At some point after your divorce, you might begin to think about dating again. You may shy away from it for a while or you may choose to dive right in and meet all the “fish in the sea.” As for me, I chose to hold off and focus on cleaning up my divorce’s emotional debris. There’s no right way… just the way that’s right for each individual.
While you have control over when, with whom, and how you “get back in the ring” of dating, the same cannot be said for your ex. We don’t have any say over their dating timeline or choices. This is one of the toughest situations I’ve had to face. My ex’s personal life was no longer any of my business but it stops me from worrying about his choices and how it would impact our children. It’s tough when you have no control over choices that impact your kids. I simply had to hope for the best and trust that he would exercise good judgment.
My ex was the first one to start dating. I knew it would happen eventually but it hit me like a brick wall when my children (ages 8 and 10 at the time) came home and told me that they were going to meet daddy’s new girlfriend. I wanted to panic and call my ex immediately but I knew my kids were paying attention to the way I react to the news. While my ex’s 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, my children would as well. Instead, I showed my kids that I was excited for them and I told them that she must be very special to daddy if he wanted them to meet her.
A few months later, it was my turn to meet the girlfriend. My ex called to let me know his girlfriend would be with him when he came to pick up the kids and asked if it was okay. Of course, I said yes! I wanted to meet the woman my children were spending half of their time with. I remember my hands shaking when my ex pulled up with her in the car. I was now at another critical point as my kids would witness our first interaction. I took a deep breath, smiled, and walked my kids out to the car. 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.
It’s easy to hold a grudge towards my ex and blame him for the divorce. But, it takes work, a lot of patience, and a stash of chocolate to take the high road and face everything with my children’s best intentions in mind. It’s definitely not easy, but well worth it in the end.