Dating after divorce can be complicated. Dating after divorce when you have children is even more complicated. Nothing draws real life in more than trying to coordinate a Tinder date around custody schedules.
Custody decrees are cock blocks as the standard alternating schedule essentially prevents single moms from dating single dads. When my kid goes with her dad on Thursdays and every other weekend, the rest of the divorce-life-kids go with their dads. Getting kid free time means hiring sitters, trying to swap time with the ex, or attempting to find the rare moment when all the kids are at school/activities/playdates.
Dating with kids also means wondering when it’s appropriate to introduce your offspring to your special person. The best answer I have for that question is: it depends.
I have dated some men for years who have never met my daughter.
I have dated other men who met her before a romantic connection had even started.
I have dated other men who I integrated into her life labeled as my friends. The foundation of all my romantic relationships is friendship, so this doesn’t seem too big of a stretch.
In the few years since my marriage ended, my kid has known about one date I went on (she never met him) and one man who I briefly dated but quickly converted to friendship (she met him once at an ice cream shop).
I’m clear with her that I do not plan to get remarried, have a live-in partner, or have a typical ‘boyfriend.’ But, I want her to know that I think men are wonderful and would like to model for her – in an age-appropriate way- what healthy dating looks like. As she is getting older, we share our ‘crushes’ with each other and discuss what we like about them.
This past weekend we spent a large chunk of the morning at a farmer’s market with a special man and his two young sons. He and I snuck sweet glances at each other while the kids played and laughed. We introduced each other as friends. Maybe things will develop into something we need to share with our children. Maybe not. Either way, all five of us left with smiles on our faces. It was modern dating at it’s best.