Over cajun food he described what sounds like a remarkably happy suburban childhood headed by parents who enjoyed a 40-year marriage, five kids and two successful careers. It is his face that inspires in me paroxysms of infatuated devotion. In other words, how do you create space for for a potential relationship when kids can be so all-consuming? If you are like the professional moms I know, the pendulum swings way in the other direction — and you’re far more likely to neglect yourself.

My date has only the fondest memories of watching his dad court his mom on their weekly date nights and annual parent-only vacations — in addition to the family road-trip. “My dad made it clear that his relationship with my mom was the center of everything, while he was also the best dad ever,” he said.) highlighted a 2005 essay by Aylete Waldman about the fact that she puts her husband and their fantastic sex life above their four kids. Four children with whom I spend a good part of every day: bathing them, combing their hair, sitting with them while they do their homework, holding them while they weep their tragic tears. If a good mother is one who loves her child more than anyone else in the world, I am not a good mother. In the event you don’t seek a romantic partner, where do you focus that energy if not on your children? Looking forward to that business trip even though you have to leave the kids at home?

However, the one thing that seems to be the unwritten rule among us is that we would never even consider dating our friends' exes. But now I realize this rule really needs more thought, because I believe there are two factors to consider before answering my girlfriend's Facebook question.

best friend dating ex with children-19

Women are certainly guilty of putting their kids ahead of their partner — maybe even more so than men, especially since they are nearly always the primary care giver in the event of divorce.

But in this moment when men are struggling to claim their place as equal parents while society expects divorced dads to be the lackadaisical weekend father, I get why you are compelled to go overboard with your expressed devotion. If you are indeed ready for a real love, create a space for her.

Your closest friends will know every dirty deed, bad situation or heartbreak he may have caused.

And because they are familiar with all the dirt on him, they wouldn't touch him.

And while you’re at it, indulge in your instincts to have a fulfilling and profitable career — without any guilt whatsoever!

— even though our culture tells you that stay-at-home mothers are better mothers.

In fact, that is the big takeaway: Stop feeling guilty.

Editor's note: Audrey Irvine is a senior assignment manager for CNN.

A strong relationship provides security for your children and demonstrates how a loving, respectful partnership should be. After all, they can be so demanding — not to mention fulfilling.

When it comes to relationships, I’m fond of saying, “But there are a few couples in my life who I look to as models of the kind of marriage I’d like one day. They are the dynamic centriforce around which the family’s life orbits. There is lots of research to suggest that a happy marriage is the cornerstone of well-adjusted kids. D., writes in her relationship guide, The Book of Love: “No matter how sacrilegious it sounds, you need to put your relationship before your children. If you’re not in a committed relationship, it is very easy to make your kids the prominent one in your life.

My knee-jerk response was "Duh, who wouldn't be pissed?