One of the most complicated aspects of dating after divorce with kids is deciding when and how often your new guy (or girl) will be around your kids. Is it going to be one of those relationships that you keep separate from your kids and only get together when the kids are with your ex? Or, is he or she going to start sleeping over every night and become part of your family? Or, perhaps, will your relationship be somewhere in between?
There are many factors to take into account when it comes to dating after divorce with kids and sleepovers:
1. The amount of time you’ve been divorced.
2. The amount of time you’ve been dating the person.
3. The ages of your kids.
4. How your kids are adjusting well to the divorce.
5. What’s going on over at your ex’s house—in other words, do the kids need to start having sleepovers with your boyfriend if they are having them with dad’s girlfriend, too?
6. If your kids actually like the person you are dating.
7. How serious is the relationship? What’s the long term plan? Is this just a guy you’re having fun with or do you plan on marrying him?
In my opinion, the time after your divorce is a time in your life to be very selfless in certain aspects and really focus on your kids. And that means being very thoughtful in deciding if sleepovers are right.
In dating after divorce with kids, I’m not against the sleepover, and I would never judge anyone for anything, but I wish men and women would take a more selfless approach and think the sleepover through a bit more, before they let someone into their bed with their children two rooms down.
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of sleepovers:
1. A sleepover really allows the kids to get to know your boyfriend/girlfriend. So, if you are pretty sure you are ending up with him/her, it’s a good way to get a picture of how life is going to be.
2. For those dating after divorce with kids, sleepovers can be fun. It’s something different! And kids might be curious and enjoy the change. Plus, the guy sleeping over might bring ice-cream or another treat. And watching kids watch the reaction of your boyfriend while watching a movie is really really funny!
3. The person sleeping over can really bring something to the table, in other words, he or she can be a positive influence on your kids, and not take the place of their mom (or dad) but be another role model, support person for them in the future, which can be a lovely thing.
1. The kids might begin to resent the guy/girl for taking their parent’s time and sharing their bed, especially if it’s early in the relationship.
2. What kind of example are you setting if you have multiple men/women spend the night? Meaning, are you one of those people who allows sleepovers in every relationship? Ask yourself how many different men/women have slept over with your kids there in the past three years? If it’s more than two, that’s really selfish (just being honest.)
3. Your kids are (or have) suffered because of your divorce. Not faulting you for getting a divorce, but just keeping it real. They need you and your full attention. Having a sleepover cuts into the amount of attention and the time you spend with your kids.
In closing, I think sleepovers are okay, if it’s the right person, the right timing, and if you handle it the right way. Talking openly with your children and making them feel like they are part of the decision is such a nice idea. I’m not saying let your kids rule your personal life, but let them feel like their feelings on the situation matter.
Lastly, PLEASE close and lock your door if you plan on being intimate, and keep things quiet. Do you know how uncomfortable, even traumatizing it would be for your children to hear or see you having sex? Yikes.