Breaking up is never easy to do, but adding children to the equation can make a perilous situation even more difficult. Once the dust has settled or the smoke has cleared, realistically, both you and your ex will go on with your own lives as you begin to heal. It is only natural that if you find new partners, you will want to introduce them to your children as the relationships evolve. If you've found someone new, informing your ex that you're ready to introduce the kids can be a sensitive issue that may require a certain level of finesse.
Meet for Coffee
Ask to meet your ex for coffee or lunch, explaining that you'd like to talk about the children. If your ex has a tendency to become loud, verbose or dramatic when discussing your past relationship, meeting in a public place may mute any lavish behaviors when discussing your intentions to introduce your children to your new partner.
Include your ex in the plan to introduce your children to your new boyfriend. This can help to ease any caution or uncertainty surrounding the meeting. Working together sells the message that, even though you are no longer romantically involved, you still can make joint decisions about what's best for your children.
Politeness Versus Permission
Inform your ex that you intend to introduce your children to your new boyfriend. Make it clear that this politeness and should not be mistaken for asking permission. In the absence of any outstanding legal agreements that prevent you from introducing your children, your ex cannot prevent you from introducing your new boyfriend to your children. A gentle reminder that discussing the meeting beforehand is a courtesy will make it clear you are doing so to keep your ex up-to-date about your children's lives.
Quid Pro Quo
Brace yourself. If your boyfriend has moved on, chances are you may be faced with your children meeting his new love. Even if he has not yet started a new relationship, he is likely to do so in the future. Remind him that each of you have rights and responsibilities as parents, and that you would afford him the same courtesy if he were ready to introduce a new partner to your children.
Anthony Oster is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Master of Science in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as a writer and lead video editor for a small, South Louisiana-based video production company since 2007. Oster is the co-owner of a professional photography business and advises the owner on hardware and software acquisitions for the company.