How to Handle Resentful Children While Dating Again

by Relationships & Family Editor

Introducing your children to a new girlfriend or boyfriend, or telling them that you are ready to date again, can be a little tricky. Younger children may become confused with the role that your new friend may play in your life, and older children may be put off by the idea of a parent who is actively dating. By keeping the lines of communication open, you will be able to handle resentful children while you start dating again.

Sit down and discuss your wish to resume dating with you children before you go on a single date. Just because you feel emotionally ready to move on with your life doesn't mean that your kids will feel the same way. Remember, they've traveled down the same emotional road that you have, and may not be able to resolve some of their issues and concerns as quickly as you have.

Stress the fact that you are not looking for a replacement for your former spouse, but merely an addition to your life. Some children may grow resentful about your dating habits if they think you're looking for their next mother or father. Just tell them that you are looking for new friends and companions with whom you can have fun and share experiences.

Time your introductions right for the best chances of success. If introductions are made too soon in the relationship, you risk hurting your children's feelings if they become emotionally attached to the new person and things don't work out. If you wait too long, your children may become resentful about not knowing about the relationship until it became serious.

Create strict boundaries when you handle how your date interacts with your children. For instance, a woman who instantly tries to mother your children will be met with resistance and anger, not to mention confusion. Likewise, a man who barks orders at them will be instantly despised.

Remember that you are setting an example for your children when they become old enough to date. Ensure that you are not sending them any mixed messages about dating, such as telling them one rule about dating while ignoring the rule yourself. Handle your children while you date again by being a good role model.

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Tip

  • If you have joint custody of your children, you may want to schedule your dating activities while they are staying with your ex.