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Advice needed please, how do I introduce my boys to my new partner.

(21 Posts)
yvy34 Tue 17-May-16 16:54:14

Hi everyone, can anyone offer any advice or let me know how they introduced their children to their new partner. I've been separated from my ex for 3 years now and have been seeing a lovely guy for about a year and a half. He has always stayed in the background but we both think its time to move forward. My boys are 13 and 11 so they are 'at that age' and I know its not going to be easy. There isn't any plans for moving in etc but just the introducing, any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated, many thanks

Somerville Tue 17-May-16 17:44:06

Why won't it be easy?

Do they not know about him? Or not want to meet him?

My three DC are same age-range as yours, and it was all fine. smile

As for tips on the actual meeting: I decided on inviting my boyfriend along to an activity that he, me and my kids all have in common. Gave us all a focus. And meant that we were on familiar, but neutral, territory.

I also took my sister along, so it had less of a nuclear-family-feel to it.

Afterwards we all went out for ice cream, but I'd told my kids they could invite him, or not, it was up to them. (He knew he might be invited and to accept if he was!)

Hope it goes well.

Granville72 Tue 17-May-16 19:48:33

Sorry to jump on your thread yvy34, but can I ask why you waited for 1.5 years before introducing your partner?

I'm sure there are a lot of us in this position, so what time scale has everyone else gone on when introducing a new partner to your children?

My ex wants to introduce his new GF (of just 3 months) to our son who is 3 years old. They don't live together and from what I gather, she is away quite a bit. I just don't see that this can be classed as a steady / serious relationship after such a short period.

Of course, I've been accused of being unreasonable as I have said no and suggested a time scale more like 6 months plus. Our son has not taken our split very well and is very reluctant to go anywhere alone with his Dad on visiting day or go to his house.

wannabestressfree Tue 17-May-16 19:56:40

I waited a year before I introduced my partner too with boys similar age. They had taken the divorce badly and I wanted to be sure the relationship was going somewhere.... six years later we are still living apart but are happy.

NotnowNigel Tue 17-May-16 20:01:51

So relieved to hear that it's been 1.5 years. So many parents seem far too keen to allow a relative stranger into a privileged position in their children's lives.

I think at least a year but definitely long enough to have sen them react to a wide range of situations than provoke a range of emotions because its important to learn hoew they react and get beyond the best behaviour stage of a rlshp.

Somerville Tue 17-May-16 20:19:05

There's actually a good argument, totally dependent on the circumstances of course, of introducing children and a new boyfriend/girlfriend fairly early. That's what was suitable in my case - getting my DC used to the idea that dating is normal and that Mummy having a boyfriend is not the same thing as their Daddy being replaced in any way. If I'd waited a long time to introduce them all it would have built up as a bigger deal in their minds.

As it is now, they very much view my boyfriend as just another nice adult who we do stuff with altogether sometimes. Not a big deal, as it should be.

And they understand that he and I are still getting to know each other and sometimes these things turn out to be a serious and long term relationship and sometimes they fizzle out and that's okay too.

Just to say again, this totally depends on the personalities involved, age of the children, and all sorts of other factors.

Herald Tue 17-May-16 20:23:33

I left it a year before introducing my partner to my 11 year Dd , she knew I was seeing someone and we had a casual walk through the woods as an introduction with our respective dogs , all went well ...

wannabestressfree Wed 18-May-16 11:19:59

Sorry somerville I disagree that sounds what's best for you.... 'they need to get used to you dating'.... do they?
It's not about it being a big deal more that there isn't a Merry go round of strangers that may bring their own baggage/ needs/ wants etc.
I just feel your trying to justify jumping in with both feet without consideration.

Slowdecrease Wed 18-May-16 12:20:42

I waited almost a year before introducing my ex and it was two years before he openly stayed over . I thought that was right. We split. I actually can't remember how and when I introduced DP to dd - it has been seamless and absolutely fine - like every other relationship it either clicks or it doesn't. We've been together 18 months so it must have been fairly early doors.

donajimena Wed 18-May-16 12:23:02

Four weeks..
Anyone for some smelling salts? grin

Somerville Wed 18-May-16 12:23:35

wannabestressfree You can hoik up your judgey pants and accuse me of acting in my own best interests rather than my DC's all you like, but you're wrong. And rude. Especially with the merry go round of strangers. hmm

I kind of feel the need to justify my desicion now. Which is fucking upsetting, because I shouldn't have to.

I did the opposite of jumping in with both feet without consideration - in fact I thought and agonised a lot, and then got considerable amounts of professional advice (from my DC's grief counsellors) on how to approach all this with my DC.

Early introductions were advised for our particular situation, so that me having a boyfriend could be separated in my DC's minds from any boyfriend of mine being a new daddy for them, as I mentioned. Also, to reassure them with their ongoing worries about my grief and lonliness.

But it's not just bereaved kids who often benefit from this approach, others can do too. Its down to individual circumstance and lots of factors, as I wrote before.

wannabestressfree Wed 18-May-16 14:28:10

I apologise. I got it wrong. I feel prickly about it as I was so anxious to get it right. I made mistakes before and had introduced too early.... I projected and you have circumstances nothing like mine.
Am sorry.....

lovelycuppateas Wed 18-May-16 14:40:20

I was seeing my OH for a year before we told the kids, he moved in after two years and things are going well (almost four years together now). My kids are 14 and 10, so not a million miles away from yours. I found the teenager always cared much less about it than the 10-year old, as older kids tend to be absorbed in their own lives with friends etc - hope that's reassuring!

As for introductions, we made it very casual. To be honest I can't remember when my DC first met my OH - it may well have been a barbecue with other friends there. They met him before they knew he was my boyfriend. We did everything really gradually so by the time he moved in, it just wasn't a big deal as everyone was used to each other. There was no objections from the kids at all - which was both a surprise and a relief. It helps that my OH is really thoughtful and has not tried to force any relationship with the kids, but just let trust build up gradually.

I know all situations are different, and what you decide to do depends on everyone involved, but I'd do my best not to stress about it and go at the pace of the slowest person, if you see what I mean!

And unfortunately, Granville, there's nothing you can do about your ex introducing his kids to his partner - I know from dire experience how hard this is, but the best thing is to try not to get involved.

Somerville Wed 18-May-16 14:47:42

Apology accepted.

Being a mother involves too much anxiety and second guessing ourselves. I get that... feel it myself all too often.

Granville72 Wed 18-May-16 14:59:30

I haven't said that my ex can't introduce his GF to our son, I asked if he could wait until the relationship was a little more stable and not just 8 weeks old.

And I'm sorry but I will disagree with regards as to 'not getting involved'. He's my son as well, and I'm the one that has full responsibility and picks up the pieces when his Dad gets bored and moves on not thinking about the consequences it has on those around him.

lovelycuppateas Wed 18-May-16 20:48:25

I don't want to hijack the thread - it's really difficult all this stuff about new partners. In the end if the kids feel totally secure with at least one parent it should turn out ok. 5 years on from separation and I'm finally learning that picking your battles spares a lot of pain for everyone. That's just my experience, though Granville, and you are welcome to ignore me!

TresDesolee Wed 18-May-16 20:58:19

I've got two boys the same age as yours OP. My partner is actually a long-term friend and someone my kids had met before, although they didn't really remember him. We did it very low-key - he came around on a weekend afternoon, we stuck a film on (me and him) and I just left it up to the boys whether they joined us or not. (I'd told them in advance he was coming and they knew he was my bf.) in the end they both came and sniffed around him a bit and said hello and then went back to their own activities watching YouTube

I did it this way so that everyone had options to retreat to their own space if they needed to - I've done big outings to introduce a BF before and it was incredibly stressful and there was no easy escape route! But then my eldest is quite stressy so I've learned to factor that in.

Went well anyway and I kept the second meeting similar (our home, low key). Third meeting was a day out together but by that stage I was more confident that they were all rubbing along ok.

Good luck - it's delicate isn't it!

Looly71 Mon 23-May-16 13:29:12

We had been together a year and both had very young children so we went out all together for the first time on firework night so he and his children met me and my children at the same time. It was all very relaxed and we had a great night and then went off separately afterwards. Children took it all in their stride and I think it was easier as there were more exciting things to focus on.

SandyY2K Mon 23-May-16 15:22:32

How about saying you have a friend you'd like them to meet and arrange to go ten pin bowling together (the four of you).

You can tell them you've been seeing him for X amount of time and he wants to meet them too.

After bowling.... you can grab a bite to eat ....then he goes home and you go home with the boys.

IfNotNowThenWhenever Mon 23-May-16 15:42:42

I agree with Somerville about meeting early.
My son has met 3 Boyfriends over 10 years. One was pretty serious, although he was only ever around in a fairly casual sort of way, and one is still quite new.
I tell ds if I am dating someone new, I'll let him know if they are joining us for tea or whatever. It's fine. I have always been a lone parent, and have always had various friends round, so to have a new friend over is normal.
Also, if you don't have shared custody, and have dc all the time, you just can't compartmentalise for a year!
Ds is secure and knows I put him first ( I have explicitly told him that) and my, ahem, endless parade of strange men know it too ( and are cool with it, if they weren't I wouldn't be dating them).
I used to think very differently, but realised that, given the large proportion of our family who are single, ds was really clueless about adult couple relationships, how they work etc.
He was becoming a bit obsessed with the idea of the Mum, Dad, sibling.and dog scenario, and sort of idealised this set up.
I think now that it's good for him to see me having normal, healthy relationships, and for him to know that if things don't work out, life goes on.
We are a unit, my boyfriend is a fun extra sometimes. It's also good to observe how a man behaves around dc.
In answer to your question Op, I would just find something casual to do, like a picnic, or day out. Maybe invite some other friends along to make it less pressured. Don't put too much emphasis on him being overly important in your life just yet.

PoundingTheStreets Mon 23-May-16 19:27:45

I think everyone's situation is different.

I was on my own for 6 years before I met DP. He and I dated for 6 months before they were introduced to him, although I may have done it sooner had we been ready sooner (being both long-term single with very full lives, it wasn't the quickest-moving relationship initially).

My DC weren't vulnerable to a new relationship. We have been a single parent family since they were babies (twins) so they have not had to experience massive upheaval or the pain of a significantly changed relationship with one parent. By maintaining an active life while single, I didn't have to worry too much about them feeling 'neglected' when I went on dates.

The main thing for me was that they reached a point where they emotionally understood that DP was a welcome addition to the family unit, not someone who detracted from their relationship with me. To that end, introductions were very slow and piecemeal and the DC set the pace.

First meeting was outside on neutral territory with other people and plenty of opportunity for avoidance (for him as well as them) if it all got too much. He'd call in for coffee before dates and spend 5 minutes chatting. It was a while before he stayed over and a lot longer still before I would allow him to do any parenting. Roles such as reading a bedtime story were exclusively mine until I knew he was a long-term keeper and the DC were ready for it.

A few years later, we're still here as a family unit and my DC adore him.

I don't think women should sacrifice themselves on the altar of motherhood. It does children good to see their parents as well-rounded people who have their own interests outside the family. But if you're introducing a new partner, the main rule is don't rush it I think. If he's the right one, he'll be led by you and never make you feel you're not prioritising him enough.

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