How to Know When the Timing Is Right
Single parenthood is far from easy. Whether your relationship with your ex is solid or nonexistent, your kids are affected by it. Logically, then, your dating habits will affect them, too.
If you’ve dipped back into the dating pool and found someone you’re over the moon for, it’s important to introduce them to your kids eventually. If you’re serious about each other, don’t leave your kids in the dark.
There is, however, a right time and a right place to have the introductions. It may be slightly different for every person, but there are some general guidelines and cues from your kids that will let you know it’s time to bring over your special someone.
Your Kids Have Had Time to Process the Divorce
Regardless of how quickly you’ve processed your divorce, children process things at a much slower rate, especially if there was any trauma involved. Divorce is a painful and confusing experience for children, so it’s important to be sensitive to that.
Talk to your child about how they would feel about you being with someone else in the future. If they react with anger or sadness, it’s likely they’re not ready to completely accept the divorce and certainly not ready for someone new to be entering your life — and their’s.
You’ve Had ‘The Talk’ With Your Significant Other
It’s completely unnecessary, and perhaps even detrimental to children, to introduce them to every potential partner. However, if you’ve been dating someone for more than a few months, and feel confident about a future with them, make sure you are on the same page.
Have a talk with your significant other about the future and what you both expect from it and each other. Hopefully, you haven’t waited until then to tell them you have kids, but make sure they are part of the decision, too.
You’ve Told Your Kids About Them
Before you bring your new partner to meet your kids, drop hints of their existence in everyday conversations with your children. Tell your kids about your new friend (or boyfriend/girlfriend if your kids are older and get it) and how much you like them.
When you go on dates and leave the kids with a babysitter, let them know it’s your significant other you’re going to spend time with. If you had a great time, tell them about it.
Your kids want to see you happy and if they know someone is contributing to that happiness, they’re more likely to be receptive when a meeting occurs.
Your Kids Ask to Meet Them
If you’ve brought up your significant other a multitude of times with your kids, showed your kids photos of them, or talked to them on the phone when your kids were around, chances are your kids will get curious about them. Tell your kids how much fun your significant other is and maybe drop hints that your special someone would love to meet them.
If your kids start asking you questions about them or confess they’d like to meet them too, that’s a definite sign that the timing is right!
You’ve Told Your Ex About Them After You’ve Told Your Kids
Depending on your current relationship with your ex, it might be a good idea to tell them that you are seeing someone new. Keep things simple and matter of fact, but inform your ex that things are serious with this person and you’re going to introduce them to the kids.
It’s better to provide that information up front and after you’ve told the kids, than have them wonder what new partner your ex is referring to. Of course, you can’t control what your ex says about you or your new significant other, but if you get to your kids first about it, you may be able to avoid any negative ideas about the situation.
You’re Ready for It
Ultimately, you need to feel ready to make the introduction between your kids and your significant other. No one should be pressuring you to make it happen.
There is no guarantee that either your kids or your significant other will like each other, at least right away. It takes time to get to know someone and build a relationship.
Initiating the introduction in a low-key environment may help things go smoother. Try something fun like a day out at a park or bowling. These kinds of activities will allow your significant other and children to interact with each other on a more casual level.
Whatever happens, listen to what your kids say about your significant other and how they feel. Sometimes children pick up on things quicker than adults do, and they may see something that you don’t.
If it has been a while and they’re not meshing, you may need to evaluate if the relationship is worth it in the long run; family comes first.
Essence (8 Ways to Know It’s the Right Time to Introduce Him to Your Kids)
Better Relationships (Introducing Your Children to a New Partner)