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

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 15th, 2010
3:38 pm

@And, Tiger…are you “ok tiger” too? Just like to know who I’m arguing with.

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 15th, 2010
3:43 pm

@And, Tiger…I have a question that might end this little spat. Is your beef with me that I’m blase or are you on “Team Abby” with the presumption that I

“have absolutely no moral or ethical standards and wouldn’t think twice about doing anything that felt good to you – no matter the cost to anyone else.”

And that I’m a bad father to boot?

Becky

January 15th, 2010
3:48 pm

@MomsRule. consider it a done deal..

Hope everyone has a great weekend..

oneofeach4me

January 15th, 2010
4:02 pm

I really wouldn’t want to be trying to get back into dating right now if I had too.. but my best friend had no choice. Once her husband refused to get clean.. she got a divorce. She didn’t date anyone for about 8 months after that. She did go and have “girls nights out” but the kids were with grandma. Sometimes those nights out involved meeting up with a “friends with benefits”. She would be back at her moms the next morning to get her kids.

She is now with a guy whom she has been with for 3 years. What she did, is he would come over for like a family movie night on Saturday’s and have dinner, but then would go home. He would only spend the night when the kids were with their father, who eventually got clean. Once she had integrated him for about a year, that is when she had “spend the nights”. However, he only spends one night a weekend there once a month when the kids are there.

I understand where some of you are coming from with the setting example thing. But not everyone is okay with not having sex or companionship. And to be honest, I am not going to say what I would do unless I am or have been in that situation.

FCM

January 15th, 2010
4:14 pm

I never said it was double…I said it cost less to rent a single.

motherjanegoose

January 15th, 2010
4:20 pm

WOW…I have been out all day and see you guys have REALLY been busy!

I do not know much about divorce as we have virtually no cases in either side of our family.
Maybe luck or maybe just plain stubborn.

I have learned a lot today, as I have read most of the comments in one sitting and my eyes are crossed. Those who post their name as being related to a previous blogger really confuse me…am I the only one?

i.e. and tiger or good golly tiger or thanks dar or well dar

it is obviously up to you how you post your name but it would be easier ( to me) if some of you just went with:
“polka dotted ladybug” or “neon shoelace”. I am trying to figure out who is attacking whom and why and it is really stretching my 50 year old brain cells….lol. Maybe I am the only one who is wondering what is up with that.

“tis true, I have not been on the sidewalk of divorce and thus I have no personal words of wisdom

Have a nice weekend all!

New Stepmom

January 15th, 2010
4:50 pm

@ The Truth and Good Fit, you guys got the same deal my husband got! I feel for both of you. We pay a lot of child support each month and see no evidence of any of being spent on my step child and it is a real shame. We also keep a completely separate wardrobe at our home since her mom will not allow her to bring any clothes with her (I think it is because there are so few since mom spends the money on herself) and have her up to 2 weeks some months and the child support payment stays the same.

My hope is that each of you find happiness. It will help your children see the workings of a good relationship and will teach them that you can have a mate that you are happy with. Thank you for sticking up for the guys. I think that there are as many good men who get raw deals like you describe as there are good women who are taken advantage of by lousy ex spouses. Unfortunately, it makes a better story for the man to be the ogre and the women to be the damsel in distress so that is what most perceive as the story with most divorces.

Julia

January 15th, 2010
4:52 pm

Tiger you CRACK me up!!!

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 15th, 2010
4:53 pm

thanks Julia!!!! Maybe I’m just misunderstood! ;-)

Brannon

January 15th, 2010
4:58 pm

I think we remember that it’s not just about sex, it’s also about involvement with the child. In the past, I’ve dated women with kids and it was a mistake to spend time with the child too early in the relationship. You and they get attached, which is tough if things don’t work out with you and Mom. Younger kids, especially have a tough time understanding why you won’t be coming around anymore.

Denise

January 15th, 2010
5:02 pm

My parents divorced each other TWICE so I can speak from a “child’s” perspective. The first time I was six and I met my father’s girlfriends. Yes, I meant to make that plural because he had two at the time. He didn’t know that we understood what was going on until I said something about one to the other. That was the end of me meeting any of his women until I was in college, after the 2nd divorce. Even then there was no sleeping over. My father remarried in 2008 but I never heard tell of him having sleep-overs with her with “Kids” (her youngest is 26 so not really a child, right) at either house. My mother was another story. I met several of her boyfriends. I’m not sure how long they had been dating before we met them so I can’t speak on the “too soon” piece. But I will say that I was confused as to why this one guy would spend the night. (I was about 10.) I didn’t really like that but it could have been that I didn’t like any man besides my daddy.

In all and as an adult, I can appreciate how both of them decided to handle it. I don’t believe that you need to expose your kids to everything and everybody but I also don’t believe that any single parent should put his or her needs for companionship on the back burner to focus solely on the children. Had they stayed married the kid wouldn’t be getting 100% focus so why must they now? I say be fair to and considerate of the children’s feelings. Make sure they know that they are a priority BUT that mama and daddy have to have time to themselves and may eventually get involved in a relationship. Don’t put some random woman/man above your kids but still enjoy life as a person not just as a parent.

Wounded Warrior

January 15th, 2010
6:00 pm

@ Tiger. I left my husband because he was abusive…we were both soldiers, and I got away with an infant and prego with the second baby. I divorced him and then 2 years after divorcing him, he remarried and then his 2d wife poisoned him. Go figure. Didn’t surprise me when she also miscarried twice. I do go out, get what I need and then come home to my girls. My mom watches them if necessary. I have 2 daughters, so I am not too keen on bringing a man in my home that could harm my daughters. I haven’t met anyone that I want my girls to meet.

I only date men that are taller than me; they must be at least 6 feet tall. I was married to a short man, and won’t waste my time on them.

Widow dating means the woman has the kids most of the time. Especially if she doesn’t keep in touch with the outlaws(I don’t…they raised a monster…not gonna give them a chance to mess up my girls).

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 15th, 2010
6:10 pm

@ Wounded Warrior….Wow..that is intense. For what its worth, I don’t envy you..but I do admire your resolute attitude very much.

ZachsMom

January 15th, 2010
6:40 pm

Zachary was at Eagle Ranch and they incorporated my now husband into our family counseling sessions while he was there. Its been a tough road, but we are a family and we will make it.

DB

January 15th, 2010
8:23 pm

@Dar: You said, ” I, personally, teach my son to wait until he is grown (physically 18 and emotionally ready to handle the responsibility of sex).”

Might I add one other aspect? I always told my kids that until they were physically, emotionally and FINANCIALLY able to support a child, then they better make damn sure that they do not engage in behavior that would put them at risk for being parents. I was talking with my daughter and her friends one evening a few years ago, and the topic of babies came up. One of them flat-out asked me “when do *you* think a person should first go all the way?” I think I surprised her when I said that no one should have sex until they were physically, emotionally and financially able to be responsible for the results of a pregnancy without help from their parents or the government. The girls sorta tittered, and one of them really, honestly commented, “What does sex have to do with babies?” It finally hit her, and you could see the look on her face when she put two and two together. And these are generally considered to be SMART girls. *sigh* Being a responsible parent shouldn’t start off with irresponsible behavior, and a child shouldn’t be disadvantaged simply because their parents got carried away by hormones. Sex is designed to create babies, and if you do it enough, you WILL get pregnant (”you” being either boy or girl), all things being equal/normal.

I think a lot of parents tiptoe around the baby issue, and get lost in the “moral vs. immoral” aspects of sex, biology, etc. and forget the major reason not to engage in sex — which is not to have a baby that you aren’t ready for.

itpdude

January 15th, 2010
9:46 pm

There is no way I would bother with a woman for more than a month without sex. I’m not wasting time with a cold fish.

BRIAN

January 15th, 2010
10:05 pm

JJ I AGREE WITH EVERYTHING YOU SAID.

catlady

January 15th, 2010
10:11 pm

Divorced 22 years here. No men in the house till the baby (who was 2) was in college. Had male friends and neighbors, professors, fellow grad students who were around the kids, but no dating. First priority was the children and our homelife.

As a teacher I have seen too many kids who moved down to 3rd or 4th place in their parents’ attention when the parents decided to date after a divorce. Moving to such a low level, especially when devastated by the changes in their lives, the anger, the betrayal, etc is almost always uniformly bad. It would be great if both parents saw it that way, but in my experience at best one parent is willing to grow up and put the kids’ needs first.

My advice–give it time. LOTS of time!

BlondeHoney

January 15th, 2010
10:16 pm

For the record, count me amongst the Tiger fans :)

MotherofOneAwesomeKid

January 15th, 2010
10:21 pm

I have an awesome kid. Awesome as in good grades, independent, polite, solid sense of self, in gifted and several afterschool programs. She is creative, smart, funny, and liked by young and old. She is comfortable on the playground and in five-star restaurants. She has opinions about politics and play things.

You know why I think she’s awesome? Because I have always treated her as the person I hope is and will grow to become. I had sex before I was married. Most people do. Let’s not pretend our kids won’t.

Teaching my child how to have healthy ideas about sex and relationships is not only healthy but it’s the responsibility of a good parent.

Alonzo

January 15th, 2010
10:57 pm

I know for me dating is a long way off. I miss being married so much, but I know me working around the clock trying to keep a business going is not the key to a successful marriage or relationship. So be honest with yourself of what you lacking before getting involved. Because when it don’t work it hurts so bad. Good luck.

vuduchld

January 16th, 2010
2:11 am

Reading the silly comments in this article made my choice of staying single the BEST CHOICE. People, you got divorced because you’re marriage failed ,now you same folks are trying to get religion by putting in rules and qualifiers on what grown folk should or should not do. If you were so concerned about it why did you get divorced in the first place? And let’s face it, if you’re stupid enough to put stipulations in a divorce decree about anyone your ex is dating then what does that say about you!

There are people getting married today for the wrong reasons and guess what? They’re more than willing to “jump the broom” for a second, third or fourth time. Marriage is a two way street, and no, me never being married doesn’t make me an expert, but I see too many niwits out here who have failed at marriage, then go to some church coming out holier than thou. Please, spare me the b.s. You were a failure then, you’re a failure now and in the future because you never took the time to look at yourselves in the mirror and admit that you failed!

Producer

January 16th, 2010
6:19 am

Men aren’t going to wait very long before having sex with a new lady friend. And truth be told, most women don’t want to wait that long either. Sex is what most males and females want to do once they go through puberty any-dang-way. Take the kids to the ex’s or to your mother’s house then go have fun! Never have opposite sex company “sleep overs” unless your kids are out of the house or grown.

Mark

January 16th, 2010
12:25 pm

When I got divorced, I put the “no man in the house” clause in the decree. It wasn’t even 3 days after I left that she had strange men (several different ones at that) over almost every night in front of my 15 yr old daughter. I called her on it, and she said there is no reason for her not to be “dating”. I had to explain to her that what she was doing wasn’t “dating”, and that it was actually whoring. If only I knew how much of a pig she was before I married the pig.

Reality Check?

January 16th, 2010
12:44 pm

Hi there,

After reading all of the comments about “divorced dating” I thought you should have a different perspective; from a child of divorce.

My mom took care of three kids within no help from an absent father. She put her entire life on hold for us. Now, she is 55, single and can’t comprehend even trying to date. I wish she’d taken time for herself back then … we are (the kids) now in our 30’s and she is alone.

Those of you who are talking about waiting till marriage, again, or not dating till your kids are out of house makes me sad for you. Be realistic. Seriously. Always remember: when you’re happy so are your kids. Don’t sacrifice or pawn off the blame for your fear of a new relationship on your kids. Because if you don’t purse personal things that is what will happen.

Now to stay on topic:

How long should you wait to introduce the kids to someone you’re dating? …
Until you know they are a good and decent person. Varies. If it makes you nervous, then don’t. Wait till you are comfortable. Your kids will react to how you’re acting. If you’re uncomfortable, your kids will be too.

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???
This is a very realistic question. Yes your kids will be aware of what you’re doing – just so you know. But, you are the adult. Consider your kids, yes. But they should not dictate this. I suggest waiting awhile and introducing your new friend by doing activities outside of the house before you ever bring them home. Let them go on “group” dates with you. Then your kids may not even think about whether or not you have a “friend” in your 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….”
You’ll know, your kids will tell you. Children are very perceptive. In the same respect, jealously is a factor and you need to help them understand that this person is important to you. Discuss it with you kids. Do you like him? Why or why not?

Active Duty Mom

January 16th, 2010
5:20 pm

Catlady, well said! Unfortunately, not all divorced parents think carefully before they start dating again. My brother and I experienced this first-hand when when our parents divorced in the mid-1970s. I was 5 and he was 3 at the time. Unfortunately, mom married the last guy she dated and he turned out to be a raging alcoholic who subjected my brother and me to 5 years of hell that included verbally abusing me and my brother and sexually abusing me, ultimately raping me when I was 15. My brother and I did not like the guy from the start and asked mom to please not marry the guy. We were 8 and 11 at the time. Thank God they did eventually divorce when we were 16 and 13, but it took years of therapy for my brother and I to get over what happened. Fortunately my brother and I are now doing well in our mid to late 30s. We both have college degrees that we earned with our own money, I have a master’s degree and am now a full Commander in the service, and my brother and I are both married to wonderful, loving spouses and we both have families. For any parent who is considering dating after divorce, it is crucial that you consider the safety of your kids first. Remember, sometimes the boyfriend goes after the mom to get to the kids.

Mom of 1 son

January 16th, 2010
6:54 pm

Very intersting discussion everyone. I’m a mom on a 6 year old boy. I’ve been divorced now for almost 4 years and have not dated since my divorce. My ex-husband hs paraded several women in and out of his home and his bedroom.. My son tells me so and I don’t ask him about what his father does because it’s none of my business. At 6 my son already sees a difference in mommy’s life and daddy’s life. Mommy 7 daddy both claim that they love Jesus but….daddy…… I’m teaching my so to “do as I do”. Fornication is still a sin even if “everybody’s doing it”.

HAROLD K. ROSE III

January 17th, 2010
12:40 pm

PEOPLE JUST DONT GET IT! THEIR ARE MORE PEOPLE LIVING AS THEY ARE MARRIED THAN PEOPLKE ARE MARRIED IN THE US, THATS A SAD THING, BECAUSE FORTICATION AND ADULTRY IS THE CORNER STONE OF MANS DESTRUCTION MEN!!! FEAR NOT AND NOT LET YOUR BODY CIRCUM TO THE YEARNING OF THE FLESH AND MIND, I DID AND I SAW! MY EYES WERE OPENNED TO THE WAYS OF MAN AND ITS NOT PRETTY!

HAROLD K. ROSE III

January 17th, 2010
12:46 pm

AND WOMEN NEED TO USE WHAT GOD GAVE THEM AND STOP ADDING TO IT! I AM SINGLE AND DONT WANT TO BE, BUT I REFUSE TO JOIN A GENERATION OF THE DAMNED IN LIVING AS OTHERS DO, I SEEK A GOD FEARING WOMAN THAT IS FINE, ORIENTED IN OLD SCHOOL, AND KNOWS WHAT TO DO FOR HER MAN IN GODS TEACHINGS. DO THIS WOMAN AND WATCH HIM SEND YOU A REAL MAN!

Julia

January 17th, 2010
3:30 pm

itpdude I bet you get alot of woman to say.. dont let they door hit you on the arss!

Alonzo

January 18th, 2010
12:48 am

I know for me dating is a long way off. I miss being married so much, but I know me working around the clock trying to keep a business going is not the key to a successful marriage or relationship. So be honest with yourself of what you lacking before getting involved. Because when it don’t work it hurts so bad. Good luck.

JATL

January 18th, 2010
8:33 am

Wow -Harold K. Rose III -I can’t imagine why you’re single!

Becky

January 18th, 2010
9:51 am

@vuduchd..Yes, a lot of us on here have been married and divorced, so if that makes us a failure, so be it..It’s not hard to tell why you are still single..If you will go back and read, you’ll see that most of us made better choies the second time around..That’s life, we live and learn..I don’t think anyone put anything in the divorce decree about whom the ex dates, it’s about the ex having multiple people sleep over while the kids are there..

@JATL, amen on your last post..

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 18th, 2010
10:06 am

Morning FOLKS! I’m SO disappointed, I thought for sure Liz would have been on settling last weeks dispute for me. what’s the point of living in MST if I can’t just show up to see all my questions answered!

SO WHERE IS LIZ?????

@Harold…..you should change your name to “THE ANTI – TIGER NEEDS ME ON HIS PR TEAM”….then you should propose to Abby! I think she’d appreciate your solid moral standards.

motherjanegoose

January 18th, 2010
10:27 am

@ active duty mom…as usual, you bring some interesting points to the table. I always enjoy reading your posts as they are thoughtful and timely.

motherjanegoose

January 18th, 2010
10:29 am

@ JATL and Becky….are you jesting with Harold or are you serious?

Belle

January 18th, 2010
10:32 am

Let me clear up a few things about child support. Whether or not the exact amount of child support is spent on the child or not, is NOT your business. If my ex gave me $400 a month child support and I used that to pay rent, the child has been provided for, by keeping a place to live.

If my ex gave me $400 child support, and I put it into auto repairs/expenses, then the child has been provided FOR, by allowing me to transport her.

If my ex gave me $400 a month in child support, and I chose to put it in savings, the child is STILL being provided for.

I spent what little child support I received, on keeping a roof over our heads, and food on the table and gas in my car, so I could get back and forth to work, to keep the above mentioned items.

The money does not necessarily GO to the child, but to provide FOR the child. It doesn’t matter what I did with the money, because every financial decision I made, I made because of my child.

As long as you continue to pay child support, as ordered by the court, you have no say in how the money is spent, as long as the child is being taken care of.

When a house is divided up and one parent gets the kids and ALL the financial obligations FOR those kids, the other parent NEEDS to help support their children!!!! I lost $50K a year (hubby’s income) in my divorce, but got $5,000 a YEAR in child support. a mere $5,000 to take of her needs for one year. Clothing, school related expenses, etc.

AND I had to get up and go to work every day, because that $5,000 a year is NOTHING when you break it down to $450/month. Add the fact that Day care was costing me over $500 a month. So basically all my child support when to day care expenses.

But, he got off easy. While I remained in my child’s life on a daily basis, he was allowed to go and play, make more children, and run away from his financial obligation to my child, and the others he left in is wake. The courts are way to busy with the criminal element of our society, to worry about a dead beat dad. Plus I did NOT have to money to constantly take him to court to get him to own up to his financial responsibilities.

So, MOM’s get the crap deal, while deadbeat dads get off scott free.. Don’t want to pay child support, don’t worry about it. It’s only the kids that suffer. while you are trying your best to piss of your ex wife, just keep in mind, the children are suffering too.

Becky

January 18th, 2010
10:47 am

@MJG, jesting..

@Belle, I agree with you on that part..I wish my nephews wife thought that way..She gets supoort from her ex for her daughter and she will tell you right quick that that money is only for the daughter, not to help pay any monthly bills..I think as long as the child has a place over their head, clothes, food & so forth, then that should be part of the child support..

@Active Duty Mom..I hate that you and your brother went through that life..I can’t say that I know what you went through, so all I can say is that I’m glad that you seem to be ok now..

New Stepmom

January 18th, 2010
11:09 am

@Belle, those are all great points, however there are many dads who got a crap deal too. We pay close to $2000 (yes that is 3 zeroes) a month in child support for one child whose mother does not hold a job. We have asked that some of that money be put away for college expenses and no court will order that and we cannot make her do that. I completely see your point that paying bills, car expenses and rent does go for the child, but expensive clothes for the mother when the child does not have shoes to wear does not add up when the sum of money is being sent each month and now that the mom is remarried there are no “overhead expenses” because the new husband is covering those.

Julia

January 18th, 2010
11:14 am

Morning yall! Tiger have your wounds started to heal from friday :) I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Julia

January 18th, 2010
11:16 am

New Stepmom I understand what you are saying but this is all on a sale of what the dad makes… The more money he makes the more he has to pay. Sorry this is taking away from you.

BlondeHoney

January 18th, 2010
11:24 am

Theresa, why no new topic this morning?

New Stepmom

January 18th, 2010
11:30 am

@ Julia, no this figure was based on what both parents made (I have seen the documents and tables). Mom quit her job $100K+ when the divorce was final and child support was determined. Dads in this state can get a very raw deal especially in some of the more conservative counties. Judges are still working on the formula that most moms/children end up in poverty when a divorce is over with and that is simply not true anymore. There are fathers ending up in poverty due to greedy ex wives. I have seen several wives bank on this and cheat, file for divorce and take the husbands to the cleaners. I just wish the other side was seen and told and it is not. I am sorry that you and others got a raw deal in your divorce, but the stories that The Truth and Good Fit tell are VERY common and no one wants to hear it or believe it. Fortunately, we do have the money to pay this, but it is VERY frustrating to write a large check every month and see a little girl come home to us who needs a haircut, new shoes, etc and know that is being provided and being used for new highlights and manicures for the mom. Plus we live by a strict code of not criticizing the mom, so we do not even question the neglect but provide more. I feel for those of you who have dead beat exes, but it is not the only side of the divorce story and until minds are opened on both sides the affects of divorce are not going to get better.

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 18th, 2010
11:40 am

@ Julia…..hardly! I’m just so tired….couldn’t sleep at all with those horrible things Abby said about me running through my head! ;-)

DB

January 18th, 2010
11:44 am

@BlondeHoney, it’s MLK Day, Theresa probably has the day off.

Julia

January 18th, 2010
11:47 am

New Stepmom I dont know what law firm you used but my ex’s child support went up this month and it was based on his only. He used a firm down if Fulton County.

Julia

January 18th, 2010
11:52 am

New Stepmom, my heart does go out to the dads that are being taken over the barrel on this, it really does…. I was not the greedy ex wife that only thought of me… I do know one thing, yes this was brought up.. Do you really think I would do this just for the money?? for what I get?? that was the biggest joke on earth… I do this because I love the boy and I brought him to this world and this is now my job to be his mother and raise him. I do not think its fair for your income to be based on this at all.. That is just wrong!

Julia

January 18th, 2010
11:54 am

Tiger I am so sorry you were so beat up over this.. my heart just goes out to you, but I was telling the boy about it and he howled… he said you had the best sense of humor ;)

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 18th, 2010
12:01 pm

Actually…I slept like a BABY! Anyone seen Liz? I’m dying to ask her what she meant last week!

Belle

January 18th, 2010
12:20 pm

The child support laws have been re-written. They now take both the husband and wife’s income into consideration.

My brother has to pay his ex wife 1/2 of the difference in their salaries. He makes $10,000 more a year than she does, so the court ordered him to pay her $5,000/yr.