Best practices for introducing your children to a new love interest in your life.
The Big WHEN
Often, the biggest question many single parents have is when to introduce a new love interest to your children. There are a handful of factors to consider to help answer this question, but the simplest answer requires a slight shift in thought. According to The Spruce, it’s more important to evaluate the quality of your new relationship rather than waiting for that “perfect time”. Since all relationships develop at their own pace, you needn’t worry about the length of the courtship so much as knowing that your relationship is one of real commitment and consistency. When the relationship has reached that level, then you can feel confident in The Big Introduction.
Be Honest, Be Real
Dating after the end of a marriage is such a whirlwind of emotions. It’s frightening. It’s painful. It’s Confusing. But it’s also enlivening, exciting, and worth it! As you move forward with your new relationship, the most important factor is to be honest and real with both yourself and your partner. You might enjoy spending time with this person but is he/she the person you can honestly see yourself settling down with and becoming a major influence in the lives of your children? Invest your time and energy only where it will lead to lasting happiness and not just momentary fun. Read more here.
Calm Your Children’s Fears
If you and your partner have decided to be in a serious, committed relationship, it’s important to listen to the concerns of your children and calm their fears. Often, children worry about being replaced by a new partner, particularly if he/she has children of their own. Reassure your children that forming a new family will not lead to their abandonment, but can actually present them with new opportunities for love and acceptance that weren’t there before. Read more about child abandonment issues from The Spruce here.
Affirm Your Commitment
In conjunction with calming your children’s fears about being abandoned, you also need to affirm your deep commitment to each child. Remind them how important they are to you and how you are dedicated to their future happiness and success. The Spruce suggests writing a letter to each of your children so they can have a constant reminder of your love for them.
Share Your Enthusiasm
As single parents try to be careful in introducing their children to a new partner, it often creates a sense of secrecy about the relationship. Of course you need to be cautious in making these important introductions, but once they’ve been made, don’t hesitate to share your honest enthusiasm about your new relationship. Let your children see and hear all the wonderful ways this new person brings you happiness and optimism for the future. Source.
The Actual Introduction
If you’re ready to make The Big Introduction, plan something fun! Choose an activity you know your children will enjoy and one in which your partner can interact with your kids. Also remember to BE YOURSELF! Let your kids see that you’re comfortable being your authentic self in front of your new love interest and that it’s okay to let your walls down around this person. Children will pick up on these signals and will also find a sense of security with your partner over time. Source.
Every child will adjust differently to change. Be patient with the process and especially with all the emotions your children experience as they try to make sense of all their feelings. Constantly provide reassurance to each of your children that you love them, will continue to love them, and that your love for them will not be lessened just because you have someone new in your life. Remember that actions are always more powerful than words alone. Get more great advice from The Spruce.