Dating after the death of a girlfriend

remembers the conversation she had with her two sons following one of their regular visits with herex-husband.

Both boys were brimming with news about Daddy's new friend, Joanne.

But when she referred to their father as someone who was dating, the children were quick to insist that she was wrong."Daddy told us he won't date until we're in college," they declared.

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That's not an argument for or against divorce, for or against dating.It is an argument for honest, direct dialogue with kids about new relationships: Why Mom or Dad wants one, what Mom or Dad will doif a new relationship becomes serious, and how Mom or Dad's relationship with the child will be affected. had been divorced for six years when she announced to her children that she was thinking ofstarting to date again."They fell on the floor laughing," she recalls."They told me I was too old to date."Since then, Eva and her 13-year-old son have had many discussions about her relationships with menand his with girls.He once waited up for her when she was out on a date and asked, "How did it go? Later, the two discussed her difficulty ending the relationship.The child urged herto say goodbye to the man she'd been seeing, and Eva is now moving toward doing so, in part because she was so impressed with her son's observations.But despite such late-night chats and an occasional "flurry of activity" on her social calendar, Eva hasno interest in introducing any man to her sons."Some of the people I've met have said, 'Why don't my son and I meet you somewhere?' Some men use theirkids like dogs in a park to get attention.I think it's horribly unfair to children."Joe B., father of 7-year-old Cathy, was initially very careful about how much time the two of them spent with his girlfriend and her son.The parents and kids enjoyed ski trips together, often in the company of other friends.From the start, Cathy said little about her father's growing relationship with a new woman."I didn't really want her to know much in case it didn't work out," he recalls."My daughter pretty muchknew we weren't just friends. She made some comments to my roommate at the time, but not to me.""Don't ask, don't tell" dating policies are often the unspoken rule of parents who plan to keep their romanticlives separate from their children's lives, or who fear that introducing a new love interest who might not"stick around" will simply give their children a new reason for heartache.

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