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TherapistJen
TherapistJen, LCSW, CPC
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2808
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Certified Coach Mom of Twins.
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What is the best way to introduce the new significant other

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What is the best way to introduce the new significant other in a divorce situation?

Advance answers to questions:
-> I have two children, one is 8 (9 in april) and the other is 11 (12 in may). They have been through a lot including a temporary move 18 months ago and a permanent move 12 months ago.
->My daughter is in therapy regularly, my son has been "discharged" after very few visits and the therapist said he didnt need more time (Sept 2011).

Separation and Divorce Timeline
-> In 9/2010 things went to hell and at that time my ex and I moved into separate bedrooms
-> In 11/2010 I got a new place, and we both used it here and there and we were separate, but not fully living apart
-> In 2/2011, they moved into a new house without me. I moved into another house
-> Since then I have bounced back and forth between rentals. Visitation and financials got solid and standard in July 2011.
-> Divorce went through in Jan 2012
-> The ex wife is bitter and has a strong (borderline bullying) personality

The new relationship
-> The new partner is an affair partner
-> We are in a committed relationship and are planning a future
-> We both want the children to be part of that future and we both intend to work for it

Living situations
-> The new partner and I intend to move in together, and the option begins in 30 days
-> The current (third) temporary rental will expire (June)
-> The current rental is very close to the kids, although the divorce is bitter and we are very by the book about visitation
-> The new place has a separate space for the kids planned, and is futher away, but reasonable

This is all emotionally charged in every direction and I am seeking supportive advice please.

CoachJenK :

how long have you been with your significant other? do they know about it at all?

Customer:

Hi, I have been with her for 3 years. They met her once in 2010 because my affair partner and her then husband came to visit our house.

Customer:

Im here

CoachJenK :

please bear with me. am having difficulty getting onto the server at just answer and am typing on my phone. am with you and hope we can continue

CoachJenK :

How much do the kids know about your new relationshp?

Customer:

I didnt say a word about it until the divorce was complete through the court

Customer:

then, I put up one picture of her in a back room

Customer:

then moved it to the living room

Customer:

I have said her name now in front of them once or twice

Customer:

all of this is post legal divorce.

Customer:

I created distance before then.

CoachJenK :

And how did they respond to that?

CoachJenK :

It is all in the way you handle it with them and offering them reassurance of your love for them.

CoachJenK :

If they feel that security from you then all can go well.

Customer:

They ignore it and act uninterested in the fact the the photo is there. I once mentioned to my son that Mandy purchased eomthign fro me, but he didnt reply. Once, about 4 months ago, I took them to an aquarium, where she work(ed). My daughter said "oh, this is where Mandy works" and that was it.

Customer:

What about the actions of the ex?

CoachJenK :

Try not to force it in terms of letting them take their time to warm up

CoachJenK :

Pick an activity that the kids love and have her join

Customer:

I was thinking that we would go for a pizza, something simple.

CoachJenK :

Are you with me?

Customer:

im going to have to come back

Customer:

Im back now

Customer:

I lost internet for a while

I am sorry for the difficulties getting onto the server. Things seem to be working better now and I would like to continue our time together. Please let me know when you are available and again I am so sorry I kept getting kicked off while you were in the middle of things.
Jen
I think the kids sound ready to meet her and I like your idea of it being simple and casual for pizza.
It will take some time as they are dealing with a lot.
In terms of dealing with your ex? The goal is about the children and as you say you are great with the visitation schedule and that is crucial. Keep that up. Your kids will adapt to the new routine and new woman in time...give it its natural time.
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