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Before we start the post I would like to address the fact that it is now nine thirty at night on the day this was supposed to go live. I know, I am a terrible blogger. I have become so unreliable about when I post and how often. But I can say that the page views are on the rise! Who said you have to pump out content all day? Anyway, let’s just start the post on introducing children to a new partner after a separation already.
If you didn’t know by now I am divorced. That is right. My divorce finalized in mid-October, but we separated in March. And that is enough about that. I started seeing someone pretty seriously within those months (and hey it is my life so back off with the judgment). Point being I get asked a lot about how I introduced my new person to my son. Everyone in my life knows that my son is the most important person in my life. They often wonder how I go about telling another person they will always be second to my son.
It is actually a lot easier than it sounds. I know a lot of single mothers out there struggle dating and finding the right person who can accept them and their children. My heart goes out to these women. I am lucky to not have had that problem, but if you are there don’t give up. It will happen for you when the time is right.
For those of you who are looking to introduce your child to that new person in your life and just aren’t sure how to do so, allow me to give you a few pointers. All children are different (and I know you don’t really need to me say that), so what worked for mine might not work for you. Just take what you can from this post and I wish you the best of luck. Here are my best tips for introducing children to a new partner after a separation.
Be Open With Your Partner First
Before I started getting serious with the person I was seeing I let them know what my intentions were. I am not the type of person to waste my time on someone. I went out into the world after my separation knowing that I didn’t want to go back to meanless dating. I wanted to find another person to spend my life with (just maybe do a little bit of a better screening process.
For this reason, I told them very early on that if they wanted a causal relationship I was not the person they were looking for. I was dating them to see if we had a future together and if we didn’t we would simply have to settle for friends. I explained that I wasn’t looking to settle down immediately, but if he wasn’t the type of person to eventually want to spend a life with someone then we needed to part ways. I also told him that the moment I realized we weren’t right for each other the relationship would end.
I then told him what that meant to me (if we were to stay together). My dad’s son is very involved in his life, but the person that I spend my life with has to step into that dad role as well. I didn’t want my son to feel like a stranger in my home because the person I picked to spend my life with didn’t really do anything with my son.
Once we had this conversation he knew how serious I was about my son and he was fine with it. We then waited until I felt I knew if we were compatible or not. There were a few things I realized at this time.
I didn’t want every guy I dated to come in and out of my son’s life, but I also couldn’t be afraid to introduce him new men in my life. There is no grantee anything will work and I can’t let that fear prevent me from trying. Once I decided enough time had passed I began to plan how to introduce my son.
Don’t Start With Them Being The Boss
I actually learned this in the co-parenting class my state requires. The instructor made a good point that you won’t want a stranger telling you what to do, so why should your kids? You want your children to like this person so let them build a relationship outside of any parenting roles first. Chances are it isn’t time for them to take on that role just yet anyway.
Anytime my boyfriend (ugh this word makes me feel like a child) would encounter something that he had known my son shouldn’t be doing he would simply say, ‘I don’t like your mom would like that’. They still weren’t getting unsupervised time together at this point so it was my cue to step in. This allowed my son to feel more as if this person was a friend instead of an intruder.
Allow Them To Bond Without You
I still don’t allow my boyfriend to take my son without me (I’m an overbearing mom), but they do bond without me. They often play games in the house without me or he’ll hold my son when we go out. They even sit together during dinner time. It is simple things, but I know my son loves them.
Make Sure Your Child Knows How You Feel
It might just be the way me and my son bonded early on, but he often asks how I am feeling. He cares what is going on with me just like I do with him. After some time had passed I asked him how he felt about my boyfriend. I then told him how I felt about him and how he was important to me. I am not sure at 3 he understood fully, but he seemed to enjoy the conversation just the same.
Make Sure Your Child Knows They Are Important
Sometimes introducing children to a new partner after a separation can be difficult and they will feel as if they are no longer important. As mothers, we need to make sure our children know that just because a new person is in your life doesn’t mean you love them any less. Once the right amount of time has past consider doing more activities together with your new partner. Your child will feel more a part of your life and less stressed about the change.
Getting back out there when there are kids involved can be difficult. We worry so much about our children that we often don’t know how to handle this type of situation. I hope these tips on how I went about it helps out a few single mothers as well.