Co-parenting ain’t easy but add new partners to the mix and you can have a tricky situation. You can make co-parenting while in a relationship less difficult with these easy tips.
The struggle of Dating while trying to co-parent
Are you co-parenting with your ex and now trying to make co-parenting while in a relationship work?
Ending a relati0nship when there are kids involved can be one of the most difficult things you have ever done. And figuring out how to maintain a good co-parenting relationship is no easy task!
Just when you think everything is going smoothly, one of you adds a new partner to the mix. And now you not only have your kids and your co-parenting ex to worry about, but you also have a new partner to consider too.
Is it possible to make everyone happy and maintain a good relationship with all involved?
Well, that depends on the parties involved!
Your ex may not be happy you are dating someone new and your new partner may not understand the time and communication you need to give to your ex.
So even though it may not be possible to make everyone 100% happy, you definitely can figure out how to make things work in a positive way.
Adding new partners to the-parenting mix
Before I started dating after my divorce, I read an article that said divorced parents should never date. It’s not fair to everyone involved and there is just no way to make it work.
This infuriated me at first.
Just because I chose to get divorced means I need to be alone and unhappy my whole life? No thanks.
I knew it was possible for me and my daughter to move on and add new people to our life.
And while I did bring a new partner into our lives, it hasn’t always been easy.
But there are some great ways you can make co-parenting while in a relationship work.
co-parenting while in a relationship: Relationships everywhere!
The first thing to really know about co-parenting while in a relationship is what will help you the most when you want to begin dating.
The key is to remember that each person involved is a RELATIONSHIP. So even though you and your ex split up, you still have a relationship with them whether you like it or not. It’s definitely a different kind of relationship, but it’s still something you need to take seriously.
Related Read: How to Have a Successful Co-Parenting Relationship with Your Ex
Then you have the relationship with your new partner. Which we will talk about more in a minute, but this is also something you need to pay special attention too.
And finally, the relationship you have with your kids. This obviously is extremely important, but something many parents can often forget about.
So the difficulty begins that you have all these different relationships to worry about, but that you also have your own happiness to think about too.
The key to successful co-parenting while in a relationship is learning how to juggle all of these different relationships in a positive way.
So let’s get into each of these individual relationships and figure out how to make them all work!
Co-parenting with your ex when you begin a new relationship
While you want to maintain a great relationship with your ex no matter what, you do have to realize that certain boundaries need to be set.
When you have a difficult ex
When you have a really difficult ex, then dating someone new could be really challenging. If this is the case, you want to limit your Ex’s knowledge of your current dating situation.
If your ex just can’t handle you bringing someone new into your life, then don’t involve them early on. Only update your ex when your dating situation has become serious.
As a parent, you do have the right to bring someone new into your child’s life without getting your ex’s permission (keep in mind they have the same right!).
So to make things easier on everyone involved, the less information the better if your ex is going to be difficult. No need to bring any drama around your children or your new partner if your ex can’t handle the situation.
Maintain those boundaries! Don’t talk about your new partner, and don’t bring them to drop-offs or pickups. And the new partner does not need to come to any events for the child (like sports games or school shows) until the new relationship becomes serious.
When the new relationship becomes serious, you have a short conversation with your ex letting them know you have been seeing someone and that you plan on having them attend “blank” event coming up. Keep it short and sweet. And remember it’s not up for discussion, you’re stating a fact.
When you have an understanding ex
If you and your ex have a good relationship, it may seem easy to incorporate a new partner into your life and have everything go smoothly. Even though this isn’t always the case.
Keep in mind that hanging out with your ex or communicating with them, may need some new limitations.
Having a joint birthday party or attending the same gymnastics meet? Totally Ok.
Going to your ex’s house to watch a movie together (with the child too) or hanging out with your ex-family for family events that don’t specifically involve your child… probably needs to be reconsidered.
It’s totally understandable that you want your children to see you guys getting along or that you can still do things as a family, oftentimes it leads to confusion among those involved.
Your kids do not need mom and dad to hang out in the same place at the same time to maintain a healthy childhood. All they need is to see mom and dad getting along and being respectful to each other.
Moving on and having separate lives in a healthy and happy way, can often be more beneficial to the kids than giving them false hope that mom and dad might get back together by hanging out as a “family” all the time.
Ex’s who continue to hang out when it does not specifically involve the child is more about relieving your own guilt, not what’s best for the child.
So don’t use it as an excuse to wean the kids from mom and dad’s failed relationship! The kids will be fine.
New partner and co-parenting
The other aspect of trying to date while co-parenting with an ex is the new person in your life. You want to do your best to make them feel important and involved. But they also cannot be your main priority.
So how do you establish a new relationship while putting your kids first?
First thing is to remember that you don’t really ever need to put anyone first. Every person and relationship in your life can have equal priorities.
The best way to have your new partner also feel like a priority in your life is to treat them that way at the right times.
Sure, your kids will always come first. Every parent knows that. But try not to cancel dates with the new partner if something with your kids comes up that your ex can handle. Always putting your new relationship last will never allow it to grow that way it needs to.
Keep information to a minimum
I often made the mistake of using my new partner as a way to vent about my ex. It’s easy to make this mistake as you want them to be there for you emotionally. But sharing too much about your ex and your co-parenting could lead to ill feelings between your new partner and your ex.
So keep the new person involved with small stories or brief updates, but call your friends when you need to really bitch about your ex.
Don’t push your kids on the new partner
Time and time again I see moms trying to push their new kids to like the new guy she’s dating or expect the guy to bond with her kids immediately.
Bonding between a new partner and kids who are not their own can normally take a long time. And trust me, it will never happen unless it’s completely natural.
Spend time getting to know your partner first just the two of you, before you introduce the kids. It’s essential to build that bond and have a strong relationship before you should ever try to have them bond with your kids.
Your relationship with your kids
The most important relationship you will ever have (besides yourself) is with your kids. So making them comfortable with the situation is a huge priority. Here are a few things to remember when starting to date while having kids.
Just as stated above, don’t ever force your kids on your partner. They will form a better bond if they can do it themselves. And it’s important for everyone involved to remember that kids forming a bond with someone new does not dimish the bond they have with either parent.
It may be important to let the other parent know this too.
Just make changes slowly. Avoid abrupt changes in their lives.
The best thing you can do is be honest with your children. Let them know that they will always have the same relationship with each of their parents, no matter who their mom or dad decides to spend time with.
Ultimately, kids are very resilient.
Kids need to feel like a priority to mom and dad and any new person who comes into their life. But this doesn’t mean mom and dad having to spend time together. It’s solely about getting along and being respectful.
In content form:
More tips for co-parenting while in a relationship
The struggle of dating while trying to c0-parent can be really tough on you. Often times it feels like you are being pulled in a lot of different directions and need to be worried about several different people. All the while it can feel like you are neglecting your own feelings.
Here are some more tips on how to make co-parenting while in a relationship work better:
Determine the depth of your new relationship
If you are just getting to know each other than its probably not a great idea to involve your ex or your kids just yet. But if you’ve been dating for a while and want to get serious, then you may need to start considering what role they are going to play in your life.
So determining that the depth of your new relationship is first is extremely important.
Remember that new partners will play a role whether you want them to or not
This goes for your ex’s new partner too. What you can determine is what kind of role they can play, big or small. Determining that before you get into a new relationship will help the transition.
Making clear expectations
Its always better to be upfront with your new partner when they are coming into a co-parenting situation. Talk to them about what you would like for them or how you would like them involved, And also let them know clearly what they should leave to you and your ex.
Keep in mind the person who you are dating! They may want to REALLY be involved, in which case you will have to gently let them know it’s not appropriate. But they may also not want to be involved at all. And in that case, you have to decide if you are ok with that.
Don’t evern push a new partner into doing anything they are not comfortable with!
If you decide that most decisions involving the kids should be strictly made between you and your co-parent, it’s always a good idea to at least update and inform your new partner what’s going on.
Can my ex stop my new partner seeing my child?
A quick and short answer, NO!
The only exception being if a court order strictly prohits it, which is rare.
Your ex does not have a choice of who you decide to bring into your childs life. (Remember that works both ways!)
When you decide to split up and share custody or visitation, you have to allow your ex the right to raise your child the way they see fit when they are with him. You need to be able to trust your ex in that they are brigning quality poeple around your children and that’s as far as you have a say.
So on the flip side, your ex cannot decide who your kids can and cannot be around. They need to trust your judgement and give you privacy in your personal life.
And most importantly, remember that dating while in a co-parenting situation means that an old relationship has ended and a new one has begun
To think that there won’t be changes to your relationship with your ex is just nieve. If you are bringing someone new into the mix, you need to respect their feelings and make them feel like a priority in your life as well.
Without that, your new relationship will never progress in a healthy way.
Co-parenting while in a relationship
Dating while trying to co-parent is a tricky situation with a lot of people involved. Do your best to make everyone a priority in different ways, without losing sight of your own happiness.
With these tips on co-parenting while in a relationship, you can definitely make things work for everyone!
Get more tips to Single parenting, co-parenting, and surviving a divorce by following my PINTEREST boards!
You might also be interested in:
- How to Have a Successful Co-Parenting Relationship
- Helping Your Kids Through a Divorce
- Caring For a Newborn as a Single Mom
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can my girlfriend and her exboyfriend go lunch or coffee together they have kids together how do I handle this situation
Its all about trust. Whether it’s lunch or phone conversations or emails, they have to communicate. So you have to learn to trust your girlfriend.
My daughter is 12 and her father and I have always co parented great, always… Then I started dating my new boyfriend and after about 2 years things changed. He became erratic and obsessed/controlling over me and the girls. I am not allowed to speak to her father (he made me delete all social media and block her father). I am no longer allowed to pick up and drop her off to him either, My boyfriend handles it all and if he is busy or has to work the she doesn’t get to see her father…. He’s not allowed to pick up or drop off at our house either. Things have become really bad and I am in a place I cannot get out of. He’s trying to keep her imprisoned like I am… He won’t let us do anything or go anywhere. He’s totaled or destroyed every car I’ve had or recently purchased… Any advice? The police say to just go to a women’s shelter… I can’t just leave though. We bought a house together a few years back and now I’m secluded from everyone… The father of my children are scared for me bit even if I were to speak with them nothing good would come from it…
Alli it sounds as if you are in a really dangerous situation. I would suggest talking to a lawyer. Most of them do free consultations so they can at least advice you on what next steps to take but its sounds like you need to find a way to leave!