At some point after your divorce, you toy with the scary thought of dating. You may shy away from it for a while or you may choose to dive right in and meet all those “fish in the sea.” I chose to hold off and focus on cleaning up my divorce’s emotional debris. We all do what we do for our own personal reasons. There’s no right way… just the way that’s right for each of us.

While you have control over when, whom and how you “get back in the ring” so to speak, the same cannot be said for our ex. We don’t have any say over their dating timeline or choices. This may prove to be tough. My ex’s personal life was no longer any of my business but it was most certainly of concern to me if it poked or pierced the bubble that I wanted my children to stay in. It’s tough when you have no control over choices that impact your kids. I didn’t have any say over who he introduced into their lives. I simply had to hope for the best and trust that he would exercise good judgement.

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I would imagine that my ex dated quite a bit after we split up, but I really don’t know. All I know is that one day, my children (ages 8 and 10 at the time) came home and told me that they were going to meet Daddy’s new girlfriend. The transition from insignificant other to significant other is a multi-stepped process in my opinion, and this is the first step. How you handle this step is crucial. While his new relationship had nothing at all to do with me, I knew that my reaction would help shape my children’s reaction to her. If I displayed skepticism or distrust towards his girlfriend, so too would my children. Instead, I showed my kids that I was excited for them and Daddy and I told them that she must be very special to Daddy if he wanted them to meet her. Step 1 had now been successfully completed.

A few more months down the line, and my children were now spending a long weekend with Daddy and the not so new anymore girlfriend. And better still, I would get to meet her when they came to pick up the kids. I was now at another critical juncture in this process and I had a day to mentally prepare. Thankfully, the meeting went well. She got out of the car, I approached her with a smile, and friendly “hello” and then I hugged her. I felt that it was important for my kids to see this. If they saw me accepting her, then I hoped they would follow suit.

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About Heather Feldstein

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