I’ve been through this process with many clients & it is not easy. First there is the jealousy that the new love may have something cool to offer your kids; like a swimming pool or they never seem to lose their temper. This is a very normal reaction because it’s hard to share your kids.
Because my kids are adopted I’ve been sharing my kids since they first arrived. Even though they’ve never met their birth parents I’ve never been one to pretend they don’t exist. The most important part of my life has always been shared & that reality matters for the well-being of my children.
When the family breaks up there is a new reality to endure that sharing your kids with people you don’t know will be part of the new deal.
I believe in the african proverb that “It takes a village to raise a child.” I believe it’s important for children to experience different ways of doing things & different rules. Experience teaches children a lot. They can learn to roll with things & be more flexible. These are ideas with which to soothe yourself.
It’s important to reassure yourself that your relationship will always be unique because of who you are. In all likelihood there will be things that the other person is better at than you. Balance this hard truth by knowing there will also be things that you will do best. Try to give up your own competitiveness because it’s not useful in this situation.
The first time your kid says the other person’s name with a positive enthusiasm will hit you like a small earthquake tremor. You must learn to live with knowing that it hurts your own heart; without demanding that they reassure you about loving you more. That’s your job, not theirs.
Transitions are part of every major change & adjusting to someone you don’t choose & have no control over is tough to be generous about. It’s good practice for being a future in law, which is another relationship you have no choices about.
The goal is acceptance. You have to learn to live with it. It’s an opportunity to add an element of grace to your life.