Problems With New Relationships After Divorce
Copywright by Merlene Bishop
Some divorced parents get into rebound relationships with people that are jealous of the ex-spouse or jealous of the child support payments, which can cause major problems for the children indirectly. The conflict that can develop between divorced parents in these situations can be very detrimental to children. They can easily begin to feel that they are the source of the problems, which can lower their self esteem.
Some non-custodial fathers get into new relationships with women who want to take over the parenting when the children visit. If they are allowed to do this, it can cause confusion for the children about who the parental authority is. If the new relationship person is jealous of the former spouse, this is also detrimental to the childrens' self esteem, since they are 50% of each parent and they identify with their parents, especially the one of the same sex.
If your ex-spouse has a new relationship that has been introduced to his or her family and is included in the family activities it can cause some jealousy for you. Your family of your former spouse may have some negative attitudes towards you, and if they think that the new romantic interest is a great person that can also stir up some jealousy and anger.
Your spouse may have a new relationship with someone who has children, and that can be a difficult situation for your kids to adjust to. They may feel that because of mom or dad's new interest, they don't get enough quality time with him or her, and they may resent the other person's children because of it.
Sometimes the children of the new relationship interest may not get along well with yours, which can impose on their quality of time with the non-custodial parent. Another situation that many people don't give much thought to is the issue of attachment and loss regarding your children, the new love interest and their children.
When a divorced parent includes their new romantic interest and that person's children in the time they have with their own children, the children begin to get attached to them, and if the relationship doesn't work out your children go through another loss. This can seriously affect their ability to develop healthy opposite sex relationships as they begin to date and can affect their ability to form a lasting marriage. The reason for this is that in this scenario of attachment and loss that can go on for quite a while after their parents' divorce, children develop trust issues and they can also develop the attitude that relationships are fickle and don't last.
In a divorce education class I recently taught to a group of teens, one girl said "men leave" regarding her mom's new relationships after divorce. When I asked the group if they would ever get married, they laughed. A word of wisdom, divorced parents !
How sad that a child would develop an attitude that would prevent them from forming healthy lasting bonds with relationships. The outcome could likely be a string of failed relationships during a major portion of their lives. Please consider this issue regarding your new romantic relationships, and keep them separate from your children's lives when at all possible. Their emotional well being is at stake and your esteem as a parent in their perceptions is also.
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