Michelle Roses is a mother and therapist.
My children reacted positively. It was never an issue. Here’s why:
I took time for my children
After I was separated and divorced, I did not date for more than a year. It was important I made my children a priority. Trying to form new relationships would have taken time and energy away from my kids during a time when their lives were still chaotic and confusing.
With my focus on them, my children were reassured they were my priority. This is especially important in any situation when the other parent is already dating. My kids knew I was putting their needs first. This gave them trust and stability. It demonstrated they could count on me.
Kids need time to heal too
My children needed time to let go of the hope their dad and I would get back together. All children harbour this hope during a divorce because their family has fractured. By not dating, my children had time to heal and didn’t have to worry about me being with, or investing emotions into someone “other than their dad.”
I worked on me
After a 20-year relationship, it would have been incredibly unhealthy to think I'd find a man to date. I was quite a mess. My life was chaotic as a single mum, and I needed to figure out a job, manage the divorce and not let my kids see me lose it every 10 minutes.
I started therapy. I got the kids into therapy. I started to eat healthier, sleep more and exercise regularly. I discovered yoga again and found friends who would be supportive. I started meditating, Reiki and tried acupuncture.
I realised what an unhealthy relationship I had been in and how co-dependent I was. I was a perfectionist and hid my problems from the entire world.
I knew I would never be good for anyone else until I was good with myself. With a lot of hard work, I fixed me.
Listen: Chloe Shorten's advice for blended families. (Post continues.)
I didn't make adult problems, kid problems
I talked to my kids and told them the truth - but never spoke poorly about their father. They had questions about my new life and what had happened with their dad. I never lied to my children and I explained both their dad and I had a part in our separation, which we could talk about after everyone had time to heal. Four years later, they don't care so much and they figured out most things themselves.