If you’re a divorced dad you’ve been through some major life experiences: the wedding, the baby (ies), and the divorce. Now here you are, looking for love again, and the opportunity hopefully to get it right.
You’ve met and dated a few women in the same boat, but no luck. Then you encounter a younger childless beauty. She takes you back to the days when you were analyzing less, and more open to freely falling in love. Youth is on her side, and she doesn’t come with the responsibilities you do. If she were packing for the love flight, her only baggage would be a carry-on. This woman has quite a few options when it comes to dating. How are you going to make her yours?
She didn’t decide to go out with you because she wants to change diapers or deal with your ex-wife. You must be pretty exceptional to have gotten her attention. Keep it up. Stay positive, be charming, and show her you’ve learned a thing or two that you can now apply to this relationship. A man like you can cook, remember dates, and compliment. Use all that experience to your advantage to edge out others who are clueless.
This one may really not be up to you. Having children means this woman is in your life for good; exceptions excluded. Maybe you have a great relationship with her, and you co-parent in happy harmony. Chances are, if you have not gotten serious with anyone since the divorce, all the emotional ties may not have been cut. Your new girlfriend will sense this right away. Women are like bloodhounds when it comes to sniffing out an intruder in the backyard. Be respectful of the new woman in your life, and draw the boundaries that are necessary. This means no fixing your ex-wife’s sink, no more ½ hour phone calls, and abiding to a visitation schedule that will make your new girlfriend comfortable in the transition. Remember, for someone who hasn’t been through the same thing, this new situation will be a big adjustment.
On the other hand, maybe your ex-wife can’t stand the thought of you being with anyone else, and wants to make your life miserable. This will make your new girlfriend’s situation even harder to adjust to. Be very understanding of her feelings, and do what you can to make sure your ex acts like an adult.
THE KID (S)
After the divorce, you may have given your kids extra attention or leeway because you wanted to compensate for what they had to go through. This doesn’t apply to every divorced dad, but many become a bit more flexible and forgiving when it comes to setting rules. Make sure your children are showing your new love the respect she deserves. Don’t’ be afraid to reprimand them if they cross the line, since this will be an adjustment for them as well. Your kids should be top priority, but focusing on your new relationship and the feelings of your partner are also important. Well-adjusted and behaved children will make for a calmer and happier household. Don’t be afraid to seek counseling if things are too tough to work through on your own.
Everyone deserves to be happy in love. Life happens and things can get complicated. Following the above guidelines will help you sustain a lasting relationship with the woman who makes you feel it’s all worth it again.