August 31, 2004
Dating after a divorce can be a tricky thing if you have children. Even if both parents are doing a good job of maintaining a relationship with their children, divorce is a disruption. When and how do you introduce the person you’re dating to your children? Dr. Phil offers advice:
You have to be extremely careful about two things:
1) Allowing your kids to meet the new person in your life.
2) Allowing your kids to bond with that person unless and until you know or can predict with fair confidence that this is going to be a long-term relationship.
If you’re a single mother, for example, and you introduce your new boyfriend to your children, they can immediately attach themselves to that man because they may be really hungry for male attention. If your new boyfriend bonds with your kids, and then you break up, he’s suddenly gone from their lives. And then you date the next man and bring him by, and before you know it, it can seem like “revolving door dads” to your kids, who may feel abandoned or confused.
It’s understandable that you want a responsible male in your children’s lives, but be careful that you don’t do it too soon. It’s OK for them to meet someone special to you, but keep that person at arm’s length and don’t allow the bonding to take place unless you have a reasonable expectancy that your relationship is going to be long-term.