So, now you’ve had time to recover from your break up with your ex and have stepped into the world of dating again. Now you’ve met someone and are excited about your future together. But your children are grown up and you want the process of introducing them to your new partner to be as comfortable and problem free as possible. Here are 5 simple tips to help you through the process.
1. Keep your relationship discreet
Until you feel secure within it. Once you do, tell them sooner rather than later as the longer you keep things secret, the more you run the risk of your children finding out another way. If you tell your son or daughter that you are seeing someone as part of an informal normal conversation, it will give them time to get used the idea. It will also give them time to ask any questions they may have. Share information about your new partner with your children, his/her background, occupation, their children and their family background. Talking about the relationship and how it’s progressing will make them feel a part of the getting to know each other process.
2. Make sure your children are a priority
Even grown-up children can feel threatened by your new relationship and the additional complications it may bring. I remember a few years ago a couple who fell in love and married through Sara Eden eventually divorced as their respective children did not get on. The parenting styles and values the teenage children had grown up with were completely different and neither could relate to the other.
3. Talk with your partner about your children and ask them about theirs
Find out if they share a common interest, as this can be a great help in the bonding process. What do they do for a living, their personalities, interests and hobbies? This way knowing a little about them will make it easier for the conversation to flow when they eventually meet up in person. If there are any sensitive topics of conversation that are best avoided, maybe your son or daughter is having a relationship, work or health problems. If so, warn your new partner. I know it can be difficult as it’s a fine line but don’t tell them too much either. You may trust the new person in your life, but they are a stranger to your children and it can be unnerving for your son or daughter if your partner knows too much personal information about them.
4. Arrange a relaxed get together at a mutually convenient venue on neutral territory
Perhaps a fun upbeat restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere, somewhere your grown-up children will enjoy and relate to. Always tell your children in advance what you are proposing. Let them have some input when deciding on the venue. That way they will feel involved and part of the planning process.
5. Speak with your children and listen to them
Even though they are grown up, they may have concerns about your new relationship and need reassurance. Let them know they can ask you questions and listen to what they have to say. Once you have listened to their concerns and acknowledged how they feel you can reassure them. Getting used to seeing you with someone new can be a big thing for them. Allow time and keep communicating openly and there’s every chance your children and your partners children will come to value each of you as much as you do your partner.
Karen Mooney is the founder and MD of Sara Eden Introductions. For more information visit sara-eden.co.uk