Tween Meets My Girlfriend - Tween Unhappy

Hi BPN - After being separated from her other parent for five years and having dated someone but no one seriously until now, I have fallen in love and for the first time am introducing my 12yo tween to a girlfriend. My tween is highly critical of the my new love and does not want a relationship with her. My tween does not want me to be back with my ex, her other parent, but also is clearly unhappy that I am in love and designating time to someone else. My tween is an only child and is with me about 90% of the time. Any advice on making it easier for my tween to adjust to this new shift in our family? My girlfriend and I aren’t planning to cohabit or anything like that anytime soon, but I would like to have pleasant outings and dinners together, if possible. Many thanks in advance!

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Writing this as an old lady who's also a child of divorce:

The relationship between a kid and a parent's sweetie is a lot like a relationship with an in-law. Some in-laws are great, others are a constant irritant. Some are flat-out horrible, yet one is still forced to socialize with them. In addition, seeing your child in love (in lust) can be profoundly disturbing, but it's worse when your parent is in love.

Don't expect (or heaven forbid insist) that your tween ever like your new love. They may come to have a great relationship, but anything you do to force it will backfire. It's reasonable to insist your tween be courteous during brief encounters, just as you would expect of her when around anyone else.

Do not smooch, coo, or flirt with your sweetie around your kid. Act platonic. Do not make love in your child's home.

Please recognize that your tween and new girlfriend are stuck with competing for your time and attention. While she's young, your first duty is to your kid -- try to make up for the time she's losing alone with you by planning girlfriend-less special outings, etc., and make sure your daughter knows you're setting aside time just for her.

Don't make your tween go on a lot of dinners or outings with you and your girlfriend unless your tween actually wants to. If your tween is forced, she'll probably have a bad time and resent the situation that much more. Make sure your tween has something to do that is reasonably fun and adequately supervised while you're out.

All this is a lot to ask of you and of your new love, but you and she are the adults here. It's up to your girlfriend to charm your daughter, not the other way around. It's said that a successful step-parent is the one who falls for the step-kids as well as for their parent. If your new love doesn't genuinely like your daughter (even with your daughter being sullen and angry at her), expecting them to enjoy each other's company is unrealistic.

And if they do bond, you will have another problem if you and your girlfriend break up. This is also a reason to go slow and allow them to maintain some distance.

Lucky for you to be in love! Honestly, I think this ask is too big. Just because you love her doesn't mean that your daughter has to love or even like her. Be pleasant and polite - sure because manners are important. But she shouldn't get to choose who is important to you and you don't get to choose who is important to her. Just because you are happy that life is changing doesn't mean that she has to be happy that life is changing. The more you push, the less open she will be to discovering on her own that your new beau is someone worth knowing. Try to put yourself in her shoes and think about how you'd feel if your parent put pressure on you to be excited about spending a load of time with one of their friends. It is fair to say that you are going to spend time with your girlfriend and ask your to daughter to deal with the loss of that time with you. But it is much, much less reasonable to ask to her to want to join you, and or even to like the girlfriend. You get to make your own choices but you don't get to choose other people's feelings about your choices

Yay for finding love!  Although your tween is going through an adjustment, long term it’s beneficial for them to see you modeling a happy romantic relationship.  Teens brains are still developing and a lot can change in a year.  Your happiness is important, hang in there.