After Divorce Advice: "My kids
hate my boyfriend.... Now what
do I do?"
By Susie and Otto Collins
Judith has been single for over
10 years now. After her divorce,
her sole focus was managing
being a single mom and supporter
herself and her kids-- both
financially and emotionally.
It took Judith by surprise when
she started dating again. A few
months ago, she met Keith and
they've gone on regular dates
At first, Judith
considered the whole thing fun
She didn't intend to get into
love relationship, but that's
Recently, Judith introduced
Keith to her kids (both are
for the first time. To her
horror, they were rude and cold
Despite their usually kind and
teens made it very clear that
they did not want another man in
After this uncomfortable first
meeting, Judith's kids informed
that they "hate" Keith and that
she should stop seeing him.
feels angry, sad and frustrated.
She doesn't know where this
relationship with Keith will end
up, but she'd like to continue
and find out.
Whether you are a divorced woman
or a divorced man, when you are
ready to date again and possibly
create a relationship with
new, it can be tricky.
If you have children-- of any
age-- you might worry about them
liking or approving of this new
person in your life. When they
meet your new date (or partner)
and they've made it known that
do NOT like him or her, you may
Just like Judith, you probably
care about this person...but you
care deeply about and don't want
to upset your kids who are so
important to you.
If you're in a situation like
this, here's some advice to
Don't take it personally.
As you probably already know,
getting angry with yourself or
kids because they do not like
your new partner is not going to
the situation at all.
Resist the urge to take this
There might be a complicated and
varied set of reasons why your
have decided that they dislike
your new partner.
It might have more to do with
their own grieving process for
changes that have happened in
your family (no matter how long
It might have some
link to challenges and struggles
that are going on within
themselves as they get older. It
relate to a disconnecting
dynamic that has developed
between you and
Don't make up stories or jump to
conclusions to explain to
why they don't like your new
If you really want to know why,
sit down alone with them and
Ask from a place of curiosity
and with an intention to
not from a place of hostility or
Listen closely and ask questions
if you aren't clear about what
are telling you.
Lastly, try not
to make their opinion or
of your new partner right or
wrong. Allow them to have their
opinions and feelings.
Don't make it an "either/or"
When faced with the dilemma of
your kids disliking your new
you might feel pulled and caught
in an impossible situation.
feel like you have to choose
either your kids or this new
all of whom are special and
important to you.
The good news is that you don't
have to make this an "either/or"
You can create agreements that
will give you all the
be genuine and respectful and
follow the paths of your
For example, if your kids don't
like your partner, don't expect
to spend a lot of time with him
or her. This might be
schedule if they are young, but
it can work.
Make sure that you
spending plenty of quality time
with your kids (one-on-one) and
with your new partner.
With communication, honesty and
a willingness to be flexible,
can be a satisfying solution for
all of you.
You can also set ground rules
and talk about expectations with
kids (and with your new partner)
in advance of those times that
all are going to be together.
Let your kids know that they
don't have to like your new
but they do need to be
respectful and polite. Be
specific about what
you expect and stay open to the
boundaries that they might want
As you talk with your new
partner about his or her
your kids, you might advise that
he or she be kind and available,
not pushy or forceful.
new partner allows your kids to
to him or her in terms of their
attention and interest, it will
Would you like to learn words,
phrases and sentence-starters
that can help you communicate
with loved ones about even
difficult topics like these?
Click here to find out about
Susie and Otto's Magic
Relationship Words e-book.