In part 3 and 4 of our series “New Partners and Children after Divorce” on introducing new partners to your children following a divorce, we will begin to give a step by step set of suggestions on how you might handle this very important period in your children’s lives.
As we’ve stated in previous blogs in this series, we believe that new partners need to be introduced with a certain amount of delicacy, and that it should never be rushed. Remember, just because you’re ready to be in love with somebody else doesn’t mean your children are ready for you to be.
So, before the actual introductions, we suggest taking the following steps:
- New partners should probably not be introduced to your children until you’ve been dating at least 4 months, with 6 being a better bet. This is to ensure that your relationship does, indeed have legs and that this new person will be somebody who is likely to be in your children’s lives for a while following the introduction. It is hard to meet a new partner of one of your parents. Having to do it two or three times a year is more than many children can deal with.
- Never, and I mean NEVER introduce a new partner to your children without first letting your former spouse know that you are going to be doing so. Despite any beliefs you may have that your ex doesn’t have a right to info about your personal life, this advice is about protecting your children, and not about the adults. If your children come home after meeting your new partner and want to talk about this very important experience to their other parent (and they will), it is not fair to put the burden of this revelation onto your children. When speaking with their other parent about their feelings and/or experience, you owe it to your children to do your very best to ensure that your ex is emotionally available to your children to have that conversation. Not sitting there reeling with their own reactions.
- Never, and I mean this too, NEVER make your children promise not to tell their other parent that you have a new partner. Putting this kind of burden of secrecy onto your children is too unfair for words. If this has to be explained any further, then you are probably reading the wrong blog.
In our next blog, we will begin to talk about the introduction itself. There you will find a number of further specific suggestions on managing this very important time in your children’s lives.