Dating During Divorce
Divorce can be an opportunity for new beginnings, and while dating can provide a welcome distraction from the emotional turmoil, it also presents its own set of issues and complications to add onto an already difficult process.
Dating during divorce can have a negative effect on property division and alimony proceedings, as well as make it more challenging to come to an agreement regarding child custody and parenting time.
Don’t Get Pregnant or Impregnated
Pregnancies or impregnating someone during your divorce process can be a stressful experience. It is best to avoid this scenario at all costs, as it could delay the divorce until after the baby is born and negatively impact child custody and support arrangements.
Furthermore, you will miss out on the emotional and physical support a spouse can offer during a pregnancy. Even if you don’t go through divorce, having an established support structure during this time is essential for managing feelings and adapting to changes that come with being pregnant.
Be mindful not to introduce your children to a new love interest during the divorce process. Not only can this lead your kids to become emotionally confused, but it could also cause them to reject prior agreements or change their minds about the divorce altogether.
Don’t Introduce Your Children to a New Love Interest
Children need time to heal from divorce, so it is important not to introduce your new love interest too soon. Take into account how long since the split, the age of your children, and your level of commitment to the person you’re dating.
If you’re uncertain how to introduce your children to your new partner, consult a therapist or counselor for advice. A child-centric approach will make it easier for the kids to feel at ease around both of you.
According to renowned researcher Constance Ahrons, children of divorced parents often find their parent’s courtship behaviors confusing and strange. Younger children (under age 10) may feel confused, angry or sad; possessive of their parents could make them feel unsecure; thus introducing a new love interest too soon could increase conflict in the home that could hinder healing efforts.
Don’t Bring Your New Love Interest to Court
Dating during divorce is generally discouraged as it adds to the cost, complexity and stress of finalization. Judges rarely punish people for beginning sexual relationships or platonic friendships after physically and permanently separating from their spouse, but they may choose to include these situations in the proceedings in order to prevent distractions during trial.
If you have children from your marriage, dating during divorce can be especially harmful to their wellbeing. This is because it could demonstrate that you lack empathy for their feelings.
It can also make it more challenging for you to coparent and share custody with your former spouse. They might not be able to reach an agreement over asset division and alimony, or even agree on when to spend time with your kids if they live with you.
Don’t Be Honest With Potential Romantic Partners
Though it may be tempting to enter into a new relationship during divorce, it’s best to wait until your feelings have settled down. Dating during an emotionally charged time can leave you feeling depressed and empty; thus, delaying until after healing ensures no one puts you or your children in any potential harm’s way.
Trust is the foundation of any relationship, and trust requires allowing someone into your most vulnerable moments. Although this can be challenging when feeling vulnerable after divorce, it is necessary for a lasting bond.
Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW, emphasizes the importance of being honest with your new romantic partner about any issues from past relationships. This includes any cheating issues, mental health issues and anything else that might make your current partner hesitant to trust you.