Are you a dating as a single parent and serious about finding love and marriage? You’re probably wondering when is the right time to introduce your kids to your new love.
If so, you’re a lot like the single father who recently asked me for advice. He has three children from a previous marriage and is dating a woman who didn’t have any children of her own. He’s been seeing her for two months, but he was starting to develop serious feelings for her and was thinking about taking their relationship to a deeper level.
“How soon is too soon?” he asked me.
Here’s what I told him: Before you introduce the person you’re dating to your kids, consider these three questions:
1) How old are your kids and how do they feel about you dating?
2) How would they feel if things didn’t work out with the new person and she went away? How will you talk to them about it?
3) How does your girlfriend feel about being a part of the kids’ lives since she doesn’t have any children of her own?
Bringing your family into your new relationship is going to change the relationship.
Your partner will see you in a new light. Watching you in “Daddy mode” is going to show her a different side of you than what she sees when you’re on a romantic date. She’ll likely imagine what her future with you might be like as well. So if you haven’t committed to each other yet, she’s going to have another experience with you that will affect her decision, especially since she doesn’t have any kids of her own.
Your kids also will need support in figuring out what role this person will play in their lives.
How often will she come around? Do they have to follow her instructions? Is she going to stay forever or will she be gone soon? Is this person going to take you away from them?
Introducing your kids to your new girlfriend will also change the way you see her. You’ll evaluate how well she treats your kids, whether your kids like her, and how she gets along with them.
Also, just because you’re “getting serious” it doesn’t mean this relationship will work out. You might change your mind about her 3 months from now, or she may decide she’s not ready to date a man with kids.
My advice for single parents on the dating scene is to wait until you are in a committed relationship with this person and you’ve been seeing each other at least a year. It’s ok to tell your kids that you’re seeing someone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to bring this person into their world just yet.
Ultimately, when it comes to single parent dating, timing, listening and being aware of the feelings of your kids and your partner are very important.
BMWK: Are you dating as a single parent? Tell me, what’s your greatest challenge?