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Columbia Family & Divorce Lawyer > Blog > General > Kristin Cavallari Did It, How Do I? How to Best Introduce Children to Your New Relationship:

Kristin Cavallari Did It, How Do I? How to Best Introduce Children to Your New Relationship:

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Last weekend Kristin Cavallari shared a photo of one of her sons spending time with her new boyfriend, Mark Estes. Post divorce, when parents begin dating again, the question of when to introduce your child(ren) to the new partner will inevitably arise. Consider the following when navigating how to introduce your child(ren) to your new significant other:

  1. How much time has passed since divorce?

We often tell parents to expect there to be a transition period as the family learns to navigate how to operate between two households. Let your child(ren) adjust to their new living arrangements and schedules before considering introducing them to a new partner. If your child is struggling accept their new normal, they will be extremely less likely to accept your new partner and the idea of you dating.

  1. How long have you and your partner been together?

Keep in mind, your child has been through a lot of changes in the process of divorce. Of course there are no guarantees in relationships, but prior to introducing your child to a new partner, be sure that you are “all in” in your new relationship. Introducing your child to multiple partners in a short period of time, or allowing them to become attached to your new partner and quickly ending that relationship, can be stressful and unsettling for your child.

  1. What are your motives?

Be sure you want to introduce your child to your new partner for the right reasons. If the desire to make this introduction stems purely from convenience or the desire to spend more time with your partner, you are probably not ready or settled enough in the relationship to make this introduction. However, if you find this introduction is necessary because the relationship is stable and taking the next step in becoming a long-term relationship in your life, it may be time.

  1. Tell the other parent:

Remember, although you are no longer in the same household, co-parenting involves talking to the other parent about big decisions to be made about your child. The last thing you want, is the other parent finding out that your child met your new partner through your child telling them. You are not necessarily looking for permission here (unless that is part of your agreement). However, if nothing else, giving the other parent a heads up is a good idea as your child may or may not react well to meeting the new person in your life. Additionally, the only person who knows your child as well as you do, is the other parent. Perhaps they have insight or perspective as it relates to where your child is mentally and emotionally that could be helpful when making this decision. Furthermore, if the other parent is on board and supportive it will make this introduction far easier on your child.

  1. Talk to your child:

No surprises needed here. The last thing you want is for your child to feel ambushed. If you decide making this introduction is the proper next step for your family, sit down with your child to let them know you have been seeing someone and would like them to meet. Let your child express how they feel and their thoughts, answer any questions they have, and ask if they would be comfortable meeting your new partner. If you need help figuring out how to navigate this conversation, organizations like the National Family Resiliency Center provide services for parents to help inform them on how to conduct these types of conversations.

  1. Small doses

If you have followed the five steps above and proceed to make the introduction, keep the initial interactions short. You do not want your child to feel overwhelmed and bombarded by your new partner. When arranging the first few meetings, arrange a trip to your local ice cream shop or a fun activity that your child enjoys. Be sure that these interactions last no more than a few hours and be sure to spend quality time with your child without your partner afterwards. Keep lines of communication open as your child spends more time with your new partner, ask them how they are feeling and if there is anything that would make them more comfortable. As the relationship between your child and your new partner forms, it will guide how these interactions evolve over time.


Introducing a new partner is a delicate process and can be stressful, but if handled with care it can not only make you happy and mend your two worlds, but it can also provide your child with someone new to love and care about them.

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