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Introducing kids to new partner


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Hi All,


I'm after opinions and thoughts on this topic. I am a single mom of 1 who has been 'seeing' a guy for the past 4 months. He is a single dad of 4 kids.


I've looked extensively into introducing kids to new relationships and am having trouble finding the answer to my quite specific question.


We haven't specifically discussed meeting the kids yet, however we have skated around the topic on numerous occasions. I am open to the idea but am also very very happy with the pace at which things are going. It's still early days and we have both come out of long term marriages where we were both hurt and we just want to take the time to know this is 100% right before blending things. I know it won't bother him to meet my child (and as our kids attend the same school it is inevitable anyway!). I love this man and have no hesitation about having him and his kids in my and my childs future, I am simply enjoying the quiet time we spend together in our own little bubble. He feels the same way.


He mentioned the other day that his eldest (17yrs) is becoming suspicious. The kids aren't coping too well with their parents divorce (2 years ago) and their moms new relationship and he mentioned trying to balance not wanting to confuse them further but also knowing he is allowed to be happy also.


My question is, what could be the possible consequences of not openly discussing 'us' with his child/teenager and the child finding out on its own what's going on?


Breaking the childs trust would be a biggie (as has happened already with their mom), but what else? I'm trying to weigh this all up so that we can have a very logical kids conversation as I desperately don't want 5 even more confused kids if this relationship doesn't work out (which I have no intention of it not - but having children go through a broken family it is certainly something you think about). Also, as we are both 2 years from walking away from our past relationships (and still finalizing the legal stuff) I'm just not sure that either of us are 100% ready for a full on committed relationship - I want my life with this man but I just need it to stay slow and steady for now, and it's still early days. I feel like we should only be telling the kids once we're ready to be committed for the long haul.


What are your thoughts?

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Four months is waaaayyyyy too soon for you to meet each other's kids!


I agree, you should only meet each other's kids when you're sure this relationship is going to be for the long haul. Maybe after a year.


I suggest you just let the kids know you're dating, but it's not necessary to be more specific than that. You don't need to give them a name or anything, just let them know that you feel like the time is right for you to date. Period.

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I suggest you just let the kids know you're dating, but it's not necessary to be more specific than that. You don't need to give them a name or anything, just let them know that you feel like the time is right for you to date. Period.


This advice strikes me as particularly sensible and sensitive.


Are you able to consult with your children's (either family) pediatrician or other health care, especially mental health care, givers or support systems?


Good luck.

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The kids have to come first. They have significant intuitive fears of which they may be unaware. Let the kids drive the timing. No matter how long. Let them be ready to let someone else love them.


It has to be a gift to them, not them meeting another grown up from parents world. In the latter example, there is no upside to them, only another adult with whom they are obligated to form a relationship. The first way, where their needs are central to the timing, the new adult is one more to love them.


I am emphatic about this, and I am lucky enough that my kids will articulate respectfully their needs. Different parenting styles and relationships have more distractions that make an authoritarian approach seem appropriate. It isn't.

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4 months is too soon. You don't know yet how this is going to go this early on, so introducing kids makes no sense. If you're still together after the first year, than yes, it would make sense to discuss it.

But go slow, this is going to be very hard on the kids and not something that should ever be forced. You two might be happy and excited, but for them, it's sad and closing another chapter of their life that they didn't want to lose.


As for not telling the older teen, it's not lying, it's keeping it under wraps because of the timing. Again, this is a good thing for their sake as neither of you know for sure how this relationship is going to pan out. Surely you two can be more discreet if they are beginning to suspect. You can meet elsewhere or don't call when they are around.

This is for their sake and right now, their feelings actually do matter the most right now.


This is a relationship for you two but for them, it's experiences that will mould who they are for the rest of their lives. Divorces are tough, be as gentle and as discreet as you can for the time being. Although children are resilient, they have been trying to cope with enough already by the sounds of it.

I don't mean to be a kill joy, but this really can be on hold right now..it's too soon for all of you.

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Especially since you're both still married I would wait the way the others posted -and consider waiting until both of you are single to get involved and date (I know it's just "legal" but as you wrote neither of you is ready for a committed relationship and that I am sure is a big part of the reason why.

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I went through the same thing.

Hopefully you can benefit from my experience instead of repeating my mistakes. I divorced after 4 years of dating, 10 years of marriage and 2 beautiful children. He walked into another woman's home and his mommy and daddy paid off all his debts, legal fees etc while leaving me with a home in foreclosure that had to be packed up while juggling school, work, bills etc without family support.

Kids were already struggling with their world exploding plus this new woman invading. For a year while we finished court proceedings I did not date just focused on kids and maintaining sanity. As much as we want love, support, etc have to remember a healthy relationship isn't just about what we Want, it's also about what we have to give.

After divorce I met a man while visiting my parents who I had gone to school with. He also was recently divorced with two kids. We started talking for mutual support which quickly developed into more. He lived an hour away in my parents town but worked near where I lived for same company as my father.

There were a lot of red flags but I didn't pay attention as I hated being alone, wanted to be Married again (not to my ex), missed the companionship, the belonging to something so I was Making it work. He felt the same way about missing being married.

Red Flags

1-can Not handle crisis

he had fallen apart after his divorce. Not just upset but curled in a ball on his mother's bed-no work for a year-let his parents care for his kids-wallowed while his children were abandoned by both parents and got zonked out on sleeping pills/anti-depressants.

2-there was a reason we didn't get together back in high school

I remembered him but not well. I was a straight A, athlete, ASB President, Homecoming Queen and he was a drop-out, admitted alcoholic, got his younger gf pregnant so studied for GRE and went military to get out of town guy. Things hadn't changed much over the years. He says he never asked me out because I was "out of his league" yet I "lowered" my standards to be with him because I was lonely and didn't see anyone else.

3-his kids were a mess

Children are often the innocent victims of marital strife and his were no exception. Both were in psych care, on meds and tested Special Needs (ADD/ADHD). The oldest (12) was obsessed with porn and failing school. The 10 year old was incredibly shy, very clingy to daddy, and struggled with her academics. As a high school teacher i have worked with lots of kids so thought maybe I could use my experience to help. Meanwhile I had my own kids to care for so why would I put someone else's childs' needs ahead of my own?

4-Financially and Domesticly a mess!

Dog crap and rotting food. That was the odor of his house. 3 big dogs he kept indoors along with an evil chihuahua, filthy kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms. His yard was a disaster of plastic crates, car parts, decapitated barbies and doggy land mines. If he can't take care of his own home what made me think it would get better with more people?

He had massive debt, kids in crisis, a history of being unable to handle stress. That didn't change. He wasn't ready for a new relationship and I couldn't endanger my kids just to Be With Someone.

My mistake was trying to make the pieces fit when they didn't. It's almost 5 years later and my kids Still talk about how much they disliked him, disliked his home his daughters, etc. they said nothing then. The good part was my kids have since learned how to talk to me about their opinions regarding any men I bring home. They are no longer shy about telling me their thoughts!

Anyway, moral of the story is, You are Not yet divorced. To say you deeply love this man seems like you transferring the emotions of your married life to a man who you barely know. I Know you both want that comfort but when you introduce someone to your kids you are asking them to accept them. Your kids will do anything to make you happy as they see you've been so Unhappy. Be careful what you ask of them. You see they are struggling with their moms new relationship. They feel threatened, mixed loyalties, fear of the unknown and with other children will fear losing their importance to you.

Take care of your divorce.

Learn who You are apart from being Mrs. ______.

Learn who this new guy is aside from a husband replacement.

Provide for the kids' needs; ALL of them!

As he has a 17 year old the focus Shoukd be on his graduation/Senior Year/college plans much less the other 3 kids he has.

Think of the logistics of providing for 6 kids!

You can always go forwards; you can never go back

Good Luck!

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