It’s time to reenter the dating pool! However, this time around it’s a bit more difficult because you are divorced and have children to consider. It’s normal to desire companionship and just because you are parent no doesn’t mean your love life must end. Instead, consider your dates more carefully and find someone who is open to the idea of dating a parent.
Take your time in building the relationships and introduce your partner to your children only when you thing everyone is ready for a fun meeting. There is no hurry for your kids and partner to meet. Focus first on building a relationship between two people, before introducing kids and parenting dynamics into the mix. Breakups can happen quickly and you will want to prevent your kids from being impacted too much from any dissolution. Consider the amount of time and venue when you are ready to make the introduction. Selecting a more informal setting with few expectations can help all parties feel more relaxed. Go with your gut when setting aside the time for the meeting. Briefer can be better in some situations, whereas other families benefit from longer period so there is time for conversation and questions.
If you feel you guys are ready now, read on to discover five helpful tips on how to make this introduction:
- Timing is everything!
Children need time after their parents’ separate to process their emotions. It may even take a year or two for them to understand their anger, sadness and accept their parents will not be getting back together. Get an understanding of your children’s mindset about your divorce before you prepare to introduce them to anyone you are dating.
- Prevent Love Rivalry!
Your children could easily feel threatened emotionally by your new love. Have open and honest dialogues about how they feel about you dating. Allow them to ask questions and be prepared to listen to their feelings.
- Talk about Expectations and Boundaries
Reassure them about their importance in your life and talk about how you feel about this new love. Be willing to talk about boundaries or limits so your children don’t feel like they are being replaced or feel like you expect them to replace your ex in their life.
- Fit is Important
Sure, you might have amazing chemistry with the person you are dating. However, you are not the only one impacted by this new relationship. Check in with yourself to see how this person will fit into your family dynamics and if you can easily establish common interests between them and your children.
- Get Your Kids Involved!
Before you introduce your new love to your kids having an open conversation about this new relationship. Listen to their feedback and invite them to ask questions. Let your children give insight into how and when they would like to meet your new partner. Also avoid sleepovers with your partner early in the relationship to avoid your children feeling a sense of rivalry. Make sure your children are comfortable with the relationship, and you two are heading towards marriage, before they spend the night at your house while the kids are home.
Children take a while to heal from divorce. It is important from them to understand you have a boundless supply of love. Reassure them that they are still very important to you and this new relationship is not a threat to them or their view of their other parent. Don’t be surprised if your children are slow to warm to your new love. They could even express a desire to live with their other parent or display anger in other ways. Set realistic expectations of how you see your children accepting this new partner. Just because you are heads over heels in love doesn’t means they will immediately be as well. Before you introduce your new paramour to your children you need to understand how they are processing your divorce and your re-entry into the dating pool. Have conversations about expectations and boundaries with your partner and work together as a team to create the most enjoyable and relaxing first meeting. By going slow and with plenty of conversations everyone will have a great introduction.