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The Dreaded New Significant Other, Part I – The Possibility

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The Dreaded New Significant Other, Part I – The Possibility

The Dreaded New Significant Other, Part I - The Possibility by Melissa Burns

Part I: The Possibility of a New Significant Other

{3:00 minutes to read} Co-parenting can be challenging enough without adding a 3rd (or 4th) party to the mix! It’s not easy to see an ex with someone new, and a conversation about this possibility is sometimes very difficult. However, at some point, this is likely to happen. Divorced adults who respect each other’s right to autonomy can have a thoughtful conversation about a significant other and what, as parents, each one expects the new person’s role to be. Having this conversation with an ex and accepting the idea of a new relationship will usually make things easier for your children.

I have long believed that the more people are loving and caring for our children, the better. Many times, following a divorce, parents are very uncomfortable with the introduction of a new significant other. There are many reasons for these concerns:

  • The children’s feelings about seeing one of their parents with someone new.
  • The values of the new individual, especially if the parents have different parenting styles.
  • How their children might be treated in contrast to the significant other’s children, should there be any.

While you may not be able to change the fact that this new person is in your child’s life, having an earnest conversation about your worries for the child’s emotional well-being can alleviate some of these valid concerns.

I heard a heartwarming story recently about a mother who was filled with gratitude for her ex-husband’s new girlfriend. She spoke of how this new person in her ex-husband’s life was a very positive person for her child; playing with her, talking to her, being someone the child could rely on.

The mother talked about how good she felt knowing that her daughter was well loved and cared for when she was with her father, and that made the time she spent apart from the child easier for her. This mother made a choice to see the good qualities that the new person brought into the child’s life even though she may have otherwise felt animosity toward her.

Adjusting to a shared parenting arrangement where another adult is involved can be challenging, but focusing on the positive things this person can bring into your child’s life can help. In my next blog, I will discuss how parents can have a conversation that addresses concerns about new significant others.

Melissa Burns

16 Pearl St., Suite 201
Glens Falls, NY 12801
Phone: (518) 529-5200

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