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What and When to Tell the Kids About Your Dating and Partners

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Dad Hugging Daughter
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One of the more difficult parts of the process of getting back into the dating scene is dealing with your children. Kids seeing their divorced parents beginning to date again often feel their own brand of rejection. They fear that dad will stop loving them if he loves someone else. They may be used to having dad all to themselves on their weekends with him (or at home if he is the custodial parent) and may worry about being replaced or alone.

Remember, the kids are usually the innocent victims in a broken marriage and family, and it is our first responsibility to meet their needs and take care of them. So it is important to be sensitive to their concerns and fears.

Here are a few ideas to help you deal with the kids once you decide to date again.

"She is a friend." We talked earlier about going slowly in the dating process. You should not be looking for a love interest at the beginning, only for friends of the opposite gender. Keep the friendships at that level, and you can honestly talk to the kids about your new friend long before she is a girlfriend.

Don't introduce them to everyone or too early. As you "play the field" at the beginning, leave the kids out of the equation. Wait to introduce them to your friends until the relationship has developed a little-like the fifth or sixth date. You don't want to hide things from them, but if they are aware and introduced to everyone you date, then they will be confused.

No overnight visitors. This is a cardinal rule if the kids are with you. Once relationships begin to deepen, don't bring your date home for the night and for breakfast the next morning. This level of intimacy would be very disconcerting to the kids and would communicate all the wrong messages.

Talk and listen a lot. You may become aware of concerns, objections or fears on the part of your children as you begin to date again. Make sure you create opportunities to talk and listen with the kids individually or as a group. Remember the rule of active listening - seek first to understand before seeking to be understood.

Learn more about dating for divorced dads.

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  7. Dating for Divorced Dads - What and When to Tell the Kids About Your Dating and Partners

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