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Dating and children after a divorce

Most of us all know the story of a lovely lady who was bringing up three very lovely girls.

She met the lonely man who was busy with three boys of his own. Integrating your kids during the dating process isn't always that perfect Brady Bunch picture. Life with children isn't always playing patty cake and giving hugs.

This group so easily formed a family and lived happily ever after. There are tantrums, power struggles, sleepless nights and runny noses to contend with, so it's important to take things slowly when children are involved.

Do you remember what they were like after two weeks versus two months?

A lot can happen as you get to know a person, so be careful about integrating the children too soon.

Kids from divorced families have already experienced a loss and can get attached very quickly, so it is important to think about how the introduction will affect them.

Instead of determining when to introduce the kids based on the amount of time that has passed, think about it in terms of where you are in your relationship.

There are several stages to any relationship: the first, or "courting" phase, should be about having fun and really getting to know one another separate from kids, family and friends.

This is the fun part and should really be about discovering one another. This is when you've known one another a few months on a more consistent basis and are trying to determine whether this could go further.

The final phase is the "relationship" phase, which occurs when the couple determines that they are fully committed to a long-term situation.

This is the phase in which you should introduce each other to your children, as the kids can feel a sense of permanency and stability.

Also consider the amount of time you have been divorced.

Children are not ready to have another parental figure thrown into the mix right after their parents' split.

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