Introducing Your Children to Your New Relationship


Letting Your Children Know About Your New Relationship

You might remember a time when your greatest dating woe was the style of your hair or deciding whether your new pants made your rear end look big. Now, years later, dating has become even more complicated. The elephant in the room is no longer the cilantro in your teeth. Instead it is the uncertainties about your child or children.

The risk of introducing your child too soon may create unexpected problems. Is my new partner interested in being a part of their lives? Will my children feel comfortable around him? What if I introduce my kids to my partner and then we break up?

Take comfort in knowing that you are not the first single parent to revisit the dating world. Below are some guidelines to assist in the relationship-building process as you merge your two worlds.

The Six Month Rule

Before you consider introducing your children to your new partner, make sure you have been dating for at least six months. The six month rule exists to weed out dead-end relationships. Your child/children have already experienced confusion and heartbreak, so it is important to prevent the same love life limbo from repeating. If things are going well after six months, you are ready to take the next step.

Five Guidelines for a Smooth Introduction

Since you and your significant other have been seeing each other for six months, your children will be anticipating the meeting. Although it will not come as a surprise or shock, they might be anxious to see who their mother or father has been spending so much time with.

Follow the five steps below for an easier transition:

1.   Leave Expectations at the Door – Don’t try to force the situation. Let your children meet your partner and have the opportunity to form their own opinions. Take off the pressure and let it be a relaxed and casual event. The first meeting is always the toughest, so try to make it as natural and carefree as possible.

2.   Ease the Pressure – For the first few meetings, introduce your new love interest as a friend. Alleviate the pressure by removing the titles, and allowing your friend and partner to mingle in a group setting like a neighborhood barbecue. By interacting in a group setting your children will get to know your partner in a relaxed and casual atmosphere.

3.   Take it Slow – You might be smitten and in a rush to spiral further down the path of love, but your children are just being introduced to this new situation. Allow your children ample time to adjust and listen to their cues, both verbal and physical. If you sense that your kids are having a difficult time, communicate with them about their feelings. Easing into the situation will help breed success later on.

4.   No One is Replaced – Explain to your children that they only have one mom and dad and that your new partner is not going to steal that role away. Your kids do not have to feel guilty if they like your new partner or if they are not ready to accept him or her into their life. Even if your child/children are excited about having your partner in their lives as a role model, embrace the acceptance, but reassure them that they only have two biological parents.

5.   A Clear Set of Rules – Merging families and creating a new family environment is difficult. Your children are use to a certain way of life, while your partner will surely have his or her own lifestyle as well. Take the time to discuss the new rules for your family including money, discipline, expectations, and any other topic that is pertinent to your family situation. Establishing a firm foundation for the new family to grow together is important.

Dating as a single parent can be tricky, with so many people’s feelings to be considered and lifestyles to be merged. But, with time and patience it can be a successful transition. Take your time and always reassure your children that you love and support them and that no one is trying to replace the relationships they have with their father or mother.

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