Dating Tips for Divorced and Widowed Moms

Dating is tough for just about everybody, but it's even tougher for people who are divorced and widowed. Along with the fears of being "out of practice," there are often children's feelings to consider.

How can a single mother enjoy a new romance without lying awake at night worrying about doing emotional damage to her children? Personal Strengths and Life Coach Sue Tosto of Garfield, New Jersey provides the answers.

1. How soon after divorce or the death of a husband is it appropriate to start dating?

It depends on the individual, but anyone going through a divorce should wait at least six months to one year before even considering dating someone new. Emotions are running high, and a person needs time to heal before putting herself back on the market. Some newly divorced or widowed people jump into relationships too early because they're afraid of being alone. That's almost always a mistake.

The first year after a divorce is the time to re-group and focus on making new friendships. A woman can reflect on all the things she wanted to do when she was married but didn't. This is a rough time emotionally, but it helps to view it as a fresh start. It's the perfect time to re-develop a sense of self and decide what one really wants in life. A woman can consider what she hopes for in a new relationship and let go of the past in the process.

Dating after the death of a husband or partner is also not recommended for at least one full year. Two years is even better. The grieving process should never be rushed, and the length of time it takes for the bereaved to move on varies according to the individual.

Other matters to consider before dating include waiting until estate matters have been handled, i.e., insurance matters, review of the will, and the assignment of an executor or executrix if necessary. The stress a new relationship can cause during this emotional time is not recommended.

As with divorce, this is a time to spend with friends. It also helps to join a support group of others who have lost a loved one.

2. How long should the mother wait before introducing a new boyfriend to her children?

She should know him at least six months to a year. Otherwise, if she decides after dating him for 4 months that the relationship is going nowhere, the children will inevitably feel another loss. No child should be put through that after going through divorce or death of a parent. Children need time to heal as well. If the new man doesn't respect that, he's probably not great boyfriend material.

The first three months of a relationship is the honeymoon period. Everything is fresh and exciting. After around six months, the couple tends to relax and good behavior wears off. A woman gets to see what she's really dealing with. Before she introduces her new beau to her children, she needs to find out what his goals are, to see if his values and beliefs are consistent with hers, and really develop a friendship with him.

3. What is the best way to introduce a new boyfriend?

Once a woman decides to start dating, she should explain it to each of her children in an age-appropriate manner. After she and a new partner have spent six months to a year together, she can start telling the children things about him, particularly what she likes about him or little stories about places they've gone together. This way the children understand that Mom is still Mom, which is critical, but they'll also see that she's happier. They will slowly make the adjustment that they may soon share her with somebody else. Inevitably, the children will become curious about him. They may ask to meet him. I think it is wise to slowly incorporate the new partner into the family.

4. How should she handle it if the child resents the new relationship? Should she stop seeing the boyfriend?

Children will often resent a new relationship for the simple reason that they now have to share their mother with someone else. A woman can reassure her children that even though she is going out, she is coming back home to them. She should continue do the things with them she always did. Before she even starts dating, it might help to hire a babysitter and use the afternoon to go shopping, just to get the children accustomed to seeing her go out every once in a while.

Observing the children's reactions while the new man is around should provide some clues to other causes of resentment. A woman should also gently ask her children why they don't like her new partner. She should remember, though, that some children may not know exactly how to express why they dislike someone. It's important to tread carefully. A new relationship is stressful for the whole family.

If the children are really having a hard time with it, family counseling can get to the root of the problem, especially if all other avenues have been exhausted. The most important thing a single parent can do is to treat her children the same way she did before she met the new partner.

5. Is it ever acceptable to allow the boyfriend to sleep over, or should the couple book a babysitter and get a room?

Get a room, unless the kids are at Dad's for the weekend. Children don't need to see some stranger coming out of Mom's room in the morning (or their Dad's, either). A new relationship is exciting and the partners are certainly entitled to time alone, but a single parent must handle it delicately and deliberately. Her (or his) behavior will instruct the children about man/woman relationships in ways they will carry around with them for the rest of their lives.

Terry Hernon MacDonald writes frequently about relationships. Her mission is to help single women to stop settling for substandard Romeos and to marry men who are truly worthy of them. Please visit her website at

In The News:


Judge finalizes Stevie Wonder's divorce
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles judge has finalized Stevie Wonder's divorce from fashion designer Kai Millard Morris. Superior Court Judge Christine Byrd finalized the pair's divorce on Monday, more than three years after the Grammy-winning singer ...
Stevie Wonder's Divorce Finalized in Los Music and Entertainment News
Stevie Wonder -- I Just Called to Say I Dumped You ... Divorce

all 59 news articles »

Huffington Post

Top 5 Things to Ask Your (Potential) Divorce Lawyer
Huffington Post
While there are many things you should ask your divorce lawyer, you should really also ask yourself many things such as simply "do I feel good about him or her." There is often not much time to decide upon which lawyer to choose, so your gut instinct ...

Huffington Post

4 Lessons Divorce Learned From Me
Huffington Post
Yes, you read the title correctly. To divorce someone is to legally dissolve what was concrete and created by law. It is, by definition, the ending, though the strong will always call it "the beginning of something new" or "a fresh start" or something ...

and more »


Billionaire divorce heads to negotiating table instead of court
The widely-followed divorce battle between billionaire hedge fund star Ken Griffin and his wife Anne Dias Griffin may not go to trial after all. The power couple entered into settlement talks on Monday, according to the office of presiding Judge Grace ...
Billionaire Ken Griffin heads to divorce courtCNBC
Griffin divorce negotiations no surprise to expertsChicago Tribune
Hedge fund billionaire's divorce trial put on holdPage Six
Chicago Sun-Times -Crain's Chicago Business (blog)
all 29 news articles »


Bitter divorce leaves man stranded in the front yard of his million dollar home
Harris County Criminal Court records show that Khan was arrested for domestic violence in 2008 and civil court records show his wife received a protective order in December 2014 and that she filed for divorce in June. She's also asked for multiple ...

and more »

Food World News

Gwen Stefani Divorce Gavin Rossdale: No Pre-Nup, Diss Track, Blake Shelton ...
Food World News
After being one of the most stable couples in the music industry for nearly 20 years (on 13 of which as man and wife), the announcement of Gwen Stefani's divorce from Gavin Rossdale was a shock to millions, even more so when rumors started circulating ...

and more »


Catholic bishops push for open discussion on divorce, gays at Vatican synod
VATICAN CITY (RNS) — The Vatican's high-level meeting on the family continued Tuesday, with bishops emphasizing the need for open discussion on divorced and remarried Catholics. The 62 bishops who have so far spoken at the gathering, called a synod ...
Welcome to the “Spin-od”: Conservatives Look to Halt Reforms on Divorce and ...Religion Dispatches
Homosexuality, divorce & remarriage up for discussion at Vatican synodeuronews
Will the Vatican make it easier to be a divorced Catholic?Christian Science Monitor
National Catholic Reporter -Catholic Herald Online
all 1,857 news articles »

Detroit Free Press

US Rep. Conyers does not want to divorce wife Monica
Detroit Free Press
Despite her going to prison, losing her political job and often embarrassing the family with her behavior in City Hall, U.S. Rep. John Conyers does not want a divorce from his feisty wife, Monica Conyers, his lawyer told the Free Press on Monday. The ...
Lawyer: Rep. John Conyers doesn't want divorceMyFox Detroit
Lawyer says US Rep. John Conyers doesn't want divorceWNEM Saginaw

all 47 news articles »

People Magazine

Blake Shelton on Life After Divorce From Miranda Lambert: I Wasn't in a Good ...
People Magazine
Less than three months after Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert announced their divorce, the country crooner has shed new light on his adjustment to life as a single man. "I'm good, I'm good," Shelton, 39, said with a smile in an interview that aired on ...
Blake Shelton Reveals He's 'Loving' Life After Miranda Lambert Divorce ...Hollywood Life
Blake Shelton talks life after Miranda Lambert divorce: 'I'm loving it'
Blake Shelton says he's in a "good place" after divorceCBS News
The Stir -International Business Times -Us Magazine
all 134 news articles »

Business West (blog)

Divorce Mediation Is an Appealing Alternative to a Court Fight
Business West (blog)
Couples who decide to end their marriage are often dealing with the most upsetting, stressful time of their lives, and the prospect of fighting tooth and nail in court to decide issues like child custody, visitation, and finances only piles on the ...

Google News

How Thinking About An Uncontested Divorce Figures Into Your Decision About Divorce

An uncontested divorce is the most common type of divorce.... Read More

Divorce--Getting Legal Help Without Paying Exorbitant Attorneys Fees

Ignorance is the most common trap in the business of... Read More

9 Steps to Regaining Self-Esteem After Divorce

Divorce is difficult at the 'best' of times. Even when... Read More

Surviving Life After Divorce

After divorce, the most important thing you can do is... Read More

Too Many Divorces

My oldest boy asked me something the other day about... Read More

Divorce: How To Survive A Divorce And Move On With Your Life

One out of every two marriages in America is failing.American... Read More

Alienation of Affection - Interference with marriage can cost big bucks in North Carolina

Non-lawyers are often surprised to learn that a spouse can... Read More


Being marriage means being fully committed to your husband as... Read More

10 Ways to Keep Divorce Lawyers From Ruining Your Life

Everyone has heard the story (from friends, co-workers, and family... Read More

Two Hearts Are Now One

It is fitting that I should write this story on... Read More

Grieving the End of Your Marriage, as You Know it

The pain of finding out that your partner is cheating... Read More

Love and Marriage Fairy Tale

When we were children we believed in fairy tales and... Read More

Effects of Divorce on Children

When a couple decides their marriage is over, a tremendous... Read More

5 Things To Do Before You Even Think About Getting A Divorce

There are many steps to take to protect yourself in... Read More

How Can Collaborative Law Be Beneficial In Your Texas Divorce?

Collaborative law is based on the realization that the commitment... Read More

Get Over A Divorce and Prepare for Divorce Recovery!

It can be difficult to get over a divorce and... Read More

Seven Sets of Documents You Need For Your Divorce

Even if you believe your case will ultimately be agreed... Read More

7 Ways to Rediscover Your True Passion after Divorce

Going through a divorce is a very challenging time in... Read More

Reasons For Divorce; What Constitutes Viable Reasons For Thinking About Or Wanting A Divorce?

According to the Center for Disease Control's National Vital Statistics... Read More

The Legal Side of Divorce

While divorce can be an emotionally draining experience, even in... Read More

Divorce--How to Beat the System

Of course you want to get your Judgment--that's the goal... Read More

Divorce, The Hardest Thing You Have To Do

Knowing What To Do In DivorceKnowing what to do when... Read More

Child Support: 5 Key Things Every Parent Should Know

There is no magic solution to getting issues surrounding child... Read More

Does Living In A Loveless Marriage Necessarily Mean That You Should Get A Divorce?

Being in a loveless marriage is a frustrating predicament, but... Read More

Women And Divorce: How Women Should Protect Themselves Financially Regarding Divorce

Women who believe a divorce is a possibility or who... Read More