What’s the big rush?
So you’re separated. One of you has moved out and the process of divvying up whose is whose is underway. Or as Amy Poehler puts it,
“Imagine spreading everything you care about on a blanket and then tossing the whole thing up in the air. The process of divorce is about loading that blanket, throwing it up, watching it all spin, and worrying what stuff will break when it lands.”
Maybe in your heart you left the relationship ages ago. Or maybe it was a shock at first, but now you’ve wrapped your head around it. There’s someone new. You have met someone new. Someone who makes you smile and laugh. Someone who makes you feel interesting and attractive. Someone who’s company you look forward to.
Chances are, this someone new is the opposite of your previous partner (or a carbon copy Ð I’ve seen this time and again: new girlfriend looks like she could be your previous partner’s sister. New boyfriend has the same name as your ex.). In any case, you’re thrilled. You’re excited. You’re getting the strokes and acknowledgement and sex that you weren’t getting in your marriage. Just like with all things that are exciting and fresh and new you want to share this news. You want to shout it from the rooftops. You want to share the FABULOUS new person with your kids.
Hang on there. Just S.L.O.W. down a minute.
What’s the big rush? YOU’RE excited. YOU want to holler & celebrate the news. This is fun for YOU. Take a deep breath, this may touch a nerve:
It’s not all about you.
It’s not all about what you want. In fact, parenting is rarely about what we want, it’s about what’s best our your kids. The only family your kids have ever known is undergoing a massive shift and reconfiguration. The last thing they need is to be introduced to Mummy or Daddy’s new boyfriend or girlfriend. They need time to let the dust settle. They need time to try and comprehend how life is different. Their little worlds are looking very different. They need time to mourn the loss of the family as they knew it.
LET THE DUST SETTLE.
For this reason, I advise the families I work with to wait for at least 6 months before introducing the kids to a new partner. That means that you are in an EXCLUSIVE, SERIOUS, COMMITED relationship for at least six months with this new person before they get to meet your kids. For obvious reasons, this should also mean that it is at least six months from the time that Mummy or Daddy move out of the family home. Why muddy the waters and raise questions about when exactly this new relationship started? Don’t deceive your kids and introduce Charlotte (or George) as daddy or mummy’s new friend right off the hop and six months later come clean. Not cool. That’s called being deceitful, AKA lying. Besides, you and your new partner should have at least six months to get to know each other and enjoy each other’s company before you bring kids into the picture.
So slow it down. Give your kids the time and space they need to adjust. Just because you’re hunky dory & movin’ on doesn’t mean they’re ready. Kids first, remember? Your kids’ needs come first.