December 16th, 2014

[ANON POST] Telling a kid that Dad is dating their Godmother (UK, 1980s)

Searched: "how to introduce a new partner" + "the child already knows"; "how to tell a child you're dating" + "their godparent"/"a friend"/"someone known"/"someone they know"

Setting: UK, early 1980s.

I've read a load of stuff on introducing children to a new partner which has been very useful, but everything that comes up only talks about introducing a stranger. I can't find anything that advises how to handle discussing new relationships with children when the new partner is someone the child already knows, in this case the child's godmother.

Background details: Mum and Dad of Eve divorced shortly after their daughter's birth because Dad found out Mum was cheating. (Paternity of Eve was unknown until post-birth tests.) Mum remarried when Eve was 2yrs old, to the person she cheated on Dad with, and had two other children when Eve is 3 and then 7. Dad has never had a serious relationship since the divorce, and very few casual ones that he's never mentioned to Eve (though the idea of Dad having a girlfriend isn't completely foreign because Dad's sister has been trying to convince Dad to get one for years). Pre-story, custody is jointly split--school term time with Mum, holidays and every other weekend with Dad. However, Dad is a live-in teacher at a boarding school that Eve starts attending at the beginning of the story, and (as already discussed when they decided Eve would attend the school) this changes the custody arrangement so that she will now spend school holidays with Mum.

The Story: Eve is 11. Dad (32) is dating Eve's godmother Lucy, someone he's been friends with since late teens. Eve has always had a close relationship with her godmother; how is this likely to affect how she handles learning about the relationship? I understand a common fear is "I won't have so much time with Dad"; is this likely to be exacerbated/reduced at all given the circumstances? Could Eve be afraid Lucy will stop being the cool godparent and react negatively, not wanting the dynamics between them to change?

All the sites recommend not introducing a new partner until you're sure it's a close, longterm deal, but how might this change when Eve already knows the partner in question? Dad still has major trust issues from Mum's affair, and is a naturally distrustful person anyway, so it's going to take a long time (1yr+) before he stops constantly worrying that the relationship is going to fail. Should they wait to tell Eve until it reaches that point, or tell her after a few months (when Lucy is sure it's going to work, and Dad's hopeful but still wary)?

Another thing sites advise is, after having told the child, introduce the new partner on a short outing. Obviously Eve doesn't need introducing to Lucy as such, but after Dad's told her about the relationship should Eve then have a visit/trip out with her godmother where they might discuss the relationship away from Dad, or should her next interaction be with Dad+Lucy together?