Dating and Your Kids – How Much to Say and When

One of the most delicate balances you have to finesse if you start to date again is dealing with your children.

Except in the cases of some truly vitriolic divorces, most of the time your sons and daughters (and grandchildren!) want you to be happy.  But, sometimes they don’t want you to be too happy, too soon.  There is always the discomfort of ‘replacing’ their mother that may linger longer than your personal desire to reach out again socially.   There is nothing you can do to hasten a child’s grieving timetable when divorce or death takes a parent.  However, you have your own grieving to tend to as well.  Respect your kids’ feelings but don’t delay your own pursuit of happiness unreasonably.

In a Suddenly Solo study of 300 divorced or widowed men, all over 55, 37% of divorced guys starting dating within 1-6 months of their becoming single. However, only 10% of the widowers started to date in that same period. Thirty nine percent (39%) of the widowers waited from 7-18 months to begin dating.

Fortunately, as Suddenly Solos, most of our children are of an age that they understand the concept of their father starting to date again after some period of time.  But that doesn’t mean they need to know all the details!  Don’t think it is necessary to call them after every date and recount your experiences . . . especially as you become more active in the social scene.   Initially, your kids will probably like to know you are “out there” and even if your first foray isn’t great, be sure to relate even that experience was a good learning experience!  They’ll appreciate that you are not giving up on the process.

It is certainly not in anyone’s best interest to introduce your kids to a new woman unless you are in a more than a casual relationship.  You will likely only make your lady uncomfortable with arranging such a meeting too quickly.   If you are, “going steady” with a woman, then you might note that in a phone conversation or in email with your kids.  Mention that you are, “going out with Phyllis again” to get them used to hearing her name if has been more than three dates.  If you are going away as a couple, you should certainly tell your kids so they at least know where you are!


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