Many separated people struggle with how to go about introducing new partners to their kids. Your family (being you and your kids) have already gone through a fair bit of transition as a result of the separation, so introducing a new person into your single-parent family can be daunting. Introducing a new partner into the mix can also have an effect on your co-parenting relationship. If your former spouse has had difficulties moving on or your new partner is introduced shortly after the separation, this can cause your former spouse to feel hurt and angry and potentially stir up conflict between you or cause your former spouse to withdraw from you.
Despite all of the above, life does need to march forward. Keeping some tips in mind can certainly ease this new chapter in your life for both your kids and your former spouse. Here are my top 5 tips:
- Only introduce your kids to a new partner if you know that the relationship is stable and you anticipate it to be long-lasting. Don’t introduce your children to casual dates or someone that you just started dating.
- Most of the time, your former spouse will want to know ahead of time that you are introducing a new partner to the kids. That way if the kids bring it up with your former spouse, your former spouse is not caught off guard and can hopefully respond positively.
- Take it slow. Even if you are in love with your new partner, your kids are not. Make sure you continue to spend lots of one-on-one time with your kids to re-enforce they are a priority and slowly integrate the new partner into the family. Kids need time to adjust.
- Continue to check in and communicate with your kids in an age-appropriate way on how they are doing with the changes.
- Seek guidance from child specialists or counsellors that specialize in separation and divorce. There are also great resources like: The Co-Parenting Handbook by Karen Bonnell. Integrating a new partner into your kids’ lives is new territory, so become educated on the best way to go about it.
If you have questions about any aspects of your separation, reach out to us – we are here to help.