Keep in mind the age of your children when introducing them to a new love interest, because younger children (under age 10) may feel confused, angry, or sad because they tend to be possessive of their parents.Renowned researcher Constance Ahrons, who conducted a 20 year study of children of divorce, concluded that most children find their parent’s courtship behaviors confusing and strange.During our first counseling session, Alicia, an attractive newly divorced 43 year old nurse, described her new partner Keith as a breath of fresh air, sexy, fun, and the complete opposite of her ex-husband Daniel.They had been dating for a little over two months and she was head over heels in love with him.As Alicia spoke, excitement welled up in her voice: “Keith’s just so different from Daniel and I can really be myself with him. I figure my daughter, Kyla, will like him because he’s a lot of fun and likes kids.” During our second session, I asked Alicia if she had thought through any disadvantages of introducing her daughter Kyla to Keith too soon.She paused and said “not really” and so I asked her to write down a list of pros and cons for her homework assignment.After all, you might have great chemistry with someone, but they might not be best suited to become part of your family.I’ve witnessed many new relationships go south when a partner is introduced to children too quickly.
The number one thing to keep in mind is timing after your divorce. Even if both of you are in love and seem to have a lot in common, breakups are common and kids get caught in the crossfire.
While adolescents may appear more accepting of your new partner than younger children, they may still perceive that person as a threat to your relationship.
Ahrons also found that teenagers may find open affection between their parent and a partner troubling – so go easy on physical contact in front of them.
Talking to a relationship coach or therapist may help you to make a smooth transition into this next phase of your life.
Often, an area of heightened emotion between divorced or divorcing couples occurs when deciding when one parent should introduce their dating partner to the children.
8 reasons not to introduce your new love to your kids too soon: If you’ve been dating someone for a while (at least 4-5 months) and feel relatively confident that you are heading toward commitment, talk to your children and explain that you are dating someone who you care about and that you’d like to introduce to them. Ask your kids where they’d like to go and don’t invite your partner’s children to join you on the first few visits.