Should we keep our dating out of sight of our children?

By Killian McAleese

Being in the dating game in your 40s and 50s means there are usually children involved. For those with no children, the chances are someone you meet when dating will be a single parent, dating perhaps for the first time after a relationship. Whatever your situation, the subject of our dear offspring is very likely to arise.

Advice for single parents dating

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Last year, Mitchell Milch published some advice for dating single parents in Psychology Today magazine. In a helpful and sensitive piece, Mitchell discusses a number of issues that come up when dating as a single parent, including coping with the aftermath of divorce, self-esteem, and getting started with that new relationship.

One piece of advice caught my eye:

“To whatever degree is possible, keep your dating out of sight of your children.”

Let’s be honest. Our children, however observant and nosey they are, do not need to keep everything in their sights. Even when living with both of their parents in a happy marriage, there’s plenty that we can conceal from them with hushed voices, closed doors and late-night conversations.

Discretion or concealment?

But is it really possible to conceal your dating plans from your teenage son, for example? And does this concealment not create a degree of mistrust?

Mitchell argues that children “don’t need to become anxious over what will happen to them should you remarry when you are dating casually” and goes on to say that “It’s hard enough to make an intelligent and reasonable judgment about selecting a partner without complicating the matter further.”

“To whatever degree possible” is perhaps the best we can do. We might add that where it’s not possible, we have no choice but to be upfront.

Should we hide dating from the kids?

We’d like to hear your opinion.