My divorce took forever… love and lust wait for no one. Life goes on. I met a man. The chemistry was hilarious… we couldn’t keep our eyes off each other… nor our hands!!!

Coffee date… skipped the second one… and the dinner… and the movie… We needed a place, but where??? Mine… stacked with children… 4 of them!!! His place…. 3 of them!!! What we had in mind, called for a weekend. But who had time for amorous activities between lunch boxes, homework, extra murals, essays… oral citations!!!

So… after struggling for two months to plan weekends and days to overlap, we accepted our fate… twice a month!!! The relationship blossomed… physically and emotionally!!! 5 months down the line….twice a month was becoming a joke… ridiculous… stressful!! We needed more time together.

Wednesdays… 4 more days. Sneaking in at night… children asleep…moving like mice…voices of erotic pleasures as quiet as humanly possible. Not a sound… sneaking out an hour before the alarm goes off… no one the wiser.
It worked magnificently. Until… one morning. The OUT-ALARM didn’t go off!!! We woke up as a family… except…. we weren’t one!!! The children horrified by an unfamiliar man in Mummy’s bed!!! Hysterically crying for their Dad… Loverboy scurrying… searching for clothes… for the door…Me… Desperately trying to explain about life… the birds and the bees… a woman’s needs… Dad who moved on long ago… how happy I was… how in love… how good Loverboy will be for the family…. All in vain!!!

An hour later… the dreaded call from my attorney… the news has spread   fast… appointment arranged with a psychologist… therapy…. children traumatized… too soon exposed to new boyfriend… too soon exposed to a naked man…. care and contact to be revised if re-occurred….

I was devastated… my attorney advised to accept and comply… awaiting the outcome…. recommendations… To gradually introduce boyfriend to the children… no sleepovers… mainly picnics… daily outings… if not, it may cause permanent emotional harm… primary care to ex-husband became a reality.

I briefly wondered… what about my emotional harm… would my newfound relationship survive this test…Is it even worth wondering… do I even have a choice… No.

Advice from the experts:
Children can react in many ways when a parent gets a new partner. They may find it difficult to adjust, even if you’ve been separated for some time. You need to be prepared for many possible reactions.
Introducing a new partner
You can help support your children by thinking carefully about how you introduce your new partner to them. You may find the following tips useful:

1. Don’t rush. This is especially important if your new relationship may have played a role in your separation. Children need time to accept their parents’ relationship is over. If new partners are introduced too soon they may feel a parent is being replaced, no matter how much you tell them otherwise.
2. Be open. Where possible, let them know you’re feeling ready to let someone into your life. This can help prepare them. You may in particular want to consider this if you’ve started dating. Children don’t need all the details but an awareness of your situation can be useful.
3. Be patient. Your children need time to get to know your new partner. Your new partner may also need help with knowing what to expect from your children, especially if they don’t have children of their own.
4. Be reassuring. Your children may struggle to accept a new partner. It’s a big shift for children to accept that they aren’t your sole focus. Let them know they’re still your priority though.
5. Keep talking. Encourage your children to talk to you about their worries, concerns and other feelings on an ongoing basis.

Planning the first meeting with your new partner
Plan how a meeting between your new partner and children may happen. Make choices on the following;
 *A neutral location
 *Timing – when no one has to rush
 *How you’ll introduce each family member
 *Some ideas about conversation starters (or activities with young children).    focusing on what your children and new partner may have in common
 *Possible distractions e.g. having a meal, activities for children, play centres or group activities
 *When to speak to your children and new partner separately about expectations of the meeting

Once you’ve got some ideas on the points above you may wish to share these with your new partner and older children to help everyone involved to know what to expect.
(From Relate: The Parent’s Guide to Separation © Copyright DWP 2015)