Splitting up with your children’s mother or father is tough for you and your kids. It’s not easy to let go of that happy family dream you had, especially if at one point you all were living it together. But sometimes, unfortunately, a separation is the best choice for you, your partner, and your kids in the long run.
After some time spent mourning your relationship, you’ll eventually be ready to get back out there again and date. While this may be an exciting, albeit a little scary, adventure for you, your kids might not feel the same way. So, how do you break the news that you’ve met someone new? With kindness, honesty, and patience. Here are some tips to help you do it.
1) Wait until your new relationship get serious.
A new partner for you is a big change for your children. The experience will be emotional and possibly even stressful as well. Don’t put your kids through that roller coaster unless you’re sure the person you’re introducing will be sticking around for a while.
The exact point at which you talk to your kids about a new relationship is ultimately up to your discretion. Try to take things like their age, dependence on you, comfort levels, and how they’ve been processing your split with their other parent into account.
2) When you do tell them, just start with the basics.
When you disclose a new relationship to your kids, keep in mind that they are indeed your kids—not your friends. You don’t need to go into detail about how your partner made you laugh on the first date or if you can see yourself getting married again.
Keep it simple and just tell them you’ve started seeing someone new and things are getting serious. Depending on their age and your relationship with them, you can reveal other information as you see fit. Let them ask questions, but don’t feel like you have to give them all of the answers they want right now.
3) Make it clear to your kids that they will always come first.
Especially if your kids are younger or more dependent in general, they may see a new partner as a threat to your relationship with them. Be preemptive about calming any fears of abandonment, even if they don’t bring it up. Reassure them that they are your priority and that you will always be there for them. A new partner will never change that.
4) Give them time and space to react and process as needed.
As excited as you are about your partner, remember that your kids might need some time to come around to the idea of you dating again. Let them feel what they need to feel and give them time to get comfortable at their own pace.
When you break the news, ask your kids how they’re feeling about it and be ready to accept any emotions they have right now. If the initial reaction isn’t what you’ve hoped, don’t panic. They just need time and space to adjust. If they don’t want to talk right away, respect their wishes but reiterate that you’re there when they’re ready.
5) Introduce a new partner to your kids gradually.
Immediately after telling your kids that you’re dating someone new is not the ideal time to stage an introduction. Give them time to sit with the idea before you ask about a meeting. Before they meet your partner, slowly tell your kids a little bit more about them, so they start to feel more comfortable. Allow your kids some control over where and when this happens. Forcing the situation will only make it tense and awkward.
When they are ready for an introduction, plan something fun to do in a relaxing, informal environment. Pick an activity you know your kids will enjoy, such as bowling or going out for dinner at their favorite restaurant. This will give everyone a chance to meet and get to know one another in a casual, no-pressure kind of way.
Once you’ve decided the time is right for you to see what other fish are swimming in the sea, sign up for a membership with My Safe Dating! With our online voice, video, and chat tools, you can get to know potential matches at a pace that’s comfortable for you and your kids. As a dating website specifically designed for singles over 40 in Vancouver, there’s a good chance a lot of your matches will know what you and your family are going through.
Start building your online profile today and take the first step toward the next phase of your life!