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Divorce, Dating & Children

Last modified: June 21, 2016 mmBy mfleming
Divorce, Dating & Children

Dear Michele,
I am on this site and trying to meet Catholic man, I’m praying to meet the ONE the Lord has for ME, the BEST suited for ME. I’m praying for HIS guidance on this one. I’m 40 and never been married, with no children.

My concerns about communicating with a man divorced with children are questions such as are the children going to like me, wouldn’t that be tough, and what am I going to get into in this type of relationship? Do I need to downgrade my list as I’m getting older? Of course, a man that is divorced, must have annulment or I can’t consider dating him. A lot of men my age are divorced and have children, what do I do here ?

What is your advice and opinion on this ? Help ! ???

Signed,
Dating Divorced with Children?

Dear Dating,

If you have never been married and don’t have children, I can understand your concerns. You may be wondering what it would be like to step into a family, or to build a “step-family” one day. Your concerns are likely the same for most people considering a new relationship, questions involving acceptance and trust, it’s just with an ex-wife and children things can get a bit more complicated.

To start, in my opinion, if you want to increase your chances of meeting someone, then considering men who have been divorced are your best option. How many children and what ages may be important to you, and of course carefully considering when you may meet someone’s children is another question. You don’t need to make that step until you are ready, and remember that his children are likely going to take priority and that’s a good thing. With our without children is a very personal choice, but either way your are going to increase the amount of men from which to choose.

And, you get to choose. Some important points to consider: how long has he been divorced? You want to make sure he has had time to grieve the loss and work through any past issues. How is his relationship with his ex-wife? How is his relationship with his children? What is his story? There are a lot of men and women who are divorced but never wanted to be. They may have found themselves dealing with issues such as continuous adultery, addictions, or abuse, and felt that separating was the only way to keep their family safe.

Just because someone is divorced does not mean that he or she doesn’t see marriage as a sacred union. As you mentioned, if your date has an annulment, then the Church has made a determination, based on the information provided, that one or both members were not free to make the marriage commitment. Their freedom was hindered by factors either known or unknown to the partners. So with an annulment, you have assurance that the person you are considering dating has done a lot of reflection and likely prayer about the previous marriage. Once you get to know someone, you can find out these details and make an assessment for yourself. A person who is divorced is likely to understand what a precious gift a healthy marriage can be, and how much work it takes. He may even be extra picky in choosing his next partner too!

Good luck and God Bless,

Michele Fleming, M.A.

mm

Michele Fleming, M.A. is a counselor, national speaker, and writer on Christian relationships. Michele has a Masters in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in the integration of Christian theology. She is currently completing her PhD and her research is focused on dating and relationships. She is a member of the Christian Association for the Psychological Sciences and the American Psychological Association as well as a staff therapist at a non-profit community counseling center in Southern California, offering Christian counseling services to individuals and couples.Prior to entering graduate school, Michele served as the Director of Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Diego, and worked as a consultant for the young adult ministry of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Michele is also a radio host on "St. Joseph Radio Presents," a national EWTN broadcast on Saturday mornings that explores the teachings of the Catholic Church and how they apply to our lives and relationships. Michele considers her most important calling to be to her marriage. Dan and Michele were married in 2006, and together they provide seminars to couples preparing for marriage or discerning engagement.

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