You’ve met your partner and now look forward to joining your families. But you both have children from your previous relationship(s) and are concerned about how to go around moving in together and what to expect. In this blog we will explore some points you need to consider before moving day.
Explore your expectations of what living together with kids looks like
Moving in together is a big step in itself, however when children are involved, this will bring additional considerations that need to be assessed. Consider sitting down with your partner and exploring your expectations of what living together will look like. How will you go about chores? How do you think finances should be handled? If your children are of a school age, will they need to change schools? How will you discipline the children?
Communication with your children will be key
Your new relationship will not only about having a new partner but also having new relationships in your children’s lives as well. Consider how your children will take to this new adjustment and how you can make it an easier transition for them. Plan how you would like to tell your children about the upcoming changes in their life. Be prepared to answer any questions they will have for you about where they will live, what this new life might look like, how you plan to spend time with them. Such news can bring to the forefront excitement but also some insecurities that your children. It can make them worry about whether you still love them and whether you still want to spend time with them. Validate any emotions they share, listen to their fears and find ways of reassuring them both before and after the move.
Joining the families
Think and plan how you would like to spend time with all members of your new family. You might want to plan game nights, going out for a picnic or watching a movie. This will give an opportunity for all kids to get to know each other and an opportunity to have a family team building experience. Remember to also allow some time for the children to have free time to get to know each other in their own time. It can take some time for new relationships to be built.
When you make the move, you might also benefit from allocating one on one time with different family members to support them in their adjustment and to show them you still have love and affection for them.
Moving in together is a big adjustment, especially when kids are involved. Planning and communication will be key throughout the process. It’s ok to have worries about how it may turn out but also remember that like with any adjustment, taking the time to process and seek the support you need will guide you to reach your desired goal.
Petra Borg is a Trainee Gestalt Psychotherapist currently reading for a Masters in Gestalt Psychotherapy from the Gestalt Therapy Institute Malta (GPTIM) and working at Willingness as a Trainee Psychotherapist. She has experience as a Triage Officer and has also worked closely with Willingness over several years, coordinating the international internship programme and providing support over diverse events and initiatives.
Jennifer Wolfe. 2020. Before you become a blended family. Verywellfamily.com
Stepfamilies – moving in together. Familylives.org.uk