Introducing Your New Significant Other to Your Child
Introducing a new significant other to your child after divorce can be made easier with these tips.
Introducing a new significant other to your child after divorce can be daunting, but there are a few ways to make the process a little smoother. Here are some tips to help you and your kids on this journey:
Timing is everything
Though you and your former spouse are no longer together, your children may still love both parents very much. Depending on the age of your children and the circumstances surrounding your divorce, it can take your kids as long as two or three years to adjust to the realities of you and your ex living separately.
Sadness or anger after a divorce can make it difficult for your children to accept or welcome a new person into your life. They may see this person as trying to “replace” their other parent or as a threat to the time and attention they receive from you.
Take it slow
Slow and steady is the best approach when it comes to introducing your new significant other into your kids’ lives. It’s important to build a stable relationship with your new significant other before you make this introduction so you can make sure it has a strong potential for permanency. Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself beforehand:
- Do you and your new significant other share similar values?
- Do you and your new significant other enjoy similar activities?
- Do you see your new significant other as your best friend?
- Have you and your new significant other had open, honest conversations about your children and the potential of becoming a family?
Talk to your ex
If your relationship allows, talking to your ex about introducing your new significant other to your kids is beneficial. Some topics you might want to discuss include timing, allowances, and limitations.
For example, maybe you and your ex decide that neither of you will introduce a new significant other to your children until you have been dating for at least six months. It’s helpful to work out parameters like this ahead of time if possible
Talk to your children
Don’t spring the introduction of a new significant other on your children. It’s important to talk to your kids ahead of the first meeting and listen carefully to their feelings and concerns. Your children may or may not be angry or sad, but either way, you need to be prepared for these reactions.
Asking your kids for their input on where they would like to go for the first meeting can also be helpful. Consider a neutral location like a park or restaurant, limit the length of time for the first meeting, and debrief with your kids as soon as it’s over.
Trust takes time
Don’t try to force or rush acceptance of a new relationship with your children. Allowing your kids to talk about their feelings with a neutral third party, such as a counselor, can help. Remember, you aren’t asking for your kids’ permission to date, but you should accept and respect their feelings.
Making plenty of time for one-on-one activities with your children can help ease this process. Showing your kids that your new significant other isn’t going to change your relationship with them is crucial.
Positive co-parenting for your kids
Having a civilized and cordial relationship with your child’s other parent can ease the introduction of a new significant other to your kids. Co-parenting communication services, like TalkingParents, can help you maintain a stable relationship with your ex for the sake of your children. You can handle all communications within the app, keeping you both accountable. Learn more about our features.