Mediating Conflict,
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Divorce – introducing a new love interest to the children

If you are going through a divorce or recently had your marriage dissolved, you may want to slow down on introducing the kids to your new love. There are several reasons why putting the brakes on a new relationship and taking things slow is ideal. First, divorce can be a difficult and painful process-especially for the spouse who was not ready to end the relationship. 

That spouse may feel hurt, angry, betrayed, or depressed and needs time to grieve the loss of the relationship. Second, the children may be traumatized and confused at their parents’ separation and experiencing similar feelings of angry, betrayal and sadness that they need to work through. Third, if your marriage ended due to an extramarital affair, your children will resent your new partner for breaking up their family and be outright hostile to you and/or your new love interest causing conflict. Whether or not your marriage ended due to an affair, introducing your new love interest during a divorce may create conflict. And when conflict is created, the courts may get involved to determine if having the kids around the new boyfriend or girlfriend is in their best interests. As a family law attorney, I have seen temporary parenting plans restrict a parent from bringing the children around a new romantic interest.

A general rule of thumb is waiting until at least six months after the divorce is finalized to introduce a new love interest. Although, I also came across an article that recommended waiting until two years after the divorce is finalized and being with your new partner for at least a year. The two year recommendation being that by the one year mark your relationship will have gone through its ups and downs and you will have a better idea of whether the relationship will be long term as opposed to a brief and forgettable encounter. Also, by the two year mark the children will not be as focused on getting the parents back together and will more be open and accepting of you finding companionship.

While you have moved on, it is best to be mindful and respectful of your children’s and your ex’s feelings when introducing a new partner and take things slow.

Source:, “Smart Parenting During and After Divorce: Introducing Your Child to Your New Partner” Peter J. Favaro, Ph.D., May 7, 2010