Tarek El Moussa Reflects on His Divorce and Starting to Date Again

Tarek El Moussa normally focuses on revamping
houses, but recently he’s been pouring his energy into a more personal
renovation: himself. After last year’s messy, public split from wife (and HGTV
cohost) Christina, the Flip or Flop star realized he needed to slow down.

“It was tough at the beginning,” he admits in the new issue of Us Weekly, but the experience taught him to communicate and made him a “better person and better dad” to daughter Taylor, 6, and son Brayden, 18 months. The 35-year-old California resident tells Us what buoys him — and where he goes from here.

Tarek El Moussa
Tarek El Moussa Mamie "Mames" McCall

Looking back, El Moussa has realized that as life events were occurring one after the next, he and his ex, 33, didn’t take the time to step back and discuss everything that was happening. “It was a lot at once. Doing a TV show, building companies. I had cancer, and then I hurt my back, then she had fertility problems,” he explains. “I think it was just too much, going too fast and a lack of communication.”

But as the pair has re-evaluated their
relationship and decided to separate (a divorce is in the works), they’ve grown
and learned how to manage their new family dynamic. “It’s been good,” he says
of coparenting with his ex. “We don’t let anything between us affect our kids.
At the end of the day, you have to do the right thing for the kids, because the
kids can tell if there’s tension, and that’s the last thing that we want.”

El Moussa is even taking Christina’s new
boyfriend in stride — even if it means his kids are spending time with a new
man. “I can’t control it, and if I try, I’ll literally drive myself crazy,” he
says. “The best thing to do is let things go. When they’re not with me, it’s
their other life with Christina. That’s when she’s in charge.”

Tarek and Christina El Moussa
Tarek and Christina El Moussa hosts of HGTV's hit show Flip or Flop visited the HGTV Santa HQ in 2014. Jerod Harris/Getty Images

Diving back into the dating pool has also provided a distraction. “I haven’t been single in 10, 11 years, so it’s a new experience,” says El Moussa. “I like to go out in groups, to be honest. I don’t do too many one-on-ones. I have no idea what to look for in a girlfriend because I’m not ready.” Right now, he’s just hoping to find “someone that smiles, laughs and wants to have fun.”

Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now!