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Meeting new partners

Tags: meeting new partners, new partner, serious relationships, feeling threatened by new partner, sharing parents, worries, relationship support, introducing new partners
Content Types: Children In the Middle
Categories: After Separation

After separating, in time you will both move on and will be meeting new partners. For some older children, they are glad to see you happy and getting on with your life - they may feel they can stop worrying about you. But children's reactions to their parent's new partners are not always as simple. If your child has dealt with lots of changes in their lives it can help them if you delay introducing them to new partners.

Your child may resent or feel threatened by a new partner, especially if they feel they have to share you. They may also worry that they could be replaced in your affections by this new person. Remember that your child will want to spend time with you; this is the time that they feel special and cherished by you. So don't be surprised if your child doesn't think your new partner is as great as you think they are. They need time to adjust and you should not try not to force the relationship.

In fact, some children have a very positive relationship with their parent's new partners and can become attached to them. It's for this reason that it is important not to involve new partners in your child's life unless the relationship is serious. If the relationship doesn't last, they may be hurt and dealing with multiple relationship breakdowns is difficult for children to deal with.

A final point: It's a good idea to discuss the introduction of new partners with the other parent. It will help them understand if your child starts behaving differently, enabling them to react to the situation and provide support for them.

Our children in the middle section of this site has ideas and resources that can help when introducing a new partner to children after separating.

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  • Pc Bern Flag

    Interesting question Gayle20. Does he really have nowhere else he could take them? Maybe it would help to clarify your reasons - that it might be upsetting for the children rather than it's something YOU don't want?

    Sun 5, Jan 2014 at 4:26pm
  • User-anonymous gayle20 Flag

    My ex has moved straight in with his new gf and her daughter and doesn't understand I don't want our kids being part of it just now. My kids are 9 and 14. I am fine with him spending time with the kids but he says why should he walk the streets with them he should be able to take them to his house with his new family, am I wrong should I be letting them go.


    Fri 3, Jan 2014 at 9:39pm
  • User-anonymous Rosamae Flag

    The best thing to do is first introduce them as a friend and take them on days out together, at this point don't have them in the house. After they seem to have become comfortable with your partner, have the partner round to your house as a friend to get your child used to them being in their home environment. After a few months introduce your friend again but as a partner, at this point only hug in front of the children, but still go out on days just you and your children or child. After a long time you can have you partner stay the night and start having them round more. I know it is a long process but children can be very sensitive to new mothers/fathers. Hope I helped

    Fri 27, Sep 2013 at 5:12pm
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    I'd be interested to know more about how it went for you...did your child like your 'friend' and how long did you wait before you told the child you were partners? How did your child react to the change? I'm finding it very difficult to decide how to go about this and would find it very helpful to hear a bit more about your experience.

    Fri 27, Sep 2013 at 12:00pm
  • User-anonymous Rosamae Flag

    Anonymous, I know from personally experience that the best thing to do is introduce them as a friend, but remember to spend time with your chlid to!!

    Thu 26, Sep 2013 at 6:53pm
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    At what time does a new boyfriend or girlfriend become a new partner? Maybe the delay in introducing a new friend should be followed by a period when he or she is not a partner but a friend and can be introduced to the children as that. Eventually it may be that the adults decide to commit to a long term relationship...consequently the child will become aware of the deepening relationship over time and not as a done deal! What do others think?

    Fri 24, May 2013 at 1:20pm