In the beginning... how to do this right
Maybe I'm jumping the gun to post this in here, but it makes sense to me to ask you all who have btdt.
My partner (childless) and I are ready for him to meet my 3 boys (ages 12, 9, 5). My marriage ended over 2 years ago, the kids are with me 50%, and my partner and I have been together pretty seriously for 6 months. About 5 months ago I told the kids I was seeing someone while they're at their dad's but only if/when I feel it's serious and longterm would I have them meet him.
Ds2 and Ds3 have both said they want to meet him and ask me lots of questions about him.
Ds1 (who has had a life of problems with emotional regulation, partly related to the abuse from his father) is not happy at all that I'm seeing someone. His father introduced his gf and son right away, and only about 6 months after separation. He called her his 'friend' and when ds1 clued in, he felt really betrayed. She was kind to them, but he would often freak out when he came to me screaming that his dad ruined his life and that she's trying to be his mom and he hates it.
In one of our conversations about his dad, I promised ds1 that I would never do what my ex did - introduce a partner right away like he did and try to hide the fact that we were dating. BUT ds1 took my promise to mean that I would never date anyone. Ugh.
So, how do I do this successfully? Do we wait for any of the kids to meet him? Do we plan a fun activity and invite them all but don't push ds1 if he doesn't want to come? Do I have my partner over for a movie night or board game but allow ds1 to hideout in his room?
I'm scared of making matters worse for ds1. He is starting highschool as soon as the teaching strike ends here, so it's a significant time in his life and i don't want bad associations.
Which all makes it sound like we should wait for ds1's sake. But, I'm finding it so difficult to keep up the two lives. I feel it would be so much easier for all if we could just merge the two, even if just a little. And ds2 and ds3 ask a lot of questions and have asked several times to meet him.
How did you do it? Anyone introduce a partner at different times to different kids? Where did you do it? What were your considerations? If you could re-do it, what would you do differently?