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Talking to Your Child About Your 'New' Family

By: Sarah Edwards - Updated: 5 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Children Relationships Dating Partner

When you are first on your own with your children, the last thing that you will want to think about is meeting someone new. Chances are that you are still in love with your former partner, or maybe you are so full of anger that you can’t stand the thought of being close to anyone ever again.

Feelings change

In time, your feelings will change, and there is bound to come a point when lots of well meaning people will start to make comments about finding a new partner and getting back out there and dating. It might sound easy, but it really is not that simple, particularly when you have been with the same partner for a number of years, and you have young children.

Even thinking about being with a new person can be daunting and it all takes time. Some people can move on quickly and within a few months or a year find that they have met someone new and are even thinking about settling down with them.

For other people, being single becomes an almost permanent state and they find meeting new people and forming relationships really difficult for lots of reasons. Learning to trust someone again can be hard and take time so you need to give yourself a break and take things slowly if you are unsure. Apart from the confidence and assertiveness that is needed to go out there and meet people again, time is also a big factor.

Starting again

So, where do you start? Firstly make sure you are really ready to move on emotionally from your last relationship. This can take time and everyone is different, you may also find that some people are not impressed if you try and move on too quickly, but the important thing to remember is that it really isn’t any of their business and as long as you are confident that you are doing the right thing at the right time for you and your children - that’s all that matters.

Children are resilient!

Children are more resilient than we think, and often cope far better with changes and developments in their lives than adults do-usually because they have the ability to take everything at face value and do not over analyse situations.

Introducing new people into your children’s lives is something that will happen naturally over time and should not be rushed. Your happiness is important, but your children’s security and feelings are important too and should not be ignored or considered to be any less important.

Don’t rush

It really is a good idea not to rush into things. Children can become very attached to new people very quickly and form emotional relationships that are then left in tatters if the relationship doesn’t work out. Consider your own situation, and look at why your child is now part of a single parent family. The reason for them being with just one parent will have a lot of bearing on how they respond to new people, and how quickly they form an attachment. Some children will cling desperately to a potential new ‘parent’ to try and fill an emotional gap in their lives. For them to then lose this new person can have devastating consequences for them.

Practical issues

When and if you do meet your new Mr or Miss Right, there will be lots of practical issues that need to be addressed. Initially you will be excited and nervous about dating again, and going through all the getting to know each other stages. Once you start to settle in to your new relationship and your children have got used to the idea that you have a new partner, you will find that your life may start to change and develop in different ways and you will need to think about finding ways of managing your changing circumstances.

There is a wealth of professional advice and help available to help you navigate your way through the process of blending families and relationships, but many people find that as time goes on they find their own ways of dealing with things.

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