The 3 P’s of Dating After Divorce, With Children

Before I share some very important advice, I feel I must give you a bit of background on how and why this advice served me well. This article is designed to give a basic guideline on some of the most important attributes in looking for a permanent new partner when there are children (minors) involved.

I was a single mother of two beautiful girls for almost 7 years. I separated when my youngest was 3 months old and her sister was only 3 years old. My divorce came 2 years later and not even a year after that my ex-husband was completely out of their lives. My ex-husband went down a very dark path, made some horrendous choices and ended up arrested and convicted of two class A felonies. I was very much alone. And it was the beginning of my journey.

Life had to go on. I was determined to get my Masters and live a healthy lifestyle while I raised my girls. Dating and serious relationships weren’t on my radar for another year. Once I decided to give it a shot I knew I had to do it VERY carefully. My first and most important rule was to keep my girls separate from my personal life. I was, after all trying to redefine myself as a woman, not just a mother. The dates began after I tucked them in at night and ended at my front door so there was no confusion for them. After the guidelines were cemented in my own head I had to start thinking about where I was and what I wanted in my life from another person. To be completely honest, for a while men in my life were a means for me to have a good time. Bounce ideas, talk about anything other than the children and most importantly, find out who I was. This may sound callus but the truth was that it was the only way I could begin to sort through what I wanted for the rest of my life. There were a few frogs that I kissed but each frog gave me something invaluable… a clearer sense of me. They gave me the gift of ME. After numerous conversations about these frogs with my best friend, we decided (and actually with help from her husband too whose opinion I valued) that the very baseline had to be met for me to consider anything more than just “fun”.

The three P’s of dating after divorce are simple. The order of importance of the 3 P’s is a personal decision. I will order them here as I thought they matched my own values.


No man was going to be taken seriously in my life if he wasn’t already a parent and who also took parenting seriously. I was a single mother of two little girls and the man that I wanted in my life had to want and love my girls as much as I do. That may seem a lot to ask but the expectation is NOT too high for the right man. He had to want to parent two young ones again. He had to have the same parenting values I had. We had to be able to be a team. We had to be a solid team that was founded on love and stability, PERIOD. The ideal man for me would already have children of his own and was willing to learn how to be a great father figure for my own little girls. This was a critical expectation that I would not settle for less on. If there were serious questions, he was out the door. My girls were missing a father and needed one. I knew no matter what a fantastic mother I was, I could not fill that role. My prince had huge shoes to fill but their love (I knew was) the ultimate reward.


This meant that he had to share my living values. We had to be able to match in every other aspect. He had to challenge my intellect. He also needed to know when to follow instead of lead. He had to share my joys and sorrows and he needed to be emotionally available. The most important aspect of being a partner in my life is a man that is committed to emotional growth as a core value. He had to be driven and be able to balance work and life well. We had to share a life. We had to be able to be PARTNERS in every sense of the word.


My prince had to have a job. He had to have a career that provided a stable income for him and for us. This does not mean I was looking for a ‘sugar daddy;’ I was looking for a man that was financially stable and driven to do more for his own definition of success as well as be aligned in my personal goals of success. I needed him to be working along side of me to create a better life for all of us. One of the frogs that I mentioned before had it all except for this part. He wasn’t driven or motivated; he floundered in his job and had no ambition to be in a better place than where he was. I wasn’t going to settle for anything less than my idea of what was best for my girls and me.

There were 5 men in my life over 6 years. Each of these relationships taught me more about myself than I think I would have learned otherwise. Each of them had one, or even two, of these 3 P’s and I had to think hard about whether I could live without one. I had also taken plenty of time to see if these qualities would show up, manifest, and develop. I waited a year with two of these men and the longer I waited, the more strongly I felt about what was important to me and not settling for less. These three P’s were the very foundation I knew would serve my children best. There isn’t anything more important in my opinion than wanting and doing what is in the best interest of the children you give life to.


My husband is my prince and he not only meets these 3 P’s but by far exceeds my expectations every day. There isn’t a man out there that is more perfect in my opinion and I wouldn’t measure up to his expectations if I didn’t want the best for our children.

Author's Bio: 

Sarah was born in Boston, MA, raised in New York City and graduated from the University of Connecticut with two degrees. She obtained her degrees in Communications and Psychology. Through her own personal tragedies and struggles Sarah married young and had two beautiful girls. Even though her marriage failed, her devotion to her graduate education and her girls was unsurpassed. With her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in analyzing foreign markets, and a new career opportunity in MD, she moved to MD where she met and fell in love with Enrique. Today, Sarah lives in Maryland with her husband and their children, researching, writing and publishing articles and books.