The “Quick & Dirty” on Dating While Separated
If you and your spouse are separated and you’re feeling anxious to meet someone new… this Valentine’s Day might have you wondering whether, and when, it’s okay to date.
Having a conversation about dating is difficult but important to do before either spouse ventures out on dates. Back by popular demand, I’m re-posting a summary of some of the guidelines that I’ve seen couples successfully establish in mediation:
- Don’t date if you and your spouse are trying to reconcile. Most couples seeking reconciliation find they can’t do both things at once. Instead of dating, carve out a timeframe for working with a professional to discover if restoring your marriage is possible.
- Set clear ground rules. A thorough separation agreement can lay out your mutual agreements about what’s appropriate, permitting each of you to see other people without fear of putting your financial and parenting agreements at risk.
- Ease kids into the new arrangement. While not all couples agree on what the ideal process or timeframe should be for introducing children to new partners, most are able to establish a mutually approved “protocol.”
- Discuss sleepovers the same way you have discussed other serious topics. Is it ever appropriate to have your new boyfriend or girlfriend spend the night when the kids are with you? Having a dialogue about sleepovers will allow you to set mutual expectations.
- Be the one to tell your spouse. Agree to inform each other directly about a new partner and keep your kids out of the fray. Doing so shows one another respect, & helps to build trust, making the divorce process more manageable.