Written By: Naomi Epps
Dating is tough enough, but when you’re a single mom, it’s safe to say things are a bit tougher. Having kids is an incredible blessing, but trying to fit them into your romantic life is often difficult and very frustrating.
When is it the right time to let them know you’re dating? How will they react when they meet the new guy that’s nothing like dad? We share the 5 laws you should always follow when you’re introducing your new man into your children’s lives.
Law 1. Ask where is this going?
It’s an important question you and your partner should ask yourselves. How solid is this relationship? DO you really have a future together? It’s safe to say that children don’t always take kindly to strangers. Introducing them to a countless string of boyfriends can have a negative and damaging effect on their childhood.
Children are prone to attachment. If this man isn’t ready to stay in your life, he’ll also be leaving your kids and if that relationship has grown you can end up hurting them as well as yourself. Think about where you stand. Discuss how you plan to move forward in this relationship before you dive in.
Law 2. Don’t ruin rituals.
Whether it’s walking through Central Park every Sunday or eating ice cream after their youth sports games, don’t spoil your special moments with them. Meeting someone for the first time, especially a boyfriend, is going to be difficult for them.
If they meet him during one of your secret or special times, they may resent him for taking your time away from them. They’ll see him as nothing more than a bother, a man who’s stealing their mom and all their fun times with her away from them. Keep your rituals sacred. Unless your kids are open to inviting others, don’t force them to spoil their fun. Keeping traditions is a great way to show them that nothing will change between you and them.
Law 3. Set up a group introduction.
It’s best to introduce the new man in your life at a group event. Plan a festive backyard BBQ with friends and invite your new man too. Introduce him as a friend and let your kids get to know him before they make judgements.
It will take the pressure off during the introductions, and they’ll get to experience him in a more casual setting. It will seem more natural to them if they begin to see him more in group settings and events, as opposed to just springing him on them randomly. Everyone will feel at ease and ready to bond.
Law 4. Help them bond, but don’t force interaction.
Don’t force your children to “be nice” when meeting your new guy. Keep interactions casual and normal. By asking your child to act a certain way they’ll question the trueness of this man’s character.
Is he just being nice to them like you asked, or does he actually care? Before they meet try to slip fun facts to both parties before the event. Tell your boyfriend about your kids: what they like and what they don’t like. Maybe tell your daughter you have a friend stopping by who loves the same music group as she does, or let it slip to your son that they share the same favorite football team.
Find ways for them to bond in an average conversational setting. Forcing quality time will only have the opposite effect. Let your kids make positive assumptions on their own.
Law 5. Stay one family.
Remind your kids that nothing is going to change. Just because there is a new person in their lives doesn’t mean the other people don’t matter. They will always have one mom and one dad. That will never change. Your boyfriend isn’t there to replace their father.
He’s simply a part of your life, and you care about him and your children so much that you want both of them in your life. You still care about their father just not in the same way. Unless you’re walking down the isle soon, avoid having your new boyfriend sleep over. Keep your home a safe and welcoming place for your family. Your children should come first. Let them feel comfortable and not invaded. This is their lives too.
Always keep your kids in mind. Don’t introduce your new man at a trying time in their lives. If they’re stressed or having a bad day, it may not be the best time to share this news. Keep your rituals separate from your romantic relationship. Foster positive bonding and introduce your kids to your new boyfriend in casual group settings as a friend before they think of you two as an item. Also, keep the friendly petting to a minimum. There’s nothing worse than seeing your mom felt up by a strange man you just met lol. Ease them into your new relationship one step at a time, and it’ll be smooth sailing all the way.