Dating while being a parent and single isn’t easy. For most people, it’s like living a double life. The more you involved in your kids’ lives, the more important it becomes to tell them all the nitty-gritty details of your dating life. That is when you have found someone worthy of introducing to your children. As like all other things, accepting change or new things is hard at first, so you should find a way and the right time to introduce you new partner into your children’s lives.
If you don’t know how, these are three steps to find out when and how to introduce your new potential partner to your children in a comfortable way.
Be Cautious and Keep Things Slow At First
It doesn’t matter how your previous marriage or relationship ended; children need time to adjust if there is the change in their family dynamics. They need time to process the upheaval before they develop an attachment to a new person. All their lives your kids have been habituated of living with parents at home. As you get involved romantically with someone, at first keep things separate from your children. Don’t let know all the details, just the final decision. Start by mentioning to your kids that you will only date when you feel ready. Ask them to tell you their feelings about you starting a new relationship, answer their questions and listen to their concerns. However, before actually making introductions, psychologists recommend waiting.
Know When to Introduce
Only introduce your new partner to your kids only when you’re serious about him or her, and both partners have agreed to start a relationship. Tell your kids that you have met someone “nice” and you “like” him and her. Ask your children to tell you how they feel about the new person, and again make an effort to respond to their questions and assure them about their concerns. Tell your kids that if all go well, you would like them to meet and get to know that person too.
Consider Your Ex-Spouse
Most marriage and family therapists agree that it’s wise to inform your ex-spouse if you are dating and want to introduce your new partner to the kids, especially if there is a shared custody agreement. This will prevent the kids from becoming “informants” on either side. Your former partner has every right to know to whom the children are being exposed to, and don’t want them to be witness to any overnight changes for a while.
Know How to Introduce
Before you introduce your new partner to your kids, find a way to get everyone involved. Activities like bowling, kayaking, a trip to the zoo, a family cooking class or a reunion are great examples. However, keep your activities short and check on your child or children how are they feeling, listen to them and cater to their needs. Remember, it’s your time and care that your kids mostly need.
Getting involved in a relationship while being a parent can be quite confusing and daunting at the beginning, as the children feel they are being left out. However, these steps will help you maintain a healthy transition between your new love life and your kids.