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Dating and Kids

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi all. I am sure this has been discussed here before, but I am wondering how people have handled introducing someone new to your child/ren.

I have a four year old son. XH and I separated last May and the divorce was final in January. I have been dating someone since June and I don't know how to handle including him in my life with my son. So far we have just been hanging out when my son is with his father. But it seems strange to have these two totally separate parts of my life. But it also seems early to introduce someone that I still don't know everything about. But if he is no good with my son then it would be better to know now.

I'm confused.
post #2 of 10
Treat him like a new "friend". If you made a new female friend, would you prevent your child from being with you while you were with your new female friend? Same with a new boyfriend- make sure he knows to tone it down, be "friends" in front of your son, until your son is used to him and the idea of sharing Mom, and go in with the attitude that there's nothing wrong with men and women being friends with eachother. :-)
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you! I really am over-complicating this for myself.
post #4 of 10
my coworker was in this situation.
often if a dad has the kids on weekends its easy for him to casually date.
But how do we moms get a chance to "casually" date without introducing our kids to the potential partner and having them be hurt if the relationship thats just starting ends.
Obviously you have decided that this is a person that you *hope* and *plan* to be in your/your sons lives, if everything continues to go swimmingly!
Its great that you have shown the restraint and waited this long to make sure that this is the kind of guy you want around your DS!
coworkers kids were 8 and 10 at the time, I think it should be easier for your 4 year old to meet your bf and accept him as just another friend - for now.
the more you show yourself to be at ease with the situation the less DS will read into it!
post #5 of 10
From my pint of view as a child, I hated it when my mom brought boyfriends home. It wasn't because I missed my dad or anything. They got divorced while she was pregnant with me and I didn't even meet him until I was six. It was the sense of loss and abandonment. My mom had someone in her life that I considered more important than me. Her actions at times reinforced that belief.

I have also seen two of my SIL's and a sister go through the same thing with their kids. To a child that becomes attached to mom's boyfriend, a break-up can seem like going through a divorce all over again. But unfortunately, the boyfriend who the kids may have come to look at as a father figure has no rights to ever see them again, unlike in the divorce of the parents. I know that right now you aren't planning to break up with him, but things happen sometimes.

Have you asked yourself if you are fine with breaking up with the boyfriend if he and your son don't get along? It's honestly miserable to grow up with a partner of your parent that you don't get along with.

If you are wanting to spend more time with your boyfriend than just every other weekend, could you find a babysitter for your son so you could go out?
post #6 of 10
I have not yet introduced anyone to my kids, but when I do so, I plan to do it very gradually. While YOU might see, or want to see your BF 3+ times/week, I would keep it occasional with the kids. In the vein of introducing him as a friend, keep him at a friend level in terms of frequency & activities with the kids. For instance, if you're having people over for a BBQ, invite your BF. If you want to do a family friendly outing (apple picking, the zoo) once a month or so, invite BF. But I would not make him a significant part of their lives, someone they'd get attached to, until you're much more sure of him. But this will allow you to get a sense of how he would be with the children, and his tolerance for family activities.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Yes, I think gradual introduction at group and child centered activities is a good idea. That makes a lot of sense and I think would help to resolve my feeling that I have these two completely separate lives that I want to integrate. And keeping him as a friend type person to my son would make a breakup a lot more manageable. We have lost other friends unfortunately and it is a part of life. Friends and community are an important part of our lives. But I don't want to bring unnecessary upheaval into our lives either.

Thank you camaracrazy for sharing your experience from the child's perspective. Those are exactly the things that I am afraid of. I am looking for some kind of middle ground that I think must exist, but I don't know. I don't want to give up any more of my time with my son. I already have to leave him with others while I am working, and I have to share him with his father, so I don't want to leave him with a babysitter. That also seems like it would send the message that this other person is more important to me, and I really want to avoid that. I think it is more an issue of wanting to make the new SO a bigger part of my life than an issue of the actual amount of time we spend together. And since my son is the biggest and most important part of my life, it is hard to feel like a relationship that does not include him is very meaningful.
post #8 of 10
I waited until I was sure I wanted my BF to stay around, and then I invited him to go to the zoo with us during the day. I told the kids that my friend was coming along, and they did totally fine with it, though they were surprised my friend wasn't female! By the end of the trip, my son had invited him to stay for dinner and my then-3-year old DD asked him to stay for a sleepover. He did not. For the record, none of this happened until after we'd been separated for over a year (though not yet legally divorced, but heck, I'm still not divorced and it's been 2.5 years).

After that, he'd usually come over and we'd watch TV after the kids were in bed for the night, and maybe we'd invite him over for dinner once a week or so.

It took about 6 or more months of this for my usually-intuitive 7 year old to figure out he was my boyfriend.
post #9 of 10
I don't introduce people I am dating to my dd. I don't think it is the same as introducing a friend. If my friend doesn't have a kid then there is no reason to introduce dd to them and if they do then we became friends through playdates and knowing each other for a while. The guy I am dating now has a child, but we still don't get them together because if the relationship doesn't work we won't be seeing each other anymore and that would be hard on them if they developed a strong friendship.

My mother also didn't introduce us to the people she dated until she was engaged to be married. She didn't even tell us she had been dating him for two years until that time. I think that we accepted the marriage easily because we never saw him as someone who took her away from us both before and after the marriage. That is what I want for my dd if I ever move in with someone (marriage is a waste but I would consider moving in with the right person).
post #10 of 10
I met XP and DH in 2001. XP and i got together then, DH and i were friends. DD1 was born in April 2006. XP and i split in May 2006. DH and i began to date in September 2006.

I didn't introduce DH to DD1 until he and i had dated for nearly a year (in August 2007) even though i'd known him so long (he was actually DD1's GODfather!). I wanted to be sure we were looking at "forever" (or as close to as one can guess at) before i got her involved. I wanted to know him as thoroughly as possible before i let him spend time with her. I wanted her to know her daddy really well before she got a step-daddy figure (because she was just a wee baby when we split).

It was hard only seeing him at the weekends. But it was worth it for me.
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