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

Julia

January 18th, 2010
12:22 pm

that is odd, mine did not go up that much and on the child support paper, her income is not included..

New Stepmom

January 18th, 2010
12:33 pm

my comment did not post…I hope this does not come up double…

Julia, I know there are moms out there struggling due to LOUSY ex husbands, but as a woman I want people to know there are lousy ex wives out there too that are working the system. My husband used a good firm and got the best deal possible and it is not the money that is my frustration, it is the fact that we pay it and none of it is used for my stepdaughter. We even looked into fighting for custody after we married (consulted 3 attorneys) and we were told we would lose. Even though the mom is neglectful, she is not a crack head and has a nice house (that is her husband’s) and therefore she is best for the child in the eyes of family court. The bottom line is it is not the money, it is that a child is being negelcted and we can do very little about it other than pay our money and hope for the best on our little time with her.

Julia

January 18th, 2010
12:54 pm

New Stepmom I know there are women out here just looking for that pay check and I do think its wrong. I do not like my sons step mother and I think you know my real term for her… I do know that in our case, her income was not included – I just looked at the papers…..

He does get his hair cut because he bitches at me getting it cut. I would rather cut it short and let it grow some and no not scalped but clean cut. They gripe at me over punishment and no I am not talking beating the boy but I am hard on him and they think its stupid, so I now dont even tell them. The final straw with them was he got zeros back to back so I made him write sentences – she jumped all over me that I was taking away from them and punishing them… ok what ever….

You can look at his tummy and see he is not starving :)…

His dad tried to take him a few months ago and his fight was I was an unfit mother.. No but you are a cross dresser and yes I used that.. it ticked him off and now he has to explain this to the boy but eh, it was your fight…

JJ

January 18th, 2010
1:02 pm

New Stepmom, how old is the child. In Georgia, a 14 year can decide where they want to live.

My brother fought, and gained JOINT custody, and gets his kids every other WEEK, not weekend. The oldest at the time was 14 and she wanted to live with both parents. I can’t remember if she had to go before the judge or not, but she, along with her younger sister, go back and forth each week. Their parents live close enough, so they are in the same schools, etc. They go to his house every day after school, since he lives across the street from their schools, and if it’s Mom’s week, she stops and picks them up in the afternoons. Every Friday, they switch who’s house they stay at.

They have all adapted to this situation, and they get dinner with the other parent on Tuesday nights. However, my brother still has to pay child support to the ex, as he makes a little more money a year than she does. Like Belle stated, he had to make up the difference in their pay, to equal it all out.

He provides all insurance for the kids on top of paying child support. But both parents take an active approach to parenting their kids together. It took 2 years for them to get over the divorce, and all is running smoothly.

JJ

January 18th, 2010
1:03 pm

And, keep in mind, YOUR CHILDREN ARE WATCHING YOU!!!!!!

Becky

January 18th, 2010
1:25 pm

What about the ex wife that has it put into her divorce papers that she doesn’t want child support, then after years of the husband paying, she tells the child that her Dad never did anything for her? This happened to my ex husband…He paid support until the daughter was 16, then he bought her a car (at his exs suggestion)..Each year prior to school starting, she was given $300.00 to school shop, then again in Dec., paid for anything else the child wanted to do..So yeah there are Moms out there that only want for themselves..

I was told once by a PI that it’s almost impossible to prove a Mothee unfit to raise a child in a divorce case..Of course this was about 25-30 years ago..So not sure how hard it is now..

JJ

January 18th, 2010
1:34 pm

Becky, if the dad has receipts, he can show the child that he did pay support. Or just tell her. The mom is doing her best to make the child HATE dad, and be the favored parent. So sad. You shouldn;t turn kids against their parents. I have NEVER said anything bad about my ex to my daughter. To my friends, yes, but never to my daughter.

And yes, it is VERY difficult (and expensive) to prove a mother unfit. You have to PROVE she is on drugs or mentally unstable, and that is very difficult to do. Georgia courts will side with the mother in most cases. The laws are very old, and were written back when we moms didn’t work outside the home…….alimony was a biggie back then too, because the mom’s didn’t have an income. That’s why no one really divorced back then. It was cheaper to stay together. Cheaper to keep her, as they say……

New Stepmom

January 18th, 2010
1:41 pm

JJ, that law has changed somewhat. The child can make a request to change custody at 14, but the law in GA was too broad and presumably gave 14 yos too much power-as explained to us. The way it was explained to us is that now, the child can make the request, but that the judge can over rule the request and if the primary physical custodian raises too much of a stink.

I am not in favor of the every other week set up for my stepdaughter. We have relatives that do this and it is very disruptive to these children and given some of the issues she has she needs complete routine. This set up is far more fair to the parents, but the child never has stability and for lack of a better term lives out of a suitcase.

Julia, my income is not included in the child support equation, her mother’s is, but it is nothing because she quit her job, so now my husband makes up that short fall. Again, I would have no issue if any of the money was spent on my step child but it is not and it is a shame….

Again, I know that there are worse situations than ours. I just wanted to point out that the men are not the only bad guys in this situation.

Julia

January 18th, 2010
1:54 pm

New Stepmom girl I agree!

Been there, done that

January 18th, 2010
2:31 pm

Ladies, it’s a very difficult question, but the truth of the matter is you should NEVER have a man spend the night with your kids there. If you don’t have the every other weekend available, see if you can arrange a weekend away with your friends in similiar situations.

I know it’s extremely difficult to even DATE when the kids are young, because how in the world do you get that right guy to only ask you out “every other weekend”? If you can get a relationship going, it’s a little easier, but getting to that point is iffy too.

What happened to me was a didn’t date much then, but found involvement with my girlfriends and my church rewarding. When they get to be teens they will be spending the night out more, so you can have some breathing room then. (Like having any breathing room with teenagers in the house can be possible! It’s mostly heavy sighs!)

Anyway, hang in there!

Been there, done that

January 18th, 2010
2:36 pm

Dear Stepmom. Your comment about what the mom does with the money she get’s from the ex – does the child live at home with mom? If so, then she spends it keeping a roof over their heads and feeding her! Do you think it’s free? I had issues like that over the years with my ex and his girlfriends thinking he shouldn’t even pay child support because none of it was going to my child. Hah! Right! Are you kidding? It costs a lot of money to raise a child and the ex should chip in as much as they afford!

the truth

January 18th, 2010
2:47 pm

New Stepmom you seem to be a true voice of reason on here. Thanks for sticking up for the dads that do pay their support every month and still get taken advantage of do to ancient divorce laws.
I appreciate your 4:50 pm post from Friday.

When my ex wife’s attorney complained about the amount of the support I was ordered to pay. I looked her in eye, pointed my finger at her and said, ” If you think your client ( my ex wife ) is going to be losing money on this deal, then I will assume the custodial parent role and she can pay me the same amount. Is that what you and your client want to do? Is that what you want?” What did she say? Nothing but silence from her and my ex. Case closed.

BTW New Stepmom, do you have a twin sister who is single?

JJ

January 18th, 2010
2:54 pm

I admire men to pay child support and are involved in the lives of their children.

Any man who runs from a child, is a coward in my book.

Becky

January 18th, 2010
3:45 pm

@JJ, this was many years ago also and it did backfire on the Mom..She now has 2 grandchildren that she isn’t allowed to see..I’m also with you in that I would never date a man that had children that didn’t want to pay child support..

I have a nephew that isn’t alloswed by his 2nd wife to see his daughter by his ex..She told him that the ex and the child were a part of his past life..Of courde if he’s stupid enough to let her say that, more power to him..Again, I would never tell any man that I was dating that..Like you said JJ, being negative or ugly about one parent in front of the other one, usually slaps you back at some point..

Mark

January 18th, 2010
4:11 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 slut.

Mark

January 18th, 2010
4:16 pm

Oh I forgot. I got even before our divorce by bedding down with her sister a few times.

Becky

January 18th, 2010
4:17 pm

@the truth..to funny..One of my siters was pregnant when she married her ex husband..He wanted the baby named after him, so they did..They never told my nephew that his “Dad” wasn’t his bio Dad..Thirteen years later when they were going thru a divorce, “Dad” decided that he didn’t want to pay child suport for a child that wasn’t his, so he got drunk and told my nephew that he wasn’t his..Well, he had to pay child support anyway..

Becky

January 18th, 2010
4:23 pm

@Mark, you sound like a Mark that I used to know..:)

Never thought it would happen to me.....

January 18th, 2010
4:24 pm

I’m a 36yr old guy & got divorced after 14-1/2yrs of marriage April 2009. I have primary custody of my two boys ages 11 & 8. My folks have been married for 44yrs and I never thought I’d get divorced. I’ll spare you the boring details but hindsight being 20/20 I stayed in the marriage 3yrs longer than I should have. I was convinced in the end that all women must be unhappy, emotional basket cases. But then I met this woman after my divorce that I’ve been seeing for the last 8-9 months and she’s given me hope. I waited 4 months to introduce her to my kids and we did it at an amuzement park (she has two girls the same age). We got a hotel with our own rooms. I’ve been taking it real slow but we have such a good time together, get along so well, are both committed parents and want our kids and ourselves to be happy that it really seems to be going in the right direction.

This is such a complicated question and no answer that is right for one person will be right for another person. My main concern is my kids, their stability, their happiness. It’s so much different dating at 36yrs old than at 20yrs old. I got married way to young I know. My relationship now with my girlfriend is not about sex. You can get sex anywhere if you want it. It’s about compatibility, wanting the same things out of life, enjoying each others company, having similiar parenting styles, not trying to change the other person from who they are. When I got divorced I didn’t want to parade women in front of my kids and I didn’t want to do the bar “thang”, so I didn’t do either. I guess I’ve been lucky and just happen to meet a really nice women that feels the same about me.

If your an adult, you get along, you connect on deep inner feelings, you enjoy each others company and so on, sex is a natural by-product of that relatioship that is going to happen. “Ideally” in a perfect world not having sex until your married sounds nice but in reality it’s very unrealistic. We’re still taking it slow, keeping the “adult” stuff hidden from the kids and just letting them start to get used to each other. If I decide to ask her to come live with me at some point in the future I’m gonna set my kids down and talk to them about it first. If their not comfortable with it, it’s not gonna happen. But I have a feeling if I asked them today about it that they both say it was ok with them. But their just great kids!

the truth

January 18th, 2010
4:26 pm

way to go Mark. Funny how women have no desire for sex before a divorce but suddenly turn into sluts after the divorce. I would smear her name to everyone who knows her.

Never thought it would happen to me.....

January 18th, 2010
4:29 pm

Forgot to mention even though I was raised by hyper-Christain parents and was taught the marriage is the right thing, and no sex before marriage……now that I’ve gone through this divorce and have lived it for the first time in my life I would consider living with someone first for a while befored deciding on getting married. That’s a BIG change in my thinking but it’s how I feel now.

Julia

January 18th, 2010
5:10 pm

Kids are smart and they want what is best for us as well. Just before I started dating this last mistake, he looked at me and said, mom you need a boyfriend. I said be quiet! :)

ACTION

January 18th, 2010
5:16 pm

Sunshine and Thunder

January 18th, 2010
6:11 pm

I sure am glad to hear that there are a few souls around who place their kids above their superficial “needs”. I’m a single father and I sure as hell do. I have been dating a woman for almost a year and she still hasn’t met my kids. And I certainly wouldn’t have her spending the night with me if my kids were around. Sheesh.

the truth

January 18th, 2010
6:19 pm

Julia, where are you meeting these mistakes at?

pete

January 18th, 2010
6:30 pm

well first of all my kids are grown and out on their own, as for the next question introducing him to them if the meet him so well if not so well when your kids are of age they really don’t care about meeting your date cause they are doing their own thing, and the next question about the sofa to the bedroom it your choice, i am not saying to have sex on the first date but if the mood fit then whatever. Live, Love, Laugh and be true to yourself.

Dez

January 18th, 2010
6:49 pm

Love this topic being that i’m new to this situation now…But I can tell that my kids aren’t ready to see me with another woman so it won’t happen. Once I feel that whom ever it is I choose will be a long term relationship and not a 1 nite stand deal! will be the only time my kids will ever see them. For others I would say have a great judge of character and pick the right person for your situation there’s no true time table because some relationship were dead years before the divorce and can start a new quickly.. as others may take time…. My 2 cents

Order

January 18th, 2010
6:51 pm

Let all things be decent and in order. I am divorced and I understand the needs of a women. I woud not have a man spending the night at my home take care of your business on your weekend off while the kids are with daddy if daddy is not present in their lives hire a sitter and go to a hotel. it is not healthy for a man or women to have their sex time under the roof of their children. somethings just need to remain grown-folks business!

Lovelylady

January 18th, 2010
7:04 pm

I have enjoyed your posts. I am happily divorced. I have three children and the last one leaves the house in 8 years (yippee). I have only had one relationship since the divorce that didn’t result in marriage (sad) but my kids didn’t know a thing. I wanted it that way. I needed time to get to know this guy…now I’m thankful that they didn’t know. Most of the foolishness was due to him being secretive about our relationship (he wasn’t married) and me not seeing the handwriting on the wall (I was working and going to school full time).

When I date again, I will take my time getting to know the person because I really want a good husband for me and a role model for my children.

I will not wait until marriage to have sex. That is not realistic, but I will practice safe sex since that is what I teach my kids.

Marriage is hard work but I really look forward to it so that my kids can learn how to be in a relationship.

FYI My ex and I are on good terms now (it was God) and he married a younger women…20s are a handful. I tell him, “Pray for your wife and work on your relationship.”

theboykin

January 18th, 2010
7:13 pm

wait until you’re married??? Losers. That idea died in the 50’s. But for goodness sake go to their place. No kid wants to hear their mom making sweet love.

Julia

January 18th, 2010
9:43 pm

the truth I guess hell, but I dont know how to NOT get around abusers.. Its a new year and a new me…

Regina

January 18th, 2010
9:50 pm

I’m a divorce attorney. If you want to lose custody of your kids, have your new boyfriends and girlfriends spend the night while the kids are there. I am 31 and certainly no prude, but what example are you setting by having different men and women cycle in and out of their lives? It confuses them. And if I get a case where you have done that, your ex will pay me a lot of money and I will get a judge to take the kids away from you. How hard is it to confine sleepovers to when the kids are not there? Once you have children, your dating should take a backseat to their stability. Stop introducing your kids to every date you have. You should wait at least 3-6 months and wait until you both feel that you are in a committed relationship that will last awhile. Otherwise, you are setting your children up for disappointment. Please feel free to ignore the advice. A lot of family law attorneys are hoping that you do.

vuduchld

January 18th, 2010
10:33 pm

@Becky

From what I have seen and people I personally know, they are in either their third, fourth or even fifth marriage. And as for me still being single, fine, don’t have to deal with “second chance” people like you who still won’t get it right the second time around.

At the end of the day if you’re divorced, then you both failed at the marriage, that is why you’re divorced! Don’t make me out as some bitter human being because I’m more than comfortable in my own skin. It’s people like you who are always second guessing and finding the “wrong mate”. THAT’S WHY YOU’RE DIVORCED!!

Where Is A Good Man Today?

January 18th, 2010
11:01 pm

If I could find one WORTHY of my time..I have two boys 14 and 10, and they are having NONE of that..I wouldn’t until they are gone but I agree with most of the panel here. There is no need to integrate them into sleepovers as that is simply saying much premarital sex as you guys can manage! Good to see people still have solid moral grounding!

Cliff DePass

January 18th, 2010
11:22 pm

Introduce children after you have dated for three months. No sleepovers – bad moral example for your children. Replace sleepovers with marriage. If someone is sleeping under the same roof with you and your children, they should be your legal spouse. Stacking up is unacceptable, your children will see you as a tramp(mother) or jiggalow(father).

the truth

January 19th, 2010
12:28 am

Julia, I wish you the best of luck in your search. There are still some good guys out there to be had.
Set your standards high and don’t sell yourself short. If you want to see the true charecter of someone you are considering dating. Loek to see how they treat other people around them. Even a waiter or waitress when you are out on a dinner date.

Becky

January 19th, 2010
8:15 am

@vuduchld, not all of us can be perfect, so climb down off of your white horse..Yes, I made a mistake and I admit it..BUT, I learned from that mistake..I learned that I tried to the best of my ability to make my marriage work, but you can’t when the husband cheats & drinks and wants out of one marriage to marry some one else..I’m not the one that filed for divorce, I was in it until death do us part..He’s the one that in the last 17 years. has had about 5-6 girlfriends and 3 wifes..So be comfortable in your own skin all alone because no woman is going to be just right for you..Come back in a few years when you actually find some one that will marry you and be a servant to you..

Mark

January 20th, 2010
3:44 pm

the truth

January 18th, 2010
4:26 pm
I don’t have to. Everyone we know saw it happening. Her sister and I always had “a thing” for each other, tho we kept it at bay for years. But when my ex started parading men around my daughter in my house, I decided to take action. I asked her sister out for drinks, and next thing I knew we were goin at it like bunnies. This happened 3 times. When the divorce was final, I let the cat out of the bag to my ex and her family. Now my ex and her sister don’t talk, and their family hates me and sister.. I could care less. I win. Mess with the bull, and you WILL get the horns….

Kim in NH

January 22nd, 2010
8:54 pm

I was single for one year with 2 kids 5 and 6. Met up with an old friend, started dating, met my kids 1 month later @ a pool party. Kids absolutely loved him. We got engaged 6 months later and married 6 months after that. Then we had the most beautiful red head 9 months later. Everyone is extremely happy and I am soo thankful that my kids are healthy and happy (as hectic as it can get).

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