Starting a blended family can prove to be a massive adjustment. Even though this could be an exciting time for you and your couple, it’s crucial to prepare for all potential challenges you may face in the future as you start sharing stressful responsibilities. Before you take your relationship to new heights by getting married or even just moving in, it may be wise to explore with your couple the following scenarios:
Making Our Relationship a Priority?
If you’re used to being alone at each other’s homes or on dates, now shifting to living together with children may be a challenging adjustment. It would be volatile to wait for a problem to arise before deciding to attend to your new relationship with your couple. Making some occasional weekend getaways may prove to solve your issues and allow you to spend some more quality time alone.
Helping the Children Adjust?
Children are not typically understanding of sudden change, especially when it comes to their living situation. Because of this, your kids may have mixed feelings about living together with your new couple and their kids. If they are ideally excited, it still should concern you that they may be feeling that now they have to share your love and affection with another set of children; they may feel discarded or replaced for “better” kids. Until your children adapt to the change, you should minimize the PDA (Public Display of Affection) toward your couple’s kids. Another good thing may be to schedule some one-on-one time with each child (including your couple’s children) to let them all know that your love is being equally distributed in hopes to minimize jealousy between them.
How Will We Attend our bills?
Remarrying or even moving together with someone will usually result in a larger total income. However, it’s imperative that you sit down with your couple and discuss how you will be sharing your money with them. Things you could discuss are:
- Potential joint checking accounts.
- Shared bills or separate expenses.
- Privacy over each other’s children’s financial decisions.
It’s necessary to hash out these potential future issues and reach a mutual agreement before it becomes an issue.
Are we Staying or Leaving?
This may be one of the first questions your children ask, and it’s a very important one, especially if you and your partner live far apart. If being together means that either one of you has to move, discuss all the pros and cons, and come to a mutual agreement to avoid any future contempt. Be sure to think about how the children will feel about moving a long distance and potentially having to move schools and even lose their friends. Speak to them too, get their opinion, the last thing you want is them resenting you for not having a voice in such an impactful decision.
What Kind of Family Do do We Want to Be?
You may have a clear expectation as to how your children and your partner’s children will interact, however, real-life doesn’t always follow our imagination. Decide up-front how you and your partner will encourage the upbringing of a positive sibling relationship between each other’s children. This may come in the form of movie nights, family outings, game nights, etc. However, try not to put way too much pressure on your children if they don’t get along initially. Healthy step-sibling relationships take a lot of time to develop. They need to put in the initiative to try to get to know one another and find the deeper details that will build for a more lasting relationship rather than forcing them to get along with each other straight from the gate.
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