Introducing a New Partner to Your Kids
The best online dating sites worked their magic, and you’ve found a new partner after divorce – congratulations! Now, as the first few dates were a hit and your relationship advances, it’s only natural to ask yourself: “When is it appropriate to introduce my partner to my kids?” or, “What if my new partner doesn’t like my child?”
First off, take a deep breath, and relax. You’re not the first nor the last person that has faced this situation, and, thankfully, there are ways to handle it appropriately to ensure that both of you are making the right choice in moving forward with your relationship. In this article, we’re
New partner feelings: Evaluating where you both stand
Sure, you and your partner have a lot of fun together, and the passion and romance you two have been off the charts. But surely, you have to ask yourself: are you infatuated and hope that your relationship will last, or do you really feel like it has long-term potential? While it may be tempting to have someone by your side, you need to consider the fact that if your partner exits your life soon, it will be difficult for your kids to handle that loss as well. Go with your gut and try to have an open and honest conversation with your partner about proceeding with their introduction to your kids.
Set up a casual meeting
Keep things low-key and avoid making the introduction in your place or that of your partner’s, for it may feel too personal or too scary for your kids, respectively. If your kids are still young, you can try to set up a random meeting on the street or take a walk in the park and have a fun activity together. Avoid “accidental” encounters if your kids are older because they will understand you’re not forthcoming with them. Also, make sure that you slowly let them know the nature of your relationship between the two of you, all while ensuring that your kids know that loving your new partner does not take away from the love you feel for them.
Expect the unexpected
You and your partner may get along, and you may love your kids to pieces, but it doesn’t mean that this new dynamic will work out for you. Particularly, in the beginning, you may see that your kids might experience apprehension, fear, and even jealousy as they approach this change in family dynamics. They may feel like your new partner is trying to replace their other parent or that they are “stealing” you from them. You need to maintain an open communication line with your kids and allow them to talk about what they feel and how they are processing this new reality. Don’t dismiss their negative feelings or emotional outbursts, and let them know you are there for them no matter what.
Dating after divorce is stressful enough, and maybe you weren’t thinking that you’d find yourself in a situation where things went so well to the point you may be seriously considering sharing your life with another person again. But, with your kids in the picture, it’s your duty to, above all else, prioritize their mental and physical welfare. A new partner entering their life definitely calls for an adjustment period, and all sides need to be patient and understanding.
Having read our article, we’re confident that you’re ready to handle the whole “new partner meeting child” process and see whether your partner passes the litmus test of accepting your kids and doting on them as someone who has a sincere interest in their wellbeing.
Let us know in the comments: what are your new partner questions? What worked for you when you introduced your partner to your kids? Have you ever found yourself in a “new partner wants to adopt my child” situation?
Miranda Davis is a freelance writer in the relation and psychology area. Miranda is interested in such topics as building healthy relationships between people, love/sex compatibility, and how to find the right balance in life in general. She is currently doing specific research on the topic. Miranda loves cooking and long-distance walking.