single dad. advice on introducing kids to new girlfriend

(58 Posts)
paulos103 Mon 16-Dec-13 18:19:07

Hi all, single dad here looking for a bit of impartial advice as me and my ex are at loggerheads.

We separated earlier this year and we have 2 kids, a 7yo boy and a 4yo girl. We weren't married, not that I think that is relevant.

A couple of months ago I met a new girlfriend and we've become very close and I would say we are at the start of a serious and stable relationship. She's been divorced for a few years and has 3 teenage daughters who I've met and we all seem to get on well.

I have my kids 1 night midweek and most of the weekend so I'm now in a situation where I want to spend time with both the kids and my new girlfriend at weekends.

My ex is dead against this and has suggested we need to be together for a year before she'll let it happen. This sounds mad to me and I'm not prepared to go along with that.

With the Christmas break coming up, this seems to be a perfect time to introduce the kids to my girlfriend starting with a couple of short meetings on a neutral venue such as a soft play area and building it up from there.

This doesn't sound like I'm being selfish does it? I have my kids best interests at heart and wouldn't introduce them to someone I thought was just a casual fling, but I also have my life and happiness to think about as well.

Advice welcomed. Thanks

Monetbyhimself Mon 16-Dec-13 18:26:46

'Most of the weekend' consists of what exactly ? How long have you been together ? How far apart do you live ?

Couple of months? Way too soon. You have no clue if it will last as you haven't been together long enough to really know the woman. Put your children first and wait. Yes, you need to be happy but I'm sure a few months won't make much difference to you. More time to adjust to their parents living apart before even considering the idea that their parents might have new partners will make a massive difference to your young children.

summermovedon Mon 16-Dec-13 18:39:59

Ok think about it from your kids pov. Do you believe they will want to share their dad after you only moved out this year. I doubt it, I would think they want you all to themselves, as they should. It is a very new relationship and whether it lasts or not is neither here nor there, but your girlfriend + your children may not be a match made in heaven. How will you deal with them reacting badly to sharing you? You need to start thinking about them, not you vs ex.

mintberry Mon 16-Dec-13 18:41:50

I think your ex is probably just (rightly) concerned about the lack stability in your children's lives. If you and her separated only a matter of months ago, that is obviously a huge change, the way they have always known life to be has suddenly fallen apart. Introducing a new partner now would be even more for them to take in, and your kids need a bit of time to accept the separation of their parents before hand, or it could all blow up in your face - 7 is old enough for your boy to resent your girlfriend for taking his mother's place, and then everything would get horrible and complicated for you all.
I went though this with my OH and his son, he hadn't been separated long from his son's mum when we got together, and it felt like I had to wait ages. It was shit for me at the time, but I just had to get over it. And, now years later we are trying to have our own, I wouldn't really have had it any other way, I think he did the responsible thing and I know now that he has his priorities right. If she is really worth introducing to your kids, she will understand and be patient.
Also, your kids will be needing some reassurance right now, if you have moved out of the family home, that you are still there for them. If they every needed your undivided attention, it's now!
So, I think you should really leave it a few more months at least, and then maybe just introduce her as a friend for a while. Or, if you really can't wait, introduce her as a friend now but don't bring her along on every weekend.

Jellymum1 Mon 16-Dec-13 18:53:59

Your brave posting this on mumsnet op! I tend to agree its too soon but from the childs pov. If your break up was messy then your ex will try to put blocks up anyway but eitherway regardless of how you or her feel about the breakup its too soon for the 7 year old. It rakes up all sorts of instability at a time the children are only just used to living in two homes instead of one. I know it must feel frustrating especially as your new gf will be all wonderful and i hope it does work out long term for you, but just in case it doesnt you really should wait a bit longer, maybe not 12 months but a couple of months, especially christmas time, is too soon. I was a child of seperated parents, meeting the new partners is horrific as you know at even 7 that all you want to do is please your parents. Your boy will no doubt pretend he is fine to keep you happy but deep down he needs your love and reasurrence first and foremost before he has to share you with anyone, no matter how wondeful that anyone might be x

gamerchick Mon 16-Dec-13 18:56:27

If you're sure it's going to be a serious and stable relationship then what's the rush?

DontmindifIdo Mon 16-Dec-13 19:04:35

This is your dcs first Christmas without mummy and daddy being together, it's going to be upsetting and confusing enough, without you introducing another adult and their dcs into it for them. Let them get used to you being apart from mummy (I'd say a year from when you moved out), before you start getting them used to the idea that daddy has a new girlfriend.

I'd say wait until Easter time at least. It doesn't really matter what you, your ex or your gf want, what matters is what's best/easier for your dcs. Even if it had already been a year, Christmas is the wrong time to do it.

sillymillyb Mon 16-Dec-13 19:09:40

I'm sorry, I know this isn't what you want to hear but I think your ex is right.

Your dc have had a major upheaval in the last year, it is still new to them. Please don't unsettle their lives again by introducing someone else into the equation so soon.

As some one else has said, if you really think this will be a lasting relationship then what's the hurry? We all make sacrifices for our kids, waiting a while longer to share weekends is pretty small fry in the scheme of things.

GinAndIt Mon 16-Dec-13 19:32:52

I think you need to find a happy medium.

I understand that you feel a year is too long. However, two months is too short; way too short. Your kids will still be all over the place, emotionally (even if they don't seem it). Introducing them to a new girlfriend will be confusing and unsettling for them, even if she's entirely delightful and child-friendly!

As others have said, what's the rush if you think she's a keeper? Of course your happiness is important but - for the moment at least - it is not as important as your kids'. You need to see it from their point of view and hold back a bit.

If your relationship works out (and let's be honest, at two months you have no idea that it will) you have many years ahead to have fun as a unit. They need you to be there for them, and entirely for them, for a while longer. Don't ask them to share you yet.

Daddyofone Mon 16-Dec-13 21:57:46

I agreed with my XP that any relationship would have to have lasted a year before our daughter was eased into it.

I'd say six months minimum myself.

ProphetOfDoom Mon 16-Dec-13 22:12:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ProphetOfDoom Mon 16-Dec-13 22:13:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nkf Mon 16-Dec-13 22:19:03

I'd say a few months is not very long and that your ex has a point. Have you actually built up a life with your kids on this regular but not living with them basis. Why is Christmas a perfect time anyway? Christmas is usually best for traditions and new arrangements being mutual but that's only my opinion. Your ex can't stop you doing anything and it's thoughtful of you to consider her opinion. But I would say too soon.

purpleroses Tue 17-Dec-13 08:08:11

I met my DP's kids after about 3 months. Like you he had them every weekend so it was hard to see much of him otherwise. He'd already met my kids. I understand that kids might not want to meet a string of casual GFs but it's also really hard to know what someone's like and whether you can work as a couple without meeting the kids. I"m not sure I'd have wanted to invest a whole year in a relationship before meeting what is such a big part of his life. I would also have been a bit concerned if he'd said I couldn't meet them because his ex didn't allow it - I'd have wondered what else she might want to dictate about his life.

That said, Christmas is an emotionally fraught time if you've not that long separated. Your ex may be struggling with seeing your life moving on especially if she's still single. I'd wait til the new year and intoduce her some weekend. If could offer your ex the opportunity to meet your GF casually first if you want but she is meeting them as "dad's new GF" not being interviewed by the two of you for the role of stepmother just yet.

You might also want to try posting under Stepparenting to get some different advice about new partners and blending families.

cls77 Wed 18-Dec-13 16:50:28

My DD is 11 and had no choice in meeting her dad's new GF four months after we had seperated. I asked him to wait and let me know when he was going to do it, but he went behind our back and introduced her to Gf, her two small children at their house, with GF's parents the second visit. DD was devastated, and now has no contact with F at all. It caused so much damage to their relationship, like others have said, they need time to adjust to you and their mum being seperated first, it isn't about you, if it's a good relationship then it'll happen later.

MincedMuffPies Wed 18-Dec-13 16:58:22

Well I think you can have female friends, she can be introduced as one of your friends OP. No snogging or overnights but theres nothing wrong in them meeting her.

At the end of the day unless your ex would let you have total control over who she introduces the dc to she can't very well dictate what people you chose to have around the dc.

NigellasDealer Wed 18-Dec-13 17:02:20

why did you describe yourself as a 'single dad' sorry but that term would suggest that you are the resident parent managing most things on your own.
as it is 'weekend' or 'part time' dad would suffice and there is no reason to upset your children further by introducing someone to them that you could quite easily see on another night/day.

MincedMuffPies Wed 18-Dec-13 17:05:16

He doesn't stop being a dad just because he doesn't live full time with them anymore. What a horrible thing to say.

NigellasDealer Wed 18-Dec-13 17:06:11

no it is not horrible - he is not a 'single dad' is he?

NigellasDealer Wed 18-Dec-13 17:07:20

apart from being 'single' and a 'dad' obviously - but put those two words together and they have quite a different meaning don't they?

MincedMuffPies Wed 18-Dec-13 17:08:41

Of course it's horrible to say he's only a dad part of the time now. 1 hes a dad 2 he's single. So yes he is a single dad, he did not say he was a lone parent.

It's all semantics. Some people use single parent to mean parent who is not in a relationship. Some use it to mean lone parent.

NigellasDealer Wed 18-Dec-13 17:45:24

most use it to mean 'lone parent' though, don't they, to be honest?

I know. I do myself. I was just pointing out that there's no point arguing it when you both attach different meanings to the words.

NigellasDealer Wed 18-Dec-13 17:57:27

I do myself - you, me and the vast majority of the population buffy, the 'semantics' of it being that 'single dad/mum' lives alone with children.

Since posting on here, I've come across a lot of people who use it to describe relationship status while being a lone parent too. It surprised me as well the first time I saw it. You can have a lone parent who has a partner. You can have a lone parent who is single. Some posters use single parent to cover the second one.

MincedMuffPies Wed 18-Dec-13 18:11:43

There is a huge difference of being a single parent and a lone parent.

But calling someone a part time parent is rude unless they are a useless parent who only has their dc as and when it suits them with no regular contact time and responsibilities.

That's like saying a mum who works isn't a full time mum.

NigellasDealer Wed 18-Dec-13 18:12:49

no it isn't, it is nothing like that at all.

MincedMuffPies Wed 18-Dec-13 18:15:14

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

NigellasDealer Wed 18-Dec-13 18:16:11

no actually he didn't, did yours then?
now who is being rude?

MincedMuffPies Wed 18-Dec-13 18:18:47

Oh I'm not being rude smile I'm just trying to think of a reason why you sound so bitter and rude about dads.

elastamum Wed 18-Dec-13 18:21:15

2 months is way too short and Christmas probably not the best timing, as the DC will be missing having mum and dad together - but then my DC have met all 5 of my exes 'long term' partners since we split so maybe I am biased hmm

onedev Wed 18-Dec-13 18:22:18

I'd say it's too soon Op, sorry! Totally agree with others that if the relationship is going to last, then there's no rush. Given the age of your DC & the fact that it's their first Christmas after the break up, I honestly think you need to put them first & solely focus on them for the holiday period. Your new partner should understand.

NigellasDealer Wed 18-Dec-13 18:23:28

"Oh I'm not being rude"
well you are actually muffpie.
what happened to your husband ? did he wake up one morning in the cold light of day and run away screaming ?

MincedMuffPies Wed 18-Dec-13 18:28:40

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

NigellasDealer Wed 18-Dec-13 18:30:19

gosh you really are a sweetie aren't you?

MincedMuffPies Wed 18-Dec-13 18:33:35

I understand why your doing this, it's horrible when your wrong and you keep digging that hole deeper to make yourself in the right. Is so much easier to just say oh yes that didn't come out quite right didnt mean to be so rude.

NigellasDealer Wed 18-Dec-13 18:37:11

i havent called anyone a 'bitch' love

TalkativeJim Wed 18-Dec-13 18:41:27

This is the first Christmas your children won't have their daddy at home.

At the very least, PLEASE don't introduce your new gf over Christmas.

I'd say 6 months is the MINIMUM.

You may not like it and I can see why. But if you really think this is the one, then think long term. Right now, for your children this is all new. If you want you relationship with them to be strong, you need to focus as much as you can on them just AS A DAD - one on one - just you and them.

Not you, them and suddenly some total stranger smiling at them from the sofa next to their dad.

It WILL NOT be what they want, no matter how much you think it will be good. It WON'T BE at first. The longer you wait and the more time you concentrate JUST on them at contact, the more secure they will be and the more accepting they will be able to be.

A couple of months is MASSIVELY too soon.

Preciousbane Wed 18-Dec-13 18:46:46

I would say at least a year, seriously.
The few months after a relationship break up are traumatic and I think many of us are vulnerable post break up even if we think we are ok.

I actually think the worse possible time would be Christmas.

Oh FFS you two, take it outside

GinAndIt Thu 19-Dec-13 10:43:09

I don't think the OP is coming back. Probably because we all told him something he didn't want to hear.

Monetbyhimself Thu 19-Dec-13 15:56:28

I think you're right Gin. And I rather suspect he's going to do what he and the girlfriend want anyway. To hell with the children and the Ex. All so depressingly familiar.

girliefriend Thu 19-Dec-13 16:11:11

I think a year too long, not realistic to never see your girlfriend at the wend.

Two months not long enough.

So somewhere around 4-6 months I would say.

Agree with pp about needing to know your new partner will get on with the kids to know if the relationship will work long term and unfortunately there is no way of doing this without them meeting the children.

I am a lone parent and have just started seeing someone and even though I would love to leave it a year before introducing him to my dd its just not realistic. For a start I am not getting any younger and if I want to have more kids need to get a move on grin also I have my dd all the time with no break so its extremely difficult to see him at all.

That said 3 months is my minimum before introducing them.

honey86 Fri 20-Dec-13 00:47:22

what gin said. x

MissWinter01 Sun 22-Dec-13 20:40:27

Personally I think it's a bit too early. I would wait until around the 6 month mark and if you think things are going well would introduce the "girlfriend" as a friend. I don't think your children need to know she is your girlfriend immediately. This way you can see how they get on etc and after a few months you could tell your children you are a couple...

Whether your ex agrees or not it isn't actually up to her who spends time with your children while they are in your care and vice versa.

Good luck

screamadelica Fri 27-Dec-13 12:28:40

Hi, my ex introduced his new partner to my daughter. Sadly it caused her months of anxiety and upset. She was 10 at the time.
My dd will only tolerate her now. I think she felt abandoned by her dad and then he goes and brings his new gf into the picture....only ever thought of himself and how to get at me.
She didnt see her again for months. When she did her older brother was with her.
My advice tread very carefully the implications are massive for a child and once damage is done it will be very hard to undo.

AnnieOats Tue 31-Dec-13 15:27:05

I'm a bit on the fence here. I would say it's too early but we don't know how much child free time the OP gets. If when he says that he gets then most of the weekend it means Friday to monday every weekend then I can see that it would be difficult for him to spend time with a girlfriend without the children being there.

On the other hand if he has them only 1 evening every weekend or has them every other weekend then I think he should wait a few months before introducing them as he's still able to see his girlfriend when the children aren't with him.

If the OP just wants to introduce them so that they can all do things together then he needs to think hard about who will benefit from this because I don't think it will be the children as I'm sure they will find it hard to share their dad with someone else.

He could see the girlfriend on weekdays if his weekends were 100% full of children. Small sacrifice to make for a while to ensure the children aren't disrupted even more.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 31-Dec-13 22:32:18

6 months after deciding to be serious would be my minimum.

AnnieOats Wed 01-Jan-14 11:25:41

He could see the girlfriend on weekdays if his weekends were 100% full of children. Small sacrifice to make for a while to ensure the children aren't disrupted even more.

Assuming his girlfriend is free during the week. She might have her children during the week and be free at the weekend.

Then you'd have to wonder how they even managed to get to the point where they have been together a couple of months and are very close, wouldn't you? If they got to that point without involving the children, it could carry on that way a while longer for the children's sake.

AnnieOats Wed 01-Jan-14 17:03:56

Not really. Circumstances could have now changed and that's why he's wanting to introduce the children so that he can continue seeing his girlfriend.

But as the op hasn't come back we can only speculate.

Spero Wed 01-Jan-14 17:08:08

I agree with all who say six months minimum.

the new partner issue has potential to cause enormous problems. it is just not realistic or sensible to say that an ex should just 'grow up' or 'get over it', especially if the ex did not want the relationship to end. Introducing the children to the new partner can be incredibly fraught and needs to be handled sensitively.

after six months you have shown you are probably staying the course, it will be less confusing for the children if not introduced to a succession of short term partners AND you have great moral justification for gently pointing out to your ex that it is no longer his or her business.

TwerkingNineToFive Wed 01-Jan-14 17:19:11

I agree 6 months at least. It's inconvenient for you but the kids come first and seeing their dad with a new woman could be upsetting for them.

bigfluffybum Thu 09-Jan-14 14:42:29

I think your ex is right, you need to think about the impact these this will have on your children.
you say

I'm now in a situation where I want to spend time with both the kids and my new girlfriend at weekends.

and also

but I also have my life and happiness to think about as well

It comes across to me that this is about what you want rather than thinking about what is best for your children. Also because of the fact that you have met your new gf's children after such a short amount of time, she obviously does not share your ex's view on things so you will probably be hearing from her that these views are unreasonable.
I agree with what others have said, your children will not want to share you at the moment and you need to consider things from their pov. If things are not dealt with properly it can cause a great deal of upset.

DarkKnight123 Thu 09-Jan-14 21:22:14

Hi Paulos - You have a partner and are part of a family, its natural that you would want your children to share in that. Personally, I think two months is a too soon, but your the parent and have to make the judgement call. The six month mark sounds to me about about right and you could use this time perhaps to plan a couple of one off outings where the kids and and you and your ptr meet up at say the bowling or wherever so they can slowly get used to each other.

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