When parents get divorced, their focus is and should be the best interests of their children. Parents do everything possible to ensure their kids are loved and supported by both parents, and that the divorce is never going to change that.
As both parents grow and move forward with their lives, they will inevitably begin dating new people.
At the Land Legal Group, our divorce attorneys in Los Angeles understand this next step happens more quickly for some than others and may lead to some contempt when one parent alerts the other that there is an impending introduction of the new partner.
Some parents have a plan in place, including when, where, and how the introduction will occur. Others believe it is a personal decision, and do not care to have the other parent’s input on anything related to their new relationship. Others simply hide the relationship for as long as they can.
Here is what we know: Being a single parent in California is hard. And building a new romantic life with someone after a divorce with children is even harder. When it is time to introduce your new love to the kids, do not beat yourself up about it. It is normal to be anxious and to fear the unknown.
Here are a few tips to put your doubts to rest, so your family can openly enjoy each other’s relationships with new people.
Step One: Begin the Process by Alerting the Kids to Your New Relationship
Springing the fact that you are in a new relationship with your kids and introducing your partner at the same time is going to be incredibly overwhelming for everyone involved.
Before you can introduce your kids to your new partner, you must tell them about him or her and explain how this person is important to you and how he or she makes you happy.
You have the right to have a new partner and a new love and explaining to your kids how you want to share that relationship with them is important. Kids are very perceptive and will immediately notice how your mood is enhanced when this person is around, which will ease the stress of the introduction.
Step Two: Your New Partner Does Not Take the Other Parent’s Place in Their Lives
Your ex-spouse is also the mother or father of your children, which means he or she holds an indelible place in their hearts and lives.
Children need to know that they are not betraying their other parent by meeting or even liking the new partner. Make it clear: your partner is not a rival; he or she is extra support.
Step Three: Your New Love is No Match for Your Love for Your Kids
This step will certainly depend on the age of your children, but it is important for your kids to know that they will not have to compete with your new partner for your love and affection.
Your kids have already had to adjust to their parent’s divorce. There is no doubt that was incredibly difficult. Adding a new partner to the equation will require a renewed emphasis that your children are the most important thing in your life.
Step Four: Give Your Children and Partner Time and Space to Interact
It is exceedingly difficult to not want to anxiously helicopter over your new partner’s first (or sets of firsts) interactions with your children, but it is important to give them time and space together — without your intervention.
Allow your children to ask questions, and your new partner to answer.
You are introducing them to your new partner because you are sure that it is the right thing to do.
Trust everyone’s role in this decision and establish a balance that allows everyone to explore this interaction freely.
Step Five: Know that Your Kids May Hate Every Second of This Process (at least at first)
It is completely normal for children to reject a new partner simply because it is not their parent.
It is up to you to take the time to work through these issues, while understanding you may not be able to solve them immediately.
Your partner will need to gain the trust and love of your children, which will take patience.
It is not going to happen overnight.
Contact Our Family Law Attorney in Los Angeles at the Land Legal Group (310) 552-3500
If you have questions about divorce and would like to discuss how your kids will be affected by the decision, contact our skilled family law attorneys in Los Angeles County at the Land Legal Group today at (310) 552-3500 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your unique circumstances.