When to Introduce Your Kids to Your Boyfriend?
When to introduce your kids to your boyfriend? While there are no hard and fast rules, these tips will help make the process much smoother.
Are you a single mom dating again after divorce? If your kids live with you even part time, you’re probably juggling a lot of balls in the air, attempting to balance the time you spend dating your boyfriend with the time and care you give to your kids. As a dating coach, I am often consulted on this issue: When to introduce your kids to your boyfriend?
First, let’s define ‘boyfriend’. For the sake of this post, let’s say a boyfriend is someone you’re steadily dating, at least twice a week, for a minimum of about three months. In other words, someone you’re serious about, a steady presence in your life.
In my opinion, a more casual relationship should be kept out of your kids’ lives. Period. Your children don’t need to form attachments to men who won’t stick around.
I have been appalled by the way many divorcees expose their kids to what I feel is too much of the revolving door of their dating lives, and I don’t think that’s healthy. If you think it doesn’t affect your kids when your guy sleeps over, think again. My teenage daughter recently told me that if my ex and I want her not to have pre-marital sex, we shouldn’t be having it either. I appreciate that she is looking to us to be role models for her. Remember that you are a role model for your kids.
If you have shared custody with your ex-spouse, there are plenty of opportunities to date when you’re not with your kids. I highly recommend beginning any relationship that way. The last thing your kids need, on top of the emotional turmoil of a divorce, is the complication of their involvement and attachment (or friction) with the new man in your life.
If you are very serious about this relationship, you’re going to want to slowly integrate him into your children’s lives.
3 Tips For How to Tell the Kids
1. Start by sitting down with your kids and telling them that you met a special guy. Be open to discussing whatever questions they may have. They’ll probably have concerns about a replacement father, and if you haven’t already had this discussion, it’s wise to reassure them that no man will ever replace their dad.
2. Keep the first meeting short and sweet. Invite your boyfriend to meet your kids in a public place. Maybe it’s a park. It depends on how old the kids are. Make it a short visit. You don’t want to overwhelm the kids.
3. When it’s time for a longer visit. Now you can move on to dinner together, either at your home or at a restaurant. Keep the focus on your kids, and keep the PDA very low key.
If you use common sense and remain sensitive to your kids’ needs, I believe that most kids will eventually warm up to their mom’s boyfriend. Even if they take a long time to accept him, if you stay sensitive to their needs, keep the dialogue going to address their concerns, and keep their exposure to a minimum, your kids will most likely come around to accepting your boyfriend.
Happy dating! xoxo