single dad. advice on introducing kids to new girlfriend(58 Posts)
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
'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.
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.
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.
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
If you're sure it's going to be a serious and stable relationship then what's the rush?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
He doesn't stop being a dad just because he doesn't live full time with them anymore. What a horrible thing to say.
no it is not horrible - he is not a 'single dad' is he?
apart from being 'single' and a 'dad' obviously - but put those two words together and they have quite a different meaning don't they?
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.
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.
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