When you get together with a new partner and it looks like it’s going to be for the long haul, you could be about to embark on a new life-changing journey – blending your and your partner’s families!
While it’s exciting to know that the promise of a happy family unit is on the horizon, setting up a blended family is expensive, and there are some important things you should keep in mind before you take the leap – and it’s not just your relationship and juggling a busy calendar.
Moving in together obviously means having a larger total income in the household, especially if both of you are working. However, it’s crucial to discuss how you will share your finances with your new partner right from the beginning.
A blended family will result in a higher cost of living, so make sure you talk about whether and how you will share your expenses. Also, consider whether you will open a joint account or if you’ll keep some accounts private. Finances are one of the most important things you need to discuss to meet one of your couple goals of having a happy blended family.
It's also a good idea to discuss a prenup with your partner that agrees on what each of you bring to the relationship in financial terms, and what will happen in the event of a break-up. It’s quite possible you’ve both been through this before, and regardless of how loved-up you may be right now, things can get messy further down the track if the relationship just doesn’t last the distance.
One of the first questions the children from both sides will probably ask is where you will live, and it’s a very important consideration in order for a blended family to succeed. The question of who is going to move to whose house will arise. Or maybe you’re planning on finding somewhere new (and probably bigger) so you can all get a fresh new start.
It's important to discuss the pros and cons of where you’re going to live with your partner first before talking it through with the kids. Consider how the move may impact your children’s relationship with your partner as well as their schooling, friendships and overall welfare. Another thing to keep in mind is that there is likely another parent involved who will want to spend time with their child too.
Becoming a step-parent
It goes without saying that with a blended family comes step-parenting. Keep in mind that this is a new environment for all of you and it will take time to adjust. Every child is different and they will show you just how fast or slow they are willing to embrace the new set up. Some may be open and willing to engage right from the get-go, whereas others may be a little more reserved. The important thing is to let things happen naturally.
Creating new family routines can help you build a connection with your new step-children and fuse the family together. It’s also a good idea to incorporate at least one new family custom that becomes something the whole family does together. It doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive - something as simple as a weekly family walk on the beach, or a regular cards night will do just fine.
Rivalry amongst the kids
You should anticipate some rivalry amongst the kids once all of you are living together under one roof. Even if your children were pretty good friends before you became a blended family, there will no doubt come a time or times when there will be conflicts and angst.
A good plan to resolve any rivalries is to make sure you both give equal attention to each child within the family. Sit with them and talk to them so they understand it’s OK to feel uncertain and even a little scared at times, but that you are now one big family, who all look out for one another.
Maintaining the quality of your marriage
Unlike typical newly formed relationships, where you have months or years to build and strengthen your 2-person relationship, blended families usually means you’ll get more consumed with the kids than you will with each other.
A strong marital bond will benefit everyone in the long run, including your kids, so it’s important you set some time to just be together. Just like you did when you first got together, keep going on regular dates, even if it’s just a quick lunch or dinner. And most of all, never ever argue in front of the kids. Once the kids see they belong to a secure and happy family, any concerns or anxieties will start to disappear.
Having a blended family is not a walk in the park, but if you come into it with an open mind and willingness to accept some changes, the journey will be incredible for you. We understand that blending two families can be a bit costly, especially in the early stages, and if you need a little financial support, we’re here to help. Just take a look at our cash loans up to $5,000 to find out how quick and easy it is to get your hands on some extra funds. Once a loan is approved, the cash is usually in your bank account within a few hours – so your finances won’t be a roadblock to creating your new blended family.