"It's important to engage your village, friends, family who can support you with time-sharing and babysitting," Zane says.
Parents who have a shared custody agreement may have evenings without the kids that they can use to schedule dates. You fill out a profile and it matches you with other like-minded mothers in your area." A potential friend and someone to swap babysitting with? Dating has changed since you were single, and so have you.
If activities seem too hard on your schedule or psyche right now, Zane says to look into the Internet dating scene.
Other than that, she says, save the details about your children, your custody arrangements, your divorce, and your ex for when you know the person better.
"As kids get older, you may choose to share more casual details about your new boyfriend," says Esther Boykin, a licensed marriage and family therapist and relationship coach outside of Washington, D. "But for younger kids it's often best to start by introducing the idea that you have a new friend who you like to spend time with." When you're finally ready for the first meeting, start with a casual group activity your kids enjoy, like a picnic at a park with friends who have kids.
If you do break up with someone your kids have already gotten to know, try to explain it to younger children in terms they'll understand.
"Not to say that one should abstain from this kind of activity, but it's best to do it when the kids are not in your custody or [are] at a friend's house." Still thinking of having your new love spend the night when the kids are home?
"A good rule of thumb is to do a 'morning after' gut check," Boykin says.