You’ve finally decided to try your luck with love again, and it seems you may have found gold. There’s someone in your life that you’ve been seeing for a while, and you’re ready to take things to the next level. In order to get closer to them, you’d like your significant other to get to know those closest to you – your family. Whether your family includes your parents, children, pets, or all of the above, your greatest hope is that everyone gets along.
Likely the most special people in your life are your children. You want to find a way to introduce your new partner, without making them feel as if they or their other parent is being replaced. This task can be challenging at any age. Younger children might be shy while teens might lash out or isolate themselves. Here are some simple ways to ease your kids into the idea of you being with someone else.
- Have a conversation first. You don’t have to have a family meeting or anything, but acknowledging the idea that you’re dating and even mentioning this person’s name in conversation is ideal to get them used to it.
- Give your partner some pointers. When you’re thinking of introducing your kids, talk to your new love interest about them. Discuss things they like, special moments in their life, their personalities, any tips that might help your significant other connect with your children.
- Ease into it. Setting up “family gatherings” or forcing your love interest on your kids all the time isn’t the wisest idea. You don’t want the relationship between them to be pressured, but organic. Ask your partner to pick you up from the house before a date, meet up for ice cream, and as they get more comfortable then you can increase the time they spend together.
Another “relative” near and dear to your heart are your pets. Both cats and dogs are intuitive and territorial and, therefore, may not take the new person in your life very well. Though you’re not necessarily expecting your significant other to roll around and play fetch with your dog or stroke your cat for hours, you do want everyone to be comfortable.
- Prepare your pet. You may not be able to talk to your dog or cat about the new person in your life, but you can prepare them. Using an article of clothing from your partner, allow your dog or cat to sniff it and reward them for it. This gets them familiar with the scent and sends a message that this person is safe.
- Consider their feelings. If you notice signs of anxiety in your dog like isolation, crying, shaking, or aggression, you need to consider this when strangers come around. You can help relax their nerves beforehand with CBD for dogs which is known to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Meet on neutral territory. Since dogs are territorial, instead of meeting at your house, consider a park or neutral area where the dog won’t feel a need to be defensive.
You might be a bit anxious about introducing your new guy or girl to your friends and family, but they’re a lot easier to manage than your children and pets. Once you’ve gotten them adjusted, you can host an event at your home, attend family gatherings, or set up a gathering elsewhere that everyone can meet.
It can be really scary taking the next step in a relationship. You’re exposing yourself and those you love the most to essentially, a stranger, and that requires a lot of trust. It may take time before your new love interest gets the stamp of approval or is welcomed into the family with open arms, but going slow and steady and respecting everyone’s space is the best way to start.