Being Single, Divorced or Widowed
Excerpt from our publication that may be ordered on this website:
There are several ways to look at this. At "Connections to a New Life" We are well aware of pitfalls that you may encounter. This chapter mentions just a single mother, but the same advice and information is meant also for a single Father.
You never thought you’d go on another date. But then, you never expected your partner would die or leave so soon, either. Thrown unexpectedly into the single life again, many divorced people, widows and widowers have a hard time imagining they can still be dating material, or that they could ever be sitting across the restaurant table getting to know someone new. And yet, the desire to connect with someone persists. The most challenging thing that comes to mind when you considered dating again, you are wondering who in the world would want a train wreck, mother/father of two, grieving widow/widower, like me! You have little confidence that anyone would ever be willing to step into your mess of a life.
Dating is tough for just about everybody, but it's even tougher for people who are divorced and widowed. Along with the fears of being "out of practice," there are often children's feelings to consider. How can a single parent enjoy a new romance without lying awake at night worrying about doing emotional damage to his/her children? Other questions enter your mind.
Questions like, how soon after divorce or the death of a spouse is it appropriate to start dating? It depends on the individual, but anyone going through these circumstances need to take the time to heal that feels right for themselves. And if there are children allow them time to heal as well. Communication with your children is extremely important in order for you all to move forward together. Some newly divorced or widowed people jump into relationships too early because they're afraid that they may end up being alone. That's almost always a mistake. MAKE SURE YOU TAKE THE TIME YOU NEED TO HEAL PROPERLY!
Other matters to consider before dating include waiting until estate matters have been handled, like insurance matters, review of the will, and the assignment of an executor or executrix, if necessary. The stress a new relationship can cause during this emotional time is not recommended.
The first year after a divorce is the time to re-group and focus on making new friendships. A woman can reflect on all the things she wanted to do when she was married but didn't. This is a rough time emotionally, but it helps to view it as a fresh start. It's the perfect time to re-develop a sense of self and decide what one really wants in life. A woman can consider what she hopes for in a new relationship and let go of the past in the process.
How long should the mother wait before introducing a new boyfriend to her children? As discussed elsewhere in this publication, I want to reiterate She should know him at least six months to a year. Otherwise, if she decides after dating him for 4 months that the relationship is going nowhere, the children will inevitably feel another loss. No child should be put through that after going through divorce or death of a parent. Children need time to heal as well. If the new man doesn't respect that, he's probably not great boyfriend material.
The first three months of any relationship is the honeymoon period. Everything is fresh and exciting. After around six months, the couple tends to relax and good behavior wears off. A woman gets to see what she's really dealing with. Before she introduces her new boyfriend to her children, she needs to find out what his goals are, to see if his values and beliefs are consistent with hers.
What is the best way to introduce a new boyfriend? Once a woman decides to start dating, she should explain it to each of her children in an age-appropriate manner. After she and a new partner have spent six months to a year together, she can start telling the children things about him, particularly what she likes about him or little stories about places they've gone together. This way the children understand that Mom is still Mom, which is critical, but they'll also see that she's happier. They will slowly make the adjustment that they may soon share her with somebody else. Inevitably, the children will become curious about him. They may ask to meet him. I think it is wise, to move slowly on this folks.
Children will often resent a new relationship for the simple reason that they now have to share their mother with someone else. A woman can reassure her children that even though she is going out, she is coming back home to them. She should continue to do the things with them she always did, before she even starts dating. It might help to hire a babysitter and use the afternoon to go shopping, just to get the children accustomed to seeing her go out.
Observing the children's reactions while the new man is around, should provide some clues to other causes of resentment. A woman should also gently ask her children why they don't like her new partner. She should remember, though, that some children may not know exactly how to express why they dislike someone. It's important to tread carefully. A new relationship is stressful for the whole family. If the children are really having a hard time with it, family counseling can get to the root of the problem, especially if all other avenues have been exhausted. The most important thing a single parent can do is to treat her children the same way she did before she met the new partner.
Get a room, unless the kids are at Dad's for the weekend. Children don't need to see some stranger coming out of Mom's room in the morning or their Dad's, either. A new relationship is exciting and the partners are certainly entitled to time alone, but a single parent must handle it delicately and deliberately. Her or his behavior will instruct the children about man, woman relationships in ways they will carry around with them for the rest of their lives.
In conclusion, there will be many obstacles along the way, you will need to deal with. That's why "Connections to a New Life” can play such an important role in your transition and how you handle these obstacles. We are very sensitive to your needs as you set sail in what you think, could be unchartered waters. Your life coaches use the "Been There, Done That" approach when it comes to advising you in the many complicated aspects of your everyday life. You should value your friends opinions, but it never hurts to have a trained, un-bias, third party to help you steer clear of the reefs.
Whatever problems you perceive, whether it is dating, employment issues or anything else life throws at you, we give you the tools to solve these and many other issues.