It can take a long time for individuals to heal and move on after a divorce, as well as adjust to their new life. However, in this new chapter, many people rediscover themselves and perhaps even find a new partner.
Finding love again can be a wonderful feeling, but divorced parents should keep in mind that introducing a new partner into their life – and to their kids – can be a complicated matter. Here are some tips California parents should consider when introducing their new partner to their kids.
Talk with your ex-spouse first
This might be the last thing that individuals want to do. Discussing a new relationship with an ex-spouse might seem uncomfortable, but it is important. After all, they are the parent of the children as well, and co-parents must:
- Make decisions together; and
- Ensure the decisions are in the children’s best interests.
Parents should speak with their ex-spouse and make sure they are comfortable with the introduction. They might also be able to plan how they will introduce the new partner to the children. If children see that their other parent accepts the new relationship, they are more likely to as well.
Talk to kids and give them time
Parents should also talk to the kids about the new relationship before introducing the new partner. It is helpful to:
- Briefly explain they are dating and committed to someone new long before the introduction;
- Allow kids time to adjust to this new reality; and
- Ask kids about when and how they wish to meet the new partner.
Timing is everything in these situations. And it can help if parents let children lead the way and determine when the time is right to meet the new partner.
Reassure the kids
Regardless of a child’s age, it is important that parents reassure their children that:
- The new relationship does not threaten their parent-child relationship; and
- The new partner will not replace the other parent in their life.
It is common for children to be mistrustful of a new partner at first. They might even see them as a rival for their parent’s time and affection. Assuring children that they are still loved and safe is critical in this time of change after a divorce.