Divorce Advice: When Can I Introduce My Child To My New Boyfriend Or Girlfriend?

This is a great question I am asked often in my practice and and without giving very specific boundaries, I’m going to give you some ideas to consider.Divorce Advice

So here is some divorce advice on when you can introduce your child to your new boyfriend or girlfriend.

  • Let some seasons pass.
  • Make sure your child is ready.
  • Time and place the meeting.
  • Control who will be there.
  • Don’t rush it.

Firstly, you don’t want to introduce your child until two or three seasons have passed that you have been dating this person exclusively and have find yourself being very committed to them. You need to have a sense that this is going to be a long-term relationship.

So you are letting months pass… six to nine months… and you are letting your relationship unfold and get stronger. When you feel like you know that this is the person you are going to be spending a lot more time with and have projected out for months and years to come, that’s when you decide you would like your children to also share in this relationship.

Secondly, you need to know when you approach your child about this. Talk and listen to them to test the water and see if they’re ready to meet this person that’s been in your life for six to nine months.

If they are, great, and you can make the arrangements to meet. If they’re not ready, then do not push it. Let more time pass, just a few weeks, or another month and you can bring it up again then.

Thirdly, when you do finally meet to have your child meet your partner, you want to do it in a neutral zone so it won’t be at your house or their house. You can meet in a restaurant, at a park, coffee shop, or some place where there’s no emotional connection other than it’s a public facility or place where anyone can gather.

You’ll want to make the time together limited so that you can say to your child, “Let’s go have lunch or dinner. We’ll be there a few hours and then we’ll leave.” This way your child knows there’s a beginning and an end and it’s not going to be a whole weekend or an all day commitment.

This will be giving them a boundary and helping them reduce some of that anxiety. Also, after the meeting you want to be the one leaving with your child. Even if they’re old enough to drive, you don’t want them to be leaving and you and your new boyfriend or girlfriend staying.

You want to be leaving with them so that you’re honoring your relationship. This is their first contact with this new man or woman and it now gives them an opportunity to share with you their immediate thoughts in regards to the situation.

Also, you don’t want the first contact to be with their whole family. If they have children as well, young or old, or even parents that they live with, you don’t want your child to be walking in meeting a whole extended family. You want them to be meeting this one individual.

So, share some of your feelings about this person when you leave and let your child talk about how they felt about the experience. Let them know how you feel about this person.

This is the first contact and it will be remembered. This is an important step to help them form a healthy relationship with this special person in your life.

Remember there’s no rush! It is not something that’s urgent. It’s a relationship.

Relationships are built upon moments and experiences over a duration of time.

In support…

Dr. SueAnne Magyar-Hill
Founder of Empowering Children Of Divorce

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One Response to Divorce Advice: When Can I Introduce My Child To My New Boyfriend Or Girlfriend?

  1. Zoe February 1, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    Great advice! I would like to add that Steve Harvey strongly recommends neutrally introducing a new boyfriend or girlfriend early on in the relationships — without letting your kids know. You can arrange a casual meeting in a public place just so your new love can meet those kids. The kids DON’T need to know that you are dating. The purpose is to ensure that your new love truly understands that you and your kids are a package deal. Otherwise you risk investing tons of time into a relationship only to find out that he really doesn’t want kids. The article is here: http://www.doover.com/NewLove/ID/76/Source-of-Inspiration-Steve-Harvey.aspx

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