Whether you’ve been divorced for two years or 10, getting comfortable with the idea of re-entering the dating pool can be somewhat scary. This is especially true for parents whose primary concern, both during and after their divorce, is the well-being of their children. But even those who truly believe they’ll never get married again typically find someone who makes them want to experience the pleasures of love and intimacy at a time much sooner than they thought possible.
With the sweet fumes of Valentine’s Day filling the air this month, you might find yourself pondering the possibility of re-entering the dating pool or taking your new relationship post-marriage to another level by introducing your partner to your children. For lots of divorced parents, this idea bears a lot of weight. That is why our team would like to offer some tips for you to keep in mind.
1. Idea Before Person. Be honest about your feelings, and help your kids understand why you have been spending time with someone new. Talk to them about feeling lonely, and explain how you are ready to establish a relationship with someone new. Introduce them to idea of someone new before planning the actual introduction.
2. Short and Sweet. Keep the first meeting short and low-key by going to a neutral location, like a restaurant or park. Give your kids a couple options and ask where they’d like to go. If your partner has children, try to avoid inviting them to join until after a few visits.
3. Timing Is Key. Kids need time to grieve the loss of their family unit. They may be dealing with a new house or a new school, and they are learning to navigate custody rights and visitation, as well. It is of utmost importance to give your kids a chance to adapt to their new “normal” before introducing an unfamiliar partner.
4. Rate It PG. When the timing is right and you do introduce your new partner to your kids, keep it friendly at first. This means no PDA or sleepovers! Kids need time to adjust to the idea of you being with someone other than their other parent, as well as time to understand that your new relationship is not going to change their relationship with you.