Stepfamily Talk: Dating After Divorce
I’m Newly Single and Wondered If It Is Alright to Take My 10-Year-Old Son on Dates?
I’m a 40-year-old divorced mom with a 10-year-old son. I’m finding it difficult to find time to date because my son is always with me. On my last date, I had to bring my son along. I was able to meet my date for an hour alone, and then I had to pick up my son, so I brought my date over to my brother’s house and we had dinner with my son, my brother, and his girlfriend. The man I met asked me on another date, and said that he’d prefer it if we could be alone. Here are my questions: Is it a bad idea to bring a son on dates? How do I manage finding the time to be alone with my dates?
I often hear from parents who, like you, say they don’t have enough time to date. In general, I recommend that you don’t introduce your kids to your dates until you are dating one person exclusively and feel committed to that person. Sometimes, kids will get attached to one of your dates, and will be disappointed if you break up. If you do a lot of dating, this can happen over and over.
On the other hand, it’s always interesting to see how your dates react to your children. You also learn a lot about them when you see them interacting with their own children. You might meet someone at a school or sporting event, or at a museum or park and gain important information this way. When I was dating, if I met another father in the park, I sometimes arranged to meet that dad again in the park with his kids and my kids. This wasn’t exactly a date, but a get-together with him and his kids. Meeting at the park meant that the kids could play separately if they wanted. There wasn’t a lot of pressure for everyone to be together.
It’s understandable that your date wants to spend time alone with you. Is it possible that you could leave your son for short periods of time with a family member or friend? Could you sometimes hire a babysitter? Could you swap with another parent, offering to care for her child on Tuesday nights, and have her care for yours on Wednesday nights? Another option might be to meet your dates for lunch, while your child is in school (if you can get free during lunch). If your date has kids the same age, you might also try a very informal get-together in a park or public place with kids.