Tag Archives: remarry

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?