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About to divorce, mom isn’t sure when to start dating

Updated: September 5, 2013 4:33PM

Dear Cheryl, I’m getting divorced soon. I’ve got a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old. I intend to start dating as soon as my soon-to-be-ex moves out of the house.

I’m a working mom and don’t have a lot of free time. I like to spend as much time as I can with my kids. My question is how do I find time to date and be with my kids? Can I bring my kids along on casual dates to the movies or the beach? WANT TO DO IT RIGHT


The short answer is NO.

The long answer is NO because you’ve got two kids who are going through the trauma of divorce. The last thing they need is to meet “Mommy’s new friend.” Or worse, “friends.” You can say, “Oh, they’ll be OK.” But, you’ll pay the price later. It’s a balancing act between their needs and yours and at this time, theirs have to come first.

Give yourself and your kids six months to a year to adjust to their new life without Daddy in the house. During that time, spend as much time as you can with them, maintaining as normal a routine as possible. Keep your dating to the times when the kids are with their father. Or, in a pinch, get a sitter.

Even after that time, there’s no reason for your kids to meet any of your dates unless you’re absolutely sure he’s someone who’s going to be in your life for a long, long time.

The reality is dating, once you have kids, is very different than dating when you were single and fancy-free.

Readers, what advice do you have for married custodial parents who are starting to date?

Dear Cheryl, My boyfriend and I were very much in love and I always assumed we’d get married one day. Then a month ago, he broke up with me, telling me he felt I was getting too serious and he wasn’t ready. I didn’t know I was putting pressure on him. I certainly didn’t intend to.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t been a clean break. We had purchased some concert tickets and accepted some party invitations before we split and we decided we should still go to them at “just friends.’ It’s been very difficult for me. When I’m with him, it’s hard for me to accept that he’s not my boyfriend anymore. I want him back.

His best friend is getting married in three weeks and he was invited at a plus one. He accepted for the two of us. He expects me to go with him. Am I just asking for heartache if I go? But is there a chance he wants me to go because he wants us to get back together? CONFUSED

Dear CONFUSED, It’s time to put on your big girl pants and be totally honest with your ex. Tell him you’re sorry you ever broke up. You didn’t mean to pressure him. And you’d like to give your relationship another try.

Ask him how he feels about it. If he’s willing, then go to the wedding. If he’s not, skip it.

You can’t be friends with an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend until you’ve both moved on and are both in new, happy relationships.

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