Posted by familylaw on 19th December 2011

Following your divorce, it’s natural your ex-partner may eventually meet someone else who becomes a significant part of your children’s lives.

Dealing With Change

If time with your children is limited, you may worry they will spending considerably more time with your ex’s new partner and even come to call him ‘dad.’ The situation is bound to make you feel insecure and is likely to cause feelings of anger, hurt and jealousy. These emotions are unavoidable, but the way you deal with them could determine your relationship with your children in the long-term.

Find an Outlet For Your Emotions

Bottling up your feelings can make you ill, so you need to find a release. Take up a sport, go to the gym or even go for a walk around the block – anything you can do to vent your frustration. You might benefit from talking with someone outside the family such as a friend, counsellor or even your GP. If you can master these difficult emotions you will have more to offer your children when you do see them.

Things To Avoid

  • Don’t make negative comments about the new partner to your children, even if they do.
  • It is tempting to compete with the new partner by treating your children to toys or special trips, but try to resist doing this.
  • Don’t go out of your way to avoid the new partner. You don’t need to be best friends but a positive relationship will benefit your children.
  • Don’t compare yourself to the new partner or embark on a new relationship just to ‘even the score.’
  • Don’t question your children about your ex and her new partner.

A Way Forward

You will always be your children’s father and the arrival of your ex’s new partner gives you an opportunity to strengthen your bond with them further. It is likely that they are feeling unsettled themselves and will need your unconditional love and support.

Make an effort to spend quality time with them and stick to your normal routines when they visit – this can be very reassuring. Go to the park, cook some food together or just go for a walk.

Do

  • Encourage your children to build a relationship with your ex’s new partner.
  • Introduce yourself to him and maintain a civil manner when talking.
  • Have fun with your children and take part in their favourite activities.
  • Have confidence in yourself as a father – just be yourself and your children will appreciate it.
  • Listen to your children and be non-judgemental.

Remember however difficult this is for you, it is most challenging for your children. The best you can offer them is love, commitment and understanding and that way you safeguard your relationship for the future – no matter what.

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