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Harlan Jacobsen
Many newly divorced have a quandary about dating and the children.

It seems that some become super mama(or Disney land Daddy) and "the children" become "everything" in their lives.

They will tell you the reason they haven't been getting out is on account of "the children."

This "sacrifice" is no benefit to the mother or the children's welfare, either one.

Others have such a dire need to be with other adults that their children become low on the priority totem pole.

Particularly when they are in what is known as the "running" stage.

Fortunately this stage only lasts a short time.

What we need is sort of a middle ground. Mother should have time to take care of her needs and the children should be given extra time and attention to their needs at other times.

You have to understand that children feel they are going through a divorce too, and you do need to give them more attention and reassurance than usual.

However, that does not mean length of time; it means taking a few minutes each day and really giving the100% attention quality of time and attention, not length of time.

Some children initially may be threatened by mother starting to go out or dating. Some may even act up and really cause a scene or develop problems when you want to go out.

You need to explain that if they had to only be with adults all the time, then they would get crabby and so on, because they never got to play with other kids their age.

Tell them that when mothers have to just be with kids all the time and never get to play with other adults their age, well, then mothers get crabby too (they know this already only too well.)

Now you get to play with the other kids all this other time, so tonight is my night to get out and play with other adults.

Small children particularly may feel that if one parent left (deserted them, they feel) probably the other one will too.

Reassure them that no matter what, you will never leave them.

Tell them that if you ever love another adult, that doesn't mean you will love them any less.

The love relationship between a man and a woman is different than love for your children.

You may say initially you may need to spend more time getting established and comfortable as a single but that will settle down soon, that you may spend a little less time with them right now than you like, but since you do not have an opposite sex adult living with you like you used to, you need to go out where other adults are.

Some people say, well, should I bring any of these people I am dating in to meet the children, or should they all spend some time with the children?

Experience seems to indicate that the best bet is not to get your children very involved with your dates when you are dating a lot of different people.

They tend to easily get attached to certain ones. Introduce your dates to your children when the occasion arises.

When you date some certain one on a more regular basis, then you may want to do some joint activities that include both your date and the children.

What if you have teenage daughters, for example, and you stay overnight at your date's house, or they stay overnight at your house. Isn't that going to set a bad example for your daughter?

You need to have a talk with your daughters. Tell them you have been married for years and that you are over 21, that you may be having one of your men friends staying over but that doesn't mean that sort of thing is ok for them.

When they are more mature, have been married for years, or are over 21, then they can decide that sort of thing for themselves, but until that time, no.

Tell them you are used to having a man around, having been married, and since you are not going to be getting married again right away, you still want to have some men in your life.

Harlan Jacobsen

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