When you begin dating post divorce, knowing how to introduce a new significant other to your kids is a big thing to conquer. Children adapt easily to new situations, but there are a few things to consider when handling a new person in your life.
Whether it is post divorce, or even after the death of the other parent this isn’t easy in all situations and should be handled delicately.
How To Introduce A New Significant Other To Your Kids
Don’t do this too early in the relationship. We have all been there when falling in love. You rush in and get giddy with the love feelings. It feels like you should get married right away. As a parent however, you have to take a step back and realize that knowing how to introduce a new significant other to your kids also involves knowing when. Most recommend the new introduction happen anywhere from 6 months to 1 year into the relationship. There are some things to consider when making this choice.
- How long have you been divorced from their other parent?
- How long since the death of your spouse?
- Are they still asking when you will get back together with your ex?
- Have you had enough time to see this new person in good situations, bad situations, stressful situations and honest (not showy romantic) situations?
- Have you gotten to know your new significant others friends and family? This is important to know they are who they say they are, as well as to confirm they are stable.
Talk to your children before the introduction about their feelings. Before you even begin dating again, you should talk to your kids about the possibilities. While you may be longing for that relationship already, your children are priority and they may not be. Before you introduce a new significant other to your kids make sure you don’t just surprise them with it. Talk to them about some important factors.
- Does he/she have children they would get to know also?
- Is this person someone they already know (friend of family, neighbor, coworker, etc.)?
- What role do they expect this person to play in their life?
- What roles do they not want this person involved in?
Do this in a public place away from their home. Nothing is harder than having your home, “invaded” by a new person you don’t know. The first meeting should be done out somewhere public like a park, restaurant, amusement park or even movie theater. This way your child doesn’t feel their space threatened. They can meet and get to know the new person outside their home without fearing that they are losing their own home and comfort to a stranger.
Don’t make the first visit an overnight stay. This shouldn’t have to be stated, but unfortunately it happens more often than not. While most would not do this, it is important to make it clear in these tips for how to introduce a new significant other to your kids that a sleepover with your new relationship is not a good idea. What you do on your alone time is between you and them, but the first time your kids meet them it is not a good idea to have that person sleeping in your bed. This can cause anger, resentment, distrust and a myriad of emotions in your children that are unhealthy. Depending on your personal feelings about living together outside marriage, it may come up later, but definitely not the first time they meet.
A new relationship is hard to navigate in itself. Especially when you are post-divorce and probably still healing. To protect yourself and your children the first meeting with the kids should be done after a significant time has passed and you feel strongly about the future of the relationship. These tips will help make your first meeting with the kids much easier for everyone.