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What To Consider When Introducing Your New Partner to Your Kids

Dating after divorce is not easy. Just when things start to get comfortable with your new partner and there’s extra pep in your step from your happy date nights and late night conversations, you remember that this person will need to meet the most important people in your life… your kids. This is not an easy process and it can provoke anxiety in both you and your partner. Here are a few guidelines to consider.

  • Determine your level of commitment. You don’t want to introduce your children to your partner until you are in a committed relationship. You first want to feel confident and secure in the relationship to prevent your kids from meeting someone that may be gone quickly.
  • Communicate with your ex. Let them know that you are going to be introducing the kids to your new partner and that they may have some feelings about it the next time they spend time with your ex.
  • Use an activity to break the ice.  Try doing something active like bowling, hiking or mini golf with your partner and kids to ease the tension and awkward feelings that everyone will be having.
  • Keep boundaries. You may be ready for your partner to stay the night, but your kids aren’t. They also don’t want to see the affection between the two of you right away, take one step at a time.
  • Take breaks. You may want to see your partner every day, but your kids don’t. Allow them time to get to know your partner first before their presence becomes permanent in the household.
  • You and your ex are the ones who discipline the kids, not your partner. You want your kids to develop a friendly rapport with your partner in the beginning and it’s not their role to be setting limits and expectations in your house.
  • Allow your children the space to have negative emotions. They may not be as happy to meet your new beau as you are and this is normal. You and your partner cannot take this rejection personally. Let your kids express any feelings they may have about your new relationship, they want and need to be heard.
Meet the author

Justine Carino

Justine is a licensed mental health counselor with a private practice in White Plains, NY. She helps teenagers, young adults and families struggling with anxiety, depression, family conflict and relationship issues. Justine is also the host of the podcast Thoughts From the Couch.