Managing Your Single Life with Children

Now that you’re divorced, what do you do? You start over. The lifestyle that you were accustomed to is over and it’s time for you to make decisions about how you will carry on with your life. Everything is affected by the divorce, from meal times to holidays. All of these things must now be restructured for you as a single parent. Some of these changes may not go the way that you want them to go, but if you want your children to grow in a healthy environment, you must make some sacrifices. Eventually, you’ll want to move on to a new life. Divorce means starting over. It doesn't have to be a grim ending to your life.

Dating Again
Many people who are new to divorce make the mistake of jumping into a new relationship before the ink is even dry on the divorce papers. This is a mistake. Everyone in a divorce situation needs some time to settle before they begin a new intimate relationship. Each individual needs to take care of some specific needs before jumping into something they may regret.

When you think about dating again, remember a parent is not being selfish if they want to spend some time with another person outside the family. If the child sees that you are unhappy because you are alone, then the child will in turn become unhappy. The child may not know what is troubling you, but they will sense that you are unhappy.

When is it Time to Date
The right time to start dating will be different for everyone. Most people just know when the time is right. Dating may not have changed since you were younger, but the places that you meet people may be different. It may be a time to join some new organizations.

Telling the Children you are Dating
Grown-ups have friends also. It is important that you tell your children that you have friends that are not only the same sex as you but also the opposite sex as you. If you have younger children you may want to explain it to them in terms of friends, but if you have older children you may want to explain it to them more as a need for a relationship. Older children will generally understand that you need something more.

Don’t expect that the children will be thrilled about your wanting to date. Most children have the hopes that their parents will eventually get back together. Eventually they will understand that you need to begin dating and they will most likely accept it.

Introductions
When is it the best time to introduce your relationship partner to your children? It is probably a good time when you know that the relationship is a steady one. Normally for the first couple of dates, it might be a good idea to meet the person somewhere other than your home.

If the relationship begins to get serious, you may want this significant other to spend some time with your children so that your children can get to know him or her. It’s important to see how this person interacts with your children. If the interactions do not go well you may want to reconsider the relationship.

It’s also important that your children understand that the relationship with this person may not work out. Children can become very attached. If this happens and your relationship does not work out, the child may experience feelings similar to the divorce.

Don't worry if your child does not like this person, and persists on going against the wishes of your new partner. This is quite normal. Remember that children will do as much as they can to try and get their parents back together. So keep talking to your child.

Living Arrangements
Your new partner may want to move in together. If your children don't like that idea you may want to wait. Remember that they are still becoming accustomed to being without their other parent. Your children need to be in an environment that is predictable, and moving them into someone else's house may be a wrong choice.

If you are looking at it from a legal standpoint, the courts may approve of you moving into your new partner’s home if you are engaged. But if the relationship is a new one, then the court may look at you poorly in your custody battle.