Dating after divorce

Your divorce or break up may still be fresh. Friends are urging you to start dating again but what about the kids?

First, be certain this is what you really want to do, and not because others think that you should jump back in the saddle again. Before you begin, think about your whole family. All children need stability and can push back when you start a new relationship but somewhere, maybe deep down, our children know that we will date again. It's not anything to be ashamed of. But you will need to be careful and sensitive...

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Your Children

If you are thinking of introducing a new partner into your children’s lives, start by working on making EVERYTHING else in your child’s life as stable as possible, especially thinking about -

Their bedroom and house

Their school

Contact with their Grandparents 

Clubs/friends/godparents.

Be clear about your reason for dating.

Are you ready to share your life with someone or is it fear of loneliness that is fuelling your desire for dates? If you are lonely and not quite ready for a human companion yet, make a new friend or get a pet. You will know when the time to date is right.

Ian Soars, CEO of Dad.info and Fegans says, “Take everything slowly...meet and move in is not an option. Make sure this new relationship is real before taking the huge step of introducing them to your children. If we say our children come first, this is when we show it. Let your children build relationships with your new partner at a pace that works for them...not you.”

But if you are ready and have thought about your children’s issues and are waiting to meet someone new...

What comes next?

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We asked Wendi Schuller a dating consultant how Dads should get ready to start dating and the following is her advice:

Step one, Wendi argues is, “Ask a trendy friend if your appearance needs tweaking a bit. Perhaps a wardrobe make-over may be in order. A male mate told me to dump the mumsy clothes and got out his phone to show photos of what jeans to buy (skinny ones). Now I shop at a cool clothes store and encourage my single male friends to do so too.” I thought I looked alright but ok, that sounds easy, what next Wendi?

“Keep in mind that a woman who wants to connect with you, may not give off obvious signs of this interest. It makes it trickier for a man to gauge her interest level. A shy woman could think you are the hottest thing on the planet, and yet not give any indication of these thoughts.” say Wendi. What really! I thought people would be asking me out. This dating game sounds impossible. She is interested but won’t show it. I think it’d be easier for everyone if I just give up... “Do not give up right away”, say Wendi. “ My male friends have complained that a cute woman was not in to them, when I knew otherwise. They did not understand her body language or were rightly confused by mixed messages. Female friends wondered why a guy was friendly and then went away suddenly. Probably due to not giving him any encouragement to pursue an encounter.”

So I have to be friendly, become an expert in body language, decipher mixed messages aaaaaaah! I don’t even know where to start.

Where can I even meet new people to date?

As Wendi is quick to point out, “There are mixed opinions about meeting potential dates online. Some have met their current spouses that way. Others have horror stories.” As dating apps have exploded in use over the last few years so has the number of romance frauds being reported, with victims collectively losing £50,760,000 in 2018 which in turn was almost a 30% increase on 2017. Identity checking and people search experts, 192.com, are reporting a large increase in the number of people using their Background Report to verify the details of someone they are dating.

Wendi recommends meeting people and connecting over common areas of interest. Take a course, or consider an organized holiday with a focus, such as a photography expedition. It is easier chatting to people who share your passion. Wendi is in The Divorce Club in London but friends of hers have joined hiking, cooking and film groups through MeetUp.com. Go online and search.

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It is a bit of a cliché, but what about the workplace romance? Wendi worked in a large hospital as a trauma nurse and saw lots of dating and even some marriages, including her own, but she advises caution, “You have to be careful on the job. Companies have different policies about dating co-workers. Relationships between a supervisor and a person working under them might not be allowed. Often people at the same company can date another from a different department. Be clear what the rules are on this issue.”

What other options do I have if I want to get back on the dating scene? Wendi is encouraging, “You can let friends play matchmaker. If blind dates are not your thing, then meet the woman in a group setting. Much less pressure. You can discover whether or not you click, and then take it from there”. 

Thanks Wendi for your ideas.

So dating after divorce is a little more complex and your children are still your priority so if you are just beginning to hanker after getting back out there do get some therapy/life coaching to address stuff that you don’t want to repeat. Still consider attending a divorce recovery group like Restored Lives even if you are dating. Enjoy yourselves but if you are a newly dating Dad have a quick think about Ian’s suggestions of things to avoid below to help make sure your children are supported.

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About the Contributors

Wendi Schuller is author of The Global Guide To Divorce and the first in the children’s series, Jack Jack The Jungle Cat.  She is a dating consultant and podcast at datingcoach.coach

Ian Soars is CEO of Dad.info and Fegans and is motivated to share his expertise to help your children deal with your divorce and draw on his experience to give you a perspective on the long game of having relationships with your children as they develop into adults.

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