If you are one of the 53% of marriages that end in divorce, you will no doubt at one time or another move on, and start dating someone new. If you have children to consider in your new life, one of the many burning questions you will ask your self is when do you introduce your children to a new partner?
I personally have been divorced 5 years, and in 5 years I never until this year introduced my children to any of my boyfriends. That is a personal choice I made, but in doing so I feel I was right. Especially when I think of the lack of character most of the people I dated during those years exhibited. Not everyone of course I dated was heinous but in all relationships, it is usually only time that reveals peoples true color and intent.
I think in hindsight I was lucky that my children were fairly young when I first separated, I only dated around their custody schedule, I didn’t really need to introduce them to my partners. It was actually nice to separate my Mummy life from my adult dating life, it gave me the opportunity to focus on one thing at a time. Over the years I dated, I found that I never really felt the instinct to introduce the children to anyone, maybe it was my intuition manifesting into behaviors, to avoid having the two worlds collide. There was also probably a large dose of mistrust from my marriage of all men, thrown on top of this thought process too. The things I did know though was that my children came first, their happiness was my primary focus, their schedule took precedent around my love live. I even gravitated towards long distance relationships, as it allowed less opportunity for me to have to play happy family with anyone.
I have friends and see other people who literally introduce their children to everyone they date, I personally do not think this is a healthy, thing to do for you or your children. Children are already adjusting to divorce and having two parents in separate places, to expect them to not have additional stresses to then also must get used to a new partner a year, is naive. Kids although adaptable to change, are also fans of routine, they generally like to feel that their home life is secure and stable. Introducing and allowing your children to see multiple partners, go in and out of your home life and bed isn’t much in the way of stability.
When you combine this with that often both partners have children so it’s not only children becoming ok with new partners, but new dating step siblings of sorts too, this is a lot of adjustment to ask a child to make.
So, before you introduce your children to anyone ask yourselves this, do I really see my self spending a lengthy part if not all my life with someone? If the answer isn’t yes, my advice is keep those two worlds separate, until you meet the person who the answer to it is “yes”.
There will always be a chance that what you think is yes eventually turns to no, but at least by that point you won’t have introduced your children to a football team worth of people, and there is a good chance that by the time you meet Mr. or Mrs. right your kids are a little more grown to deal with the new partner dynamics.
I think it’s always good to remind ourselves, that our children will always model what we do, more than do what we say. So put your children first, the right person will understand this and be happy to wait, to meet your off spring, as you will be happy to wait to meet theirs.