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About when is reasonable to tell the kids about a new relationship?

(13 Posts)
amammabear Tue 07-Feb-17 14:04:36

Now, to me, the right time to tell the kids is when you know a relationship is going to last a while, I'm not talking about waiting until they're moving in or something, but I'd need to be fairly certain about it. I'd also tell him first so he's prepared for anything the kids might say.

My kids were at their dads this weekend. At some point during the weekend, he's told our ten year old daughter that he's seeing somebody... Who he hasn't even met yet! They've been chatting apparently, but never met, they're going for a date tonight.

So yesterday evening when we got in the car for me to take her somewhere, the first time that we've been alone since they came home, she told me about this and had a ton of questions. She's worried about step mothers, whether I'm still going to be her mummy, whether she will have to stop living with me and also whether they'll have to stop visiting dad as there might not be room for them!

He reckons this classes as putting the kids first... Of course she didn't seem concerned when he told her about it, because she's stored all this up to ask me instead.

Surely this is not the right way to tell the kids about a new relationship?

amammabear Tue 07-Feb-17 14:28:55

Honestly- am I wrong? Perhaps my view is clouded by the fact that I'm definitely not dating.

NeeNahh Tue 07-Feb-17 14:38:49

I think that it depends on the maturity of the child which varies wildly at the age of 10 and their relationship with the parent. At the age of 10 I think some children would be worried about having a new mummy but a lot wouldn't. It just depends on the child.

I do think that mentioning dating to children isn't always a bad thing - I remember growing up a friend of mine didn't know her mum had a boyfriend until 3 years into the relationship and the guy moved in with them about 2 weeks after she first knew he existed so I think you can leave it too late as well!

Ultimately, you can't stop her dad telling her what he wants to and I think it is lovely that she felt she could share her worries with you. I know a lot of children sense parents discomfort around new partners and then keep things inside for fear of upsetting their parents.

amammabear Tue 07-Feb-17 14:58:54

AIBU to be upset that he's done that though?

amammabear Tue 07-Feb-17 14:59:14

And I agree- that was definitely left too late!

Blobby10 Tue 07-Feb-17 15:26:32

Amammabear in my opinion you have every right to be upset - I was when my ex introduced his new woman to our kids and they are older teenagers!

yes your ex would probably have been better for him to wait until he was actually seeing the new woman for more than one date!

BUT I think that men and women are so very different when it comes to relationships that we can't apply our own boundaries of 'doing the decent thing' to what they do as men really are not able to understand how anyone else could be affected! (yes this could be a sweeping generalisation and I'm sure there are men who are better than this!)

So Yes and Yes but not worth picking a fight about as he just wont understand. Focus on your children and reassure them that you will always be there etc etc. Dont underestimate what they will hear in the playground however!

WannaBe Tue 07-Feb-17 15:44:36

I don't think there's a right or wrong answer tbh.

I think that when kids are much younger you need to be more careful in terms of introductions etc, but actually I think it's not a bad thing that kids know that parents date other people, and sometimes they might see them again and sometimes they might not. As long as they're not all introduced as the new mummy or daddy or he's not bringing home a string of one night stands on the weekends when the kids are there I actually think it's not wrong to tell his DD that he's going on a date.

I think that parents actually worry so much about how and when to introduce the kids that it's possible to try too hard iyswim. It's actually completely normal to date when you're single. It doesn't have to mean anything, and the DC will grow up realising that not every relationship has to lead to something long term if they don't want it to.

Bear in mind I wouldn't introduce the kids, but wouldn't not tell them either iyswim.

My DS met my DP by chance. He and eXH came round on a weekend when he was here (they didn't say they were coming round so it was a surprise,) and dp and DS chatted a bit. There was no inkling that we were together or anything, he was just my friend. However eXH then told me I had to tell DS I was seeing DP or he would, so he left me very little choice. I still played it carefully in that DP was still introduced as just a friend, but DS worked it out for himself even though we'd not been physically affectionate in front of him.

It was far, far too soon as I had no idea at that point whether we'd stay together, but DS took it in his stride, and nearly four years on we're still together. Had I thought about how and when to introduce DP and DS I would have agonised over it, not known how to do it, and probably would have tried much too hard. As it is this way worked wel. Now DS is fourteen and he knows that people do see other people etc. If me and DP ever didn't stay together I would still be open with DS if I were e.g. Going out with someone, without him needing to think it was going to be a permanent fixture or he'd have to get used to a new partner or new set of kids etc.

Mumofone1972 Tue 07-Feb-17 16:09:26

We were taking things slowly although we thought it would be long term however DP's Exw found out and told the kids (3 months in). Luckily enough it all worked out (10 years and now DH) but would have preferred to have taken things at our own pace.

So long as children know they are the priority and there will be no change in your relationship with them, I don't see a problem with introducing dating however there should not be a visible (to the children) revolving door at your bedroom for Mum or Dad (what they don't know wont hurt them)..

Weddingbelle123 Tue 07-Feb-17 16:13:26

I'm with you OP- at least wait until it's obvious it's not going to be a 2 date wonder! I was involved in rather lengthy family court proceedings with ex a few years ago and the courts seemed to think 6 months into a relationship was a reasonable time period.

IToldYouIWasFreaky Tue 07-Feb-17 16:24:06

I've always told DS when I am dating. He's 9 now and I've been dating, on and off, for the past year or so. I usually don't volunteer the information but if he asks where I am going or what I have been up to at the weekends when he's with his dad, then I don't lie.

I don't want to hide anything from him and I also don't want to make a big deal of dating. I explained to him that dating is just a way for adults to work out if they want to be boyfriend and girlfriend so he understands that if I go on a date, I'm not immediately in a relationship.

He met my current boyfriend at the weekend. We've been seeing each other for about 3 months and it's serious. I asked DS if he wanted to meet him and he said yes so my boyfriend came for lunch and we did some fun stuff in the afternoon. They probably won't see each other for another month or so now. I'm trying to do a gradual introduction and avoid having my boyfriend staying over multiple nights in the week etc.

I think it does depend on circumstances and the individual child. DS has a really good relationship with his dad who he sees a lot, so he's not lacking or looking for a substitute father figure. I spoke to my ex about DS meeting my boyfriend so he was aware in case DS brought it up. I didn't ask his permission though...DS knows he's my priority and my boyfriend knows this too - he wouldn't be my boyfriend if he didn't!

I do think that the way your ex handled it was insensitive especially as he's not even met this woman yet and it sounds as though your DD didn't really NEED to know. And it was crap of him not to pre warn you. I would just downplay it as much as possible with your DD and hope that your ex is more sensible if things progress!

gunsandbanjos Tue 07-Feb-17 17:06:23

I introduced my boyfriend after about 4 weeks, super early I know but we just knew it was a long term thing and it is.
I'd dated not very seriously before and DD hadn't met any of them.

BestZebbie Tue 07-Feb-17 17:17:02

I actually think it is better to tell a ten year old (different if they were 3) that you are dating than to do any big introductions following a secret relationship - keeping everything transparent will help to foster trust, and it treats them in a more adult/age-appropriate way (10 year olds will have the concept of dating and that some dates don't work out and occasionally people find someone who lasts a long time). He shouldn't be using her as a listening ear about his actual sex life or wanting emotional support for breakups etc etc, though there is no indication from the OP that he would try to.

TBH, isn't it better for you too if he has an ongoing situation of 'Jessica, this woman I've had a few dates with, you remember me saying?' than being sly and then full-on with 'here is your new mummy, Jessica' out of nowhere in a year? (I kind of feel that someone who has been introduced conceptually from very early on is much less likely to ever be styled as a new mummy, just slid in gradually as 'Dad's gf').

amammabear Tue 07-Feb-17 20:28:40

Thanks all xxx

I'm feeling a lot better after your messages

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