What’s the etiquette on divorce dating?

I got a note from an old friend saying some divorce dating topics on the blog would be helpful to her. Here’s what she wrote:

“Not sure if you know that I a divorced mom of 2 …  I have been on my own for several years and have been very careful with dating, integrating etc…  I have been dating someone for over a year and am now starting to integrate the kids into the picture.  I have been very slow in the process as I do not believe in parading men in and out of my kids life, etc…

Would love to hear thoughts on…

1.  How long should you wait to introduce the kids to someone your dating? …

2.  How long should you wait to have “spend the nights” with the person you are dating and your kids.  Should you have a talk with your kids beforehand….  Should you ease into it… have the person start with the couch and then move to the bedroom???

3.  Steps to make sure that the person you are dating is a good fit for you and for your kids.  I do not think people think this through…  Can they handle day-to-day life with the chaos that kids bring – from sibling fights, every day chatter, activities, etc….”

So ladies (and gentlemen) gives us your thoughts on my friend’s questions. I’m sure you all will have some good insight into what has worked and what hasn’t!

340 comments Add your comment

Becky

January 15th, 2010
9:40 am

When I was with my ex, there were no children in that relationship, so whenever he went out of town to work, I could go with him..We could pack up at any time and go anywhwere..With my husband now, we have taken on 2 “grandchildren”..I wouldn’t trade the old life of being able to go at anytime to the life that we have now..Everyone laughed at us when my nephew had twins and when they were about a month old, we started keeping them every weekend, that was 7 years ago…Except now we get them some during the week also, so it’s lots more fun..

So as for the topic, I don’t know that I can really give any good answers..Like someone else said, you just have to figure out yourself when the time is right..I’m 48 and haven’t really dated that much..One guy in high school, my first husband (11 years) and my now husband (17 years)..

JJ, good to see you on here to visit..Hope all went well for you and your daughter during the holiday season..Have a great New Year..

Julia

January 15th, 2010
9:41 am

Here is a good one for you all. My idiot ex husband was dating a woman was way older than him. She could have been is moms sister. Well several years ago, his dad out of the blue asked her to marry him – at the thanksgiving table in front of my son not even talking to him before hand. The poor kid about had a stroke!

Bobby

January 15th, 2010
9:44 am

JJ I don’t quite understand that your daughter has just reconnected with her father after 13 years – doesn’t seem overly thrilled with it. Yet, she wants him to help buy her a car? Huh? I understand that he’s been MIA but, if it were me, I wouldn’t ask or rely on him for ANYTHING! That dud is a schmuck.

mom2alex&max

January 15th, 2010
9:45 am

JJ you had abandoned us!! Fess up, you’ve been hanging out at MIA haven’t you? LOL

Hey, cougar crusher...

January 15th, 2010
9:45 am

…ever tried to read AND comprehend what you are reading? Nobody has said that divorced moms don’t have sex – but many said that they need to be discreet about it where kids are involved.

cougar crusher

January 15th, 2010
9:46 am

Of all the women posting here who would benefit from a good, sweaty, toe-curling romp… methinks Julia needs one the most!

There’s FIRE under that voice!

Good Fit

January 15th, 2010
9:47 am

I just wanted to share my thoughts on #3. I think you cannot ensure that a person is a good fit for you and/or your kids. Life is long, emotional and complicated.

Ironically, the same thing that ends your first marriage, ends 2nd marriage as well. So perhaps instead of asking “how can i find a person that better fits me and kids” we should be asking “what can i learn and how can i change to ensure my 2nd marriage does not fail”. It takes 2 people to create a marriage, it takes two people to end it. U

cougar crusher

January 15th, 2010
9:48 am

Like chewing gum and walking, I can only process one task at a time.

(very much like the IT guys I work with)

Dang, Julia...

January 15th, 2010
9:49 am

…did your ex ask the sister to marry him, or his mother’s sister, or was it your ex’s dad who asked the ex’s girl friend to marry him, or did he ask your sister to marry him? I’m so confused…..

Jane

January 15th, 2010
9:51 am

Is “cougar crusher” the “MILF Hunter”s new name?

Same raging hormones (probably with little else to back it up!).

Julia

January 15th, 2010
9:53 am

cougar crusher shut up perv!

cougar crusher

January 15th, 2010
9:56 am

I’m not much of a hunter. It’s really more of a tag-and-release program.

Fish in a barrel, really.

And hey, I’m not complaining either. I’m glad women are empowered to just find a ride they like & hop on whenever they want!

Julia

January 15th, 2010
9:57 am

Dang, Julia… his now wife is 15 years older than he is. His mom was 19 when she had him…… he married her to replace his own mom and she married him.. to raise another child :)

cougar crusher

January 15th, 2010
10:00 am

But for the record, I too was confused by Julia’s story.

The way it was written, her ex’s dad asked her ex’s girlfriend to marry HIM (instead of the ex).

No surprise though. I was lurking the other day during the steroid comments & clear cogent storytelling wasn’t Julia’s strong suit then, either!

Jane

January 15th, 2010
10:02 am

Rod, I LOVE your 8:17 response. Sound like a great guy! I usually find guys like cougar crusher instead (and have to throw-up).

JesusFreak

January 15th, 2010
10:03 am

Had the experience of dating a man that my kids couldn’t stand and he obviously didn’t enjoy their presence. Glad I got my kids involved early on as I was able to move on and not waste more time on that relationship. My next date came about because of a company picnic for the whole family, we were both employed at the same place, and my kids took to him right away. By the time we started dating, everyone was comfortable as a group and it has been a relationship that lasted, we’ll be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in a few weeks. Moral of the story: the kids (ages 8 and 9 1/2) ended up being a good weathervane of sorts…

Liz

January 15th, 2010
10:05 am

Julia – so your son’s dad (your ex) is a cross-dresser and just married a woman 15 years older than he is?

JJ

January 15th, 2010
10:05 am

Tag and release…..now THAT’s funny!!!!

Liz

January 15th, 2010
10:07 am

JesusFreak – your kids were 8 and 9 1/2 at the time you started dating the guy, right?

Julia

January 15th, 2010
10:08 am

Becky

January 15th, 2010
10:10 am

@JJ, I have 2 nephews (40 & 38), they have only met their “Dad” maybe 2-3 times..One time the “Dad” gave the youngest (at 14) a pack of cigarettes to hold for him..Had drugs in the box..When the older brother broke his back and told his “Dad” that he would have to be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, he was told, I know how you feel, I broke my leg once..So good luck to your daughter having a relationship with her Dad..

@Liz, as for TTPB knowing that her ex has had 10 women sllep over, that isn’t hard to do, especially when there are kids invovled..I’ve been divorced from my ex for 17 years now & as I said there were no kids..I know that he has been married 3 times since then and has had about 4 other female friends..I divorced him, not some of our friends and not his family that I love..I have a 37 year old stepson by the ex that I still see and talk to..He still tells people that I am his “Mom”..

Brannon

January 15th, 2010
10:12 am

And always remember to take the swing down BEFORE the kids get home. (You do NOT want to walk in and find them playing on it!:O)

BJ

January 15th, 2010
10:14 am

I’m divorced (not of my own desire) – and just don’t date. I’ve got a young son at home and don’t feel like being thrown into the fire of all the chaos dating can bring with it. I’m also not really interested. It takes too much energy and I expended all of that trying to keep my 20+ year marriage together. BUT, to answer your questions:

1) There’s no reason to keep the person you’re dating from your kids at all. If it’s casual, then they won’t see very much of him. If it gets serious, he’ll become more of staple around your house. Just talk to your kids about your life and that you’re dating now. And if/when someone becomes an important part of your life — they’ll know it.

2) Wait till marriage. If you’re not gong to do that – then you still want to set a good example for your kids, don’t do overnights with your new guy when the kids are home. NEVER, EVER, EVER.

3) If you develop a relationship with this person over time, then they should be spending time with you and your kids on a regular basis anyway. By the time it starts to “get serious,” then you should already know if they’re a good fit for your kids AND you.

ldr

January 15th, 2010
10:24 am

If you want to have a spend the night I would suggest at this time only on the weekends the kids may be doing the divorced visitation. (if that is your scenario. ) I wouldn’t make it a home happening until I DO’s have been said and sealed.

BMK

January 15th, 2010
10:46 am

My brother married a woman who turned out to be a mental health disaster. But since they had two young children, he was determined to keep the home together at least until they were older.

She had a good paying job, though. But when he lost his job and was unemployed for a few months, she wanted a separation. My niece and nephew, both pre-teens, were devastated.

This eventually led to a divorce with joint custody. My ex-sister-in-law initially insisted on a no-sleepover clause in the divorce agreement — her facade was always that of a holy roller. But my brother thought the clause was a very good idea. However, she changed her mind before everything was finalized and started begging out of it.

Within a week after the divorce, her kids reported that she was cuddled up on their couch making sweet talk to a man she had obviously been involved with at least for a while. They were already overwhelmed with the divorce, so they were mortified.

A few months later, she married the man, and he moved in with them along with his 17-year-old son. At this point, the kids had so much resentment toward her they were constantly telling my mother (their grandmother) how much they hated their mother.

And if things weren’t bad enough… It finally comes out through this man’s ex-wife that my ex-sister-in-law had been involved with him about six months before she and my brother separated. My niece and nephew tolerate her, nothing more, as the biggest burden they have to bear.

Her family is well-to-do, and she actually does not give the appearance of white trash. But she is definitely a Southern Baptist Princess.

My brother is actually quite attractive, but he’s avoided any kind of romantic involvement even though opportunities have come along. The kids are in the 8th & 9th grades now, and he adamantly doesn’t want to complicate their lives any more than the usual high level of chaos of having to deal with their mother.

My niece and nephew are both incredibly impressive young people. They deserved a lot more consideration than they got, and they deserved a much happier childhood.

After the complete inconsideration my ex-sister-in-law has had for her own children, I am absolutely thrilled to read of people on this blog devoted to their children with love and common sense. Best wishes to you all!

Julia

January 15th, 2010
10:51 am

BMK not all Southern Baptist women / princess are white trash..

fyi

January 15th, 2010
10:52 am

You people here are so judgmental and hypocritical. I find it hard to believe that everybody on here is holier than thou and remained virgins til they were married and never ever had sex outside of marriage. Give me a break. As someone who has gone through a divorce, I will say that I think it is bad judgment to have someone “sleep over” when the kids are home, but yeah, I was one of “those divorcees” that did have sex while my son was not home. The OP should have a talk with her kids that she is dating so that they understand what’s going on but I’d avoid the sleepovers.

BMK

January 15th, 2010
10:54 am

@ Julia:

Honey, that’s not what I meant.

Julia

January 15th, 2010
10:58 am

I was like… boo! ;)

Becky

January 15th, 2010
11:06 am

@fyi, I think you need to go back and reread most of the post..Most all of them say that they don’t (and don’t want to) have sleepovers while the kids are home..I also don’t think that everyone on here acts holier than thou..I may be speaking out of term here, but most of us on here have more than our fair share of f ups..I’m sure that there are aquiet a fewof us that had sex prior to marriage..Some may of had kids prior to marriage..The kids are what changed the views on out of wedlock sex..So you need to stop being so judgemental and learn to read..

lovelyliz

January 15th, 2010
11:25 am

This is a really sore point for my sister.

She and ex-husband divorced when their daughter was 9. One month after the ink was dry, he moved in with a woman. No ring, just shacking up. When he decided to exercise his visitation rights, he brings his daughter over to spend the night. He would even invite her friends over even though their parents would not approve if they knew of the living arrangements. She kicks him out and my niece is broken hearted. 2 months later he catches up with an old girlfriend from high school who he hasn’t seen in 20 years. 2 days later she’s staying at his place. Ditto with the visitation. She brings her kids along. My niece becomes friends. He breaks up with her a month later and tell his daughter to have no communication with his ex or her kids. How can you do that to a 13 year old?

As for my sister. She has never invited any one to the house. The only time she goes out for overnight visits even with friends is when her daughter is gone and will never know. When ex-husband calls looking for my sister because he’s bored and finds out that she’s not at home pining for him, he all but calls her a wh*re. What really sets him off is when she points out his hypocrisy.

I think you should never bring dates by the home nor introduce them to your kids until you are really, really serious. I’m talking thinking of getting married serious. Kids have enough problems without dealing with temporaries.

Jack

January 15th, 2010
11:26 am

Sounds like “fyi” is being judgmental on the other posters!

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 15th, 2010
11:26 am

Just got to reading this stuff and just had to partially respond…the LAST thing I’m going to do is tell my son to wait until marriage to have sex! I’m actually going to suggest to him to live with whoever he thinks he might want to spend the rest of his life with for at least a year before marriage.

I wouldn’t advise him to buy a pair of shoes without trying them on first….I wouldn’t advise him to invest in a car or a house without first getting it inspected…why would I suggest to him to commit to the rest of his life with someone without first making sure they are compatible living together and having intimate physical relations?

On the subject at hand, if I got divorced, I think I would keep my romantic life VERY separate from my son until he got to an age where he understood the dynamics of romantic relationships better. The bottom line is I wouldn’t get into any relationship or engage in any activities that gave him the impression that my relationship with him was not the first priority in my life. And I would live by that creed too..which I assume would limit how interesting I was to a woman anyhow!

bob

January 15th, 2010
11:32 am

Men of a certain age don’t want to date you for 3 years and not get laid. If that’s what you’re expecting prepare to get dropped like an overcooked hot pocket at some point.

Julia

January 15th, 2010
11:37 am

Tiger I about used your name in vain but I bit my lip instead. With your comment :).. I do kinda agree with what you said but then there are the ones as soon as they eat the wedding cake they lose their minds :)

Julia

January 15th, 2010
11:38 am

Bob its not a certain age its all… we wont give you that much credit :)

Wounded Warrior

January 15th, 2010
11:39 am

Being a mom of 2, divorced for 7 years…this above is what you don’t do. Introduce your kids to him when you are engaged. Then, they won’t ask the questions of “what happened to Doug?” when you are dating Tiger. Pay for a babysitter and go to his home if she wants time w/o kids. Send them to grandma for a weekend. BTW, my ex passed a few years ago, so they can only go to grandma. I go on dates, and enjoy getting out.

bob

January 15th, 2010
11:44 am

I’m not sure no sex before marriage is a good idea either. I would HATE to be married to a woman I was incapable of pleasing. And she’d hate it too. Some people are not really compatible and it’s a shame when they have to love together for 60 years without that intimacy.

Good Fit

January 15th, 2010
11:47 am

Don’t be a fool – kids (if they are old enough) KNOW you have sex if you date someone. Most of teens are on birth control for one reason – they are having sex. “Having sex after marriage” is an old thing.

I think if you want to date after you are divorced, you should not make sacrifices for the “sake of the kids”. Kids will grow up and leave and you have only one life. Of course, there are boundaries, but just listen to a few on this board – “kid is my priority and i will not date until he is out of high school”. You must be carrying a lot of guilt and you will end up like my mother – “i sacrificed 18 years of my life and now you cannot do for me x, y, z.”.

Jesse's Girl

January 15th, 2010
11:49 am

The kids come first. NEVER have a boyfriend/girlfriend sleep over…so many screwed up messages there. If you must have a booty call…do it on your date. Get a room for a couple hours, whatever you need to do. But your children should only see that THEY are your priority. Also…if their father is in the picture…please make it known that you are not trying to replace him. All too often, moms and dads fall out of love with eachother and the dad gets the shaft emotionally with the children.

Wounded Warrior

January 15th, 2010
11:50 am

My comment got lost

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 15th, 2010
11:54 am

@ julia…you were just waiting for me to chime in on this one, weren’t you?!? ;-)

cougar crusher

January 15th, 2010
11:58 am

question for the fellas: how long would you date a woman after she tells you sex is off the table till marriage?

I’m not suggesting that people sleep around, but only those who are lousy in the sack demand to wait.

Don’t buy a car without test driving it first, and don’t marry a woman unless you know you’re both “compatible.”

Julia

January 15th, 2010
11:59 am

NO Good Fit I am not carrying around guilt. Its the crap I just got out of… I was scarred for life on this one and yes will put him first… this is my choice for me… I am not going to hold a grudge when he moves on with his life.. I will be just happy as hell I could be devoted to him. That is the difference here….

Julia

January 15th, 2010
12:00 pm

tiger, I have been hitting the refresh button just waiting on you :)…

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 15th, 2010
12:01 pm

@ cougar cusher…here’s my answer….I would wait until she finished that sentence…then I would stop dating her.

Julia

January 15th, 2010
12:01 pm

Is there some sort of troll spray for this board??

Julia

January 15th, 2010
12:03 pm

Hey tiger, now if you started dating someone and she says.. look I like you and I think this really can go some where but I dont want to hop in bed with you today.. can we really just give this a little time??? :)

cougar crusher

January 15th, 2010
12:03 pm

Having said that, I do agree that kids are a pretty good barometer for any potential replacement mates. Why wait till you’re engaged & in love to meet your kids? If they hate him, you’re already in pretty deep.

I guess it makes the case for “day dates” – picnics, go to the park, etc. At some point you’re going to have to bring your new suitor around, just to see if your kids hate him (if nothing else). And if they do, what other options do you have?

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 15th, 2010
12:05 pm

@ Julia….that’s a different question that what CC asked.

I would respect that request if I really saw myself wanting to see where the relationship could go.