5 Rules for Introducing a New Partner to Your Kids After Divorce
During the midst of your separation and divorce, it may feel like you’ll never want to date again. After all, divorce, no matter how common among millions of Canadians, is painful, emotionally draining and can be financially draining too. And when you went through this process with children, your focus was understandably on their wellbeing, not dating. But as time goes by and you and your children adjust to a different version of normal life, you may be thinking about pursuing a new relationship – or in the most truthful reality, you may even have left your marriage in order to begin again with a new partner. Either way, if dating with children is a new frontier, it can be difficult to know when and how you should introduce your new boyfriend or girlfriend to your children.
Initially, while a casual relationship may be appealing after your divorce, you should not even think about introducing your children to someone unless you are sure that person is going to be around for a significant period of time in a serious role. Your kids have already been through the trauma of losing the family that they once had and they may have even had to leave the house they grew up in and/or the school system with the friends they knew. You don’t want to add someone to their lives for them to get attached to that could become another loss if you can help it.
When you start contemplating this, factor in:
- How old your children are
- How long you have been divorced
- Whether your children have expressed hoping or expecting you and your ex to get back together
In addition, keep in mind the following.
Here are the 5 Rules for Introducing Your New Partner to Your Children:
- Timing is everything. Make sure you have given your children time to adjust to their new situation before trying to introduce a new partner. And even when the meeting happens, keep it short, neutral and informal – restaurants are often a good location.
- Let your ex-partner know in advance. While it can be difficult for your ex to hear that you have moved on, you don’t want to inadvertently place your kids in the position of feeling pressured to keep it a secret or, alternatively, becoming an unintentional messenger.
- Leave the PDA. This isn’t the time to be physically affectionate with each other. Your kids haven’t seen you be affectionate with anyone other than their other parent and this can make them highly uncomfortable quickly. Take it very slow with showing physical affection in their presence.
- Reassure as necessary. Let your children know that your new relationship will not take time away from them, and that this person isn’t a rival for your affection.
- Allow your kids to give you feedback. Your children may or may not share your positive feelings and affection for your new partner. Give them time to be heard, acknowledge their feelings, and take into account any genuine negative feedback that they give you when deciding whether your new partner is a good fit for your family.
We Can Help You Plan for Life After Divorce
Whether you are facing an impending separation from a spouse, are in the midst of divorce, or are struggling with child custody issues, you should obtain the help of a compassionate and dedicated legal team. As the Mississauga family lawyers at Zagazeta Garcia LLP, we can help you understand the steps you should take in your individual situation to preserve your rights and the relationship with your children. We offer assistance, not judgment, and you can depend on us to help you plan for the future. Contact us today to begin with a confidential consultation.