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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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Old 04-03-2013, 02:15 PM
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Default Teenage Reluctance to Meet New Love Interest

Been separated for 6 years now. Both the kids know that I date, and they've generally been okay with it. My question is this. I've started someone new and I want the kids to meet her - as she would like to meet them - but both of my kids (son 19.5 and daughter 17) are reluctant to generally meet a new gf. I can't - and I don't want to force the issue as I think that would be counter-productive but by the same token, I don't want this to go on indefinitely.

Any suggestions on how to encourage the kids to meet her? I'm not suggesting that they need to be best buddies with her right away but my gf would like to be able to see how the kids and I interact, I guess basically what we're like as a family.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Rick
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:35 PM
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Very tricky waters indeed.

You can't rush it. If you do, you risk starting off a new relationship (between the GF and the kids) on the wrong foot. I've done that and it didn't work out well.

Start slowly. Making conversation over dinner can be challenging. Remember for them it is like a blind date, and they didn't get to pick. Find an event where less interaction is required, like watching a movie or sporting event. Hiking has worked for me.

But most importantly, make sure this is someone you think will be in your life for a while. My kids got attached to a long term GF I had, and when it ended they were pissed with me, despite having no idea why we broke up.
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DowntroddenDad View Post
Very tricky waters indeed.

You can't rush it. If you do, you risk starting off a new relationship (between the GF and the kids) on the wrong foot. I've done that and it didn't work out well.

Start slowly. Making conversation over dinner can be challenging. Remember for them it is like a blind date, and they didn't get to pick. Find an event where less interaction is required, like watching a movie or sporting event. Hiking has worked for me.

But most importantly, make sure this is someone you think will be in your life for a while. My kids got attached to a long term GF I had, and when it ended they were pissed with me, despite having no idea why we broke up.
That's the problem though, they're reluctant to even MEET her. I'm just really worried about forcing it them. My gf has come over 3 times and my daughter just stays in her room. My son, I think I can probably discuss with him and maybe he'll be okay with it.

Step 1 is even to get them to physically meet her - I just don't know to what extent I force it or not.
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:08 PM
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Take it outside the house, their home is their turf. Outside is neutral ground. First time my kids met my ex GF last year, we went on a hike, to a place the kids loved to go. They weren't forced to chat with her, but they did, at their own discretion.

You need to discuss with them, six years is a long time. Ask the blunt question -do you have a problem with me dating?

My kids set up their mom recently and I'm happy about that, it takes pressure off me. And this was 18 months after separation, and a few months after divorce was final.
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:15 PM
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Thanks for the advice. My son - I actually can deal with that one I think, it's not about any reluctance that he has with me dating, it's more his insecurities of what people will think of them. My daughter says that she's fine with me dating but she doesn't want to be 'rushed', so I don't know - i guess I have to have another talk with her, maybe I'll try to get my daughter to come up with the solution - what she would feel comfortable with doing. Having her buy-in might make all of the difference.
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:28 PM
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I think what also might help is some openness about the relationship. I'd emphasize that she isn't replacing their mom but she would like to get to know them and have a realationship with them. But assuming its the truth, let her know that your GF is sensitive to their concerns, and that everyone is open to not putting pressure on, or not forcing the issue.

I can tell you from experience, that in most cases, their imagination is far worse than reality.

Oh and I would downplay using the word love. Teenagers can be pretty jaded.

Last edited by DowntroddenDad; 04-03-2013 at 03:49 PM. Reason: Addition
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Old 04-03-2013, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Any suggestions on how to encourage the kids to meet her? I'm not suggesting that they need to be best buddies with her right away but my gf would like to be able to see how the kids and I interact, I guess basically what we're like as a family.
Please know that it is difficult to read tone on a forum but I mean this gently.

The quote above reads to me like this is all about the opinion of your girlfriend. I can understand why the children may feel like insecure about "what people might think" if the gf wants to see "what you are like as a family". Sounds a little like OCL.... Hopefully it just reads wrong but it sounds a little judgmental. What if she doesn't like how you interact? What does it change really?

My ex really rushed my kids and they resent his new g/f.

I really tried my best to help. At one point I said that Dad wasn't replacing me with new g/f, etc.

D11 said "I am not worried about him replacing you Mom. I am worried about her replacing me!" Very insightful if you ask me. And yes, often she feels like he doesn't want to spend time with just our daughters. She feels like she "isn't enough" for him because he includes new g/f in every activity (where he used to spend time just with them.)

I would tread very carefully. D11's counsellor said the kids would eventually become curious and come around when they are ready and begin to ask their Dad about the g/f. Unfortunately he just couldn't wait and it made things worse.

Last edited by SadAndTired; 04-03-2013 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 04-03-2013, 05:51 PM
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Awkward for everyone esp while in the house. How long have you been dating this new person? So did they never meet any previous women you were dating.

Teenagers (when they aren't out w/friends) do spend a lot of time in their rooms, but the not coming out to say hello is sending a pretty clear message. Go out for dinner with your son and daughter and see what their thoughts are on how they may want to see a first introduction play out.
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Old 04-03-2013, 06:00 PM
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SadAndTired: my ex wasted no time at all introducing his gf (now wife). It was brutal. And he rarely if ever spent one on one time with child who was 8 at the time. Even though Son knew his dad and I were done/over, my son said: "it was as if you and me didn't matter."

Nobodys new gf/bf should ever take priority over kids but I've certainly seen that in action. At the same time, older kids also at some point need to try and accept that mom or dad would like to move on with life and have a partner.

Best to tread carefully b/c if one or both kids decide they don't want to meet her just yet, pushing it on them will be uncomfortable for everybody and they may reject her completely. Teens can hold grudges. How's their relationship w/their mom - is she with a partner?
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Old 04-03-2013, 06:27 PM
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Two weeks after my ex and I separated the g/f sent a barrage of email messages that she was the new family etc. Then after that she pursued our adult son and even went so far as to go to his work to try to "be friends." Our son was in his late 20's at the time and was polite to her but had no interest in socializing with her. For the past 3 yrs our son has had nothing to do with his father. He would like to visit with his father not his g/f. His father has never initiated any get-to-gether unless the g/f was involved. Our son and his father never speak or see each other. No birthdays, Christmas greetings, nothing.

Once your kids mature into adulthood (which yours are) they DO NOT have to accept the new g/f. While it might [I]be nice [I]if they did, you have to respect your kids wishes. They may never want to have anything to do with the g/f and there is little you can do about it. Likely the more you try to push the g/f on the kids, as my ex did, the more they will resist meeting with her. Don't let your desire to have your kids accept the g/f ruin your relationship with either the kids or the g/f.

I would simply go about your relationship with your g/f. If by chance some day your kids meet up with her fine. If anything I'd recommend focusing on keeping an exclusive relationship with your children. g/f's come and go - children don't.
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