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Introducing my new guy to my small children? UPD #35

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
I left my ex almost a year ago (abuse etc)
I am totally ready to move on. Met a lovely wonderful man and am head over heels in love. Its "the real thing" - I want a future with him, and its my impression he wants a future with me too.

i have NO experience in this at all. All I know is I am very serious about this man - more serious than I have ever been about anyone before, so its not a question of whether to introduce him to the kids - we have agreed it will happen "soon". Its all the other stuff.
First: (How) Do I tell my kids father, that I am seeing someone else, and planning to introduce him to our kids very soon? I dont want him to hear about the new guy from the kids, as I fear he would start questioning them etc.
How do we go about him staying over for instance. I co-sleep with my almost 2 year old and my other kids often come in the night if they feel scared.

Now I want my new man to sleep over, but how to do that? I think it would be pretty akward to have him sleep in the guest-bed, but how to explain to the kids that - hey there is a new guy here, and I want him in my bed?

Is it even wise to introduce him so "soon". I feel it is about time, as it seems so serious, and I want him to know my whole life - including the part where I am a mother.

My oldest (5 and a half) just told me a secret today. He's gotten himself a girlfriend! He has mentioned before that he wants me to have a boyfriend. He has seen his cousins get a stepdad - my sis had been alone with her two boys for years when finally she met a very sweet man who is now a wonderful stepfather to the boys. My kids love him, and obviously my son thinks that if I ever get a boyfriend it will be like that. I hope it will but there are no guarantees I guess. I asked them the other day if they think I should get me a boyfriend (not to ask their permission - just to get a feel of where they are at) and my oldest said "Yes, cause then we would have two dads".

I am just completely blank here - never done this before - and hope not to ever have to do it again.
Experiences welcome - how did you go about introducing a new guy? Any advice? Dos and donts?

Argh - it just feels like a minefield I am walking into here, and I really wanna do it right if you kwim..
post #2 of 44
I think it might be very wise to separate the cosleeping issue from the new-guy-sleeps-over issue. Make a transition plan for your two-year-old into a room with one of the older kids (or put all three together if you can make that layout work, kids that age will sleep in a puppy pile if you let them!).

Meanwhile, introduce them to your new guy, see how it goes, and once you have your bed to yourself you can think about sharing it. :

Your ex may be a total jerk about this. I hope that's not the case. The kids are so young that you have to HOPE he won't say toxic things them about your sex life, but it's something to keep an eye out for, sadly. :

Congratulations on meeting somebody you like so much!
post #3 of 44
DH waited until he had known me for about 6 months before introducing me to DSD. I think that was a wise move.

It is good to make sure that you are *sure* that this guy will be around for a while. Not just sure as in "I'm so in love with him" but sure as in "I've clocked enough time with this guy that he is no longer on his best behavior." Most people act a little different at the very beginning of a relationship, so it might be smart to let the newness wear off a little.

DSD's mom had had quite a few men that she thought were pretty terrific off the bat that she introduced the kids to (two of whom had children of DSD's age). Eventually they disappear with no explanation, and DSD wonders why.

I would tell your ex before the kids meet the new man. I actually wound up meeting DSD's mom the same weekend I met DSD.
post #4 of 44
Well, understand that a new guy would have to be in my life for about five years before he got anywhere near dd. At that point, whatever happens to the romance, we'd likely stay friends and he'd likely remain in our lives.

You say you have the impression that he wants to marry you. I'd say find out before you involve your daughter. If he says in clear, plain language that so long as it's good for your daughter and you, he wants to marry you, then I'd go ahead. Otherwise, wait.
post #5 of 44
How long have you actually known one another in this type of relationship?
post #6 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ginger_rodgers View Post
Well, understand that a new guy would have to be in my life for about five years before he got anywhere near dd. At that point, whatever happens to the romance, we'd likely stay friends and he'd likely remain in our lives.

You say you have the impression that he wants to marry you. I'd say find out before you involve your daughter. If he says in clear, plain language that so long as it's good for your daughter and you, he wants to marry you, then I'd go ahead. Otherwise, wait.
I respect your view on this, but for me that kind of wait is just not an option. I already feel like I am hiding and sneaking around and there is no way I can keep that up for years. I dont think that is in mine or my childrens interest. I am an adult and have an adult life. I dont plan to introduce a new man to them every other week. Do I know this is for life - no ofcourse not. I thought my ex was for life and look how that went. And I was never this kind of sure about him to begin with.

I am not really debating whether he should meet them or not - I may choose to wait another couple of months as its still very new (we've been seeing eachother for 3 months) but we are both serious about it. I am not going to justify further why I think its ok for them to meet now - thats my choice and well thought through.

What I would like advice and experiences with is how to go about the introduction.
post #7 of 44
I'd suggest that the kids meet him for the first time in a restaurant or some other neutral place so he isn't immediately in "their" territory (i.e. home). I'd introduce him as "friend" rather than a "boyfriend" at first. After the kids meet him once then I'd mention it to the ex.
post #8 of 44
I agree that introducing him as a friend is a good idea for now, and I would plan something fun for the kids to do the day I introduce them. Maybe go to the movies to see a kids' film, or maybe even go ice-skating altogether, you know? I would definitely hold off on overnights for a bit. Let them make connection first, and let that relationship solidify a bit first. Overnights might bring in some stress into the situation, and you want to have some good to lean on, you know?

Hope it all works out for you!
post #9 of 44
When my kids and my now DH met, it was at the park. He met us there, the kids played and we had sandwiches. No one had to be in the spotlight, it was very low stress.
post #10 of 44
I am in the minority here but I introduced my Dp to Ds right away he wanted to meet Ds and we just went to the little city fair that we have every year my thought was if Ds did not have a good feeling about him I was not going to proceed with the relationship. THe DC do nopt need to know that you and your Dp are in any type of adult relationship the meeting will be more stressful on you and Dp than on the children. Dp and I already live together and we have only been together for almost 7months yes I know it is fast but it naturally happened him moving in with Ds and I Ds is 4 1/2 and he still comes in the bed at night once in a while he mostly goes in his toddler bed that is in my room but when Ds does come in the be Dp will cuddle with him if Ds wants to be in the middle of us I do worry thatg Dp and I may one day no longer be but like my parents one day my father was no longer there with Ds one day out of the blue his "father" was no longer there people come and go that happens in life my one best friend was a HUGE part of Ds and my life for an extreamy long time and things happened in his life that right now he can not be around it is harder for us as the mothers we want to protect them but we also need to do what we need to do once in a while and haveing you Dp and all your Dc hang out once a week so they can get to know each other that is fine I would not tell them that he is your boyfriend just yet Dp and I never told Ds that he is my boyfriend.

Go with your gut Mama it will never fail you if you truely listen! :
post #11 of 44
I just have my own experiences to go on, but we had ( my now) Dh meet us at a Chuck E Cheese the first time, so the kids were introduced to him as my good friend and we played and went back to our homes.
Then he started coming over and having dinner with us a few times a week and we just worked affection into it and over time he stayed later and....voila!
We've been married now for about 8 months so it was a process to get from there to here but take it slow and it will work out!

( We coslept back then too. DS would come into our ( my) room late at night and snuggle up. At that point Dh was a staple at our house and it wasn't a biggie. Ds would just climb in on my side. )
post #12 of 44
Oh also...I wouldnt worry too much about telling the ex. It's been a long enough amount of time to where he should know it's coming one of these days.

I would just say " I've met a really great man and if it continues to progress I'm going to let him casually meet the kids soon."
post #13 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by JA'sMama View Post
people come and go that happens in life
Well, unless you're living in a war zone, you do have some control over how often this happens. And for children, it's well-established that stability is important for their emotional wellbeing and growth, especially when it comes to the adults in their lives. That's why there's such a literature on children with much transience in their childhoods -- refugee children, army brats, orphans. I can't think of anyone who says that overall this is good for children.

I think it's a mistake to train children to believe that men don't have the same responsibilities that women do towards their children, or towards children they decide to make a family with. No, you can't help it if the children's father leaves or is a bum. But you can keep things stable afterwards, and teach your children about responsibility, and bring others into their lives only if you believe they will behave responsibly towards the children, rather than "coming and going". One way you can do that is through commitment. Seie says she believes her man is interested in committing -- well, why guess and hope? Why not ask and find out his intentions, before exposing the children? You worry that someday your guy may leave...well, then what can you do to prepare?

I hear all the time at my daughter's school about children who don't have stability in their lives, and who come to school and really act out and regress educationally as these family upheavals go on, a boyfriend vanishes and stops paying towards the rent and the mother and child have to move. It's very rough on the kids, it's rough on the teachers, it's rough on the other children who have to sit by while the teachers tend to the kids who're hurting, it's rough on the taxpayers who now must basically fund children's mental health clinics inside the schools. In the neighborhoods where it's become part of the culture for the mother to be 'the parent' and the boyfriends to come and go, there are massive problems in the schools with poverty, transience, mental health & behavioral issues, and the ability of the kids to really just settle and get into the swim of school. They really struggle.

Easy come, easy go is a reasonable enough attitude for adults, I think, but not where kids are concerned.
post #14 of 44

life is not easy come easy go

Quote:
Originally Posted by ginger_rodgers View Post
Well, unless you're living in a war zone, you do have some control over how often this happens. And for children, it's well-established that stability is important for their emotional wellbeing and growth, especially when it comes to the adults in their lives. That's why there's such a literature on children with much transience in their childhoods -- refugee children, army brats, orphans. I can't think of anyone who says that overall this is good for children.

I think it's a mistake to train children to believe that men don't have the same responsibilities that women do towards their children, or towards children they decide to make a family with. No, you can't help it if the children's father leaves or is a bum. But you can keep things stable afterwards, and teach your children about responsibility, and bring others into their lives only if you believe they will behave responsibly towards the children, rather than "coming and going". One way you can do that is through commitment. Seie says she believes her man is interested in committing -- well, why guess and hope? Why not ask and find out his intentions, before exposing the children? You worry that someday your guy may leave...well, then what can you do to prepare?

I hear all the time at my daughter's school about children who don't have stability in their lives, and who come to school and really act out and regress educationally as these family upheavals go on, a boyfriend vanishes and stops paying towards the rent and the mother and child have to move. It's very rough on the kids, it's rough on the teachers, it's rough on the other children who have to sit by while the teachers tend to the kids who're hurting, it's rough on the taxpayers who now must basically fund children's mental health clinics inside the schools. In the neighborhoods where it's become part of the culture for the mother to be 'the parent' and the boyfriends to come and go, there are massive problems in the schools with poverty, transience, mental health & behavioral issues, and the ability of the kids to really just settle and get into the swim of school. They really struggle.

Easy come, easy go is a reasonable enough attitude for adults, I think, but not where kids are concerned.

I am not saying evey single guy someone meets they should let them jump in thier childs life. I made sure Ds was comfortable with Dp and that he understood that Ds had no father figure and may become attatched and that I do not want in and out in his life I understand how it effects a child it happened to me as a child I do not want that BUT it is in fact a fact of life and why risk never finding love for yourself and and someone else to love your Dc because you are afraid they may leave? that was my point I also know how it effect children in school I saw it first hand when I worked in a daycare my sister sees it in her school I lived it that was one reason I was weary of Ds meeting my own father the leaving part I do see your point do you see mine? I in NO way shape or form have the easy come easy go attitude in my life or where my child or any other child is concernd. Why wouldn't a partner want to meet someones child? If they go to lunch 2 times and it doesn't work out the children would not even notice or in any way be afected. You as the parent could see if your children even like the man if Ds did not like Dp I would not even be with Dp that was the main reason I wanted them to meet not just because he wanted to meet Ds and take us to the fair but I wanted and needed to see how Ds reacted to him and he took to him right away they did not see each other everyday we waited a while before Ds came with us again to see how we fit as a couple.

Dp is serious if he wasn't then he would not be in our lives and Ds is not "trained" to believe that men have different roles yet he Dp is the first active male in his life and that is sad to me but I can not do anything about that except if I never allowed him and Dp to meet then how would he ever know what a man can and should do except by what I tell him a gentelmen does? He wouldn't and he shows everyday that he looks up to Dp and Dp loves that and wants to show Ds how to be a gentelmen and how to treat women with respect. He is very active with Ds and makes time everyday after work just for the 2 of them he loves to do homework with him so he is showing Ds what a real man does (even though he is not really his son there is no better man than one who takes on the role of a father to someone elses child is there?)

I am sorry you miss took my OP that I wrote I hope that I was able to clear up what I said and maybe you can see that I in no way take people leaving lightly for Ds or myself. Ds has already had to big figures leave in his life and Dp knows this bith figures being a male and I do not want another to leave him! and Dp knows and knew this from the get go. It is not easy come easy go but it is a fact and you should not shelter yourself from it you should find love and that is all I was saying and if Dp is serious why shouldn't the children meet him? if he isn't then yes he shouldstay away from them? I hope you can see what I was trying to say maybe I was just to happy for the Mama who found someone so wonderful and didn't cover all my basis in the OP sorry that you took my post the wrong way. When it comes to love I get gitty for people esp. if they have children and the man/ women wants to know and be in their lives I had guys run when they found out about Ds so I am so happy for this Mama

Karen
post #15 of 44
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your replies. I respect both views on this - I see why its wise to wait till you ARE sure - I also know I wouldnt be able to wait years.

I know my ex grew up with a single mother. She never found another man - or rather she did, but was too scared to commit to anyone because she always put her sons needs over her own. He grew up thinking everyone else should automatically put aside their own needs and wishes for him to get his way. I dont wish that for my kids. I will do my best to make sure men dont come walking into my life and leaving it again right away - but in the end another persons wants are out of my hands. If a man I date suddenly changes his plans for the future nothing I say or do can change that. Its all about trust in the end.
I have spoken to my guy about his intentions, and he has only given me reason to believe he is serious about the relationship. We cant marry though and probably wont - well I hope one day - but right now it is not an option. Also I prefer to know people for more than three months before I plan to marry them. I do consider him lifetime material though so we will see where it leads.

I spoke with him about meeting the kids and he was the one bringing up the "maybe wait for their sake" thing. So I said to him - Im serious about this. You can meet the kids when you are ready. He said he is ready and we just agreed to introduce him "soon" - no date set.
THe problem is he works as a manager and works long hours - studying a university degree on the side so he is pretty booked. And as he lifes around an hours drive from here (and doesnt have a car - cars are VERY expensive in my country) so its not easy to find time to be together in the first place - let alone find time where he can meet the kids. So it will probably be yet another month or two before we get to it. I do like the casual approach. I think we will keep it in my home - then he can come for lunch or something one day. That is how I imagine it.. havent planned anything in detail though..

Havent mentioned anything to the ex yet - I would rather wait till I know for sure that the kids will be meeting my BF - we are still in a costudy battler - almost over we are waiting for a verdict - but would rather not fill him in till that is all over! I am a bit nervous how he will react as he is already very angry with me about pretty much everything..

Thanks for your responses
post #16 of 44
seie, it sounds to me like your guy is trying to indicate that he doesn't want to move any faster than he already is, and feels it's a little early. I'd let him be about it. I'd also wrap up the divorce and custody fight first; there's more than enough going on right now surrounding your kids' lives.

SunShineSally, I had some trouble reading your post. I take it you're saying that mothers need to put themselves first and go for it. Now, it's possible I feel the way I do because I'm middle-aged and don't feel the urgency many young women do to find a man -- you know, that sense that if you don't do it now you'll be alone forever and never have a family or another chance at love, etc. I'm 40 now; when my daughter's 18 I'll be 53. From 40, frankly, that doesn't look so far off. (And men don't look that miraculous from 40 anyway.) But not only don't I feel deprived of love, I feel very strongly that my main job now is to raise my daughter well. Full stop. Home stability's an important part of that. In 13 years or so she'll be off, I'll unzip the Mama Bear costume, and if I want to fool with bringing men here I will.

I have needs that come before my daughter's, yes; and she's aware that the household does not revolve around her. I do think it's possible to teach children these things while being careful about putting them through "mini-divorces". To me, shrugging and saying "well, these things happen" is like having sex without protection when you don't really want to get pregnant. If you don't want it to happen, then it's pretty simple -- don't create the circumstances that allow it to happen.
post #17 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by ginger_rodgers View Post
seie, it sounds to me like your guy is trying to indicate that he doesn't want to move any faster than he already is, and feels it's a little early. I'd let him be about it. I'd also wrap up the divorce and custody fight first; there's more than enough going on right now surrounding your kids' lives.

SunShineSally, I had some trouble reading your post. I take it you're saying that mothers need to put themselves first and go for it. Now, it's possible I feel the way I do because I'm middle-aged and don't feel the urgency many young women do to find a man -- you know, that sense that if you don't do it now you'll be alone forever and never have a family or another chance at love, etc. I'm 40 now; when my daughter's 18 I'll be 53. From 40, frankly, that doesn't look so far off. (And men don't look that miraculous from 40 anyway.) But not only don't I feel deprived of love, I feel very strongly that my main job now is to raise my daughter well. Full stop. Home stability's an important part of that. In 13 years or so she'll be off, I'll unzip the Mama Bear costume, and if I want to fool with bringing men here I will.

I have needs that come before my daughter's, yes; and she's aware that the household does not revolve around her. I do think it's possible to teach children these things while being careful about putting them through "mini-divorces". To me, shrugging and saying "well, these things happen" is like having sex without protection when you don't really want to get pregnant. If you don't want it to happen, then it's pretty simple -- don't create the circumstances that allow it to happen.

I still do not think you get what I was tring to say that is okay. I just want to make it clear that I have not allowed Ds around people who I thought would up and leave I allowed his father a chance to be a father.I had a best friend (a guy) who I have loved and adored and who loved and adored Ds more than anything things happened in his life where he is unable to be around us (long story that I do not feel comfortable shareing butI can say they were not his or my choices they just happened)besides them this relationship is the first that I have had since X and X had not been in my life (in any type of relationship out side Ds in over 5 years) that I allowed and actually had Ds meet the guy and allow a relationship to build between not only Ds and Dp but Dp and myself I do think that mothers need to allow themselves compaionship and love and other things that they need to and should put themselves first I am not saying be selfish at all if anything I need to be more selfish and I am sure that is in most mothers cases that they need to be more selfish I believe with all my heart that Dp is here for good if I did not believe that I would not allow Ds to be so attatched to him I do once in awhile am scared that he may not be but that is normal and is okay it just shows me how much I care for him. My mother was alone until recently for almost 15 years and she was lonely at times and felt she was missing out but she said she never got into something because of us kids and not to do that to myself and to be honest I did for 5 years I would not change that time becuase of how I bonded so wonderfully to Ds but I was sad at times and I do not feel I missed out but it was lonely. But I was still happy and Ds was happy and that is all that matters!
Everyone who is a parent their main job is to raise their children (with respect and manners that is my main goal the manner they are so lacking in the world sorry for that little OT rant) and I am happy that you are happy and fullfilled and I agree with all that you have said I do not want Ds to lose anyone in life I was just stateing that no matter how you try it can and most likely will happen no matter how you protect and care for them it can happen maybe I see it from another view because my father was all of a sudden gone when I was 9 and personally went through it so I am saying it in ways that you may not beable to grasp if that is the case I am sorry but I do and will always try and make sure that no one else will walk out of Ds's life I hope maybe you can see my point if not I don't know any other way to explain and that is okay at least I know what i mean I have never been good at explaining so I am used to it Be happy Mama and I hope next time you will understand me better
post #18 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by ginger_rodgers View Post
I do think it's possible to teach children these things while being careful about putting them through "mini-divorces". To me, shrugging and saying "well, these things happen" is like having sex without protection when you don't really want to get pregnant. If you don't want it to happen, then it's pretty simple -- don't create the circumstances that allow it to happen.
So are you saying because there is the CHANCE a relationship might not work out, single Mamas should never bring men around their children? Wow.

Now I'm totally in agreement that kids don't need to be drug through multiple relationships and breakups, they don't need to get attached to men that might not be here forever ... these things need to be navigated carefully.

BUT BUT BUT, never brining a man around our children is pretty extreme. And at least in my case (where bio Dad is long gone) it would have robbed my son of the chance to have a father ... dh has adopted ds as his very own.

I'm not sure Seie has known her guy quite long enough to see all sides of him .. I would be careful of doing anything too drastic when you are in that "new relationship euphoric love" stage .. puts rose colored glasses on you big time. I personally *did* allow ds casually around my son after about 4 months or so, just like any other friend (and I have lots of friends, male and female - it was really no big deal). I waited until we had a disagreement or two, until after we knew we were committed to eacherother and had a few long talks about ds, etc before taking it to the next level around ds. Of course, back then ds was dealing with sensory issues and was a Mama's boy .. he really could have cared less if dh was around or not most times.

But all of that is so different now, and Ginger, just because you've sworn off men until your daughter is grown does not mean that is the only good, or responsible choice. Period.

I feel I would have done my son a disservice (a huge one!) by not allowing him to meet dh, and allow them to bond and love eachother. Watching them now, I have no doubt I did the right thing and NOT allowing it to happen woulc have robbed my son of the chance to have a Daddy. Not cool.
post #19 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mistymama View Post
I feel I would have done my son a disservice (a huge one!) by not allowing him to meet dh, and allow them to bond and love eachother. Watching them now, I have no doubt I did the right thing and NOT allowing it to happen woulc have robbed my son of the chance to have a Daddy. Not cool.
I understand I feel the same Ds's father is no where to be seen and Dp has compleately taken him on not leagally but the father role emotionally and finacally we are not married but do live together and yes we moved faster than I thought I would ever have but it felt right on all our parts. He does his homework with him they play games he takes him places whenever he goes somewhere I also talked to Dp many times about Ds and he knew and understood I think because he grew up pretty much with no real father figure he knows what Ds would be missing he even said that he is trying to do the things his fahter never did for him for Ds he will even say if he is on the phone i need to go my son needs me no guy is going to say that if they are not commited right?? I know I did the right thing I see it when Ds cries because Dp is not there to say goodnight and we call him at work and I can hear the smile in Dp's voice to hear Ds's or when he says how could someone walk away from Ds?
post #20 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mistymama View Post
So are you saying because there is the CHANCE a relationship might not work out, single Mamas should never bring men around their children? Wow.
No, and if you'd read what I'd said above, you'd have seen what I did say. I said this:

Quote:
If he says in clear, plain language that so long as it's good for your daughter and you, he wants to marry you, then I'd go ahead. Otherwise, wait.
Which was not what Seie was after.
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