Couples get together with the very best of intentions, full of hopes and dreams, white picket fences, 2.5 kids, or even a penthouse uptown.
A life together, a future as a team, and perhaps some little people added to the mix.
But when you are ready to start dating and developing relationships again, the dating scene for a divorced dad is loaded with pitfalls.
Divorced dads have some real challenges when entering the world of dating: a more-than-likely sour experience from the divorce and perhaps some negative feelings about women in general; a lack of recent experience in this arena and accompanying nervousness; often a self-esteem problem stemming from the divorce; and children, whether or not you are the custodial parent.
So figuring out when and how to start dating after a divorce can be a real dilemma for a divorced dad.
Many dads take a long time to recover before they are ready to date again; and some are ready within a few weeks or months.
Single parent adoption or fostering is also sometimes an option for single adults who want to raise a family.
The demographics of single parenting show a general increase worldwide in children living in single parent homes.
Worse, in a lot of situations, far from "having your back", your ex can be eagerly waiting to point out your failings, digging that knife in just a bit deeper, while telling the children "daddy has issues, but at least you have me." I think it's tougher on us men, however, because we aren't raised to nurture and be empathetic.
Consider golf, stage plays, a board game night, and so forth. This is one of the most common faux pas committed by divorced dads. You need to look forward, not back, and it is an easy way to destroy an otherwise positive evening. No matter how much you miss sex or physical affection, commit yourself to no one night stands and to developing friendships first. Just knowing it’s likely to occur makes it easier to resist. Let’s face it—you will have to date lots of women before you find another long term partner.
It is important for you, and for your children, that you start the dating process slowly and that you don’t have overnight visitors. And that means that you will reject some, and some will reject you. One of the more difficult parts of the process of getting back into the dating scene is dealing with your children.
I once listened in on one of these conversations, which included a few exchanges on how to resist the temptation to hunt down the boy with a weapon (“Go bowling, and pretend each pin is him”).
Then one father piped up with his story: My daughter began wanting to date a boy her age earlier this year (she was 14).