.
That relationship was not productive for you on an emotional level and could have done long term harm to you and your children. For whatever reason your spouse and you had grown apart and as the distance grew you may have had the opportunity to think about what you would look for in a future partner.
Dating after divorce: How to balance your needs vs. the needs of your child
Once you are divorced from your spouse there is nothing stopping you from dating. It could be that you haven’t been on a simple date in a long while and you are eager to put your prior relationship behind you and move on to something that will hopefully be longer lasting and more fulfilling.
However, if you have children then you should consider that the clean and easy transition from married person to single person will typically not allow for as smooth a landing from one to the other than you may like. Suppose that you quickly meet another person after your divorce has been finalized and have come to realize that you have romantic feelings for him or her.
While on the inside you may be doing backflips with excitement at this opportunity for building a new relationship it will not be simple to introduce him or her to your children. Being deliberate in your actions at this stage in your relationship will likely prove to benefit your children as well as your fledgling relationship.
Evaluate the person in terms of your family and their needs
It is not enough to have met a good person to whom you are physically attracted in order to enter into a relationship. Let me rephrase that- it certainly is possible to enter into a relationship with a person who meets these characteristics, but it’s possible that the relationship will not be fulfilling or long lasting. How he or she fits into your family structure, whatever that may be, is a huge consideration that you need to make very early in the relationship.
Well, since I just made the point that “fit” with your family is important and making a determination about fit is best done early in the relationship, that must mean that I’m going to tell you to immediately introduce this person to your children, right? Wrong. Your instincts about the relationship may be affected by any residual hurt or loss as a result of your divorce and may not be as trustworthy as they normally would be.
Even if you believe that this relationship is one that could go the distance it is not uncommon to see post divorce couples break up unexpectedly once feelings associated with the divorce dissipate and your “normal” perspective returns to you in full.
I was recently having a conversation with a prior client of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC who confided to me that she was very excited about a new relationship that she had gotten into after her divorce. The new person in her life was just what she needed in the aftermath of her divorce, or so she thought.
So confident was our prior client in the strength of her new relationship that she almost immediately introduced her twelve year old daughter to this gentleman. She told me that she had no doubts that her new boyfriend and daughter would hit it off and like each other from the start.
Unfortunately that was not the case. Our former client didn’t realize that her daughter was not yet in a place where she could emotionally handle the new person in her mom’s life. The experience of meeting her daughter also soured her boyfriend on the relationship.
Apparently he felt like the meeting had been set up prematurely and he felt the tension immediately upon meeting the middle school aged child. The relationship was never the same after this meeting and the couple eventually broke up.
The point I intended to illustrate here is that relationships and families come in all shapes and sizes. What may be an appropriate time to introduce your child to a new romantic partner may not work well for another family, and vice versa. It is critical to be attuned to the feelings of your child and to anticipate as best as possible his or her readiness to have this sort of interaction. When it doubt, it is my opinion that it is best to wait to do so.
Advice on approaching your child for the first time with news of a new relationship
After you’ve dated someone for an extended period and have discussed with him or her your desire for them to meet your child it is appropriate to speak to your child about it next. Do not have those conversations in reverse.
If you do, you risk having your child wait to meet a person who may not be willing to do so at that time. The risk here is that your child gets “stood up” and is emotionally hurt by the situation. That hurt can remain in the child for an extended period causing him or her significant damage.
That’s to say nothing about the most likely irreparable harm that your current relationship will suffer as a result of your partner’s unwillingness to be a part of your child’s life after dating you for multiple months.
However, if your partner is eager and willing to meet your child and your child is as well then a short, friendly meeting is appropriate. Forcing your partner and child to interact when either is not comfortable is not sensible. Some degree of introduction, pleasantries and maybe a meal are all that I would recommend. After the meeting has concluded I would speak to your child using age appropriate language about what the relationship means.
This would be a great time to reaffirm your love for your child and to establish that this new love interest will not be taking you away from your child nor will the new partner be expected to replace your child’s other parent.
Dating after marriage can be extremely beneficial for you- if done correctly
There is no set manner to go about dating and eventually introducing your new partner to your child after a divorce. The age of your child, the length of time since your divorce as well as the likelihood of your partner being in your life for an extended time period are all factors to consider prior to introducing your child to the new person in your life.
An experienced family lawattorney can help you navigate a divorce and any post divorce legal conflicts that might arise for you. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC represent divorced persons across southeast Texas in enforcement, modification and child support cases. A free of charge consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys is only a phone call away.
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Kingwood Divorce Lawyer
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it’s important to speak with ar Kingwood, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.
A divorce lawyer in Kingwood TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.