biomoms, when did you introduce SO and how? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 04-30-2006, 02:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi All!

I'm kind of targeting those moms who had kids and added a man to their family...since that's my situation...and want to get direct suggestions. Please no one take offense!

I've started seeing someone, and our relationship is really blossoming. At first, I was dead set against involving the kids early...I planned on waiting 3-6 months or until I was with someone I loved and could see committing to. And while I still see the benefit of that in many ways...I've started wondering about whether it'd really be the best in my situation. See, I just don't know how easy it would be to disentangle my heart from someone if I find that they can't co-parent with me...and that's a really essential characteristic. Also, I worry it might set up a false sort of reality... If I got to the point where I loved someone, he loved me, we really enjoyed each other and could see ourselves together for the long term...there would be a lot of pressure on him to conform to my parenting style, without perhaps that being his true parenting or what he would want to do if we had children together, kwim? And I don't want surprises down the road...I don't want to marry someone who seems great with my kids and later turns out to be a harsh disciplinarian or anti-AP or something.

So what have others done, what would you suggest I look out for, what did you wish you'd done differently in regards to introducing a boyfriend to your kids???

TIA!
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#2 of 15 Old 04-30-2006, 03:11 PM
 
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How old are your kids? I think that makes a huge difference. I introduced my now-DH to my DD fairly early on, but we were in a weird situation--we'd been friends for over a year before we started dating, so I didn't have the "getting to know you" stuff going on. Also, my DD was 3, so an extra person to pay attention to her made her happy, she didn't get attached right away because I limited it to once a week max. If she were older I would have made it more like every few weeks at first. We built up *very* gradually from there--DH and I fell in love immediately after we started dating and knew right away that we were getting married. And we still waited a year before getting engaged (and moving in together) and another year before getting married. I have had almost none of the problems most bio-moms seem to have with adjusting to a new DH, and I really think this was a major factor--we didn't rush it. He was able to see how I disciplined and treated DD, so he could decide whether he was comfortable with that or not.

Anyway, I know a lot of this is different if you have older kids...but that's what worked for me, we've been married almost 5 years, have another child on the way, and haven't had any stepfamily issues yet.

Mom to Liz (14) and Dillon (3) and Mitchell FINALLY born 7/11/10!
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#3 of 15 Old 04-30-2006, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Rebecca for your perspective! My kids are 2 and 4.5...so a little young, and they definitely enjoy other adults being around. I would at most have it as every week, as well...I guess I just feel like I can't really know this new person, nor he me, unless the kids are in the picture, much as I'm enjoying time with him alone as a woman.
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#4 of 15 Old 04-30-2006, 03:39 PM
 
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My personal opinion is that with kids that young, I wouldn't worry as much and would introduce him and let him see the kids often enough that you can get a feel for how he interacts with them and what he thinks of the way you are raising them. Every week or so like you said sounds good, I can't see them getting super attached with that frequency. If he obviously agrees with how you parent, you are good If not, maybe he can be educated and maybe he can't, and I agree with you that it's hard to judge unless you see him in action. That's how I ruled out my last SO before DH--his expectations for how a 2 year old should act were *WAY* too high, and he thought I should have been "tougher" on my DD. DD hated him...she still kind of vaguely remembers him, but just as an obnoxious guy, he never affected her much because I didn't let him have any power over her and he wasn't around her much.

I also agree that you just can't judge long term SO potential unless you already know it will work for your kids...it's so much harder to think of two opinions (or three in your case) rather than just relying on your own judgment! Good luck

Mom to Liz (14) and Dillon (3) and Mitchell FINALLY born 7/11/10!
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#5 of 15 Old 04-30-2006, 04:55 PM
 
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I did not do things according to plan. I am normally a very planned out and cynical person. I never thought I would fall in love. I thought that perhaps I would meet someone someday that I felt compatible with and would go through all of these formalities to do the right thing in introducing him to my dd.

Well, I did that with one guy I dated. I dated him for 3 years. He just wasn't the one for me. I introduced him to my dd after a couple of months. He spent very little time with her. He didn't appreciate the way I parent either. He thought she needed rules, discipline. After we broke up, I dated a couple of guys who I just never felt right about intrducing them to dd because I just didn't like them that much.

When I met my husband, all rules basically went out the window. I fell in love with him within a week and introduced him to dd within 3 weeks. She fell in love with him too. We got married 6 months later. Dd was 6, btw. They have a great relationship, one she never had with her dad, but always wanted. She calls him dad now.

I probably should have done things more appropriately, but all I can say is that I knew he was the one for me. I just knew everything would work out.

I also had talked about the way I parent her before he met her, and he thought it was really cool.
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#6 of 15 Old 04-30-2006, 09:43 PM
 
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Hi Jster:

My situation was a little unorthodox, as my DH had met my sons before we started dating because we were in the same bible study group. To be honest, one of the reasons I decided to go out with DH is that he hit it off so well with both kids and seemed to have an instinctive feel for both of them. Once we began dating, I felt him out with regard to parenting styles and knew he'd be supportive of how I wanted to raise kids. Shortly after we met (when the boys were 5.5 and 2.5), DH left for a 6 month stint of Army training and we couldn't see him at all for the first 12 weeks of it, so the boys didn't see him again until after we had decided to get married. He did keep in touch with them through letters and phone calls, so there wasn't a total dead spot in their lives that was suddenly filled in when he returned. While DH was completing the latter part of his training in a neighboring state, the boys and I visited a couple of times for extended weekends. During the visits, I allowed DH to pitch in as much as he was comfortable doing, and we had discussions after the boys had gone to bed each evening regarding his perceptions of how things were progressing. By the time he returned from training and we were able to spend more lengthy amounts of time together as a family, I felt comfortable with him as a stepparent and knew that he'd begun bonding with the boys. We have no stepfamily "issues" beyond the usual adjustments of learning to live together. DH is a terrific stepdad and I am thrilled with the relationship he is building with my sons.

Hope this helps... good luck with your budding romance .

Tabitha ~ devoted wife to my best friend Stephen ribbonyellow.gif and gentle Christian mom to six DSs: notes.gif E - 2/09/00REPlaySkateboard04HL.gifA - 3/05/03superhero.gifA- 6/05/06 guitar.gif H- 2/07/08 jog.gif J - 11/14/10 bouncy.gif T - 8/23/12 + stork-suprise.gif due 9/20/14!  brokenheart.gif DD Janae 10/19/09 angel2.gif
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#7 of 15 Old 05-01-2006, 03:59 AM
 
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Steve and I were friends from long ago, and he's a good friend of my best friend, so they'd seen him before we got together. To be honest, a large part of the reason I fell in love with him is because he was so open and warm towards my kids and committed himself to treating them like people.
I'd say go for it. Introduce them in a friendly fashion in a low stress environment and see what happens.

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#8 of 15 Old 05-01-2006, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks ladies, your experiences are very reassuring! I know that I'm just holding back because I haven't seen him with my kids yet, nor has he seen me as a mother (other than the fact that I talk about them all the time!) I think I have to listen to what I feel I should do here, which is introduce them. Plans to be made!

Thanks again!!
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#9 of 15 Old 05-03-2006, 07:39 PM
 
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I can reply for my ex and his girlfriendS -

the 1st one had been in a relationship with a man with kids and was very attached to his DD. they were both devistated when they broke up - DD was attached to her and she loved her too. it was the GF who did not want to meet the boys (ages 1 and 3 when they started dating) they met after 4 months of dating

the 2nd GF is alot younger, has never been in a serious relationship and was thrilled to meet the kids so she was introduced as "J" very early on (also didn't help that ex was still seeing GF1 when seeing GF2 (but I have no control over that)

in both situations - the GF was introduced when my ex and GF felt it was the right time.

I worry about what will happen when GF2 is not in the picture anymore (alot of negatives to their relationship I think - GF2 is very young - 15 yrs younger- and wants kids and ex has a V)

I maintained a friendship with GF1 because I know the boys really loved her and she misses them too. They have seen eachother 4 times since ex broke up with GF1.

so with all that said.....I introduced the boys to DH about 2 months into the relationship but since he was from out of town, they saw him sporadically so he was *just* mom's friend - they were so use to seeing him visit, marriage was no big issue - they are now 3 and 5 yrs old and have a baby 1/2 brother and 3 wonderful step siblings......

my words to you - do what feels right - only you know.....

on a note - my ex refered to GF1 as dad's girlfriend...and had to explain that GF1 was not dad's GF anymore...that dad's GF was now GF2.....horrific concept for little ones in my opinion.

DH was "F" from the start - not a title of "belonging" so in case we broke up - I did not have to explain "he is no longer my BF and maybe mommy will find another BF some day.........

was that too confusing - maybe I am just sleep deprived and making no sence.
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#10 of 15 Old 05-04-2006, 05:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papayapetunia
When I met my husband, all rules basically went out the window. I fell in love with him within a week and introduced him to dd within 3 weeks. She fell in love with him too. We got married 6 months later. Dd was 6, btw. They have a great relationship, one she never had with her dad, but always wanted. She calls him dad now.
I probably should have done things more appropriately, but all I can say is that I knew he was the one for me. I just knew everything would work out.
I also had talked about the way I parent her before he met her, and he thought it was really cool.
I did pretty much exactly what Papaya did. I knew he was the right guy for me and the co-parenting thing was CRUCIAL, so I thought the benefits of knowing how that would go outweighed the possibility that my kids would get attached too soon.

I did spend a lot of time talking about my parenting philosophy very early in the relationship. Before our 3rd date, we had a long phone conversation about parenting & domestic life:
I asked him specific questions like "where do you think a newborn should sleep" "what do you think about breastfeeding (I was at the time, but he didn't know that) etc.... he asked about discipline, spanking, "would you be likely to yell in the following situation"....etc..... we went back and forth for about 2 hours and I just knew I wanted to parent my kids with him.

Personally I would never marry someone who wasn't able & willing to be an excellent, involved, loving parent to my kids. I loved being single too much to give it up for half a man (husband, but not a father)

As for your guy... Does he want to meet your kids? Have you talked about it? You can judge a lot by how he talks about them, I think. If you see potential with this guy, then introduce them and see how they interact.

It's a tough decision and I know "trust your gut" isn't the most helpful advise, but that's what it really comes down to, ykwim?
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#11 of 15 Old 05-08-2006, 10:03 PM
 
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I'm now remarried. We were friends for awhile but didn't really hang out a lot. We started to hang out a lot.. a couple a times a week and I introduced them maybe 2 months after we started hanging out because we were looking at moving in together as roommates along with another girl .. so there were 3 of us. I couldn't afford rent on my own. The boys fell in love with him right off and would ask for him a lot. Things just kind of fell into place and happened with us starting to date, them starting to spend more and more time with him and we got engaged about a month after moving in together and married 4 months later! The boys think of them as their dad, they are absolutely in love with him and are more attached to him then they are me lol Their biological dad loves him too and from the start told me he was one to keep around and he wanted around his kids lol Thankfully we all get along and everything has worked out wonderfully!
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#12 of 15 Old 05-18-2006, 02:02 AM
 
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I was totally going to wait a LONG time to introduce the man I am seeing now to my son, partly because I am very protective of ds, and I really wanted to make sure this man was someone I felt comfortable with. Because being a mother is such an intregal part of who I am as a person, I struggled with keeping my two lives seperate. The more I got to know the man, the more I knew he was exactly the type of person I would feel comfortable including in ds's life. I hesitated for a while longer just to be cautious, but then fate had its own way with the situation: he and I met for lunch at a popular place in town, and my mother and ds just so happened to be there, too. So dp got to meet not only my son, but also my mom. It couldn't have been any more perfect.

dp still says I did that on purpose! (I did not)

Now dp is very much a part of my life and my son's life. My son adores him, and seeing the two of them interact makes my heart overflow. I think the timing issue really worked itself out.

Now dp and I are just waiting for the timing to work out for me to meet his daughter.

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#13 of 15 Old 05-18-2006, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the stories! I had my new "friend" over for our pizza/movie night, and it was great...he met the girls in a low pressure environment (we've had others over for movie night) and they all seemed to hit it off well. Still some funny moments, like my usually shy dd2 cozied up next to my friend on the couch and him saying "I just don't want to squish her" cute on all levels. Anyway, we'll probably do future things slowly, but I'm glad that we have broken that barrier...it was the right time, even though I had originally planned to wait longer the kids are too central to my life to keep a new person out of their experience completely.
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#14 of 15 Old 05-18-2006, 01:52 PM
 
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I'm so glad it went well, J - it's a huge weight off your mind, I think, when you find out that everyone blends well.
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#15 of 15 Old 05-21-2006, 02:00 PM
 
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yay glad it went well!
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