remembers the conversation she had with her two sons following one of their regular visits with herex-husband.Both boys were brimming with news about Daddy's new friend, Joanne.He once waited up for her when she was out on a date and asked, "How did it go? Later, the two discussed her difficulty ending the relationship.The child urged herto say goodbye to the man she'd been seeing, and Eva is now moving toward doing so, in part because she was so impressed with her son's observations.Already anxious about the changes in their lives due to the divorce, and often feeling closer to a parent than they did before, they may now feel that a trusthas been broken -- exactly at the point when trust and reassurance are most needed. Rather than forgo romance, Neuman and parents interviewed for this article suggest addressing children's concerns head-on before dating begins: Make sure the introduction of your new significant other takes place only after you've had a privateconversation with your child about the relationship.
However, one particularity of the human species is that pair bonds are often formed without necessarily having the intention of reproduction.
Given the power to vote on the relationship, the children cast "no" ballots and told their dad that, per his earlier declaration, Joanne couldn't move in until after they went away to school. Neuman is creator of a divorce therapy program for children mandated for use in family courts by many states.
The story illustrates the confusion and anxiety children often feel when parents, eager for some measure of happiness and success in a new relationship, struggle over how much distance to place between their children and a newly developing romance."Seeing a parent date is an odd scenario for kids," says M. "It sometimes hammers home the message that our parents are never going to get back together."The power of the reunion fantasy is not to be underestimated, says Neuman, observing that some childrencling to the belief that their parents will get back together even after one parent has remarried.
Gary Neuman agrees that casually introducing every date to a kid is a bad idea; equally wrong, he believes, is minimizing the importance of a new love interest.
Children who "discover" that their parents are in loveoften feel betrayed when the situation reveals itself.