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Dating: Too soon to meet the kids?

A reader wants advice on how to handle a situation with her new beau.  He threw her for a loop when he introduced her to his two kids last weekend.  She was not expecting it and they had not discussed it beforehand. They have only been seeing one another for a couple of weeks.

To make matters worse, the kids were not exactly on their best behavior.  She is a single woman with no children and little experience with them.  She is an only child so she is not an Aunt – she isn’t a Godmother, either.  She is pretty much the definition of childless.  Her life literally has not had to revolve around children in any way, shape, or form…until this weekend.

You can imagine how uncomfortable she must have felt.  I believe this had an impact on how the kids received her…or rather how badly it went. Since she has to adjust to kids, I doubt waiting longer would have made much of a difference.

Do you think meeting the children of your date before the three month-mark is a good idea?

If you have children, when do you decide that it’s time to bring your significant other around them for the first time? How do you handle it? Is it a major thing or do you sort of let it unfold in a casual surrounding?

Are you childless and dating someone who isn’t? How do you make it work? What is the best advice you have for someone who has to warm up to the idea of having children around?

By Wise Diva, Misadventures in Atlanta Dating Blog

297 comments Add your comment

Sunshine

May 19th, 2011
7:37 am

Good morning – long time reader, 1st time poster. I have been dating a single dad since last summer. This is the first time I’ve dated a man with a child so it’s been a learning experience to say the least. We openly discuss his child and, because of some of his prior dating experiences, we definitely had to work up to being able to do so. Before we got together, I knew that I wanted to wait a very long time (at least a year or so) before meeting his child. Not only because I wanted to be sensitive to his responsibility to not bring people in and out of his kid’s life and I wanted him to be sure he trusted me, but for myself as well. Like the reader who wrote to WD, I don’t have godchildren or any children of my own so I’m “childless” too. So we’ve talked about the topic a few times and I think he was *surprised* that I wasn’t in any huge hurry to meet his child. I just don’t think we’re there yet in terms of how serious our relationship is. Not to mention, our talks revealed that taking that step for him represents a whole new level of trust and bringing me into the fold with his family. Things are good between he and I right now and I don’t want to rush a thing. All in due time…

Bill Clinton

May 19th, 2011
7:41 am

I don’t like to meet the children…just the ladies.

Xavier

May 19th, 2011
7:47 am

I no longer date women with kids (I dont have any) because I never again want to hear the dreaded “You are not my father” which I have heard one too many times.

MzNewy

May 19th, 2011
7:50 am

@ Sunshine – I applaude you for your honesty. It is a huge step.

My story…I am currently dating someone I dating 16 years ago. 16 years ago we dated for 2 years. He met my kids at the 6 month mark. He had a huge impact on my then 6 year old and left a lasting impression. At that time, he was childless and it really was a big deal. Fast forward to now. We recently began dating again. He now has a daughter and I have 2 sons. While my now adult son remembers him and has always asked about him throughout the years, my younger son does not know him. My older one has always told him stories about T and told him “that’s the guy mom should have married”. We are taking our time, making sure it is right before I meet his daughter and he meets my younger son. We are making sure we do everything decent and in order because our children are important to us and we don’t want the impression that we have revolving doors in the dating realm.

ali

May 19th, 2011
8:24 am

I’ve always maintained a six month rule – if I date a guy longer than six months, he and I can start discussing meeting my daughter. My daughter has not seen me with any man other than her father and until I am in a long-term relationship, she wont. My responsibility as a parent is to provide a solid, strong and safe environment for my child and bringing guys in and out of her life is irresponsible and careless – not to mention the emotional toll it would take on her. I am passionate about this issue and find myself quite upset when I see parents who completely disregard this responsibility to satisfy their own selfish desires. What kind of example are you setting for your child? I’m all for dating, we all have a right to find someone to share our lives with – I just think the manner in how you approach it should be done with your child in mind, first and foremost. I further believe that the couple should discuss when and how the introduction should happen and to ensure that both individuals are on the same page when it comes to their relationship and how it will move forward. I always get a little worried when people bring their children on a second or third date. You barely know the other person but yet you feel comfortable enough to bring your child(ren) around them? Hmm…

Check out my blog single parenting at thesingleparentblog.wordpress.com

czBrat

May 19th, 2011
8:32 am

HiYas

diva, i think this I doubt waiting longer would have made much of a difference. is very accurate in your friend’s case. simply because the mere presence of lil ones is sooo out of her norm. my best advice on warming up? try to keep the activities and meetups in environments of their choice (at least at first) so they’ll be more apt to enjoy the process of getting to know you.

all three men i dated since my divorce are fathers, and all introduced me to their kid(s) within a month. i waited a bit longer before letting them meet mine, and they were perfectly ok with that.

welcome sunshine!

MzNewy

May 19th, 2011
8:43 am

@ Brat – you are so right about that. The first time T and I dated so long ago the activities that included my son were interactive things like going to the park or going to my son’s track meets etc. so it was in a “natural” environment were it was inclusive and there was not the forced pressure of the interaction but a natural interaction. We are going to do the same this time but we are taking our time and let it happen naturally.

Mommyof2

May 19th, 2011
8:52 am

I think at least a year. I’m anal when it comes to my girls so the fact that their father and I worked through our issues and married almost a year ago was best for the four of us. However, I did date a guy who was a single father. And because I was single with children and heard so many unpleasant stories of single with no children dating single with children, I only wanted to date someone with children because then there would be a mutual understanding of the life of a single parent. He was a great guy and he too said it was difficult to date single women without children.

I don’t think it’s healthy for children to meet the ‘girlfriends’. Why? For what reason? You’re dating? You haven’t made a committment to the other. You are bound to break up in 6 months. If you’re serious about finding a mate, you have an idea after a year but that still doesn’t mean a year is the right time. People are so quick to breakup over the pettiest of things even after a year. So now little girls and boys are thinking it’s okay to date and sleep with random people. When we should really be teaching our children to seek a mate thus courting a person…really getting to know a person (mind, body, soul). Children are much smarter than they are given credit for.

abc

May 19th, 2011
9:34 am

Unless your dating life involves a revolving door, with scores and multitudes passing through, then I don’t see it as much of a big deal. If the person you’re dating can’t deal with your kids, that’s a deal breaker for you — and who cares what she thinks about it at that point?

MzNewy

May 19th, 2011
9:50 am

@ Mommyof 2 – I think once you are in a committed monogamous relationship you are beyond just “dating” and it should be ok to meet the girlfriend. When I am just dating, there are no titles involved, he is my friend. I think folks often use dating in a rhetorical sense and it is not the same as in an exclusive relationship. I have been dating for years, and dates don’t meet the kids.

@ abc – Totally agree.

SlimNu

May 19th, 2011
10:03 am

Slim walking in all slow and under the weather Me no feel guuud…it hurts when i swallow :cry: :-(

SlimNu

May 19th, 2011
10:09 am

On topic – I don’t have any kids nor am dating a guy with any. However, if I did have some, I wouldn’t put a specific time on when i’d allow the SO to meet them. I would go buy the progression & seriousness of our courtship. I would not want to expose my kids to different fly by night dudes every few months. It just isn’t a good look.

angry outsider

May 19th, 2011
10:09 am

lol….single guys dont wanna meet those bad azz kids anyway! we only tolerate bebe’s kids cause their momma is still fine and we know she will put out. And for a shot at the goodie, we will put up with most anything ( even they snotty nosed, bratty, kids)

SexyCool

May 19th, 2011
10:10 am

“She is pretty much the definition of childless.”

How many ways can you define “childless?”
(lol)

Raqi V

May 19th, 2011
10:16 am

Mommyof2, myself once being a mother of 2 and dating I agree with some of what you said. However I think a year is pushing it. Not saying there is anything wrong with how you roll. I just personally can’t see myself having a relationship with someone for nearly a year separate from my kids.

When I was dating there came a time if a relationship formed where we moved passed going out all the time or meeting at some private location. In order for me to be in a relationship we have to times that we just hang out at the house on Saturdays or Sunday afternoons. There had to be times when I invited him to dinner at my house or he invited me to his and my sons were present.

There is no way I could have maintained a life that detached from my boys for an entire year. I did not do overnight guests while my sons were home but after we knew a relationship is what we wanted (3-4 months) he got to meet my boys.

The deal with my husband is totally different matter. He knew my boys before he and I ever started dating because he is a childhood friend.

SlimNu

May 19th, 2011
10:16 am

If I were a dude, I don’t think I’d want to be around a chicks kids if my only intention was to get in her panties.

Raqi V

May 19th, 2011
10:19 am

SlimNu, well as that angry man up top stated, most thieves are void of morals and principles and when all he wants to do is shoplift the puddy…

LOL

kimmie

May 19th, 2011
10:21 am

Morning All!

My fiance’ introduced me to his kids after 3 months. He is a widower and the kids were 4 & 6 when they lost their mother. It had been 2 years since her death when we began dating. I say all this to say, we had to be extra sensitive. If he had wanted to wait a year, I would have been fine with it, whatever he felt best for the kids.

I absolutely love kids. I come from a big family and have 2 nieces and 4 nephews and 2 godchildren. I planned on having about 4 of my own, but things didn’t work out that way. God had another plan for me. I knew some how, some way, I would be a mother and now I will be, officially.

Everyone close to my fiance talks about how a blessing it is that he found someone that loves his kids.

Usually, when a person wants you to meet their kids, they feel some level of trust and respect for you. I consider it an honor. I wouldn’t want to rush it, but if someone NEVER wanted me to meet their kids, that would be a dealbreaker for me. It would crush me because it says you don’t see me in your future.

Wise’s friend that this topic is about sounds like she may not want kids at all. That’s not something that everyone aspires to be, a parent. I wonder if she’s thought about that.

SexyCool

May 19th, 2011
10:21 am

ali – “find myself quite upset when I see parents who completely disregard this responsibility to satisfy their own selfish desires”

Don’t get so upset about how other folks raise their kids. There are better things for you to give your energy to.

Simple Man....

May 19th, 2011
10:22 am

Morning folks….

I have dated several women that have kids, and I am completely ok with whatever directions the moms chooses to go.There has been occasions when A lady introduces me to herr kids very early on in an effort of full disclosure.( I actually respected her more for being open) and I had dated women that even after several months of dating, refused to allow herr kids to even see me in passing. Either way, one has to repect her choice and take direction from her…..

Raqi V

May 19th, 2011
10:24 am

You know that theif Israel Perez Puentes got himself shot up trying to shoplift the puddy. I bet as the life was leaving his body he laid there regretting and thinking ain’t no amount of puddy worth dying for.

SexyCool

May 19th, 2011
10:25 am

Since I don’t have kids, I really can’t say a whole lot about this….other than, I probably don’t like your kids as much as you do.

Leggs

May 19th, 2011
10:28 am

Morning!

Welcome Sunshine. I commend you wanting to get to know him and see where you two stand before mixing the children in the mix.

To the person thrown into meeting the kids without notice, he should have at least told you you would be meeting them that day. I definitely understand your discomfort not being around kids. It’s almost akin to me being in a house with a particular breed of dog I’m scared of. It can smell my fear no matter how hard I try to disguise it. Same with children. They have a keen sense of knowing how to push buttons, especially with someone interested in their parent!

@SlimNu ~ hope you feel better and hope you don’t have strep throat!

@Mommy2 ~ I side with you. It’s not healthy for children to meet multiple dating interests. I’ve been a few dates, but none have met my child. It’s not necessary. When I become seriously involved with someone who’s on the same page as I, I will discuss the appropriate time for him to meet her. And, I truly feel sorry for those children who are being slammed by the “revolving door!”

Raqi V

May 19th, 2011
10:30 am

We have to also take into account those times when we meet (met – pastense for me) a love potential while our kids were standing right there.

I briefly dated a single father that I met while my youngest son and I were out and about. He had to eventually move away because his daughter’s mother moved to a different state with her new husband.

I met a couple of others where my boys were with me but they soon phased out.

Simple Man....

May 19th, 2011
10:30 am

LOL..I am laughing at angry dude’s point because I know lots of fellas that feel like that (but are not nearly that rude). I also know tons of women the run the other way when they hear a guy has kids…..

SexyCool

May 19th, 2011
10:32 am

And…having dated men in the past, some with good co-parenting relationships and those with babymomma drama, my preference became to date men who either didn’t have children.

Because even with the best babymomma situation, there are still added dynamics involving the children and their mother that I learned that I’d just rather not deal with. Building a relationship is difficult enough as it is.

Dan - Simply....Superior

May 19th, 2011
10:33 am

Before my current relationship I shied away from kids for a loooooonnnnnggggg time. In part because, in some cases, it was a GTD situation, but the other part was that I love kids and they like me.

I once dated a young lady (long, long, long time ago) that had a child that was 14 months when we started dating. During our time together, me and the child bonded; so much so that when she started to speak, she called me “da”.

Freaked.me.out.

I was “cool” with the mom, but we weren’t headed nowhere and now the kids is ID’ing me as “da”? Yeah, coward that I was, I broke out. Called and let her know that I couldn’t continue to see them.

Currently, my girl has children. We talked about my/her history of being/bringing people around the kids. As we grew closer, meeting the kids wasn’t so much an event, but a natural progression of our relationship. (They’re a part of her life, I’m a part of her life, why wouldn’t we meet?) Suffice it to say the meeting went well (they are great kids), and we’re trying to think of creative ways to incorporate them in the ceremony in August.

But, if a person is not used to kids and has no affinity for them, if you’re a single parent, you should really decide if your relationship with that person has a future. Again, why shove them head first in the pool? Why do that to your kid(s)?

As for a timeline, it’s what you do, but, making it arbitrary seems to me to serve no purpose or protection. IMO, it’s no more than including someone into your life.

kimmie

May 19th, 2011
10:34 am

I probably don’t like your kids as much as you do.

SCool – You know, that statement does bring to mind a pet-peeve of mine that I came across when dating other guys that had kids. They thought the sun didn’t shine until THEIR kids woke up! They would be very indignant about the idea of anyone meeting their kids and would constantly boast about it! In none of these situations did I even ask. I always take the lead from the guy as to how he wants to proceed, after all, they are his kids. While I completely respect your role as their father, I feel this way – unless they are William and Harry, don’t nobody think they are a prince but you!

Leggs

May 19th, 2011
10:35 am

@Raqi V ~ And, he got shot up NINE TIMES!

Raqi V

May 19th, 2011
10:35 am

Leggs, I think for a person that has never had a child(ren) in any shape or form their entire adult life, there will never be “comfortable” enough time to meet someone they are dating child. Be it 3 weeks, 3 months, or 3 years. I think that is one of those things that you have to just get out there and do it. Meet them (within a reasonable time) and get it over with.

And really it’s all in concern for when and what is best for the child. We has adults can adapt much easier. Or rather we should.

I never not wanted a guy to meet my kids because I was concerned for his feelings. Heck he’s a grown man. It was my boys feelings that I cared about.

Raqi V

May 19th, 2011
10:36 am

Yeah, coward that I was, I broke out.

Dan, I don’t think that was cowardly at all. You knew in your heart that you were not wanting nor ready to be a father to that child so you did what was best for the both of you. And the mother.

Indy Cutie

May 19th, 2011
10:37 am

I don’t have kids and after my past relationship I dont think I’ll date another man with children. Now that may have shrunk my dating pool to the size of a pea but heck now that I think about it, isn’t it already that small anyway once you separate the good from the bad lol

Raqi V

May 19th, 2011
10:40 am

Leggs, sure did.

Raqi V

May 19th, 2011
10:42 am

SexyCool, I cannot deny that it was much easier dating with a child whose father was deceased than it was with a son whose father was not.

SexyCool

May 19th, 2011
10:43 am

Wait a year to introduce your kids?!? What if you are madly in love with this man and then, your kids fricking HATE him? Or…what if you don’t like the vibe you get from him the first time you introduce him to your pre-teen daughter? Hell…by this time, it’s been a year.

I would think that once you determine that the relationship could go in a long term direction that you would find it necessary to see if this is something that either of you want to sign up for.

I know I wouldn’t date somebody that didn’t want to introduce me to their kids for a year.

SexyCool

May 19th, 2011
10:44 am

Yep…Rock/Leggs…she shot the sht outta him. Wow…I’ma get me a .22!

kimmie

May 19th, 2011
10:45 am

Dan – I agree with Raqi. You were not a coward, you were being honest and upright.

The kids are going to be in our ceremony too. In fact, other than my goddaughter who is flower girl, they are the only others in the wedding party. Daughter will be maid of honor and son will be best man. They are so excited, especially when they found out they will get a gift for being in the wedding! :lol:

Sassy Me...Stir it Up :-)

May 19th, 2011
10:46 am

Me no feel guuud…it hurts when i swallow

Awww then…Slim Nu you need a hot toddy with tea,lemon n honey and brandy. That’ll make you feel better…or at least sleep for a lil bit.

On topic: This is a sticky situation for me because I’ve dated men with children and it never worked out. This first time it happened, dude was tryna get me to be a mom to his son and I understood b/c he was a single father in the “A” and needed help. Sadly I wasn’t the one b/c I was in school and had my own agenda. Plus I lived downtown within walking distance from school(GSU) and work…he on the other hand stayed in an apartment complex off of Camp Creek that even pizza delivery places didn’t go after dark. He wanted me to move in with him and didn’t understand my :shock: reaction. His son resented me b/c he thought I was getting too much of daddy’s attention, and as a result that relationship didn’t work.

Fast forward to my last relationship…different story,same ending. I met his kids within two months of us dating but they were the baddest two boys I’d ever met…they both had/have ADHD and were like he!! on greased wheels. Their mother had the IQ of a rock and it was awful. He needed help,too but it took soooo much away from our relationship. That ended too but I honestly don’t miss him or them bad a$$ kids and they retarded mama.

Now I don’t want to date men with children but some people tell me I’m drastically reducing my choice of dating potential with that mind frame but I feel how I feel….

SlimNu

May 19th, 2011
10:47 am

most thieves are void of morals and principles and when all he wants to do is shoplift the puddy

Raqi – point taken ;-)

Raqi V

May 19th, 2011
10:54 am

SexyCool, when I read her say one year I was like :shock:

To go an entire year seeing someone yet living a secret life that does not include your child is just mindboggling.

No my boys were not involved in my relationships but were very much a part of that man and my lives as us being a couple. Once a relationship was agreed upon he got invited to karate competitions and soccer games. He got to hang out at the house on the weekends. He even manned the grill if that is what we were doing. And so much more. He was not trying to be their father but he knew they weren’t going anywhere and to be with me on a relationship level, there would be times he had to be around them. And enjoy it.

Or pretend to. LOL Looking at you angry man.

SexyCool

May 19th, 2011
10:54 am

“I honestly don’t miss him or them bad a$$ kids and they retarded mama.”

_________________flatlined__________________

(please resuscitate….)

SlimNu

May 19th, 2011
10:55 am

Hope you feel better and hope you don’t have strep throat!

Leggs – From what I heard, you can’t get strep if you don’t have any tonsils so I have my fingers crossed on that. My co-workers said her husband has strep now. :???:

kimmie

May 19th, 2011
10:55 am

I know I wouldn’t date somebody that didn’t want to introduce me to their kids for a year.

SCool – In a normal dating situation, I totally agree! It would be an insult to me really. But in our situation, I felt so bad for the kids because they were so young when they lost their mom. I couldn’t imagine it, because I know how I felt losing my mom and I was 30 years old! So whatever he thought best for them, I would have gone along with. I had to kind of take myself out of it – I knew it was all about the kids and not how he felt about me. Even now, they get upset when they don’t know where me or their daddy is, a little fear of abandonment.

But that’s just this situation. Other dudes in the past, heck no!

Raqi V

May 19th, 2011
11:00 am

kimmie, I think that’s really nice having the kids a part of the wedding. IMO it lets them know that you are not taking their father from them but becoming part a family with them.

My boys were not a party to my marriage ceremony but they were there in attendance. There were only 7 other people present when I got married. Everyone else was wherever getting ready for the party/reception of the century. LOL

kimmie

May 19th, 2011
11:00 am

Raqi – A person and their kids are a package deal, at least they should be. You are right, it’s a natural progression if you are going to be with that person.

Lovely Brown

May 19th, 2011
11:00 am

My husband had two children when I met him….we were kids ourselves(18, 19). I didn’t have any kids then and I did not want any. I was used to kids, I had my niece so much people thought she was my daughter….but when I finally did meet his daughters, I did not have a problem with them or their moms( yes, two babymamas!) It was the Grandmothers! They seemed to think I was standing in the way of him doing the right thing by their daughters. We had the teenage thing for two years and then we broke up…..he still did not marry either of them. When we got back together four years later, the oldest child’s grandmother gave me hell! Did for a long time. Then I did not understand why, but now since I have children myself, I understand fully :-)

I have a single sister that is never without a date if she wants one( I have mentioned her on here before) she let’s her dates meet my teenage nieces…..drives me crazy! it is sooo dangerous and irresponsible. If I was single with kids, I would have to think long and hard about someone meeting my babies….I need to know you first.

SexyCool

May 19th, 2011
11:01 am

Yeah…but three months ain’t a year. And for me, how you parent, how you manage your co-parenting relationship and how I interact with your kids would be a part of how I determine if I am staying in this relationship for the long haul.

This is one of those slippery slope subjects. Where you don’t want to introduce children too quickly, but at the same time, you don’t want to develop feelings for someone who has a situation that will make your life hell.

As it stands, there is already a tendency to stay in bad situations based on emotional/sexual bonds. This is something that *ideally* should be addressed while there is still an ability to make a decision that is not mired down in emotions.

Raqi V

May 19th, 2011
11:04 am

Kimmie, your statement about fear of abandonment bring to mind how my oldest reacted when I moved out from Whitebread. He did not understand and I regretted having put him in that situation. He vaguely remembers his dad because he was barely three when he passed but he was almost 6 when Whitebread and I broke up.

I swore after that that I would never live with a man I am not married to. And I did allow my s/o to sleep at our house. Well there was the one time the hub slept over but he stayed on the couch. But it shed a new bright light into my mind and heart on how kids are affected by things.

SlimNu

May 19th, 2011
11:07 am

Slim Nu you need a hot toddy with tea,lemon n honey and brandy

Sassy – I had some lemon & ginseng tea this morning but of course I left out the alcohol being that I’m at work today. I wonder if Grey Goose will be just as good as Brandy. Hmmm?

kimmie

May 19th, 2011
11:07 am

SCool – I agree.

One of my good friends dated a guy whose 10 year old son hated her. He didn’t rush introducing them or anything and his 8 year old loved her. But the son used to say straight nasty things to her and daddy didn’t put a stop to it. When they broke up, it was a weight lifted, not to have to deal with his mean behind again!