Post-Divorce Dating With Children: How and Where to Meet People
So you're getting divorced, or you're already divorced, and you have children. You've started thinking about the future and how you might like to start dating at some point, but you're wondering how long to wait before you start dating, how to meet someone, how to know the other person is safe, how to balance your own wants and needs with those of your children, how to tell your children you're dating again, and how and when to introduce your children to your new significant other. This blog series explores those questions and more, not from a legal perspective so much as from a practical and emotional perspective.
I've been out of the dating scene for years because I've been, you know, married. I'm ready to get back out there, but I'm not sure how or where to meet potential partners. Any tips?
The best place to meet somebody to date, for lots of reasons, is a place you go in your everyday life. Where you meet someone sets the tone for the whole relationship, and you are more likely to have a lot in common with people you meet at places you go to often. Commonalities increase the chances a relationship will succeed. If you are a person of faith, your church or house of worship is potentially a good place to meet someone who shares your faith and values. If you are a bookworm, a bookstore or poetry reading is a good place to meet someone who shares your love of the written word. If you're artistic, it might be a pottery class. If you're an extrovert, open mic karaoke night might be a good place.
You get the idea. The point is to keep your eyes open in the places you already are. It feels less artificial than seeking out a potential partner in a dance club or other environment geared toward "hooking up" where you or your potential dating partner are probably wearing "beer goggles" anyway. Many people coming out of a marriage find that hooking up no longer holds the same interest for them as it did before they got married. They're older, wiser, and frankly less hormonal...and the dating pool in the club seems somewhat juvenile in light of all that.
What about online dating?
There are positives and negatives to meeting someone online. Studies tell us that between 1/5 and 1/3 of newlyweds meet each other online and that married couples who met online are slightly happier than the average married couple, so clearly it works for a lot of people. Sites like eHarmony will even match you with people who have similar interests, values, and/or personalities to you. Dating online can be easier for busy parents, too, because it can be squeezed in between other commitments.
What you want to do, if you're inclined to date online, is make sure to protect yourself. The main risks of online dating are catfishing and threats to physical safety because the other person is basically a stranger. You can take steps to protect yourself by conducting a background check on any person you date, always meeting in a public place, and asking for personal references to make sure the person is really who he or she says. Of course, none of these are foolproof, but these are some common-sense tips on how to date online safely.