Read it in The Staten Island Advance
DEAR FEMMES: After 19 years of marriage, I am in the end process of a lengthy divorce proceeding (14 months and perhaps a few more to a signing).
My soon-to-be ex (can’t be soon enough) moved out 10 months ago. I would like to (need to) begin dating. My love life has been dead for years. I absolutely do not intend to get emotionally involved, but simply want to play the field for fun.
Problem: I have an 18-year-old daughter and do not want her to disrespect her father. I would never bring anyone home and will and can go to extremes to prevent her from learning about my evenings out. Obviously after the divorce is final, there will come a time when I will be “clear” to date. Do you, Femmes, think it’s OK?
ELISE:One day someone will create an app that will allow you to plug in all the variables you mentioned and spit out yay or nay if it’s OK to start dating again. Until then, it’s an inexact science determining when is the right time to go skinny-dipping in the dating pool.
It’s admirable you wish to protect the image your daughter has of you, but why not discuss with her your desire to start dating again (editing out the “playing the field” bit, of course)? At her age, she may be more receptive to it than you imagine.
Then again, if your 18-year-old is heading off to college by summer’s end, I’d hold off on reviving your love life until she vacates the house — which is a helluva lot easier than explaining why you’re not home when she comes in for her curfew.
ELLEN:I was 17 when my parents divorced, and my father had many, many girlfriends, some of whom I remember fondly. I don’t understand this “modern” idea that kids should be protected from what, exactly?
But I’m a little confused: Are you afraid that your soon-to-be ex will get wind of your nights out and further complicate your exodus — or are you imagining that your 18-year-old daughter will have a nervous breakdown at the thought of her father on a sleepover?
The former, I understand. As to the latter, I think she’ll live. What’s the harm in your daughter knowing that you like a night out with the ladies — as long as you don’t flaunt the naughty parts?
As an aside, I remained friends with some of my father’s girlfriends even after their romance and will be forever grateful for some of the worldly wisdom they passed on to me.