If you’ve taken on the challenge of dating after divorce and managed to find someone you can see a future with, you might be feeling happy and excited. Unfortunately, if you have children, they may not be seeing things the same way. Tensions between children and new partners are completely normal in the early stages, but it’s best to know how to deal with them quickly.
Rather than break things off to keep your kids happy, try to find out what’s behind the animosity and do something about it.
Wait for the right time
Firstly, make sure your new relationship is going to go the distance before you involve your kids. While you won’t be able to absolutely guarantee lasting love, it’s best to wait until things look serious before you bring your partner home. Your children may become confused if a new person appears in their life only to disappear again.
Make the first meeting friendly
Once you’ve decided that your new partner is the one, introduce them to your children in a relaxed, friendly way. Try a neutral setting, such as a restaurant or park, as this will help reduce the pressure on everybody. Your child will then be able to relax and get to know your new partner in a natural way.
Be respectful of your child
Maybe you’ve met someone online dating at www.eharmony.co.uk or been introduced to someone by friends. However, while you may be thrilled to be starting a new romantic relationship, your child may be less happy about it. Minimise physical affection with your new partner until your child is comfortable with it.
Watch for warning signs
After meeting your partner, does your child seem especially wary of them? Do they openly express dislike or avoid questions about them? If so, your child may be feeling uncomfortable or jealous. Feelings of jealousy are completely normal, especially if you have been single for a while. Don’t reprimand your child – provide quality time and plenty of verbal affirmations for them.
Address their hopes directly
Often, children are uncomfortable around a new love because they are secretly harbouring the hope that you and their other parent will reconcile. If reconciliation is never going to happen, it’s best to address this with your child in an age-appropriate way. Try to get them to understand that while your new partner will never replace their other parent, they are going to be an important part of your life.
Support your new partner
Parenting can be scary, especially when it involves someone else’s children. They may not only be dealing with your child’s wariness but with their own fears as well. If your partner is new to parenting, there will be a learning curve that comes with this.
When it goes right
If you’re facing any of these problems, take heart from the fact that many manage to find love again after divorce (just read these couples’ success stories) and deal with these problems.