Dear Doug: Back to Dating
Q: My wife and I were unhappy together for at least the last 15 years of our marriage. We recognized that our relationship wasn't going to get any better, so we bit the bullet and filed for divorce. It went about as smoothly as possible and is now finalized. We still love each other but weren't good partners.
Now that I'm single, I'm ready to step back into the dating scene. I don't want to be alone, but I felt like I couldn't start anything while I was still going through the divorce.
My kids were very unhappy to hear this. They feel more strongly than my wife or I about the divorce, and both have said that they feel betrayed by my dating again.
I need to live my own life, and part of that is feeling free to pursue a new life.
How can I tell them to butt out?
A: You should do what's right for you, but a little diplomacy will go a long way.
No matter how old they are, your children are always going to feel affected by your relationships. You and your wife were together for a long time, and your kids learned to depend on that stability.
Try to reassure your family that you'll still be there and they can still depend on you. Even if you and your wife are now divorced, you're still their parents, and your feelings for them haven't changed.
There is a balance. You shouldn't let your family's concerns get in the way of your emotional health, but that said, it's probably not a good idea to dive into a new serious relationship right away.
Take some time to get to know yourself and get familiar with the dating scene. Immediately starting a new relationship makes it more likely that you'll continue the patterns from your marriage.