When it comes to dating after a divorce, there isn’t any right or wrong time, it has to be based on when you’re ready. So you’ve waited and now you’re ready and you’ve found the man that you feel there could be a permanent relationship. So you’ve invited him over to have pizza with you and the kids and everything seemed to have gone well.
But then as soon as the door shut and he was out of ear shot (or you hope he was anyway), your teenage daughter says “I don’t like him. He’s not coming back is he?” Wow! Where did that come from you’re asking yourself. Up until now, she’s been okay with your going out, after some initial grumbling and pouting.
Another Upset To Work Through
Remember your teenage daughter has already weathered one upset with the divorce. She’s made the transition finally, perhaps with some professional help and probably with a lot of tears. Now she’s settled into a new lifestyle and things are good, hence why you were finally able to pay attention to yourself.
Keep in mind that while life is going okay now, it still isn’t right in her mind. She still living in a one parent home and either sees her dad every other weekend or maybe not at all. To her, life is still upside down, it’s just flowing easier. So can you help her accept this new man in your life? We offer these three steps that each has a distinctive agenda:
First, you and your x-husband need to reassure your daughter that you both are still in her life and always will be.
Second, along with a close friend (not ‘him’) and take your daughter to a restaurant that is fairly empty where you can talk. Let her know that right now is the time to say whatever is on her mind about the situation. Whatever she if feeling, she needs to let it out. Some of the things she may say could be hurtful, so have your tough layer on.
Then let her know that all the things she is feeling or thinking are understandable and it’s okay. Both of you, (you and your friend) need put her concerns, feelings and thoughts into perspective. Let her know that it takes both the husband and wife to make a marriage work and both have fault when it doesn’t work.
After this has all transpired, ask her what it is about your new partner that she doesn’t like. Children can sometimes sense something about strangers that adults can’t, so listen with care and concern. So allow her to say whatever is on her mind and in her heart. And let her know that he is your partner now and you expect her to speak when spoken to, be polite and show the man respect.
Third, discuss your daughter’s feelings with your ex and ask him to talk to her about him. This will show your daughter that you and your husband are both moving on to the next chapter in your lives and it is okay that mom is dating now.