Time To Meet The Children?

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 9.19.24 AM

Dear Dr. Darcy:

I have been dating a man for almost 6 months and I’ve met his children. I’m wondering when would be an appropriate time to introduce him to my children. Is there a rule of thumb? They are ages 8 and 14. Thank you.

ANSWER

You should introduce your children to a significant other only when or if one of two things happens:

  1. You’ve decided that he is going to be permanent.
  2. Your child has independently asked to meet him.

You yourself are not a child, and while I’m sure you’re excited to make him a part of your world, you have to consider how a breakup will affect your children. And since you’re far more likely to break up than to stay together (even with permanent intentions), unless or until you’ve at least made the decision that permanence is your intention, keep your man away from your kids. Shelter them from optional drama and loss.  Your children are not your friends or your parents. Presumably you have enough adults in your life who you can introduce him to. Is it convenient to keep your worlds separate? Probably not. But there’s little about having children that falls into the convenient category.

Here’s the inside scoop: In all likelihood, they don’t want to meet him. They don’t want to think of their mother as a sexual being, as having those types of needs. If they wanted to meet him, they’d ask to meet him.

Now, if your child (independently and unprovoked by you…) asks to meet your manfriend, you can consider making an introduction, however, for the same reasons I’ve outlined above, I would not recommend incorporating him into your Sunday dinners. When you’re a parent, your children’s needs come before your own. I hear endless stories from clients of how negatively impactful it was for them to be exposed to their mother's dating history. My advice is not to do it.

Writer’s stats: Female, Heterosexual.