Love Lose Live published 4 February 2016

New partners

The end of a relationship is a sad time, following on from the sad times that caused it to end in the first place. Couples and their children, whatever their age, may well experience anger, blame, denial, crying and fighting as they grieve for the family life they have lost. Once people start to move out of the grief cycle they feel better, more in control and able to plan their future and live it.

They may feel happy, optimistic that they can envisage a new life and are quite likely to re-partner. These feelings are often regarded by their former partner, their children or other family members who are still working through their own grief as heartless, cruel even. They may well feel strongly opposed to meeting new partners or having anything to do with them. It may just be a step too far for them at the stage of recovery they are at. This is especially the case if the new partner is seen as in some way partly to blame for the family breakdown. Yet the refusal to meet the new partner can be very frustrating for the person in recovery, wanting to share their new happiness and life with their children.

What should you do if this is the case? Is your ex still dictating their life and calling the shots from afar? Possibly, possibly not. Whatever the situation, it’s best to wait patiently, however frustrating this may be. Allowing everyone to recover in their own time from the break-up of a family is the best chance any new partner will have of being accepted. So listen to what your family are saying even if you don't agree with them. Try and understand what matters to them and what they think. What you want them to think is irrelevant. Focus on your children. It’s their time with you that is so important to them and to you. A new partner can wait for a while. There is plenty of time.

Mary Banham-Hall, mediator and family lawyer, author of Love Lose Live: Divorce is a Rollercoaster, published 4 February 2016.