Going through life when a marriage is ended is not easy. Even if you want to move on and have a new partner – there will always be factors to consider before plunging in a new relationship, foremost of which are – the kids.
Kids, especially when they are in their teens, can be critical of your decision to take a new girlfriend. For them, your separation from their mother is already a big blow knowing that your family is not whole anymore. Now if you take another girlfriend, it might cause them to feel alienated and to some point – abandoned.
If you are in a dilemma as to how to introduce a new girlfriend to your kids, the following tips can help you:
- Do it at a proper time - which means, not too early but not too late. Do not rush in introducing your new girlfriend to the children. But do not delay the introduction either to such a time when you and your girlfriend are already planning to wed. This will make the children feel rejected and betrayed.
- Consider the children’s ages. Very young kids usually adjust more easily. They can even get attached to your girlfriend especially if she is the sweet and caring type. Meanwhile children in middle childhood can be quite difficult so be careful with your moves.
- Make it gradual. Do not just barge in the house one day with your girlfriend in tow and tell the kids – “Hey kids, I have a new girlfriend, and we plan to marry soon!” This will be the most unpleasant surprise that the kids will never, ever forget their whole life through. What you should do is to give small hints now and then until such time that they get a clear idea about your new relationship. By the time you break the big news, it will not be so big anymore and it will be easier for them to accept it.
- Weigh the chances by talking to them first before the introduction. If they show negative reaction, delay the introduction in the meantime and wait for the right opportunity when the kids are ready.
- Make sure your girlfriend is set to meet your kids as well. Ask her is she is willing and prepared for the introduction.
- Assure your children that your new girlfriend is not going to replace their mother, because she never can. She will be your new partner but she will only be there at a time when their mother cannot be around for them. In the same way, make it a point not to allow your girlfriend to be too much of a mother to them. Set some limitations.
- Choose a relaxed and comfortable occasion for the introduction. The conversation should be casual and candid.
If you are a widower, you have to take extra precaution when introducing a new girlfriend to your kids. Their mother’s death is a sensitive issue for them and learning you have a new partner might lead them to think that you are trying to get someone to replace their mother. Tell the kids their mother is irreplaceable, and that despite your having a new girlfriend, the memory of your wife will continue to be honored and remembered in the family.