Is It Okay to Date After Separating?
So, you have officially separated from your spouse and you're ready to move on and start dating again. As much as it's good to move on and find happiness, it's important to acknowledge the unique situation you're in - especially if you have children. This brings us to our central question: is it okay to date once you're separated and how does the court view new relationships in these circumstances?
In brief, it's important to keep everything respectful and to acknowledge that in and around the process of separation, your new relationship may affect several people.
The most obvious awkwardness when it comes to new relationships after separation may come from your former spouse. In many circumstances, separation is an emotional time and it isn't uncommon for one party to move on quicker than the other. In those situations, it is important to be respectful and avoid boasting about your new relationship. Resist the urge to post a ton of photos together online and try to stop reminding your former spouse that you have moved on. They may need more time than you to feel comfortable with your separation.
There is also another level of complexity that arises if you have children. In these cases, it is crucial to remember that your children are going through a difficult time themselves. No matter the circumstances, children suffer to some extent when they see their parents separate. If they are still processing this change in family dynamic, they may become overwhelmed if they see one of their parents in a new relationship. They may not be old enough to understand the concept of moving on and being happy with different people, and it could be possible for them to view your new partner as someone trying to replace their mom or dad.
As much as this new relationship can be exciting, try to delay introducing your children to your new partner until you are certain that your relationship will be long-term and that your kids are comfortable. If your children are older, you may even consider having an open discussion with them about their thoughts on you resuming dating. This could help them digest this new information in smaller pieces rather than suddenly introducing an important figure in their life.
Also, be sure to have an open conversation with your new partner about your separation. It is important to clearly discuss their plan surrounding your kids as well - do they want to be involved? Are they okay with dropping your kids off and picking them up from school? Will they want to introduce themselves to your former spouse and help with the parenting plan? You might think these questions are intrusive or too up-front but if you are introducing someone into such a specific family dynamic, there needs to be open communication to ensure no one feels pressure and to avoid hurt feelings.
Lastly, the court wants to ensure that any new relationships are introduced with respect and courtesy to both your former spouse and your children. The court prioritizes the well-being and comfort of your children and they want to see that you understand the impact of introducing more people into an already complicated family situation.
Ultimately, as long as common sense is applied, and everything is kept respectful, you should be able to pursue new relationships and find happiness after your separation.
If you have further questions, I am a practicing Family Lawyer in St. Catharines, Ontario, and would love to connect with you. CLICK HERE to get in touch for a consultation.
Jolanta Bula B.A. (Hons.) J.D. #separation #familylaw Jolanta Bula Legal Professional Corporation confirms that the content of this website is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or other professional opinion of any kind. Should you require specific legal advice, please contact Jolanta Bula, Legal Professional Corporation directly regarding your specific inquiry. Jolanta Bula, Legal Professional Corporation does not warrant or guarantee any information of this website as any reliance upon it will be at the user's own risk. Accessing or using this website does not create a lawyer-client relationship in any fashion nor will any unsolicited information be treated as confidential under lawyer-client privilege.