Some things are not meant to be. When you make the decision to start and build a life with someone, the thought of it not lasting is something that never crosses your mind. The truth, however, is that you may not realize that you aren’t with the person that your destined to grow old with until years later.
Separating is a difficult thing to go through, especially if there are children involved. It is for the best sometimes. What is also wise to understand is that life doesn’t have to end with a failed marriage. You can find love again. If you do and you have children from your previous marriage, then there’s a delicate line that you have to walk when communicating your new engagement to your children.
Don’t Spring It On Them
The process of communicating your new engagement to your children should begin as early as possible. That’s not to say that you should introduce your kids to someone as soon as you begin dating. When your relationship takes a more serious turn, you should subtly introduce your new significant other. To bring someone that they have never met into their lives and suddenly announce that they will be their new stepparent, more often than not, will lead to resentment and harsh feelings. It would be wiser for you to let them get to know your new partner slowly overtime.
Nurture A Separate Relationship Between Your Kids And Your New Partner
Your new partner will have a large role in your life. They will also be a part of your kid’s life as well. For that reason, you should nurture an independent relationship between your kids and your new partner. They need to feel comfortable around them when you are not present. Remember, the end game is to condition them to being open and accepting of your new engagement. Having them develop their own relationship, where they learn to coexist in a harmonious way, makes that outcome more than likely. It also has the added benefit of giving your child another adult in their life for whom they can turn too.
Include Your Children In Activities With Your New Partner
Coinciding with nurturing their independent relationship is the need to build strong bonds between everyone involved. After marriage, you will be a part of a new family dynamic. It would be helpful if your kids already felt like a family when they are with you and your new partner. For that reason, it is important to plan and participate in activities that include both your children and your new partner.
Trips to theme parks, outings at the beach, and going out to dinner are all things that promote positive interpersonal exchanges. These interactions, if positive, create memories with good feelings attached to them. Over time, as one builds upon another, these activities will take on the feeling of a family outing, which, in essence, they actually are. At this point, the conditions should be right to take the last step towards informing your kids about your impending engagement.
Time To Have The Talk
Once your children have become accustomed to having your new partner around and they have developed their own relationship with him or her, the time will be right for you to sit them down and let them know that you are taking your relationship to the next step and getting married. Since you have taken the time to slowly bring your new partner into their life and have allowed them the opportunity to become accustomed to his or her presence, it shouldn’t be a major shock. That’s not to say that everything will go smoothly.
It is natural for kids of divorce to imagine that one day their parents will find their way back to each other. Regardless of how much you have subtly prepared them or how much they may genuinely like your new partner, announcing that you are actually getting married may not go as smoothly as you want. If they become upset or angry, it is important to stay calm and listen to what they have to say. You may have to take them by the hand and walk them across the finish line of acceptance, reassuring them that your new marriage isn’t about replacing their other parent, but rather it’s about finding happiness for both you and them.
Be Sure To Include Your Kids In Engagement Process
The announcement of your new engagement is not the end of the process. It is also important not to lose sight of your children as you move towards your wedding day. Planning a wedding can be hectic. To avoid any feelings of being lost along the way, you should include your kids in the engagement process.
For example, children can be included in the groom’s trip to take a look at engagement rings. Whether the groom is their father or stepfather to be, taking the child’s opinion into account when deciding about engagement rings can go a long way to building trust and making them feel connected to the process. This connection reinforces that the new marriage can and will be a good thing for them and their parent.
When it comes down to it, the most important thing to keep in mind when breaking a new engagement to your children is to plan ahead and be prepared to listen. Letting them meet and grow to know your new partner on their own terms and in their own way helps tremendously. What you have to do, as a parent, is set the stage for them to get to the right place on their own and be there to listen and guide them when any hiccups occur.
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