How (& When!) To Introduce Your Kids to Your New Partner

On my wedding day — way back in 2008 — I had a vision for my life. It included a house, two kids, a dog, and a beautiful happily ever after that involved never going on a first date again. Chances are, most people who get married share a similar vision … at least the happily ever after part and never dating again, I’d guess.

Unfortunately, the universe had a different plan. A few months before my husband and I could celebrate our 10th anniversary, he died. And a few years after that, I found myself going on a first date again. And again. And again. (Dating in your thirties is not for the faint of heart!)

And then, a first date turned into a second and a third, and suddenly I had to confront a question I never expected to confront when I got married all those years ago: how and when to introduce my kids to my new boyfriend. (Full disclosure: years later, this question was followed up with discussions about breakups and dating again.)

The idea of introducing my children to my boyfriend was strange, bizarre, and terrifying. I was way out of my comfort zone. The only reference I could draw on came from ’90s movies, where usually the children hated the new person barging into their lives.

Given that the US Census Bureau reports that 1300 new stepfamilies are forming every day, I feel pretty confident assuming I’m not the only parent who confronted or is confronting this question and not sure where to start.

Luckily it’s 2023, and we have better resources than ’90s movies. SheKnows spoke with Jennifer Kelman, JustAnswer Therapist & Relationships Expert, to help parents (whether widowed or divorced) navigate the tough questions that arise when introducing kids of any age to a parent’s new partner.

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