Advice on dating after divorce with children

From the start, Cathy said little about her father's growing relationship with a new woman."I didn't really want her to know much in case it didn't work out," he recalls.

Gary Neuman agrees that casually introducing every date to a kid is a bad idea; equally wrong, he believes, is minimizing the importance of a new love interest.

Children who "discover" that their parents are in loveoften feel betrayed when the situation reveals itself.

It is an argument for honest, direct dialogue with kids about new relationships: Why Mom or Dad wants one, what Mom or Dad will doif a new relationship becomes serious, and how Mom or Dad's relationship with the child will be affected. had been divorced for six years when she announced to her children that she was thinking ofstarting to date again."They fell on the floor laughing," she recalls.

"They told me I was too old to date."Since then, Eva and her 13-year-old son have had many discussions about her relationships with menand his with girls.

On theother hand, casually introducing Sally or Pete at a huge Christmas party might not give kids a true senseof how important the relationship really is.

Suddenly single lonesome nights beget thoughts of getting back out there.

There are a number of things to consider before taking the jump.

First, you are either beginning, in the middle of, or have just finished one of the most emotional events of a lifetime.

Already anxious about the changes in their lives due to the divorce, and often feeling closer to a parent than they did before, they may now feel that a trusthas been broken -- exactly at the point when trust and reassurance are most needed. Rather than forgo romance, Neuman and parents interviewed for this article suggest addressing children's concerns head-on before dating begins: Make sure the introduction of your new significant other takes place only after you've had a privateconversation with your child about the relationship.

Then, Neuman suggests choosing a setting where the focus will be on an activity, not "getting to know each other better." Meeting at a playground or going to see a baseball game will be easier for kids than making conversation with a stranger in a restaurant.

The reasonis simple: A child's own identity is very much tied to that of his family.

Tags: , ,