Dating as a single mum can be confusing and awkward at the best of times, but when you have kids it is a whole other ball game. Introducing your new man to your kids if just one part of this dating with kids lark.
Is it too soon? Can they handle it? Can he handle it? Will I just damage everyone’s emotions so badly they will need therapy when they grow up?
Introducing your new man to your kids doesn’t need to be quite so daunting. In fact, if you are careful it can be relatively drama free.
Further reading: What nobody tells you about dating with kids.
Where is the Relationship Headed?
The first step is deciphering whether your relationship is ready for the big ‘meet’.
There is no specific timeframe, it is more to do with how you both feel as a couple. Think about your dating style and your compatibility. Honestly. Are you both ready to settle down or is casual more your style? If either of you isn’t serious about seeing where things go, there is no point in throwing your kids into the messy dating mix. Ignore the butterflies in your stomach and go with your head.
But, if it feels right, it feels right and after having that ‘grown-up relationship discussion’ it is worth taking the next step, kids in tow. Because, if your relationship has any future, your children come with you as a non-negotiable package. If there is no connection between them and your partner it is good to know if there is a potential relationship deal breaker.
Before you introduce your new man to your kids
Introducing your new man to your kids as a friend will help relieve some of the pressure and make it a more relaxed encounter, especially when your relationship is fairly new.
If you have been dating for quite some time you may have already mentioned him to your children. Or, you may like to discuss the boyfriend status prior to the meeting.
You know your kids, and what they are going to be comfortable with. But, he doesn’t know your kids so giving him a run down of their personalities and interests before he meets them will make it easier for him to interact with them.
Where to introduce someone new to your child
When introducing your new man to your kids, the location depends on the age of your children and whether he is a father himself or not. If he has kids of similar ages, a play date at a play café is one stress-free option.
The best first meeting is something casual, in an open setting. Rather than a sit down, serious face to face meeting – do something fun the kids will enjoy, and your new man can be part of. Kicking a ball on the oval, visiting the Botanic Gardens, a movie or a day at the beach are a few suggestions.
If your children are anything like mine, something active is always a good option as they don’t have time to get restless and bored. Trying to sit them down quietly at a restaurant for a lunch with a new ‘friend’ would be kind of torturous. So, save the fine dining for your romantic evenings together and opt for remote controlled car races in the park instead.
After the meeting
Let’s assume your first family date went smoothly and it is time to sit down with your kids and have a recap of the day.
Keep the conversation casual and gauge how they feel. One point you may need to clarify is that your new man is not a replacement for their dad. Take the relationship slow, giving him and your children a chance to get to know each other organically, without any pressure.