Tag Archives: dating

What To Consider Before Dating Or Remarriage

“It’s not you, it’s me.”

I sat down the two decaf Americanos from Lux on the round table in his office, just as I had several times before.  I buy the coffee and he gives me his time and good counsel at the end of his work day.

Photo Credit: - luz - via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: – luz – via Compfight cc

My friend and I had both experienced the pain of divorce, and while our stories differed we shared several commonalities.  His divorce happened nearly 20 years before mine and he was kind enough to walk the journey with me.

This meeting occurred after my divorce, and I had recently gone out on a date with a single mom – my first date since the separation and divorce.  I cannot say I was excited about the prospects of having to begin dating all over again, but I recounted the date and the woman with enthusiasm.

I described her personality, her background, her job with great care, not wanting to miss a detail, as if I intended to have my friend vote for her for some pageant or competition.

I can see my friend’s face as clearly as when we sat in his office that day.  He expressed some level of happiness just to see me so enthusiastic.  When I finished, however, he sat quietly.  He paused longer than I had expected.  Then he spoke words I would not forget and would repeat often to myself and others.

“No matter how wonderful she is and how different she is from your ex-wife, the most important factor in any successful relationship  you enter depends on how much you have changed and grown from how you were before.”

My friend knew every detail of how I contributed to my marriage’s failure.  He knew the pain and guilt.  He saw my progress.  He needed to remind me not to place the burden of a successful relationship on anyone else but me.

Both of us know it takes two.  But for me, dipping my toe back in the dating pool, the reminder was essential.

I needed to know exactly who I was in the relationship and not pretend a new face would ensure success.

Not long after, my friend moved away for work and I miss him dearly.  I want to thank him again for speaking words of wisdom and investing in me – it made a difference.

Did you begin dating again before you were ready?  How did you know when you were ready?  Who do you have in your life to give you wise counsel?

Will You Please Remarry Mom?

When will my kids be ready for me to date again?

Several months after my divorce, my son and I took one of our routine trips to the zoo.  I bought a membership to the Phoenix Zoo because I could take up to three kids, and my son always enjoyed having friends go with him.

But on this particular Saturday, only he and I went.  And as we entered the Savanna, teaming with giraffes and zebras, he asked if mom and I would get married again.

Photo by Jason

Photo by Jason

No matter the circumstance of the divorce and the feelings your ex may stir up inside, having an innocent child ask this question in hopes of the family reuniting and returning to the “old normal” can really turn on the guilt (and sympathy for your kid).

I stared at the giraffe for a few seconds, giving me time to could come up with a wise and comforting answer.

“No, buddy.  We won’t get married again.  Look!  Do you think that poop is from a giraffe or a zebra?”

Not exactly Dr. Phil, but I figured it best to answer and quickly divert.  It worked.

My son had asked the same question several times over the preceding months.  I answered in a similar fashion, trying to be consistent and empathetic: following up the statement with a touch or a hug.

My son (and, frankly, I) had more healing to do before contemplating dating.  Here are a few of those thoughts specifically related to my son:

  • He did not need to know if and when I decided to date.  This may be a function of your kid’s age and maturity, but I saw no reason to bring my son into my dating life.  If I had a date, he had a sitter and just knew dad was going out.  I did not provide details unless he asked, and then I told him I was having dinner with someone he did not know.  Usually, the conversation ended there.
  • When one date turned into multiple dates, I continued to keep it quiet.  Someone gave me some great advice…do not introduce your kid to someone you date (or their kids) until well into the relationship because if it ends, your kid may go through the equivalent of another divorce.  It is possible to have them meet and interact, even on a regular basis, but keep the relationship platonic in front of the kids.  The thrill of dating, especially when it begins to get more serious, can make you want to bring your kid into the relationship to check compatibility and just enjoy everyone being together.  But be sensitive to how your kid will react if it ends – another loss.
  • He needed me to be continue being a dad.  Enjoy dating, but be sure to set aside one-on-one time with your kid every day and make him a top priority.

How have your kids reacted to you dating or getting remarried?  What did you do to break the news?

When Should A Single Dad Start Dating?

As my son and I made the two hour drive from Tucson to Phoenix, I got lost in the music and the monotonous white dotted lines.

Out of the blue, my son startled me by loudly calling “Dad!”

I turned down the music and asked what he wanted.

“I know how you can get a girlfriend.”

“Oh, really?”

“Yes,” he declared with all the confidence in the world.  “All you do is go on the computer, type in eHarmony.com and give some pertinent information.  Then they find you a girlfriend.”

Inside, I roared with laughter.  On the outside, I thanked him and told him I was not sure I needed their help, but appreciated his concern and for sharing.  And, of course, I asked him where he heard about eHarmony.

My son informed me of this amazing dating tool about three years after the divorce and after about a year of asking me when I planned to get married again.

Photo Credit: The Grapes of Jason via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: The Grapes of Jason via Compfight cc

I, on the other hand, dated for a short time right after the divorce and then, after realizing I was not ready to date, took some time off to really focus on being a dad.  What my son did not know at the time of his suggestion was I was dating someone at the time – covertly – and chose not to tell him until both she and I decided to tell our kids.

Another story for another day.

Back to the matter at hand, immediately following the divorce, many well-intentioned friends and family wanted the best for me and began suggesting women I could date.  Everyone has a “friend” I should meet.

About the last thing I wanted to do after the divorce was get back into a relationship.  When I started dating someone a few months after the divorce, it became clear after a short time I was not ready.

So, when should a single dad get back in the dating game?  Let me offer a few thoughts:

  • Do not get into dating to medicate or try to fill the void from the loss of your spouse.  You should take some time getting comfortable with yourself and finding contentment with being a single dad.
  • Make sure you have a few close friends and/or family who will give you honest feedback about your readiness.  Maybe even consider some counseling.
  • Take the time to write down what you want in a future spouse and include non-negotiables. This way, once you begin dating, you can refer back to the list and make it harder to settle for less than you and your kids deserve.
  • Do not let others, including your kids, guilt you into dating or make you feel like you should be healed and ready to go.  They probably want the very best for you, and feel free to tell them you are not ready, but thanks for caring.

When, if ever, did you know you were ready to date again following the loss of your spouse?  Did you get pressure to date from friends and family before you were ready?