dating with kids after a divorce

Melissa - posted on 03/07/2010 ( 4 moms have responded )

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I want to know what advice you have on introducing a new relationship to your kids. Their dad and I are going through a divorce, and he introduced his girlfriend to them after only 3 days of them being told daddy was never coming home. I felt it was way too soon, and the kids were very upset by it. My kids are 8, 6, and 5. I want to reach the point where I can date again, but want to know the best way to introduce them to someone new, or if its someone that they already know, how to introduce the relationship to the kids, (that mommy and her friend are more than friends now). I'm not dating right now, but I am trying to consider when I am ready, what is the right way to go about telling the kids. Their dad hurt them so much, and I don't want to do that to them.

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Amber - posted on 03/08/2010

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Melissa!

I am so sorry for your pain and hurt.

Honestly, at this point, I can understand your hurt and frustration .. but the situation will be so unique when it does finally present itself, it's hard to tell you how or when. I don't think what your children's father did was very appropriate or called for at this point. It was purely a stab in the back to you. So, you need to let it slide, and just be there for your children.

I'll give you a brief idea of what I did personally, and it's worked.. so maybe it will help you form your own ideas :)

When I first started dating, I said in no way do the men I date meet my child. I let them know I was a mom, and that was it. I never showed pictures or talked to much about her. I said that I would not introduce my daughter until we were together for at least 6 months, and serious. Most men were ok with that, but all of them tried to hard to talk about kids. They thought they had to win me over that way, and it annoyed me.

When I met my husband, I had been single for 2 years, really enjoying my life and ready for a clean start. I had actually gave up on dating and decided to just focus on my life. We became instant friends, and spent hours a night talking on the phone and internet.

I told him about my daughter and he always asked about her days and couldn't wait to meet her but left it up to me. We talked about her all the time, the funny things she did and for some reason, it just felt different. I knew i could trust him.

She was so young at that point, so there wasn't much for her to understand or be confused by. I finally Felt like it was time to introduce them after dating him for about 5 months. I knew I wanted to marry him from the moment I met him, but I really wanted to make sure he was on board with becoming an instant father, and an instant family. Men say they love kids, but for them to jump in is a totally different story. That part just takes time. I know most woman say " oh, I am not looking for a father, Im just looking for a role model and relationship" but there is no sugar coating it.. once they are in, they are in. there is no half way about it. Those kids DO look up to him in that way.

Anyways, After 6 months, I simply told my daughter I had a friend,that I wanted her to meet. I told her that I loved my friend like I love her, and like she loves me. She smiled and asked when?, I told her that i'd let them talk on the phone a few times first, and then finally, we arranged to meet a the park.

We met at the park a few times. 1st time there, ( amongst 3 other males) she somehow knew it was him and RAN to go see him, and jumped on him. I was nervous aobut that, but he laughed out loud and twirled her around. After that, we went on a lot of family dates.Movies, dinner, picnics.. she actually started asking him to come over. See her room, showed him around my tiny little apartment.

After a few months, we started to be more affectionate around eachother, and she took that well. When he'd come over after that, she'd stand by the window and scream each time she saw his truck pull up. She started asking him to stay over, or she'd fall asleep on him while watching a movie. They got really comfortable after 3 months together, and asked him to stay over every night.
ONe morning, she crawled into bed with us, and snuggled up against him. She gave him kisses and told me she loved me, and i said I love dher too, and then she told him she loved him, and he started to cry, and said he loved her too!

That was enough for me, and enough for him. He asked me to live with him after that, ( 1 year after dating) and now, 5 years later, we're married. She started calling him dad since right before we moved in together and hasn't looked back.

Where does her biological father fit in? He's " dadddy" and my husband is " dad" and no one gets confused by it or hurt.

I hope that gives you hope, if not, encourages you to just go with the flow. Date carefully at first, always. and just go with gut instinct.. Don't be too eager to rush into something that seems serious for fear of being alone.

Things will fall into place when you least expect it, and you'll know it's right that time around :)

Wishing you all the best!

If you ever need any more advive or 2 good listening ears, just msg me darling!

Take care!

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Stephanie - posted on 03/08/2010

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I did not ever introduce them to any dates and if i did they was introduced as freinds and no effection was shown in front of kids. Just did fun things with them till they started to show intrest in them and started to ask where they were. Small steps they will let you know when comfortable with it. My Ex did the same thing to my boys, and I hated it.

Rebecca - posted on 03/08/2010

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i would go on dates and not tell them much except you're going out with a friend. my ex and i have a rule that we may NOT introduce any new partners or potential partners to our kids until we have been seeing them for a year and are sure the relationship is STABLE. this is to protect our kids.

your husband is being extremely irresponsible, and in the divorce process, this is the sort of agreement you should iron out with the divorce mediator (i dunno if its the same in your country, but here you have to see a mediator who helps you work out what is best for your kids TOGETHER).

my ex- and I also have an agreement that if he has been seeing someone for a year and wants to introduce them to our kids, i get to meet them first (same for me) and check out that i feel ok that they won't abuse my children... this is because it was recommended in a book about protecting your child from sexual predators called "Protecting the gift" ... the book also has the type of questions you should ask this new partner.

my ex was VERY negative about these suggestions from me at first because he saw them as interfering, but he was a victim of sexual abuse himself, so eventually he understood my concerns and agreed to these conditions. ... we DO NOT have an amicable relationship at present, in fact it is extremely combative, but i do get my points across about my child's safety -- that includes psychological safety!

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As a child who grew up with divorced parents and having been divorced myself, then remarried, I can tell you that it's never really easy for a child to adjust to parents dating other people. I don't think the kids need to know your dating anyone unless your serious about that person. When and if you do ever become serious, I believe it helps the children adjust if the person you are dating is introduced as a good friend. Plan activities for everyone to do together so you can see how your children react to that person.Then take it from there and follow your intuition.

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