New relationship after divorce + kids

Submitted July 9, 2020, 11:23 a.m. by human_char

Hi all,

I was hoping to get some advice/stories/anecdotes about introducing new relationships after divorce to kids, from a lesbian perspective. My (31) girlfriend (35) is divorced and has 3 kids (8, 6, 2). She and her ex told the kids about the divorce at the end of April (it had been in the works long before that), and my girlfriend moved out at the end of May. They're currently splitting custody of the kids. We're trying to figure out when to tell the kids that she and I are dating. I've hung out with them on a few separate occasions so far (before and after the kids knew about the divorce), including spending a week on vacation with them and their aunt, and they know me as Mommy and Auntie's friend. They like me and enjoy spending time with me, but we're trying to figure out how to make the transition to being 'out' as dating with them.

She and I are very serious; I'm going to move in in the fall and she's definitely the woman I'm going to marry. We want to make sure we handle this well with telling the kids. I've been trying to google, but it's a little bit of a different situation since I've already met them and they already know and like me. So I'm not a totally new person coming into their lives. Plus being lesbians adds a different angle to it too. I'd love any tips or stories you might have!

7 comments recovered from the Pushshift database.
LemortjoyeuxThat cat lady · July 9, 2020, 12:10 p.m. · 1 reply

Was your gf's previous partner a woman? It can be difficult for kids that young to deal with a new partner for their parents but it's even harder when they find out their mom is gay.

Moving in the fall feels really fast. It might have been a long time coming for the two of you but those kids found out in April. It takes time to just digest the fact that this is permanent and their parents aren't getting back together.

When I was a teenager I babysat for a family with 3 kids that were conceived from a previous relationship with a man and their mom left him for a woman. These kids had serious psychological problems because their dad would tell them homophobic things in retaliation. If this is your situation then I would definitely recommend family therapy and counseling. For the younger kids they should be exposed to books or media that normalizes homosexual relationships.

If the ex is a woman then you two should tell them about your relationship but I'm not sure moving in right away is the right choice. It might be better to allow them more time alone with their mother so they can accept the divorce. You should do activities together but I feel moving in is such a huge step.

human_char · July 9, 2020, 4:08 p.m.

I've edited - yes, her ex is a woman, so luckily that piece isn't an issue. The older kids are also starting therapy soon, which will be good no matter what.

Addressing the moving in speed in the comment above!

VB1996 · July 9, 2020, 3:16 p.m. · 1 reply

As the other commenter mentioned, you should indicate whether their co-parent is a woman or a man. I think this will have a greater impact on them if their mom also has to come out as bi or a lesbian in addition to bringing someone new into their lives.

Building a relationship with them is a really good start, but your mileage will vary because each relationship is different. It seems like moving in so fast may be another issue here, have you considered postponing it to gauge their reaction first?

human_char · July 9, 2020, 4:11 p.m. · 2 replies

We've talked through a few different scenarios. My lease is up in the fall, which makes logistics a little tricky (and if it were just she and I, we'd have moved in together already, so we're not just moving in because my lease is up). I do have access to a family house not too far from her, so we were talking about moving my stuff and changing my primary residence to be her place, but that I'd spend a couple days/week at my family place when she has the kids to ease the transition. That way she has alone time with them every week and they can get used to me being around on a regular basis.

VB1996 · July 9, 2020, 5:26 p.m.

Oh, I think that makes it a lot easier. As long as the kids have room to adjust, I think the only other thing you can do is invest in forming a healthy relationship with them. It's a really good idea to spend some time between places while the kids are with her, but after they've settled into a routine you can ease into your role with them. The only thing I'd really stress is to go as slow as possible and watch both their immediate and long-term reactions. They're still very young and adaptable, so you shouldn't have too much issues. Good luck!

LemortjoyeuxThat cat lady · July 9, 2020, 8:14 p.m.

This is a great compromise.

StrictlyDykely · July 9, 2020, 9:33 p.m.

Wait until fall.

edit: let them process the divorce first