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When Mom's Got a New Boyfriend

Even if your kids are adults, introducing them to a new partner can be tough

4. Prepare your partner. In advance of any get-together give your date enough information about your kids that he'll have something to talk about with them. Make sure he knows about any information that you've shared that are absolutely private and not to be mentioned in front of your children. If there are any touchy subjects (such a grown kid's unemployment or messy divorce), tell your date that those things are off limits. Remember, first impressions and conversations are important. If your date is sensitive to your kids' feelings, it's much more likely that he'll be greeted with an open mind and given a fair chance.

5. Have another conversation. When things get serious with you and a new love, ask your kids about issues that might concern them. If they're worried about financial matters, let them know you'll take measures (such as a prenuptial agreement) that will protect your (and their) interest — as well as their future. If children seem concerned that you won't be as committed to them, remind them they are first in your heart and will never be displaced. Make them feel secure in your love — and your concern about their welfare after you are gone.

6. Get it out there. If your children are unhappy about a relationship that is working for you, have a heart-to-heart conversation about what's bothering them. If that doesn't work, think about having a session with a family counselor to help handle the issues. But whatever you do, don't avoid a person you like — or dating in general — because it bothers your kids. You have a right to have love, sex and companionship. Sooner or later, your kids will get used to it — and if you're happy, they will likely be too.

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