Dating Expert Advice to Dads Dating Again After Divorce
Happy Father’s Day! In honor of Father’s Day, I thought I’d respond to some of the recent requests, emails, and comments wondering about how divorced dads can present themselves well dating again after divorce. How can you put your best dating foot forward? And how can you manage that while still being a good dad?
If you’re a single dad dating again now after a divorce, you have a number of variables to consider, manage, and juggle.
How many children do you have?
How old are they?
How often do you have them?
Now, one of the things I’m going to suggest to you ever so gently is to go on some actual dates even when it’s your custody time with your kids.
You might already be struggling and straining against my saying that. Perhaps your kids are super young, such as under two years old.
Ok, well, let’s just assume your kids are over the age of 3 years old, The Age of Consciousness. They are actually now taking in your behavior and example and remembering it. You are now further shuddering and worrying about the potential years of therapy ahead which they might need as you are painfully aware of every daily mistake or error you are making as a father. Don’t worry. Kids are flexible and adaptable. As you learn better, and retrain and tell them, “Daddy learned better to do it differently now,” they will just flex and be fine with the new behavior quite often. You don’t have to be a perfect father to be a great father.
You are breathing normally again now…. I can tell.
OK, your kids are over 3 years old. Now what?
So, I want to suggest to you that around the time that you are quasi-serious about a woman, that you need to take her out on a Saturday night (just think major night because I do have a number of readers in Resort cities like Las Vegas where Las Vegans have funky work schedules. Sat nite for you might really be Mon nite. Just take the principle and apply it locally to your life.) when your kids are with you in your custody for this 7 day or 14 day period.
Because you want to gently put it on their radar screen that Dad Has a Life. And Dad Has a Romantic Life. No biggie. You’re not announcing an engagement here. You want them to both to see you dating so they kinda sortah get used to the idea that Dad Dates.
Additionally, you want them to get used to the idea and model it for them that, “Yes, Virginia, Adults Date.” So they see a bit of the behavior. How you prepared. They will start to ask you questions. “Dad, why are you shaving again? You already shaved this morning?” And, “Dad, why did you shower again? Didn’t you get clean this morning?” “Dad, why are you all dressed up in a suit and tie?” As you show them how to tie a tie, likely Windsor Knot. “Flowers! Wow, those sure are pretty and they smell good. What’re they for?” “Well Geoffrey, Dad has a date with a Lady tonight. Gentlemen dress up nicely to take women out on a date. And they want to behave graciously, like gentlemen, like I’ve shown you with Grandma. And we give them flowers sometimes to show that. To show her she is special. Like when you give Grandma a rose on Mother’s Day. It’s like that.”
Yeah, little Geoffrey will start asking you about what is a “date,” because remember Barney isn’t dating and I don’t know if it’s on Bob the Builder or not, any kind of Boy/Girl feelings and behavior. You can always say, “That’s enough explaining for tonight. I’ll tell you more next time you’re over at Dad’s house. Ok champ?”
What is they are around 8 years old? 12 years old, or full fledged teens? I’ll cover that some more in forthcoming blog posts. Check back tomorrow for more tales from the frontlines of dating!
Happy Dating and Relationships,
As seen in Dating for Dummies, 3rd Edition
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