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Introducing the kids to a new romantic partner after divorce

Want to know one sure-fire way to end up back in court with your ex-spouse?

Here's all it takes: Introduce the kids to your new romantic partner right away.

While there's nothing in your divorce papers that prevents you from moving on and finding someone new, it's pretty much universally agreed that you need to take things slowly where the kids are concerned. No matter how old your children are, introducing them too quickly to your new boyfriend or girlfriend can cause an unbelievable amount of stress. This is why:

Children need time to adjust to their new situation

You can't expect kids to "go with the flow" of your new relationship. They need time to adjust first to your divorce, then to the idea that you might see someone else.

They may get attached too quickly

If your children are feeling lonely or depressed about their absent Mom or Dad, having a new maternal or paternal figure in the picture can lead to confusion and over-attachment. That's psychologically damaging on a number of levels -- but particularly so if the relationship doesn't work out, and your new partner vanishes.

You may not really know the person you're bringing around

How much do you really know about the person you are romantically involved with at the moment? Until you are absolutely sure about his or her character and ability to cope with children, you don't want that person around your kids.

Any bad habits your partner has will come back to haunt you

If your new partner drinks, does drugs or exposes the kids to any sort of danger or neglect, you can absolutely expect your ex-spouse to take action and ask for a modification of the custody order.

If you're unsure about introducing your new romance to your kids, the smartest thing you can do is talk to your ex-spouse about some ground rules for the process. You'll end up with less potential conflicts with everyone on the same page.

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