As discussed in the previous divorce article “When Should Divorced Dads Introduce The New Girlfriend?” mental health professionals agree the best practice is to wait before introducing someone new to your kids.
But when the time comes to introduce a new partner, experts agree divorced dads can create the best meeting place by choosing a neutral location and a short activity with a definitive end.
Nancy Fagan, divorce consultant and owner of San Diego’s Divorce Help Clinic, encourages fathers to discuss with their children who they will be meeting. Afterwards, let the kids explain how they feel.
“Don’t try to talk them into liking the person,” Fagan said. “Instead, let them know however they are feeling is okay.”
Dr. Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. (aka “Dr. Romance”), licensed psychotherapist and author of “The Unofficial Guide to Dating,” advises her clients to introduce new partners as a “friend.”
After enough time passes and fathers are happy with how their new partner treats their children, establishing a formal relationship label is appropriate.
“Insist that children behave politely,” Dr. Tessina says and adds this should be true of any adult friends of their parents.
Since new relationships form outside of a father’s time with his children, dads need to establish clear boundaries between their custody arrangements and their new significant other. Maintaining alone time with their children is a priority.
Building routines and establishing stability should be the father’s focus during and after a divorce. A significant other will need to respect the father’s boundaries and fit their lives around the father and his children.
Balancing parenting time and relationship time is challenging, but healthy for kids. It’s something fathers can control. Creating a comfortable meeting location for the new partner and children is also something fathers can control.
A variable that parents are powerless to is the child’s age. Children aged 6 and under are easier to transition to a new partner as their cognitive development is still establishing.
Older children tend to be more confused, have opinions and have more memories of their former family life that they may miss and compare new experiences with.
At the Divorce Help Clinic, Fagan witnesses better transitions with children under 6 and tells dads to feel comfortable allowing their kids to bring a security blanket or item when meeting the new partner.
Divorcing or divorced dads who meet someone new are ready to celebrate their happiness and share it with their children. These dads are also familiar with the lengthy process of divorce and healing, and should apply the same patience to introducing their new partner to their kids.
Dads can take all the time they need and their new “friend” should understand.
Read related article: “When Should Divorced Dads Introduce The New Girlfriend?“
Tara Lynne Groth is a full-time freelance writer residing in Cary, North Carolina. Her work has appeared in places such as GO (AirTran Airways’ in-flight magazine), the Providence Journal and Chesapeake Family. Learn more about Tara by visiting her website www.taralynnegroth.com.
7 comments on “How To Introduce Your New Girlfriend To Your Kids”
I have a boyfriend i have been with for a year he will not let me meet anyone and lately is becoming distant not sure what to do about this i really like him and want to stay with him but he wont let me in his life after the divorce we both are divorced. any advice?
I had a girlfriend on and off for a year. She never met my friends, family, or kids. I broke it off because she was falling in love with me. Why? Because I didn’t see her as a long term partner. Why? A few reasons, but at this point it doesn’t matter.
My only advice is to have full and unconditional communication. Don’t sell yourself short on what you want and don’t settle for this type of behavior. You can’t love another if you can’t love yourself. And there’s nothing more cowardly than stringing a partner along with no intention of commitment (if that’s what you are looking for).
I am 8 months seperateted from my wife , we have 2 children a girl of 6 and a boy of 3.
It has been made very clear to me there is no way back in the relationship.
I have recently met someone else, I really like her , but how soon is too soon ?
She is part of my life now , and that’s important to me .
Too soon is if you have a void that needs filling with the emotions of another person. If you are happy alone then you can be happy with someone else. My two cents is that our kids also need to see what a positive healthy relationship looks like despite the break up of their parents.
My partner is divorced for more than a year. He has two girls age 25 and 19yrs of age. He is reluctant to introduce me to his girls. Everytime when they visit him i’m not allowed to call him or be around. Is it fair to me bcs my children knows him nd they have accepted him. So I need some advices what to do
Your post was 2 years ago.. what ended up happening?
I am in a similar situation and m 6 year old wants to meet my GF, we have only been dating about a month but we are already serious and talking about long term plans.
To answer your old question I’d say if that wasn’t in violation of your legal parenting agreement she couldn’t block the visit.
So curious of the outcome…
Living with a significant other
It has been almost 2-years since I ended the relationship, my son was 4 at the time. We have joint physical custody and he spends equal time between the two homes. My partner of 5-months is going to move in and when my son comes over he will obviously see her. He has not met her, however he knows about her. Over the holidays he told me that I deserve to be happy and it is ok that I have a girlfriend.
The mother is reluctant to the her meeting our son, even though she has never met her. (not a good idea as the ex is not that friendly). She has threatened to not allow my son to fly up to see me on my scheduled visitation. Flights are bought and paid for.
Can she legally deny my son to fly and see me due to someone living with me?