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A New Partner

Hey kids, look I what bought home. No, it's not a puppy

couple having a picnic

When you start dating again and it gets to the point where you’re in a relationship, inevitably you’ll need to introduce your new partner to your kids. I suggest you make sure it’s a little more serious of a relationship than 4 or 5 dates. If it doesn’t work out, you’re going to be introducing a lot of different partners to your kids and each time will be confusing for them and just as stressful as the last.

If your kids know you’re dating they might ask when they can meet the new person. Tell them that you’re just dating and not sure if they’re the right one or not until you’re sure it’s serious enough for that next step.

But remember this, as much as you have a right to happiness and companionship, you still have to put your children first, if they aren't right for them, then they might not be right for you. This is slightly less important if your children are older, as they are less likely to have an impact as they would with a young child who still has much growing and developing to do.

young girl shocked

Softly, Softly, Catchy Monkey

This is a delicate situation and it needs some sensitivity and consideration for you, your kids, your new partner and also importantly the kids’ mother who will need to be confident that the next partner you have is suitable to have around her children.

Prepare your children, especially if they don’t know you’re seriously dating again. I began by being very cheeky and dad-ish about it, joking about how now I’m single, women are fighting each other to date me. Or that I’m struggling to know how to fit 3 different dates on one day, saying that one is 20 years older then me and another is 15 years younger.

This desensitises them to you dating as it will make them laugh and groan. You can get them even more used to the idea by asking them where might be a good place to take someone if you wanted to go on a date. What is a big ‘No, no’ you should look out for if you were going on a date.

All of these little conversations even before you consider dating again are a great way to get them used to the idea of you dating and they are likely to be much more receptive when they finally meet a new partner.

couple holding hands in the forest

Everybody Apprehensive

Your kids are going to be apprehensive about the new person and how they will treat them, what role they might play, and may view them as a threat to your love for them and that they are replacing their mother.

Talk to your children beforehand about the fact that you have a new girlfriend/partner and that you want them to meet him/her. Tell them about what sort of person they are, their likes and dislikes, and show them a picture. Try to explain the situation in a way that is age-appropriate and that emphasises that this doesn't change your love for them.

Even a year down the track your children might still be holding out hope that you’ll get back with their mum, so the introduction of a new partner really hits home. This can cause some strong emotions even if you’ve been separated a long time. The kids may seem ok with the new life they have, but these changes can bring out repressed emotions and you may find them resistant about the idea of a new partner.

family in the kitchen

The Meeting

When you do finally introduce them it's often a good idea to choose a neutral location for the first meeting, such as a park or a restaurant. This can help put everyone at ease and create a more relaxed atmosphere as they’re not having this new partner encroach on their territory at home.

It also allows you to keep it brief if necessary, rather than awkwardly trying to kick them out if it’s going pear shaped.

Keep it the first meeting casual. Keep things low-key, and don't put too much pressure on your new partner or your children to make a connection right away. Try to make them laugh, as laughing together can really break down those worries and help bonding.

family washing dog in garden

Give It Time

Remember to be patient and that it may take some time for everyone to get comfortable with the new dynamic. Be patient and give your children and your new partner space to form their own relationships with each other.

Listen to your children and pay attention to your children's reactions and feelings throughout the process, and be willing to make adjustments if necessary. It's important to prioritise their needs and emotions as you navigate this new chapter in your life.

Just When You Thought You Were Done

When you start out dating again you're never quite sure where it's going to go. There'll probably be a lot of disappointment on the way but you never know, they might be the one you finally introduce to your kids.

It doesn't end there though because once you get past that initial hurdle of your new partner meeting your kids then the next big one will be if your new partner has kids and when they all meet each other. As you can imagine, there’s a whole lot more worries for everyone just as before, but now also with your partner’s children’s emotions and feelings thrown into the mix. It'll definitely help if you have a rapport with your new partner's kids as well as she having the same with yours. Then together you can gauge the best time and way to introduce all the kids together.

If all that goes well, then you never know, it might be Brady Bunch time as you move into the next phase of becoming a blended family.

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