Starting a New Life After Divorce: When and How to Introduce a New Partner to Your Children

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As time passes after your divorce, it’s very likely that you’ll meet someone who becomes an important part of your life and you start considering a future with. This also means introducing the new partner to your children. When and how you approach this can mean the difference between a mess and an easier incorporation. Here are some tips to help the introductions go smoothly.

The When

1. Be Honest With Yourself

When you’re considering whether or not to introduce a new romantic partner to your children, it’s important to take an honest look at the relationship and where it’s likely heading. If you’re just having fun and enjoying the person’s company but you know there’s not really long-term potential there, it’s probably best to leave the kids out of it.

2. Talk With the New Person First

If you’re ready to introduce a potential new spouse to your kids, it’s a good idea to talk to that person first. Even if your children like this person, they may still have some negative emotions and thoughts about someone new taking such a permanent place in your life. It’s not uncommon for children to feel like they’re being replaced by a “new family” or to feel a new wave of emotions at the finality of Mom and Dad not getting back together.

3. Give Your Ex a Heads Up

You certainly don’t have to give your ex every detail of your love life after divorce. But if things are serious enough you’re considering introductions to your children, it’s a courtesy to let your ex know. Your children are almost definitely going to bring this up during their time with the other parent. Having already discussed it beforehand can make sure you and your ex-spouse are on the same page for how to present this new change and handle the children’s responses. If you’re uncomfortable — or just too busy — having the conversation face-to-face, using the messaging feature on 2houses lets you fit this conversation into your schedule. It also gives you the chance to spend some time drafting and rewriting your message so there aren’t any miscommunications or issues.

The How

1. Consider the Timing

While it’s sometimes hard to remember with our responsibility-filled adult lives, children have stress too. Introducing a new partner to your children when they’ve had a long day of school and activities and hungry and past bedtime, probably isn’t going to go over well. Try to choose a time where they’re relaxed, well rested and fed and in a good mood.

2. Go for Neutral Ground

Introducing someone new to your kids in their home can be a little bit too much to handle. It can feel like this person is already encroaching on their space and relationship with you. Instead, consider doing the meet-and-greet somewhere like a playground or kid-friendly restaurant where the kids can escape to their own space if they need to.

3. Follow Up With Them Afterward

Even if the introduction went better than you could have hoped, it’s still a good idea to check in on the kids by yourself. They might have some thoughts or emotions they need to express they don’t feel comfortable sharing with the other person present. Doing this also ensures the children know you’re still putting their feelings first.

No matter how well introducing a new partner to your children seem to go, remember to go slow and give it time. Adding someone into the family dynamic means adjustments for everyone. Keeping the lines of communication open between your children, your new partner and your co-parent can go a long way to smoothing the transition.