Introducing a new partner to your children can be a minefield.
You need to be thinking about the effects on both sides of the table before deciding how to make this crucial first meeting, especially if you’ve thought that down the line you want to live with your partner in cohabitation.
Make sure you are ready
First things first, it’s probably not a good idea to introduce every new girlfriend to your children. Not only can this become confusing for the children, but also it may cause issues between you and your ex if she thinks you’re bringing strangers into contact with your children too soon.
There’s obviously no time limit to reach before making introductions, but just ensure you’re really sure of how important your new partner is, and that they are just as keen as being involved in stepfamily life as you are.
Talk to your children before the meeting
Making sure you prepare your children for the impending meeting is crucial, so start by mentioning your new partner as a friend first.
By making sure your children hear the name mentioned a few times, and even telling your child stories about how you’ve been meeting with this new person can help prepare them for the meeting when it does come about.
Be aware of the limitations
It’s important to realize that your new partner may never be able to love your children in the same way that you do, and your children may never like your new partner in the same way that you do.
This new situation can cause issues for both parties involved, and it may not be all plain sailing. Of course it may all go completely as planned, but there are a lot of emotions running through these situations, so it’s really important to realize that things may not go according to plan right away.
Making it work
There are some ways to help ease into the first meeting, and these can include the following:
Pick a neutral first meeting place: The park, the cinema, or a restaurant are good places. Basically, somewhere social and outside of the family home would make a good start.
Don’t force interaction: If your children aren’t interested, be firm and insist they at least be polite to your new friend, but don’t force them to make conversation or interact if they really don’t want to. Sometimes kids just need a little more time.
If you can, talk to your ex: Obviously, some people won’t have the relationship with their ex to be able to discuss these meetings, but some will, and if this option is available to you it’s always advisable to discuss the meeting with them, so they can help prepare your children or at least be aware themselves rather than being told by the children, which can be a nasty surprise.
It can be very difficult to introduce a new partner to your children. Being honest and planning ahead is always the best way to deal with this situation.