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Ep. 146 – Kids and your New Person

In this episode, Doreen and Jeff delve into the delicate topic of introducing a new romantic partner to one’s children. They explore the timing and approach that are essential for ensuring a smooth and positive transition for both the parent and the children. By discussing the right time and the appropriate manner in which to introduce a new partner, Doreen and Jeff aim to provide listeners with valuable insights and guidance on navigating this significant milestone in blended families. Through thoughtful consideration and open communication, they offer strategies for fostering understanding and acceptance among all parties involved, ultimately fostering healthy and harmonious relationships within the family unit.

Transcript

Jeff 00:00
How do you introduce your children to a significant other that is new in your life after divorce? This is what we’re going to talk about today in Episode 146. So if you’re ready, let’s get started.

Doreen 00:23
Are you ready to create a life that’s better than ever before? We are Doreen Yaffa and Jeff Wilson and we are here to give you the strategies you need to create the life after divorce that you deserve, and desire. As partners both in marriage and coaching. We use our expertise as well as our own personal experiences to help you make the next chapter of your life the best .chapter

Doreen 00:57
Hello.

Jeff 00:57
Hey, Doreen, how are you?

Doreen 01:02
I’m good. How are you?

Jeff 01:03
I’m doing fantastic.

Doreen 01:04
Good. I thought last week’s episode was really interesting. I could have gone on about that subject we talked about anger is expensive. Because I just feel so passionate about it. I really do, too, if you like, yeah, maybe we’ll talk about back. So if you haven’t listened to that one, we’d welcome you to go in there. I think. Basically, it’s if you’re going in the middle of divorce, especially and there’s a lot of anger. It’s really necessary to listen to that episode. All right, so let’s talk about something today that isn’t really coaching, but it does point archetype of coaching, but it does touch on some coaching thoughts. And you know, things of this nature.

Jeff 01:47
It talks about, well talks about life after divorce.

Doreen 01:50
Yeah. So the question that the topic is going to address is how do you introduce your children to the new significant in your life, the new person in your life, right? How to do that, when to do it and how to do it? Right.

Jeff 02:06
Yeah. Well, how do you begin?

Doreen 02:08
Well, the first thing I think we should do is, is we need to confess. Because what we’re going to tell you today,

Jeff 02:18
It’s like the parents do, as I say, not as I do.

Doreen 02:21
Isn’t what we did. And let me just explain. So today, we’re gonna talk about you know, you need to take time, you need to, you know,

Jeff 02:30
You don’t need to.

Doreen 02:31
You don’t need to do anything, but about parameters and time and taking it slow and listening to your children and all this stuff. Right. That’s gonna be great. But we got married. We met each other on July 3, and got married November 23. So y’all can do the math. It was 2010. Right?

Doreen 02:52
Nine? How did I get that wrong. Yeah, I’m so bad with that.

Jeff 02:52
Nine.

Jeff 02:57
That’s okay.

Doreen 02:57
Like name, names and dates, just what’s going on with that? But anyhow. Yeah, so we got married really quick. And the kids? We can do the math. So 2009? Yeah, something like that. Nine. And it was kind of like, you know, it was like, I met you. We had we had we met each other. And then it was like, we were just getting married?

Jeff 03:25
Exactly.

Doreen 03:26
I don’t know, you know, and for us, it worked out. So I want to premise this, that I would not recommend this at all, at all, to anybody to jump into getting married to somebody after knowing them for less than six months.

Jeff 03:38
And that’s not I mean, I’m saying each other, and we’re how happy we are now.

Doreen 03:42
Well, let me finish. Let me finish. You don’t let me finish. But what I’m saying is, yeah, I’m not saying there’s a specific time that you should wait, I’m not going to ever suggest that because I got married in four months to Jeff, but I don’t think it’s a wise idea. Right. Okay. And it’s certainly not anything I would agree for my children to do. So. If they came to me, and they’re, you know, all adults now and said, I’m going to marry so and so we just met like last week, I’d be like, What are you doing? They’d be like, mom, but you did that?

Jeff 04:15
Yeah. What do you say then?

Doreen 04:17
I say, You know what? I’m gonna tell you the truth. I was lucky. I was lucky.

Jeff 04:24
I agree.

Doreen 04:25
We were lucky that we have been married for 15 years. And while at times, I could just like strangle you. Because we work together all day and we see each other all day with each other. We spent a lot of time together. Yeah, we do. We should figure that out a little more.

Jeff 04:43
That’s another that’s another episode.

Doreen 04:45
No, I’m serious. I think I need to go for a long like yoga retreat for like two weeks, but it’s got to be somewhere really nice. But the whole thing being Yeah, you just you don’t want to do that. But we were lucky. I mean, we didn’t even know each other. Like, you don’t even know each other at four months. I don’t know. Anyhow, so don’t do that.

Jeff 05:10
But I think the reason, the premise is to take your time get to know the person.

Doreen 05:18
Because it’s smart.

Jeff 05:19
It’s not just because it’s smart.

Doreen 05:22
Because it’s using your prefrontal cortex, not your primitive brain that was more interested in cuddling.

Jeff 05:28
Me need me.

Doreen 05:33
It was like your sex, your sexual, like, whatever you just took over. And it was like we’re getting married, right?

Jeff 05:39
Yeah. Well, I think what was, what I was going to say, is that I think you want to be ready, you want to make sure that the person isn’t a fall back.

Doreen 05:55
With all seriousness, I mean, with all seriousness now, and we’re talking today about introducing your children to your significant other, but part of that stems around when do you when when is somebody in your life considered your significant other? Right? When does it get to that level of exclusivity? And you’re my person, so that now you are on in this relationship where you have some some time behind you? More than four months? Well, and now you’re ready to say, when do we introduce the children to you?

Jeff 06:31
But also, we have to preface that it wasn’t four months after the divorce.

Doreen 06:37
No, no, yeah. Okay. So let me go back. We didn’t get divorced and get married and four months, like, no, we had been divorced for years. And we met each other and got married and forms. Factor. But yes, but I’m talking about now, yes, you have to deal with yourself. That would have been a complete disaster if we would have married him for months and only been divorced, or they would have put us away, like, locked us up somewhere. You still might they still might. But in any event. So when is it time? So the first thing is let’s talk about it. Right? The first thing is what?

Jeff 07:19
Well, you want to have an open discussion.

Doreen 07:21
An open discussion, I think, an open discussion of everybody that counts. So first, you have to talk about it as as your with your significant other, right? What is this going to look like? You know, what do you want to? Like? What do you see your relationship with the children being my, you know, what kind because you’ve never met? Let’s assume you’ve never met the children yet, like, yet. You should talk about that with your significant other, but then you should also talk about it with your ex, right, Jeff?

Jeff 07:48
Absolutely. Because well, you want to make sure that everybody is on the same page.

Doreen 07:54
But you can’t make sure that.

Jeff 07:55
You want to make sure that well, you can make sure of anything.

Doreen 08:03
You can’t make sure that but you certainly want to give the your ex the opportunity as a mature coparents. That I’ve met somebody, even if you don’t like them, okay, this is where adult maturity comes into play, emotional maturity, even if you don’t like your ex, even if you’re not at odds. I think you have a responsibility. This is my opinion, as an attorney, as a life coach coaching and having gone through it with my husband, right with our kids and family of four kids. That, you know, you owe it to your ex, the father or mother of your children to say, listen, I’ve met somebody, you’ve heard of it, you haven’t heard of it, or whatever. We’re getting to the point where, you know, significantly, you know, he’s my person, she’s my girl. And I want to you know, we’re exclusive and I want to introduce her to the children. Right. And you got it because there’s nothing worse than than children coming back from a time with dad and saying, guess who I met today? Daddy’s girlfriend for the very first time. I mean, it’s just, it’s that undermining, under mining behavior that probably stems from some stems from some left over anger that has not been dealt with. We talked about anger last week. So it’s leftover. It’s like, you know, I’m not going to tell her about it.

Jeff 09:26
Yes, I putting alcohol on a wound.

Doreen 09:28
Correct.

Jeff 09:29
In my case, you know, I even spoke to Sam, before we were married. You know, Sam, Sam, your ex.

Doreen 09:36
Oh, no, I knew that. But they didn’t know that.

Jeff 09:39
Oh, yeah, he did. We’ve always talked about in the beginning of the episode.

Doreen 09:42
No, no, but we didn’t use his name.

Jeff 09:44
Oh, yes, you did.

Doreen 09:45
Oh, I did? I don’t think so. But I guess we have a tape recording and we’ll see who’s right.

Jeff 09:49
Yes, we will.

Doreen 09:51
I’m probably wrong.

Jeff 09:53
Anyway. And I talked to him almost like he was your father and I went to him for permission to marry you. But, and we got along great.

Doreen 10:03
Well, yeah, but that’s weird, like, but I had.

Jeff 10:06
It was, it was important to me because he’s a great dad.

Doreen 10:10
But I had a different relationship with him. You didn’t know he was a great dad, after knowing me for at that point three months, you only know what I told you.

Jeff 10:24
But I know now.

Doreen 10:25
I understand. But think about that. You thought you were okay with meeting Sam. Because of the way I talked about him, right? He was not a threat to you, you knew that I loved my children, and that he loved them, and that he was a great dad. And that was super important to me. You knew that I had broken off another engagement because he wasn’t children friendly. Right? Right. So you knew all that was there? So you know, that’s another lesson to learn. But the point being, you want to talk to your ex about introductions, right? Absolutely. And they may not agree with you. But at least you can say, hey, we just want you to know. And they may, but it’s better. I think if you can start to have those conversations with your ex, before you get involved with somebody else. I know these are tough conversations. I get it. People are going are you kidding me Doreen, I can hear them now. Oh, my God, they’re turning off the episode. They’ve gone back to their workout machine. And they try and they turned on somebody else back to the, they went to they completely left our our podcast.

Jeff 11:31
Got rid of our listener.

Doreen 11:32
What is she doing? But no, seriously, this is where that emotional maturity comes in. Right that you just do it because of the greater picture the greater good, right?

Jeff 11:42
Doing the right thing.

Doreen 11:44
It’s not about doing the right thing. I mean, yes, that’s such an easy thing to say, Jeff, like, let’s all just do the right thing. What does that mean? Like, that doesn’t mean anything. But we all know, what we probably should do. When we’re coparenting with an ex. That would make a lot more sense. Even though we also know that maybe the communication will go both ways so smoothly. But from last week’s episode, we have ways of addressing that. Right. But anyhow, I think it’s the first tip was to have that open discussion, right? With everybody involved, not the children yet.

Jeff 12:23
Not yet.

Doreen 12:24
Okay. And then it and then there is that conversation with the children. And once you have the conversations, we think with the adults in the life, then you might want to say how do you want to do this? How do you want to introduce them? What is that going to look like? And maybe you might even speak to a therapist on better ways to do it? It depends on lots of things, the ages of the children, if how mature they are, you know, how the divorce went? Are they there? Have they healed? Where are they any other maybe issues that need to be addressed? Right? Like oh, are they have any other disabilities that need to be considered and, and addressed and carefully approach and you know, you don’t want to spring things on. So you need to think about the children and how to approach it. Okay, and probably share that with your ex but certainly that and then have that discussion with your children. Just briefly. I remember when we told the kids about getting divorced Sam and I, I’m smiling because the person that told us was the same person that we talked about, I think it was in last episode, who was trying to keep our marriage together. I just remember that Mark, challenger, God bless him. He’s he unfortunately passed years ago, but it was the best. And he told us don’t make a big deal about it. Just sit down with the children, but not like, hey, come over here. Let’s sit in this living room that we never sit in ever. Begin, the kids are going like, Okay, this is the room I’m not permitted to go in. And now I’m having to sit here with mom and she’s got you know, and dad’s here. That’s not good. But when we were having dinner to just say, hey, you know, pass the mashed potatoes. And by the way, by the way, I’ve, I’ve been dating, you know, so and so. And, you know, I think it’s time I’d like to introduce them to you guys. And by the way, how do you think the the meat the barbecue tastes?

Jeff 14:23
So you surround the conversation with food?

Doreen 14:28
That could work. All right, what’s the next one?

Jeff 14:31
Setting a timeline?

Doreen 14:33
Setting a timeline. Right? So go ahead.

Jeff 14:35
Well, you know, breakups can be tough. And you certainly want to get the kids to be caught in the mess. So you want to make sure that there’s a timeline and introducing the new partners, right.

Doreen 14:47
Well, we were just talking about all that. I think, you know,

Jeff 14:50
We didn’t follow any of that.

Doreen 14:52
No, no, I know. But what I’m saying is that the timeline is on the kids, or the kids right? So that’s one of the things You want to set out?

Jeff 15:01
You’re trying to avoid unnecessary drama.

Doreen 15:03
Exactly. The other tip, which I think we covered on too, we’ve covered on most of these was to time with your partner, your new person, make sure it’s somebody that’s really significant in your life, right? You just don’t want to be introducing him this week. It’s Jeff and next week, it’s John. Not that you would do this, you know, like, that’s okay. If you want to date a bunch of people, you know, more power to you go for it. That’s what I say to the kids. No, but you certainly don’t want to introduce children to all these people. But go and have fun.

Jeff 15:34
Have fun, go have fun. Why do you didn’t do that?

Doreen 15:38
You don’t know what I did before I met you. Alright, go ahead.

Jeff 15:42
I think you just hit on the next one. Keep it casual and fun.

Doreen 15:45
Well, no, I mean, what they’re saying is when you introduce what what the experts say, teach whoever those are know, people that really study, child psychology, etc. is that you want that first outing, when you’re introducing to be not like sitting at a table where you’re at a dinner table and looking across at each other. But more like maybe going to play mini golf or you know, some going to a park or taking you know, the dog park or doing something like that, where there’s activity going on, it makes it much easier for everybody.

Jeff 16:20
To kind of like have distractions for the it’s fun, and it’s fun. So when they think of this significant new person, they’re associating it with fun.

Doreen 16:32
Do you remember when we introduced the kids?

Jeff 16:34
I do.

Doreen 16:35
Do you remember how we did it?

Jeff 16:37
I remember we had a barbecue at your house. And we had the kids go watch movies and play with the dogs because you had two dogs. I had a dog and it was a it was a crazy night. It was a lot of fun.

Doreen 16:48
It was a lot of fun. We had at that that was the best house. I loved, I love that house. It was we had built it Sam and I in the marriage. But it was big. And it was it was like so fun for the kids. There was a big pool in the middle. And there was a play room, two play rooms. And like, I think we had like almost two acres, which in Florida is unheard of. So you know, they just all got together met center. And they were like Off, off to have fun. Oh, and this and that. And it was a nice barbecue. So it didn’t really take long the kids weren’t really in formal introductions. It was like, Hi, this is Jeff. You know, this is Amanda. Megan. Samantha. Let’s go play. Hi, this is Spencer. Hey, let’s go play one.

Jeff 17:34
And I think you know, it was really cool that Spencer has has always wanted sister. So here he’s, you know, getting three at one time. You know, it seemed like,

Doreen 17:43
That was weird for him. It’s been I mean, I think it was hard. Now that I look back, I’m like coming into a house with three girls, myself. You know, that’s a lot of estrogen and very strong women. I mean, even my kids when they were younger, they were like these little, you know, for both of us focus athletes and you know, like very driven and all this it was a lot.

Jeff 18:09
I remember one time you’re like, I think I went to martial arts with you and the girls were out with their friends and everything was just you and Spencer. And you’re like, what do I do?

Doreen 18:20
I know I’m like, what do you do? What do you do with a boy? And then he’s he’s showed me the Gameboy or what was it that thing, used to play with the music,

Jeff 18:32
The Guitar Hero?

Doreen 18:33
Yeah. But it showed me that the guitar and there was some other one. So we played that. But yeah, I had no idea.

Jeff 18:40
So yeah, it was a lot of estrogen. We moved into two female dogs too. So we were just we were and we brought our way. I owned up one female.

Doreen 18:50
Yes, it was one. Maggie right. Yeah.

Jeff 18:53
And we had Cabo the male.

Doreen 18:54
And I had Leo too. Yeah. Well, yeah. Stop, stop. You know, when you think about it’s been kind of a whirlwind. It has been, sometimes you have to just stop. And here we are doing an episode but really appreciate like, if we were to like, have a video of our life. It’d be kind of fun. Right?

Jeff 19:16
It’d be called The Brady Bunch.

Doreen 19:18
No, I mean, it was but we had we had great coparents. So it was different. Because remember, in the Brady Bunch, there were no coparents. Right and the Brady Bunch they were, I think they were both widowers, right, right? Yes, yes. So coparents put a different kind.

Jeff 19:38
A combination Gilligan’s Island and Brady Bunch and all those things. So it was it was a lot of fun.

Doreen 19:44
Okay, and we talked about this so keeping it casual is the last one we keep going off on these, you know, like, into the weeds as they say, but you know, consider your children’s healing process and we talked, we touched on this and it may be different for different children or I, you have to really analyze all the children and see where they are in the healing process. Are they ready? Not that they’ll ever be ready? And how do you know, you know, as parents, you know, and if you don’t, you can seek the assistance of an expert, you know, therapists, children, therapists to help you know, they’re never gonna they parent children want their parents to get back together. This is this is normal. This is expected even unfortunately, in households where they witnessed a lot of abuse, whether it be even emotional and or physical. So this is normal.

Jeff 20:38
And kids also want their parents to be happy, and I think in our case, you know, with the relationship with your ex Sam and myself, and you and the co parenting, I think that there was no leaving anybody behind. It was all a team effort.

Doreen 20:59
We are, unfortunately, somewhat unique.

Jeff 21:02
Fortunately.

Doreen 21:03
Unfortunately,

Jeff 21:06
Unfortunately, that other people aren’t like, yeah, I was thinking.

Doreen 21:09
For me, meaning my ex, Sam, you and me. And your ex, she wasn’t a willing participant in the coparenting. She just wasn’t even, we we tried, right? We tried, it just didn’t work. But the way in which we raised our children was that all of us, me, you, Sam, we’re always at the events together. Not always at the same time, meaning but if we went to an event that he was at, as well, which was 90% of the time, up through college, and volleyball, we would sit with him, most of the time.

Doreen 21:53
What I’m saying is that the children who are in the sports, saw us on the field in the volleyball court, or whatever they were doing riding the jump in, in the horse shows, seeing their parents standing together, can you imagine what that does to a child’s confidence?

Jeff 22:12
On the volleyball court when they called her parents out and called me out to so she had three parents out there on the court to present her with an award. So I mean, those kind of moments are priceless to a kid and to a parent,

Doreen 22:27
I wish just more parents could get it together. And just do it not for the children. You know that expression, do it for the children, to uh, for yourself. Do it for yourself. Because if you have happy, well adjusted children, you are going to be in a better place. So you’re really truly doing it for yourself. And I promise that if that if you can have a good relationship with your ex, especially in the children are aware of it, you’re going to help your children when they become our children’s ages in their 20s be able to look at relationships and their you know, futures and really because they’re all now with boyfriends and girlfriends, I mean, each one has a boyfriend and Spencer has a girlfriend. Yeah. And they’re able to be in a healthier relationship because of what I think they saw. I just think they’re better, well adjusted kids all around.

Doreen 22:28
And being selfish for a minute. You know, I have a great friend and Sam. Yeah, I think it’s a it’s a great friendship.

Doreen 23:38
I wish I mean, what’s really sad is that now the kids are older. And what used to keep us together, even though the kids had graduated high school was that our daughter Megan, played D one volleyball. That was one of the reasons and so we spent anybody who’s a volleyball parent who’s on any kind of team sport in it, whether it’s in high school, local or out of the state, if they’re in college, you are a games all the time. This is your life. And you may not love it at the moment, but believe me, having done it and now looking back, it was amazing. And it kept us together because we go to the games together.

Jeff 24:23
We would share VRBO is together. And we all wanted the same thing. We had that when, go Megan.

Doreen 24:30
I know but it was bad now because we don’t have anything like you should pick up the phone and call Sam. I ran into him at PetSmart but you should call him like he’s a good guy. I just saw him yesterday because I went I took Samantha to know I took her to first yoga dinner. And I dropped her off I went in and gave Megan a kiss because they’re staying at Sam’s right now. And he was there and you know as nice as Sam was just nice to see, alright, enough about Sam.

Jeff 25:01
Yeah. Now, I’m getting jealous.

Doreen 25:05
You’ve never been jealous. All right, so we went through that. So set the timeline, time with your new partner, figure out your person, keep it casual and fun when you introduce them and consider your child’s healing process and where they are the main takeaways.

Jeff 25:22
From that the relationship fester and grow.

Doreen 25:24
Yeah, absolutely. All right, everybody, love to talk to you more about this. I know there’s some parents out there that are going what is going on. But listen, you can always come in for a coaching call. It’s complimentary and why you aren’t inundated. We aren’t inundated daily with with phone calls when we do this, because we want to get back to you and want to talk to you also about coaching. But we want to give back some tips and things that we’ve you know, encountered and shared in our own life that you know, just a little bit of wisdom, hopefully, hopefully, wisdom can make a difference. So look, no commitment, just give us a call. It’s like what is it 45 minutes of just having a great time.

Jeff 26:01
When they want to talk it’s fantastic. Go to our website life after divorce coaching and you’ll find us.

Doreen 26:06
I’m going to set up an appointment. Come talk to you.

Jeff 26:09
I’ll talk to you.

Doreen 26:10
Alright, Everybody have an amazing rest of the week.

Jeff 26:13
Take care, bye bye.

Jeff 26:22
You have the vision of what you want your life to look like after divorce, but maybe you just don’t know how to get there. So if you’re ready to take control of your life and want to find out more about our coaching, visit us at lad-coaching.com. That’s LAD as in lad-coaching.com.

Doreen 26:45
Until next time, have an amazing rest of your day. And remember, yes, you can..

Doreen & Jeff 26:51
Have an amazing life after divorce.

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