The Divorced Mom’s Guide to Dating Again After Narcissistic Abuse

The Divorced Mom’s Guide to Dating Again After Narcissistic Abuse

"Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it." ~Oprah WinfreyDivorced Mom Guide to Dating After Narcissistic Abuse

In any situation, when you get a divorce or move on to a new relationship and you have kids, it makes dating a completely different experience. No longer are you just trying to find someone who’s right for you – you’re trying to find someone who’s right for your kids. 

And when your ex is a narcissist, it's a whole other ball of wax. 

Even so, there are some common truths for all moms who are dating again after divorce.

The fact is that you might find yourself looking for a "new dad" or someone to fill the void left in your life by your ex - but don't fall into that trap! You might end up scaring away Mr. Right - because unlike most narcissists, Mr. Right is willing to take things slowly - and that's what you should want to do as well - after all, you definitely don't want to attract another narc, right? 

Read more: Top 17 Early Warning Signs You're Dating a Narcissist

So, before we continue - a bit of harsh truth for you.

Being a Mom doesn’t mean you have to be looking for a forever commitment – even though most women do seek out that stability for their children in these circumstances.

You don’t have to latch onto the first man who is willing to date a woman with children – you can take your time finding Mr. Right and vetting the prospects to see who would be the best fit for your family.

When I was a single mom, I'd ask myself "Is this guy someone I'd want my son to grow up and be like?" It is an incredible way to really get a good read on a guy, if you can be honest with yourself.

You never want to settle for someone who is right for you, but not your kids – or right for your kids, but not right for you. He needs to be the total package. That means you prioritize things a bit differently sometimes.

How Soon Should You Start Dating When You Have Kids?

This is going to be a different answer for every woman. Only you know your kids and your situation. But there are some guidelines you can use to figure out when the time is right.

Is your ex-narcissist influencing your kids against you? If there’s chaos in the post-divorce stage (and it's likely when you've been involved with a narcissist), then he might disparage you and make the kids think less of you because you’re dating again.

This kind of thing happens frequently. You don’t have to wait forever, but it might be best to either postpone dating until the raw feelings fade away, or make sure that your kids are okay with it before you go there.

Some kids will be loyal and fierce to your ex no matter what – and no amount of time is going to make them okay with you dating again. You might have to get family counseling so that an unbiased third party can help them see that you’re an individual now, not a couple, and that you should be allowed to enjoy life, too.

When your kids are too small to understand, then you can begin dating as soon as you see fit. The older they get, the more resentment they may feel – but that all depends on the relationship they have with you and their father.

Many kids embrace the idea of their parents getting out on the dating scene because they like to see their parents happy. This is perfect – but don’t force yourself into it if you’re not ready.

What Type of Man Would Be Right for Your Family?

Like I mentioned, when you’re looking for a man who is right for you, you have to always be thinking in the back of your mind, “Is he right for my kids?” You might have your own criteria, but here are some things to consider.

Is he willing to take things slow? Some men will want to come right over and spend the night – practically moving in on week one - and be careful, because that's a sign of love-bombing. You want a man who will respect your boundaries on when he should meet your kids, spend time at your home, and anything further than that.

Video: How to Tell the Difference Between Love Bombing and Healthy Romantic Interest

Does he respect the role of their biological dad? Regardless of his flaws, the kids will already have a father – and you might have problems if he assumes that the two of you dating means he’ll be taking his place. 

In some instances, the kids won’t have a father in their lives – and that means this new guy might be seen as a father figure. Is he okay with that position? Some men might feel uncomfortable.

What kind of parental role do you want him to have? Should he be like the fun uncle who comes over to play and act silly or eat dinner once in awhile, or will he be stepping up to the plate to be “Dad” pretty soon?

These are things that you need to be open about and honest with yourself about - even though your heart (and other tingly bits) may not go along with at first - but you and I both know this MATTERS - you don't want to fall into old traps and old habits. You need to make it clear to your new potential love how involved you want/expect him to be with your kids if at all. 

Personally, I had a rule that no guy got to meet my son unless we were able to date consistently and monogamously for 3 to 6 months. Yes, it made life a bit more complicated, but it protected him from a lot of heartache in the end. This way, he didn't develop attachments to people I dated who weren't right for me. 

Can/will he discipline the kids, and if so, how? Some families have it written into the parenting plan during a divorce that other people can’t punish the kids at all, or that no corporal punishment should be allowed.

Is he good to your kids? You want someone who is protective over them and wants everything in their best interest – even if he’s not leading the family as a father figure at all.

You want your kids to be excited about him coming over, not resent it or head off to their rooms when he arrives. This is where a sense of humor (which is different from biting sarcasm) comes in handy. It’s great to find a guy who will play ball with the kids, engage them with a video game, or just chat with them about their day.

Does he have kids of his own? This brings another layer to the relationship if you decide to date this man. The Brady Bunch makes it all look easy, but mixing families can be difficult.

If he does have kids, be sure you each meet each other’s kids and get to know them before you start introducing the kids to one another - this will help to take the edge off a bit. Take it slow and make sure each child feels adequately loved and important during this transition.

Uncomfortable but Necessary Warning: It’s a simple fact of life and you need to be aware of it so that you can protect our family. There are some dangerous men out there who seek out single Moms to date because in reality, they’re pedophiles.

These men will date you and even marry you – and you might have a thriving sexual relationship – but they’re doing all of it to gain your trust so that they can abuse your children. Educate yourself about this before you start dating because it’s a real issue with serious consequences.

First Date for You Versus First Meeting With the Kids

There are two different situations here. The first time you meet a man and the first time your kids do. Your first date should come quite a bit of time before your kids are introduced to him. For me, the 3 to 6-month rule worked, but that might be different for you - don't get stuck on numbers. 

For your own first date, keep yourself safe. You should do this anyway as a single woman, but as a Mom, you have a responsibility to your kids now, too. Don’t have anyone pick you up at your home.

Meet him somewhere else instead. If possible, take a friend along (have him bring one, too) and make it a double date. If not, that’s okay – just meet somewhere visible with other people around.

You want a place where good conversation can take root. Meals are great! You can talk while eating – and if you want to have a quick date, try doing brunch or lunch instead of dinner.

Sporting events are another great idea. You can really get to know each other if you’re sitting at a baseball game for your local team (if both of you enjoy it and are fans).

When should you introduce your kids to your new man?

When you have kids, it becomes difficult to decide when to introduce them. On one hand, you don’t want to go through man after man after man with your kids. They need stability and it doesn’t make them comfortable to see their Mom dating dozens of different men - and that was part of my reason for the 3-6 month rule. 

On the other hand, you don’t want to get too serious with one man before introducing him to your children because you have to see how it works with your children first.

So sometime between “just met him” and “I’m ready to be exclusive with this person,” you should introduce him to your family. Start off by letting them get used to the idea.

You can initiate conversations about your new guy first. Don’t just spring him on them out of the blue one day. Mention him in passing as a friend who you’re having dinner with, etc.

Don’t bring him to your house to meet your kids – and don’t take them to his. Have all of you meet at a public, fun destination like the park where your kids can play and he can interact with them.

You might want to clue your new date in on some things your kids do and don’t like before he meets with them. For example, if they hate someone teasing them or can’t stand it when someone throws them in the pool, give him a heads up so that he doesn’t become public enemy #1 without warning.

How to Help Your Kids Cope With Your New Dating Life After Divorcing a Narcissist

Sometimes, no matter what you do to try to alleviate the strain of your new dating life, your kids will have a problem with it anyway. Sometimes their feelings are justified and you can help them by acknowledging that, so don’t dismiss it just because of their age.

Let’s look at some common complaints kids have when their parents start dating and how you can address each one:

"You don’t spend time with me anymore."

If dating starts to consume you, then it can get things started off on the wrong foot. It’s understandable that you want to spend lots of time with your new guy, but remember that your kids view him as an invader – and they’re going to dislike him if he is favored over them.

Make sure that you take each child and spend some one-on-one time with them throughout the day. Don’t text or take phone calls during this time – focus all of your attention on their needs.

It’s great if your kids can see you recognize a call from your new guy and say something like, “Oh that’s Bob – I’ll call him back later – right now, I’m playing with you!”

Though I got remarried 15 years ago, I still try to make at least an hour a day to spend with each of my kids (we've added two to the fold in that time) - the mornings are great for that in my case. 

"He's just not right for you, Mom!"

Sometimes we’re so desperate to get into another relationship that we forget about our list of deal breakers. We fall into old patterns. Our kids may be able to see it – the way you become “different” around this new guy versus when you’re by yourself.

If they have concerns, make sure you give them the freedom to speak up and talk to you about it. If they say he puts you down, for instance – ask for examples and keep an open mind. Don’t excuse his behavior – address it with him.

"He doesn't like us (or we don't like him)!"

Some men may be right for you, but when it comes to your kids, he just doesn’t have the right mindset. Maybe he’s always grumpy or he comes off as “weird” to your kids.

You want your kids to enjoy the time they’re spending around him, so work with both your kids and your new man to see if things can get smoothed over to a better place. If not, then you may need to let him move on to someone else.

"We already have a dad and we are fiercely loyal to him!"

This is a normal reaction for kids to have, even if Dad is also a narcissist. If you’re on good terms with your ex, have him sit down with you and the kids and have a discussion about how it’s a positive thing that the two of you are dating new people. 

Chances are that most narcs aren't going to be okay with it, especially if they're not already moving on (and in some cases, even if they are - narcissists aren't known for their ability to empathize or for fairness/equality - they'd have no problem being with a new woman and still not being okay with you being with a new guy, especially if they perceive him as somehow superior to them). 

But, in the rare case that he can or will work with you, remember that if they see that Dad’s okay with the new guy, they might be more open to accepting him, too. Invite both of them to something like your child’s birthday party and let your child see them shaking hands and being friendly to each other.

Tip: You can sometimes convince a narc to do what you want by convincing him that first, he's the most amazing dad you know - and "how wonderful that he's so secure in himself that he's willing to be so selfless with his kids that he can at least pretend to like the new guy."

When the Narc Won't Budge

If the ex is part of the problem, then you might need to have an honest discussion with your child about the situation. Don’t disparage their dad. Instead, explain to them how you just weren’t right for each other and that the new guy has nothing to do with the fact that you’re no longer a couple.

He may have believed that if the new guy wasn’t in the picture, then you and your child’s father might get back together. Explain to him that this isn’t a possibility even if you stay single forever so that he doesn’t sit there “wishful thinking” anymore - it will help you BOTH, even if the initial discussion is a little uncomfortable. 

Finding Balance Between Your Dating and Parenting Lives

Parenting will always be your most important task in life. But you also need to take care of your own needs – and that includes forming meaningful relationships.

Put your needs and those of your children first. Then try to accommodate the new person you’re dating, because it will be difficult for him, too to come into an existing family and try to fit in while being judged. Dating with kids doesn’t have to be a struggle, even if you've been in a toxic or abusive relationship in the past. Just be mindful of everyone’s feelings and do the best you can!

You feel me? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments, below. 

Good Morning, Mrs. Perfect: Read This!

Good Morning, Mrs. Perfect: Read This!

You've got to read an ebook I recently discovered! It's entitled "Good Morning Mrs. Perfect."

The book will show mothers how to cope and will also help potential parents know what to expect when the time comes.

Get the book here: https://gumroad.com/l/xtTyU

Mothers will appreciate the benefits of being a mum; understand the power of speaking positively to their children as they go through different phases of development.

They will also learn to harness the power of networking with other mothers and see that no matter the cultural differences and beliefs, mothers are similar because they share a common goal which is to love, protect and nurture their children.

9 Fun & Sexy Halloween Costume Ideas for Real Women

9 Fun & Sexy Halloween Costume Ideas for Real Women

It’s almost that time of year to don the perfect costume and head out for your night of scary fun. But when it’s time to get read to celebrate Halloween, you want to be sure that you have a costume that’s comfortable and makes you look good. Here's what our fearless editor wore for a Halloween party this year - a Venus costume. 

fun sexy halloween costume ideas for women

As always, there are plenty of popular costumes that hit the list of best-selling ones. Some of these costumes are zombie costumes, goddess costumes, and costumes that are based on female villains.

When you’re a woman looking for the perfect costume, you want to first decide the type that you’re going for.

Are you looking for something funny or serious? Something modern or old fashioned? Some of the most popular costumes this year are related to older time periods in history such as the ones that feature kings, queens and knights in shining armor.

Women’s Batman Arkham City Harley Quinn Costume

It's not too late to be the star of your Halloween party! With a shiny red, white and blue costume, you could easily go as a superhero fighting the bad guys to make the city safe from harm.

But it’s much more fun when you when you can play the part of the super villain. This year for Halloween, you can go as Dr. Harley Quinn when you’re wearing the Women’s Batman Arkham City Harley Quinn Costume.

Let the mayhem and chaos commence. This is an officially licensed costume that has the appeal of leather but in a more comfortable material than that so you’ll be able to party the night away.

The pants of the costume are a pair of Spandex leggings that feature a harlequin design. One leg is black with maroon designs while the other leg is maroon with black designs.

The waistband of the leggings has a wide black belt that looks like leather. This belt is decorated with small silver studs and a silver buckle. The top of the costume is made in a bustier style.

There are a series of lacing going from the bottom part of the top up toward the neckline. There are black straps with buckles on either side of the top. The bra part of the top is done in the same alternating colors that you find on the leggings.

A black choker comes as part of this costume and features the same silver stud pieces as found on the belt. The choker also has a buckle in the center. This is a snug fitting piece that stays on with the use of a velcro closure.

A pair of glovelettes also come with the costume. The length of these run from above the elbow to the knuckles of the hands. One glovelette has a maroon sleeve with a black glove. The other one has a black sleeve with a maroon glove.

The boots that Harley wears do not come included as part of the costume. You can get these separately. Look for boots that are made in a combat style. You can search under goth if necessary.

The boots should lace up the front and have a clunky heel if you want to be authentic. You can also purchase a blond wig that’s made up in the pigtails that Harley is known to wear.

If you’d rather have a dress version of the costume, you can get that with the Secret Wishes DC Comics Super Villain Harley Quinn Costume that’s done in red and black colors. This costume includes one red and one black glove.

Women’s Captain America Costume

 

Staying in the number one most popular spot this year for women is the Women’s Captain America Costume and it’s easy to see why. Not only is the costume based on a hero that everyone loves, but the costume is also very figure flattering.

It’s made of 90% polyester with 10% of it being Spandex. It’s this material that gives the costume its form fitting appeal. It’s also what helps it be able to fit any body type. The pants part of this jumpsuit is a lovely blue color that has a sheen when the light hits them.

The middle part of the jumpsuit features a portion of the torso that’s made of red and white stripes. The top of the jumpsuit has a blue background color with a large white start centered in the middle.

The sleeves are long and white to the middle of the forearms. The bottom of the sleeves of the jumpsuit are red and reach to the middle of the palm of the hand to simulate the gloves that Captain America wears.

Though the jumpsuit is shown with a pair of red knee length boots, these boots are not part of the costume. The Captain America shield is also not part of the costume. However, you can buy a pair of shiny red boots like the ones shown as a separate accessory.

You can also find the low heeled boots in white. The shield and other Captain America accessories can be purchased separately as well. If you really want to dress like Captain America for Halloween but you’re not a fan of jumpsuits, you do have other options.

One option is the Rubie's Costume Women's Marvel Universe Adult Captain America Tank Dress. This would make a great party dress. This top quality dress is a sleeveless, light blue tank dress that’s 100% polyester.

The dress length is about mid thigh and it is form fitting. The center of the dress features the iconic red and white stripes for the torso. This pattern does not go all the way around the dress and is only on the front.

So from behind, it looks like a plain blue tank dress. At the bust area is the large white star. There are no accessories as part of this costume so if you want those, you’ll have to get them separately.

Women’s Star Wars Costumes: Boba Fett

Halloween is a night of trick or treating for the kids, but for adults, it can be a fun time to dress up. Whether you’re looking for the perfect costume to dress up in so that you can hand our goodies or you’re planning to attend a Halloween party, you have a lot of options that you can choose from.

There are superhero costumes for women, or, you can choose something from medieval times. But, the most popular costumes this year are the Star Wars costumes such as the officially licensed Women’s Star Wars Costumes Boba Fett.

This costume is a jumpsuit that’s 100% synthetic and it has to be hand washed. The color of the suit is a light gray but portions of it are light green and it has a few touches of yellow.

The green pieces simulate the armor that the character wore in the movie. There is a brown belt at the waist that’s made to look like leather and has molded pockets on it.

The suit is long sleeved and one of the sleeves has a molded armor piece at the wrist fitting up to mid forearm. The shirt has a high collar. A cape is attached to the back of the shirt. There is a two piece mask that comes with the costume.

Female Darth Vader Costume 

Another great costume for women from the Star Wars films is the Secret Wishes Star Wars Female Darth Vader Costume. This was the villain that everyone loved to hate.

The costume is made of 100% polyester and has to be hand washed as well. The costume features a thigh high black skirt that’s trimmed in red. A belt for the waist is part of the costume and is printed to look like it has electronic pieces on it.

The shirt is long sleeved and black as well. It has a center panel that also features printed electronic pieces. A headpiece in black comes with the costume and this piece can completely cover the hair.

It can tie or hang loosely. Black knee socks that are decorated to look like body armor are also included. The light saber is sold as a separate accessory and so are the shoes.

If you’re looking for an upscale version of the Darth Vader costume, then you’ll want to check out the Rubie's Costume Star Wars Kimono Feudal Darth Vader Costume. This officially licensed costume black gown in rich tones that’s trimmed in red accents.

There is a red wide sash for the waist area and a long piece of fabric from that hangs down in the front of the gown. The top portion of the gown is decorated to look as if there is an electronic piece in the front as was worn by Darth Vader in the films.

The sleeves of the gown are long and wide and hang to the mid calf length of the dress. The neckline is trimmed in red. Included with the costume is a fan featuring the printed face of Darth Vader.

Deluxe Renaissance Lady Costume

 

But the most popular costume for women this year is the Deluxe Renaissance Lady Costume and it’s sure to garner you plenty of compliments. This is a floor length dress in a rich purple color.

The material of the dress is crushed velvet and it has plenty of give to it, which means the dress will fit different body sizes quite well. The dress does offer plenty of warmth so you’ll be able to fight the chill of the night if you live in a colder climate.

The front sides of the dress are lined with a thin ribbon of material that’s set on a pale background. This allows the design on the material to stand out. The bodice of the dress is done in a corset style and features several rows of lacing.

These tie into a bow at the very last row. The neckline of the costume is a square neck that’s decorated in the same material that lines the front of the dress. This is a long sleeve dress and the sleeves end in wide sleeves like the women wore back in the medieval times.

Around the upper arms on each sleeve are bands that feature the same design as shown on the front of the dress. The headband and shoes do not come as part of this costume but can be purchased separately.

If you’re looking for a renaissance costume in another style, you might want to consider the California Costumes Women's Lady In Waiting costume. This is also a floor length dress that’s made of 100% polyester.

The dress comes with an underskirt. The top layer of the dress is royal purple while the bottom layer is green. The top of this costume is green trimmed in white ribbon at the collar and waist. The sides of the top are in the same purple color as the skirt.

The sleeves of the top are long and are in green with the same design that’s featured as is shown on the center of the top. Overlaying the sleeves are royal purple wing sleeves that are puffed at each of the tops. A gold crown with jewels is included with this costume.

Egyptian Goddess Costume

This costume stands out not only as unique but it’s also very flattering and is sure to win the best dressed award.

This is a thigh high dress made of quality polyester. It does have to be hand washed. The dress is thigh high in length and it’s done in two complementing colors. The bottom layer of the dress is black on the skirt portion.

The top layer of the skirt is done in teal. This layer is gathered and bunched on either side just below the waist. The waist area has a wide gold belt with a wide center piece in the shape of a necktie.

This piece hangs almost to the bottom edge of the skirt. The top of the dress is black in the center and gathered on both sides. These sides are in the teal color. A sheer hangs below the knees and is attached to the back of the skirt.

A pair of gold glovelettes are part of this costume. These pieces run from above the elbow to the wrist and are snug fitting. Attached to the bottoms of these glovelettes is the same sheer material that’s on the back part of the skirt.

With the costume is a wide, gold collar that lies flat on the neck. On this collar are different size and color decorations that represent jewels. The crown that comes with the costume is a gold color.

At the center of the crown is a raised cobra head that’s done in the colors of gold and teal. The sandal heels and wig aren’t part of this costume, but you can purchase those and additional pieces to add to the costume.

You’ll want to get the Rubie's Costume Goddess Sandals if you’re looking for the same shoes that go with the costume. These are available in sizes ranging from small to large.

The material is faux leather. The straps can fit a variety of leg sizes. If you’d like to have the snake arm bands, you’ll want to buy the Metal Snake Armband by Peter Alan, Inc. For the wig, you can choose from long, braided hair with the Queen Cleopatra Wig.

Or you can pick the short hair version with the Enigma Wigs Women's Egyptian Queen one. For earrings, you’ll want to pick something like the Rubie's Costume Co
Grecian Earrings.

Hooded Huntress Costume (Teens/Tweens)

Finding the perfect costume for your teen takes a little bit of planning ahead. You want to make sure that you find something that fits your teen’s personality. But you also want to find a costume that’s well made and will stand out.

Some of the various options that are popular this year are based on characters who used bows. For example, Merida from Brave is a popular teen costume. So are the young female Robin Hood costumes.

But the most popular costume for this year that’s flying off the shelves is the Hooded Huntress Costume. This costume allows a teen to be stylish and still have that cool factor that the girls want to have.

This costume features a short tunic. A tunic is a sleeveless piece of material that looks like a short dress. This one is dark gray in color and has a length that’s several inches above the knee.

The neckline of the tunic is in a vee shape and has a black string lace up closure. There is a black shoulder strap with the tunic that has a buckle at the shoulder of the strap. This buckle is made of thin metal.

The center of the tunic has a large, wide belt. This belt has a black background color and is decorated with gold designs. The center of the belt is arched at the top and bottom. The belt is made of comfortable fabric. The belt ties on.

There is a cape that comes with the tunic. The cape has a large hood that features a thin gold chain that goes around the neck to help keep the hood in place. The cape is made of velvet

Two wrist gauntlets come as part of the costume and both are done in black. These fit from the wrist to mid forearm. These pieces are made of fabric rather than plastic so your teen won’t have to worry about any irritating rubbing that plastic pieces can sometimes cause.

To complete the look, you’ll want to add a pair of black leggings, since these are not included with the purchase of the costume. A pair of mid-calf black boots are also needed since these aren’t included either.

The bow and arrow that every huntress needed is a separate accessory and you can find these in a variety of sizes and styles. One of these is the Princess Paradise Bow and Arrow Set. This costume is designed to fit up to size 14. So if you have a larger teen, you can get the women’s costume in the same design and that should fit.