Are you ready to date again?

When you are ready to date, I strongly recommend taking your time to introduce him or her to your kids.From the beginning, be honest with your kids; let them know you are going to start dating, or that you are dating someone you like.

Prepare yourself for their varied reactions. It’s okay to respond to a negative response with, “I am sorry you feel that way. However, I am going to continue to date from time to time.” While you need to be sensitive to their feelings, your kids are not the ones in control if you date or do not date. And if you are at a point in your healing that you are ready to date, you are allowed to make that call. If you communicate and reassure your kids, they will likely come around. Reassure them that if you do meet the right person that the new person will not take the love you have for them.

Let them know that person you are dating is not in your life to become their new mother/father. Tell your kids that you hope that they too will be able to make room for a new person in their lives, but you appreciate it that this is your relationship and you hope they will have one with the person you are dating over time too. Sometimes it is good to take your kids out to a place outside of the home to talk about this. It can keep emotions a little calmer in a neutral place.

Also remember that children can be extra sensitive to missing quality time when a parent starts dating, so make sure to spend some special one-on-one time with your kids once you start. Reassure them of your love and your special bond with them.

On the flip side, it is also okay to tell your kids you are not ready to date if they are pushing you to start. Young children have a tendency to ask, “When are you going to get me a new Mom or Dad?” Again, reassure them that as a family you are going to be okay, but you don’t feel the need to date at this time. Older kids may also worry about you when they go off to college, especially if they are only children, or the youngest, and wish for you to find some companionship.

Dating can be done right, but it is a delicate dance for everyone in the family. The key to successfully make this transition is to wait until the right time for you emotionally, and to maintain communication and reassurance with your children.

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