Introducing your new partner to the family

The prospect of introducing a new partner to your family can feel nerve-wracking. A delicate situation, which demands sensitivity and understanding, the feelings of your children and wider family should be paramount. Gauging timing is key.

If previous relationships have caused conflict amongst yourself and your respective partner, family or children then a fresh sense of calm confidence in this chapter of your life is of central importance. Communication should always be open and honest.

New relationships are the opportunity to begin again, to rebuild self-esteem, for both yourself and any loved ones hurt in the crossfire of previous toxic partnerships. Introductions to a new love interest should be staged slowly. Begin conversations by exploring family members thoughts on this new opportunity to start over. Allow them to voice their insecurities attached to the negative fears and feelings of how this may affect them all. Feelings of guilt and anger need to be released prior to these conversations so that the future of this new prospective partnership feels bright and untainted.

Ensure all difficult feelings of animosity or unreleased tension have been fully explored before mentioning your new boyfriend or girlfriend. If any repressed emotions are not given the space to be fully understood and heard it will feel impossible for forgiveness to take place. It may be hard to hear some of these difficult memories and not react with anger, but it is imperative to everyone’s healing.

Next, suggest a familiar place which has no attachment to your previous romantic relationships. Keep the idea of a meeting casual and keep checking in with the family, ensuring everyone is comfortable with the arrangement and the date and time is convenient.

Ensure your choice of the venue allows everyone to be heard. Organising food, to allow for neutral conversations based on snacks, meals and drinks are a useful way of easing everyone into a social situation. Avoid first meetings in the home of a family member or your partner, to ensure everyone involved feels empowered by this positive opportunity to connect.

If possible, allow everyone to introduce themselves as opposed to formally introducing everyone. This will give your loved ones the chance to portray themselves as they wish and give the first impression they intended.

Lead conversations towards educating both your partner and family member about each other. Have some topics for discussions ready for prompt should chatter feel strained. If quiet moments do occur, however, don’t hurry to fill them, this could give the impression you feel uncomfortable and non-verbal communication is as powerful as what is spoken. Use eye contact and encouraging smiles to reassure everyone. Situate yourself next to your family, away slightly from your partner.

Later reflect on the meeting informally. It takes time to get to know someone, so first meetings are the foundation and what comes next will strengthen those early steps. Never discredit emotions, nobodies feelings are wrong or inaccurate, they just exist. View their expressions of emotion, no matter how negative as being progressive and fundamentally good. Everyone deserves a second, third, fourth or fiftieth shot at happiness, so ensure those you care about are written into the next chapter of your love story.

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