Being a Parent from a Previous Heterosexual Relationship
Many LGBT parents have had their children from a previous heterosexual relationship. You may still be in this relationship or recently left, you or your ex-partner may be considering legal issues – how to end your relationship, assigning custody and residency and dealing with financial responsibilities to the children. You may also be considering coming out to your children (please see our legal advice page and top tips for coming out to your children).
This can all seem very daunting at the time, but many LGBT people have walked in the same path as you. You just need to take each step at a time and when you feel comfortable doing so.
Proud 2 b parents suggest that you read
(even though it is aimed at gay and bisexual men, the same is true for all genders)
Parent Experience -
My first daughter, was born when I was in a traditional, heterosexual relationship; she is now 17. My second daughter was born ten years later, again, when I was in a relationship with a man. My life changed dramatically when my youngest was a year old. I met a girl and completely fell head over heels in love with her. Something before that had seemed missing, not quite right in my life, now seemed to perfect and for the first time in my life I actually felt complete. We moved in together after a relatively short period of time and we had our civil partnership three years later which was one of the happiest days of my life.
My youngest, now seven, identifies with my partner as her other mummy and does not discriminate in her affections towards us. The teenager sees my partner as a good friend. At the time separating from my husband was very difficult but I knew it was the best thing for all concerned as things had been difficult for a long time. That said; he was and always has been a fantastic dad and continues to play a fully active and significant part in our children's lives.
So, our situation is rather unusual, although not unique, in that our youngest has two mummies and a daddy (my ex-husband would say that he finds it easier that our daughter has another mummy rather than me meeting another man, who may have taken on a father's role). Aside from the expected stresses and difficulties following our separation we now all get along very well. We all attend assembly and parent's evening together and our child's friends and parents all seem to be fully accepting of our more unusual situation. In terms of people's attitudes towards my change in lifestyle, and my partners in suddenly becoming a new parent; my parents and family were totally amazing and supportive of us.
Reflecting on it now my circle of friends has changed; we became involved in groups for same sex parents and met some great friends, fantastic children and had some wonderful times. For my youngest our family set up is normal to her. Our teenager has been awesome. She has understood, supportive and accepting. I was worried, not only about how separating from my husband would impact upon her, but also that her mum was in a relationship with a woman, and how this would impact upon her emotionally. I need not have worried; she took it in her stride. I think this is because she is such a fabulous young person and had the support of my mum, dad and family.
I have not experienced any negativity around our situation in any circumstances other than perhaps that I was previously in a relationship with a man which is not quite in keeping with the lesbian/feminist view!! .. and even this has not been anything significant other than the odd 'joke' which was taken in good humour. Although our situation is more unusual I would not have made any different choices in my life. I love, my children, my partner, my family, my friends, and the people I have in my life. They are amazing. I am lucky and feel truly blessed.