Psychologists have found that one of the biggest hurdles to marriage is if there are children in the picture prior to the union of the adults involved. Children change everything and interestingly, that aspect does not change whether the children are minors or adults. Long after a failed marriage, or the death of a beloved parent, children continue to nurture unresolved feelings that come out like poisonous flowers when the possibility of a new romance for their single parent looms over the horizon. Often there are wounds that have yet to heal, feelings of intense pain and anxiety that still exist and are triggered by the arrival of the new person.
It’s not easy, but many new couples do persist. It’s important to let children, young, or adult, know that your door is open and to spend significant time with each of them, alone and without the new potential partner. They need time to adjust to this new situation and to express and overcome their residual feelings, but also time to accept that the old way is never returning and Mom, or Dad, deserves another chance at love. There are bound to be ruffled feathers, jealousies and even a sense of competition, so it’s important to let everyone adjust at their own pace. Often new Moms get a harder job of it.
- Research shows that stepmothers are the most resented by stepchildren even if the relationship started years after their parents’ relationship ended.
- Expectations for how children, even when they’re adults, will react to the new relationship should be realistic.
- Clear boundaries should be set even if the children from the previous relationship are adults.
“According to Dr. Wednesday Martin, the single greatest predictor that a marriage will fail is the presence of children from a previous marriage or relationship – and it makes no difference whether the children are minors or adults.”