5 Common Mistakes Men Make After Divorce
3. Introducing Your New Partner to Your Kids Too Soon
You've met someone new. You're excited and happy. Good for you. Just don't make the mistake of expecting your kids to be upbeat about it.
"The last thing the kids want to see is parents getting involved with someone else," says Gordon E. Finley, PhD, a psychologist who specializes in issues facing divorced men and an emeritus professor of psychology at Florida International University in Miami. "They are going to be unhappy. Date when you feel ready, but leave the kids out of it."
Buser agrees. "Focus on the other adult when starting a relationship," he says. "She can meet the kids when you know you are serious."
4. Giving In to Hostility
Don't make the mistake of continuing to fight with your ex, especially if children are involved.
"You don't want to be seen as an enemy or an antagonist but as a co-parent," says Arizona State University professor emeritus of psychology Sanford L. Braver, PhD. "I'm not saying that that will be easy, but everybody will be better off."
Braver, co-author of Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths, recommends that men consider conflict and anger management classes. In his research, he's found that when dads learn how to put compromises before conflict and competition, both the kids and the parents do better.
"Learn to manage as well as you can from the middle ground," says Braver. "Diplomacy and negotiating skills are key."
Being civil with your ex may encourage more flexibility in terms of custody, and potentially more time with your kids.
"If divorced spouses have a working relationship, they can agree to informally bypass some stipulations," Finley says. "Workloads go up and down, schedules can shift, and you want some way to take that into account."
5. Backing Off From Parenting
If you're a dad, divorce doesn't change that. Your child still needs you as a father, not as a visitor.
"That should be the most important thing from the man's point of view: His child wants him and his child needs him," Finley says. "Maintaining the relationship is important for your child's developmental outcome: social, emotional, and educational."