Maybe I’m just becoming more aware of divorcing couples already having boyfriends/girlfriends in their lives, or maybe it is a trend. More and more couples I see are already in other relationships. They know that each other has a boyfriend/girlfriend, and sometimes they have had those relationships for quite a while. So, a frequently asked question is:
When is it OK to introduce the new relationship to our children?
In a perfect world, parents would first discuss how they were going to tell their children that they were going to be divorced and then be prepared to answer questions, such as:.
- Where will we be living?
- Who will we be living with?
- Will we be going to the same school?
- Can we still have the same friends?
- Will there be enough money to pay the bills?
That’s pretty much the standard operating procedure for telling the children, but what I’m experiencing lately is, the kids have already met the boyfriend/girlfriend.
I remember one couple in particular:
At a family dinner, the wife stood and announced her new relationship, expressing how happy she was and how she wanted her family to be happy for her. The husband was sitting at the dinner table, his next mouthful of dinner hanging in the air. He was in total shock that she would make this announcement in front of the children, without first consulting him. But then he had recently made a similar announcement in front of the children and family, saying that he had a new girlfriend and that he, too, was very, very happy.
With this kind of behavior, it’s no wonder the kids are in therapy.
I completely don’t get this. Maybe I’m old fashioned. I thought the process was you get divorced or separated first and then leave yourself emotionally open for a new relationship. Apparently, that’s changed and I’ve awakened in a new world.
Sometimes, we are so self-centered and our own happiness is more important than our children’s stability and happiness. We don’t consider how the children might react to their parents getting divorced and their new partners being added at the same time.
Let’s just be concerned with convincing ourselves that we are happy and that friends/family should be happy for us in our new relationships. Right?
Before you consider announcing your new relationships and how happy you are, consider the effect it might have on your children, who are experiencing your divorce. Maybe after you announce “your mother and I are getting divorced”, you should wait until they get their feet back under them, before announcing how happy you are dumping your former spouse and picking up with a new one!