New Relationship! Now What?
By: Danielle Mays
You vowed off all relationships after your Ex. Your break up was too painful, your relationship was a rollercoaster, and there is no way you will ever put yourself or your children in that situation ever, ever, ever again!!! It’s just you and your kids for life!!! But then…
You meet someone new. And they are different. And it’s different. And they make the world a brighter, more beautiful place. And you have fun with them. And you are in love. And you see a future with this person. So, now what?
When you have kids with an Ex you are trying to co-parent with and meet someone new, it is important to very thoughtfully and deliberately introduce this new person into the life of your kids and your Ex in a healthy way. The way you introduce this new person to your children and your Ex can make or break the future relationship between all parties involved. Here are some tips for introducing your new relationship to your children and your Ex in a healthy way that will help promote a positive future relationship between all parties:
1. Don’t introduce your children to casual relationships. Children need stability and routine, but they are adaptable. It is important that you make sure your significant other is actually going to stick around before introducing them to your children. When the children get used to your significant other, they may be just as, if not more, heartbroken than you if the relationship ends. Let them be children and protect their tender hearts by only introducing them to serious relationships. Use the other parent’s parenting time for dating.
2. Give the other parent the opportunity to meet your significant other before the children meet the significant other. Once things start to get serious with someone, you need to let your co-parent know that you would like to introduce your significant other to the children. Give the other parent your significant other’s contact information and let them know a little about your significant other. Offer to allow your Ex to meet the significant other before the children. No matter how great your significant other is, the children may have a hard time adjusting to their parent being with someone new. The other parent should be prepared for this and for helping the children adjust to their new normal.
3. Do not allow or encourage the children to call your significant other Daddy, Dad, Father, Papa, Mom, Mommy, Mama, etc. Judges do NOT like this and will side with the other parent on this issue if it comes up in court. I know children sometimes come up with these names on their own. Maybe they hear your boyfriend’s kids calling him Dad and start calling him Dad, too. It’s important that you correct your children immediately and think up a special, unique nickname that they can call your significant other that doesn’t involve the words “Dad” or “Mom” or their derivatives.
At CBJ, we know it is a difficult task blending families when parents are no longer together, but it is not impossible. These tips should help ease the transition for blending your family.