Parents dating after a divorce
If your new partner will be in your life, there will be ample opportunity for more direct interactions.• Before telling your children, let your ex-partner know.Your relationship with your children’s other parent has ended. Perhaps you have felt some combination of hurt, anger, depression, relief, guilt, uncertainty, or hopefulness.Maybe you’ve taken the time to address your feelings and are ready to think about getting into a new relationship, or maybe you left your relationship in order to begin again with a new partner.
It may also be difficult for the children if they are unsure whether it is okay to tell the other parent or unprepared for an emotional reaction.“When talking with young children, describe the person you are seeing as a friend,” suggests Jean Mc Bride, a licensed marriage and family therapist in northern Colorado. For example, you might tell them that you are going to a movie with a person of the opposite sex. They may also feel threatened and worry that you will have less time for them.Mc Bride encourages being open with children over the age of 11 and telling them that you are going on a date. Ask your children how they feel, and give them the opportunity to ask questions. “Oftentimes, children will adapt to new situations more easily if they feel comfortable and reassured,” notes the Parenting Assistance Line at the University of Alabama.Talk with your children and arrange an event that is not focused solely on dialogue—for example, avoid having the first meeting be at a dinner.
Your children should have the room to go and do other things besides interact.
Taking steps to reduce problematic responses, resistance and stress will help to minimize the effect on your children. You know your children and are best equipped to know how to handle the situation.