Kids always want to think their parents will be together forever, despite the fact that they may get along likeoil and water. Seeing one or both of their parents with someone new can bring up their own issues of abandonment. Since your children haven't walked in your shoes, they may not be able to fully understand what took you away from each other in the first place.
For girls especially, seeing their father with a new woman may make them feel less like Daddy's little girl. Seeing mom with a new man can make them subconsciously fearful of their own potential future shattered relationship with a man.
Whatever the fear, it does not feel good. Here is what is important to understand: Anger is usually a mask for fear. Fear is usually about loss. Keep those words in mind as you read further.
A good way to start calming the waters is to sit down in a neutral place where shouting is not allowed and have a frank, open and non judgmental discussion with your kids. Take them some place you know they will enjoy. Better yet, let them pick the place. Let them know ahead of time you want to talk “family” so they don’t feel ambushed.
Bring some pens and paper and ask them to make a list of things they do not like about your new beau and ask them give specific examples. Saying,” He’s a jerk” is not specific. Ask them to leave out any character assassinations and keep to the facts.
Discuss what they have written, reminding them and yourself not to raise voices, get defensive or act judgmentally. Listen to your children without dismissing, denying or diminishing what they say. Do not defend your boyfriend or yourself. Do not compare him to your ex or diss your ex in any way. Listen and reflect back to them what you are hearing so they know you are actively listening.
Provided you have a good relationship with your significant other, ask them to make a list of ways that they see that he makes you happy. Discuss this and ask them if your being happy with him vs not being happy with their dad causes them to feel threatened in some way. Tell them this is normal and that communicating feelings is an ongoing and important part of getting and staying on the same page as a family.
Explain how their resentment or anger is perhaps a way of them expressing a fear they have that they are not in touch with. Ask them to make a list of things they are afraid they may lose if you continue your relationship.
Be sure to ask them what other concerns or input they have. Ultimately, whom you choose to date is your decision and you can explain to them that you have lived and learned through experience what works and doesn’t work for you and while you may not know if he’s “the one” you at least want to be able to go through the process to find out on your own and while they may not agree with your choice, please allow you to have it without rancor.
These simple steps can go a long way to improving your children’s perceptions on your relationship and the process can be reversed when they get into relationships with significant others of whom you may be leery.