Your Partner Won't Accept Your Children, What Can You Do?
Finding a new partner after a breakup when you have children can often provide you with a flame of hope. However, it can be quickly extinguished if your new partner doesn’t accept your children. What can you do?
Having children, especially young ones, with an ex, doesn’t usually increase your chances of finding a new partner. On the contrary, it tends to make it more difficult. That’s because your new partner has to get to know not only you but also your children. Furthermore, they must accept them.
If you find yourself in a situation where your new partner won’t accept your children, you’ll probably find yourself experiencing conflicting emotions. In all likelihood, you’ll feel that you can’t continue the relationship even though you’d like to carry on getting to know them. In this article, we’ll give you some ideas to help you handle this type of situation.
What to do when your partner won’t accept your children
You’ll have noticed the signs. Your new partner ignores your children. Furthermore, they’re reluctant to come to your house, and if they do see your children, the meeting tends to be rather tense. They also get upset when you put your children first, and so on. While these signals might be initially subtle, you’ll certainly start to notice them at some point.
If you let this kind of situation continue without solving it, it’ll compromise any future plans you have with your new partner. Not to mention the consequences for your children, having to share your attention with another person who rejects them, and will maybe even live with them at some point.
That’s why it’s important to clarify matters. Firstly, for your children. Secondly, for you and your partner, so you can adjust your relationship to the kind that both of you really want. Here are some strategies to achieve it.
1. Talk to your partner
If your partner hasn’t directly commented on their discomfort regarding your children, take the initiative and start the conversation. It may be that their uncomfortable feelings are due to not knowing your children very well, or perhaps they’ve encountered a specific uneasy moment with them. Alternatively, perhaps they simply don’t feature on their list of priorities.
Although it’s perfectly acceptable for someone to not particularly like children, or, more particularly, in this case, your children, your partner must understand that giving them up isn’t an option. Whether they choose to accept your children or not is up to them, but they must put their own priorities in order and tell you of their decision.
2. Talk to your children
It’s also a difficult situation for your children, especially if they’re young. Indeed, having gone through the process of divorce, and staying with only one of their parents, having a third person appear may not exactly favor their relationship with them.
Your children also need to be able to express themselves. Therefore, listen to how they feel and take steps so they can adjust to the new situation with ease.
Sometimes, it may be your children who reject your new partner. This might be because they feel that, if they accept them, they’re giving up their dream of their parents ever getting back together again. At the very least, they may feel they’re betraying their other parent. In fact, you may find you need to work on this with your kids before addressing it with your new partner.
If they’re older, you can work at a more complex cognitive level. For example, explain what it means for you to have found someone special. However, make it clear that you’ll never neglect them or stop loving them. Indeed, your romantic happiness should never affect your children.
3. Instead of ending the relationship, try and improve it
It’s possible that your partner’s rejection of your children is the result of fear and ignorance. Alternatively, perhaps your children and partner simply started off on the wrong foot. If you notice that the problem simply involves their interactions and isn’t anything more serious, you can try to create situations in which both parties are able to relate to each other in a positive way.
For example, arrange outings or family meals. Indeed, there are many ways to create a good atmosphere. Take advantage of the fact that you know both parties to create circumstances in which they can meet.
4. Make a decision
If your conversations or actions aren’t working, it’s time to make a decision. It may not be strictly necessary that you break up with your new partner. However, you’ll probably need to rethink any future plans you have with them.
Nowadays, relationships can be extremely flexible. Therefore, you may be able to find a midpoint where you can enjoy the time you spend with your partner without damaging either party. Of course, you’ll need some organizational skills. Furthermore, you, your new partner, and your children will all need to be prepared to keep an open mind about the situation.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Yárnoz-Yaben, S. (2010). Hacia la coparentalidad post-divorcio: percepción del apoyo de la ex pareja en progenitores divorciados españoles. International journal of clinical and health psychology, 10(2), 295-307.
- Serrano, J. A. (2006). Impacto psicológico del divorcio sobre los niños.
- Tomé, M. G. (2008). La mediación familiar en los conflictos de pareja. Documentación social, 148, 43-60.
- Torres Gómez, M. F. (2015). La custodia de los hijos en las parejas separadas. Conflictos privados y obligaciones públicas. Tendencias y Retos, 20(2), 177-179.