Divorce, coParenting, and Dating Again
Divorced once and now happily remarried, Debbie Ficarra is a shining example of how to integrate a new partner into a current coParenting relationship. The key? Ease into it.
Going slow while dating a new partner and caring for children in the home is wise, Ficarra explained, as she shared her story of newfound love. She is now happily remarried to Hugo Ficarra and her three girls now consider him as part of the family. Ficarra has words of wisdom to share for all coParents who are divorced and dating.
Ficarra, the owner of La Canada Preschool, was single for six years following her divorce and is coParenting with 3 kids. This worked all fine and well until her ex, age 58, remarried a woman, age 28, and stopped his coParenting duties. Her ex is newly married and now has a two-year-old. The new wife rejects her daughters and refused to include them in the new family they had started.
“She (the new wife) doesn’t want her two-year-old to know she has half sisters,” Ficarra said. “But, she is a young girl and just doesn’t know better I guess.”
“All three of my daughters have disowned their father in the past month,” Ficarra said. “My daughter came over the other day with a plaque for Hugo and said, ‘I want you to have this, it says I am so glad you are my dad.’”
All three of Ficarra’s daughters feel the same about Hugo, who has been married to their mother for three years. Hugo has now even established a trust that includes his children, three sons – age 24 to 36 – and her three daughters – age 27 to 36. The Ficarra’s that currently reside under one roof include the couple and two of Hugo’s sons.
Ficarra has some suggestions to make the transition easier for the children when meeting a new partner and introducing them.
Share Your Time with the Kids
When I met Hugo and we had dated for about four months, I told the boys that I would never take their father away from them: “I know you are one unit. I am just here to be a player in the background.” Now when they go do things on the weekend, I tell them to have a good time and make sure that they are getting their one on one time.
Teach Your Children About Your New Partner… Slowly
Teaching is letting the children watch a new healthy relationship unfold slowly between the parent and their new partner and also hearing their parent say great things about the new partner. “I showed my daughters that Hugo was a great father to his boys and a great partner to me. I let them know how much he means to be and for them to give him a chance.” Said Ficarra
Teach Your Children About Your Ex
If the children ask about their biological parent who is not participating in the coParenting journey and disowning them or being mean to them, Ficarra suggests telling the children the truth and getting them therapy. Making sure the children know it is not their fault is extremely important and also being as honest with them as possible without bashing the other parent (even if they deserve it).
Therapy is Good
“My daughters and I went through therapy, each on our own, and that helped us through the years of my divorce and the new troubles with their biological father,” Ficarra explained.
Take it Easy on the Hot and Heavy
“We did not sleep together in the same house as my daughters for four months,” Ficarra said. “He courted me slowly. That is important for establishing a strong bond outside of the bedroom and also allows the children to slowly get used to your new partner being around more often.
Respect the Children, First and Foremost
“I think it’s all about respect for the children,” Ficarra said in closing. Know that children will have opinions about your new partner and you have to give them the ample time to adjust. Not all children will adjust in the same time frame. Open up communication and let it happen naturally, your children will thank you for it.