Your kids will feel a lot better if they see you engage in normal activities together from time to time. They will enjoy having both parents at their birthday parties, graduation celebrations, and anything else that calls for a cake and presents. They will enjoy seeing both of you at their games, parent / teacher conferences and medical appointments. Do you think you can do it? Here are suggestions that might help.
1. Make sure your current squeeze and your ex have met. Spend some time together without the children. Double dating with your ex and his new significant other may be awkward at first, but anyone can be civil long enough to drink a cup of coffee, or eat lunch. You don't have to eat at a formal restaurant, or go to a movie. Just find a quiet, comfortable place to talk together and learn about each other.
2. Talk to your own lover about your family situation before you commit. Don't exclude her from the get together, but make sure he or she understands how important continued contact with your ex is to your kids. Too many times, parents get along fine together until a new lover is on the scene. Then, adult jealousies interfere with solid parenting relationships.
Don't let your new relationship destroy your good working arrangement with your children's other parent. The kids were there first, and raising them with a solid emotional foundation is more important than a new love interest who is too insecure to let you fully participate in their lives.
3. Even if you don't like the other parent's current squeeze, treat him or her with courtesy and respect. You don't have to share your soul's deepest concerns with her. All you have to do is be cordial when you see each other at Wal-Mart, or visitation exchanges. Being unpleasant just makes a tough situation harder. A little superficial friendliness won't kill either of you.
There are situations that make the advice in this article impractical. If there was abuse, or violence in the old relationship, continually exposing yourself to the trauma is neither good for you or your kids.
If drugs, alcoholism, violence or some other equally reprehensible behavior is not involved, being able to treat your ex and his family as normal human beings could go a long way towards letting your kids relax and accept all the new people in their post divorce lives. They will be better adjusted to the situation if they see that you are.