The Second Time Around for You and the Kids
[Time to Read: 3.9 mins]
While it’s hard for most people going through a divorce to imagine dating again, it’s more likely than not that you will, and that you will be introducing this new person in your life to your children. Having been that new person who was introduced to two stepchildren, I’m happy to share what worked for us.
First and foremost:
Do Not introduce the person to your children unless you know it is a serious relationship, no matter how long you have been dating the person. You have to strongly feel that this person will be there for the long haul.
Take the child’s age and temperament into consideration and make the introduction in the way that is comfortable for the child. For example, with a younger child, take more care to be sure it is done in a relaxed and non-threatening way. Invite other family members with whom the child is comfortable and/or do it in a fun place, like an amusement park or zoo.
Be respectful of the other parent’s feelings and don’t surprise him or her. Be sure that you give a heads up to your ex before any introduction is made. It’s not only the right thing to do, but you don’t need to add further complications to what is an already delicate situation.
The worst thing you can do is let your child be the bearer of the news that there is someone new in your life.
Give it time. Be aware of and honor your child’s feelings. This is all strange and new to them, and it’s not unusual for them to be fearful about sharing you with another person. Be sure to reassure them that they remain your priority, spend time alone with them and let them know that you will be there for them just as you always have been.
The first introduction to someone whom you care about can significantly impact how your children feel about that person in the future.
- If it’s done well, it can lead to a relationship where they are comfortable and feel that there is another person who is there for them.
- If the first meeting is not well thought out or premature, they may never rebound and may always feel somewhat threatened and resentful that someone is taking time with you away from them.
I’m very glad to say that I fall into the “done well” category. I had good introductions to my two stepsons, one of whom was in his second year of college, and the other, 8 years old. We followed what I am suggesting above, and I’m happy to say that I have had enriching and fulfilling relationships with them both over the last fifteen years. And as an added bonus, I have the good fortune to be a step-grandmother of two.
Have you found love the second time around? How are you planning to make the introduction to your children? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the box below.