Question: My ex and I split 3 years ago after 4 years together. We have one daughter. Since the breakup, we’ve managed to become good friends, and that’s important to me

Answer: This is a very good start. You and your ex have a precious daughter together and the fact that you are staying good friends, despite the hurt and loss of a divorce is a big thing. First, it’s good for your health because you’re not stewing in anger and resentment all the time. Many marriages don’t work out and if you’re going to raise a child together, it’s so much easier if you can get on the phone with him and not cringe at the thought.

More importantly, what you’ve created together is wonderful for your daughter. She doesn’t have to be dragged into the middle by two parents who hate each other. She can see that you get along and therefore will not feel like she’s betraying either one of you if she has something nice to say about one parent in front of the other. This is exactly what we teach in our course work for parents in your situation. Good work.

Question: In the time we’ve been apart, he’s become seriously involved with at least 2 women, both of whom spent time with my daughter. He didn’t tell me about either relationship. I don’t like the precedent he set, for a couple reasons, and decided that if & when I got involved with someone, I’d play it differently.

Answer: This point really requires a whole chapter because it is so important and difficult.

There are three crucial issues here, timing, the age of the child, and respecting the dignity of the ex who has to deal with a new lover on the scene. Yes, many readers will say, how very nice to talk about what is good for the child, but many men (and women) after divorce act like teenagers and enjoy an active social and sex life, while forgetting about their kids. This is true, but often preventable. Our approach in The Intelligent Divorce is to teach and not preach. When a parent realizes that his (or her) kids may be confused or hurt by meeting a “new friend” too early, they often show intelligent restraint. This is a topic covered nicely in The Intelligent Divorce: Taking Care of Your Children.

When you go through divorce you will have discretionary time, particularly if it’s a joint custody arrangement or if you are the non custodial parent. Date away! Feel free – and enjoy your sexuality. No problem. You will have plenty of private time away from the kids, but when they are around, they are your priority…Read more