Ah, post-divorce dating. It can be exciting and daunting; it can be fun and frustrating. But what to do when you meet someone you like and you have kids? When can you introduce your new girlfriend to your kids? The answer: Wait longer than you think and longer than you’d like.
Wait until some time has passed after the divorce is finished. While you may have left the marriage emotionally some time before, the chances are your ex has not. Give them time–time to adjust, time to grieve, time to get accustomed to the new normal. So how long should you wait? I advise at least a year. A year after the divorce is final (not a year after you started the process) gives you and your children and your ex a chance to establish new lives, a new household, new traditions. It lets everyone get some space between the divorce and the aftermath.
It allows your ex to move past (or at least make some progress towards moving past) anger and resentment. It allows you to get yourself established in your new, single-parent life. It allows your kids to see each parent in their new spaces and their new roles, and helps them feel comfortable with the current situation.
While a year may seem like a long time to you and your new significant other, it’s no longer just about you: it’s about your kids. It’s about helping them process their new family situation, and the sadness and fear that come with it. A year is space enough to bring someone else in, gradually, slowly, which can only benefit your kids, your new relationship, and your new life.
For questions about life before, during or after divorce, contact the family law attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C.
*Or boyfriend. The same principle applies to all significant others. “Girlfriend” is used for ease of writing.