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Divorced, and in a new relationship. HELP

Divorced, and in a new relationship. HELP

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Stacey1982

Divorced, and in a new relationship. HELP

Hello,
Could really use some advice. I have 2 children, daughter 9 and son 18. Different fathers. My relationship with BD of 9 yr old fell apart, and we have been separated for about 2 years. I met a new man who is so sweet and caring, and I love him. We have been together for just over a year now. BUT, I don't know how to do this and I fear I may have rushed into this.

We now live together in a place we rent with eachother and my two children (bd lives in a different city, and will see his daughter maybe once a month for the weekend, sometimes once every couple months, so pretty much full custody)

My new partner has no children of his own, and never really wanted children, but he has been a good father figure and role model for my kids. He behaves more like a 'friend' to my son, but offers him advice and guidance and helps him out (drives him around, teaches him things etc).

Now my daughter he wants to be much more involved with. He would like to be able to take the reigns a little bit, and actually be able to discipline etc. He's also not comfortable with things like her coming in our room (I allow her to enter freely, which annoys my partner when we are in bed or aspleep) he likes privacy and boundaries. He says he's not comfortable because she is a minor of the opposite sex, and doesn't feel it's appropriate for her to see him in his underwear. He also reminds me thatbshebis not his child, and he has only known her for a year. My children will also go through his drawer, take things from our closet, and play with his things without asking, which also irritates him.

These are just things I have always allowed my children to do, maybe I have been too lax, but I don't want my children to resent him because he introduces all these new rules.

On the other hand, I don't want him to resent me and my children.

We also disagree when it comes to my ex. I want her father to be a part of her life, and would like him to be able to be present at Things like birthday parties and events, and at times like graduation, I want us all to be there, sitting together.

My partner is willing to behave amicably with the ex, but wants minimal contact. Doesn't want him at parties etc and said there's no way he is gonna sit with my ex at sporting events/graduation. He's happy to be in the same room, but doesn't want to have to make small talk for an extended period of time. I see where he is coming from, but I also feel it's important to my child, and we should put her first.

Sometimes I just feel guilty about everything.

HELP! Did I rush this?

Community Manager
Janine-RO

Re: Divorced, and in a new relationship. HELP

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Hi @Stacey1982 , 

 

Welcome to the ReachOut Parents community, and thanks so much for sharing your story here. 

 

You are definitely not alone - starting a new relationship with someone when you are already a parent, and navigating the new boundaries, and how you both want to co-parent together, is a huge challenge, and represents a real shift in your relationship with your partner. You sound like a really thoughtful and caring person and a dedicated mum, and I can really relate a lot to so much that you've posted here - I was also a sole parent for many years and lived in a one parent household with my child, before meeting my new partner 4 years later. 

 

ReachOut have a resource that I really liked about becoming a step parent that I thought I'd share here, I honestly wish I had read it when we first went through it! While it's written for the new step-parent, I think it's a great read for both people. 

 

You say that you're worried  that you've rushed into things, and I'm wondering if you're feeling like your partner is stepping into a parental role too quickly? My personal experience was that it took quite awhile for us to feel like real co-parents, both my child and myself needed it to be a fairly slow transition. What that looked like for us initially was organising activities like going to the park, the beach, and having fun activities together, and sometimes just the two of them, so they could build up a connection.

 

As far as discipline and house rules, while it's important to have an open discussion with your partner about boundaries and acceptable behaviour at home, it can also be confusing for kids if a new partner immediately wants to introduce a lot of new rules. So we didn't change 'house rules' immediately. However, things like not going through your partner's personal possessions may be a boundary that you both agree needs to be followed straight away. 

 

From what you've written, it sounds like navigating boundaries is something you're finding difficult - and that is totally understandable. It's a big transition for you, your partner and your daughter. 

Sometimes, families can find it helpful to chat with a professional as they navigate these transitions - Relationships Australia offer low priced counselling, do you think this is something the two of you might find helpful?  There's also a free one: one parents coaching  service available for all parents and carers of kids in Australia through our website here, if you think you'd like to chat through these issues some more. 

 

I'm also just going to tag in a few of our active parents community members here, there's a lot of parents with a wealth of different experiences who may have more advice to add Smiley Happy @sidneysdad  @Dadof4kids  @compassion  @Faob_1