So, you have met the man or woman of your dreams. You have been on quite a few dates with them and you are both thinking that you are ready to take things to the next level and start spending more quality time together. But, you both have one problem that is constantly nagging at you. You are both divorced and you both have children from your previous marriages. You wonder how the children are going to react to this sudden change in their life and how they will respond to the other children. It may be a lot smoother than you think.
A lot of what needs to be considered in a blended family situation is the age of the children. Children are very resilient. They are able to handle changes easily. However, as children get older and reach the teenage years, they become much more set in their ways. They no longer accept the changes so willingly. So, the age of your children will be a huge factor in how they respond to your new love interest.
It is a good idea to talk with your children ahead of time. You can sit down and have a family meeting. Let your children know that you are not trying to bring in a new person to replace their parent that is no longer in the home. Make sure that they know that your love and feelings for them have not changed. Stress to them the fact that this person is not moving in and that you are just spending time with them. However, do not tell your children that the person that you are in a relationship with will never be moving in. This is setting yourself up for major problems in the long run if you do decide to pursue a long-term, intimate relationship with this person. In that case, you have now lied to your children and there is going to be resentment and anger towards the new person.
Have some family dates with both families. You get all of your kids together and have your partner do the same. Then, take everyone out together. This provides a chance for everyone to get to know each other on neutral territory. You are not invading either family’s home space and they will feel much less threatened. It also gives everyone a chance to get to know each other without the pressures and restrictions being put on them. You are much more likely to have a well blended family in the end if you take things slow and give everyone plenty of time to get to know each other before putting them together for extended periods of time.
If you and your partner want time alone during this adjustment period, take it outside of the homes. Perhaps the kids go to their other parents on weekends. Or maybe, you can both get a babysitter and go out together for the night. Family and friends are always wonderful options for your children to spend a night. Just make sure that you avoid pushing the issue or forcing your children to accept this new relationship in a hurry. That will only cause problems and animosity. It will lead to a household that is full of discontent and spite.
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