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Now, for a while, you will be content with keeping this new relationship to yourself. After some time, though, you will start thinking about letting your kids in on the secret as well. The first thing you need to realize is that introducing a new partner to your kids is a pretty big deal. At the very least, it may not be time for them to encounter each other just yet. To make sure that you are making the right move, there are a few things you need to do first. Taking these steps will ensure that you are making the best decision for everyone involved.
This is a common question in my divorce consultation practice. Both the parent in the new dating relationship and their co-parent have questions about the appropriate timing and best practices for introductions.
You may be head over heals with this new person. You may feel very ready to bring someone new into your life. Always remember that your children have different experiences and feelings than you do, about anything and everything….
In general, children show the most adjustment challenges in the first year post-divorce. After that time, many children have adjusted to their new normal, assuming positive conditions for healthy adjustment. If your children have experienced many changes and disruptions as well as high parental conflict, they may require more time and more positive efforts by co-parents before they experience more positive adjustment.
Starting a new life after divorce: when and how to introduce a new partner to your children
If you have been divorced for awhile and the children seem stable, I still recommend taking any new relationship slow! Take your time getting to know this person across situations, with other people, and across the seasons. Give yourself time to adequately assess how well they match for you as well as how well you estimate they may be compatible with your family.
If you have been dating three months or less, proceed with caution! Your brain is still under the influence of the chemical changes associated with the excitement of a new relationship. You are likely blind to the concerns and red flags that may arise after the infatuation chemistry wears off. Now, take the time to make sure this is someone you believe will be compatible with your children and a long-term person in their lives.
Introducing a new partner to your kids
If you have taken each of the above cautious and thoughtful steps, and can honestly answer in the affirmative, then…. First, inform your co-parent that you plan to introduce your new partner to the children. Provide some basic information about this person to your co-parent. Also provide some information that indicates that you have been thoughtful about this step and that this is a ificant relationship.
Offer for your co-parent to meet the new partner in a casual, brief way. Being respectful to your co-parent in this process can go a long way towards their acceptance and support of your new relationship.
Keep it about the kids: introducing a new partner
An angry co-parent can wreak havoc upon new relationships. Do what you can to take the high road and offer your co-parent this of courtesy and respect. Once you have informed your co-parent and have a casual plan in place, inform your children that you have been dating someone that is very special to you and you would like the children to meet that person. Better to not make this meeting a surprise to either the co-parent or the children!
Optimize a first meeting being a positive experience. Keep an initial meeting brief, light, casual, pleasant. Perhaps the new romantic partner meets you somewhere for ice cream, or stops by the park where the children are playing to say hello and play for a brief time, or stops by the house after dinner with some dessert to enjoy and a quick game of cards.
You get the idea. A brief first meeting lowers pressure for all and increases the potential for it to be received positively. Proceeding slowly is the theme. Keep the theme going after the initial meeting.
Considering introducing a new partner to your kids? here’s what to do first
They do not need to like your new partner as much as you do! No matter how nice your new partner is, allow your children the space to have their own experience of this person. Require respectful behavior from everyone. Beyond that, give your children time to form their own relationships to this new person. That takes time.
Resist the urge to integrate your partner too quickly! Slowly increase the time your new partner spends with your children. Make sure you still prioritize time with your children that does not include the new partner. This will help your children feel like they continue to be at the center of your life and your top priority.
5 rules for introducing a new partner to your kids after divorce
Finally, keep your expectations about these relationships realistic and low. You maintain your own strong connection to your children. You thereby lower the risk of conflicts and resentments in these delicate new relationships. Give these relationships the best chance to blossom into deep connections over time.
Introducing your children to a new partner
As always, if you hit roadblocks and challenges, be open to seeking professional consultation. You are juggling relationships with your children, your co-parent, and your new romantic partner.
A little support and guidance can go a long way to realizing your long term goals in all of these important relationships. Next. View Larger Image. Related Posts. Five topics to discuss before marriage or living together. Three Key Skills for Better Communication.
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