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Introducing new partner to my kids

7 replies

Utka · 03/09/2010 20:45

I'm wondering how soon is too soon to introduce a new partner to my 2 DD's aged 9 and 6. I split up with my ex about 18 months ago. He's still very much around - the split was amicable - and he's very hands on with the girls.

I've recently met someone new, after about 9 months dating online. I've had quite a few dates, and even one longish relationship, which ended up going nowhere. In no cases were the girls aware of what I was doing, as I conducted everything in my own time. This one is different though. We've been seeing each other about 2 months. Written down it seems such a short time, but I really feel this is going somewhere.

The challenge is that he's not at all local, living a good 1.5 hours away. We've so far managed to see one another when the girls are with my ex (every other weekend), and occasionally overnight during the week, again when the girls are with their dad. But I feel increasingly strongly that I want to share my home life with him - so that he can see my whole life. He has children, but they are grown up, so is pretty flexible, but I'm getting frustrated at having to compartmentalise my life in this way.

I've told my ex, and although generally supportive, he's adamant that he thinks we should wait a while longer. He also wants to meet my new partner before he meets the girls. I can sort of see his point, but it's not as though he has a veto, is it? Despite the amicable split, there is history and an ongoing issue with control for him, and I find myself reluctant to let aspects of my new relationship be dictated by him.

Reading other threads on here, it seems that most people advise keeping everything very casual. I've mentioned DP's name in passing and my eldest knows that he's someone I'm keen on. What's concerning me is the age gap between the girls - the youngest seems to see him as just another friend, whereas the older one is very emotionally aware, and is starting to be very grumpy and difficult if DP comes on the phone or is mentioned. Can you treat them differently with this, or do you just have to have one approach for them both? If so, do you go with the needs of the older or younger one?

Gut reaction is to just get on with it. I'm worried that by mentioning DP to DD1 but not introducing him to her, she is building things up into a bigger issue than would otherwise be the case. She's very vocal about wanting to turn back time so that my ex and I can sort things out (we most definitely can't!).

I've also got the problem of how to handle staying over, and where he sleeps. He's stayed in a b&b sometimes, but this is getting expensive (we have to pay for a babysitter too!). Spare room, or my bedroom? Straight away or gradual.

All suggestions gratefully received.

OP posts:
lostFeelings · 04/09/2010 00:42

I read on another thread very good advice - don't introduce DP for at least 6 months
don't even think of moving in with him for at least a year

what if kids would hate him if you introduce him too soon

you are in a relationship for only 9 weeks
9 or 11 weekends

how many times did yo usee each other 20-30?

still a fresh relationship

Niceguy2 · 04/09/2010 08:27

I've always wondered what the big deal is and I think there's a tendancy to overthink it.

I've yet to hear about a case yet where a child's gotten confused as to who their real mum/dad is.

Perhaps its just the fear that the children may think their mum is some sort of slapper or something.

Personally I think its a good thing to show children that life goes on. And part of that is that you as a parent will pick yourself up and resume dating.

Now I'm not advocating having a stream of men back each week.

But in OP's case, where's the harm in introducing her BF as a special friend? What's going to happen if when the kids wake up he's in the main bedroom?

Or are we trying to bring kids up in a world where sex is still taboo?

Done sympathetically, I can't see the harm.

As for a timeline, you can't put a timeline on when its right, just as you can't put a time on when its right to get married. Just trust your own judgement and deal with issues as they arise.

My kids were slightly older and I discussed getting a new GF with mine. They were ok with it and despite meeting several of them and some staying overnight, neither of my kids have become emotionally unstable deliquents.

Granard · 04/09/2010 10:29

I realise this might sound like a mad suggestion but, if you and your ex are amicable, is it feasible for your ex to meet new partner with kids present?

I just wondered if your kids, especially 9 year old, saw their Dad being friendly to new partner, he would be perceived as less of a threat?

I think it's a very real issue for girls especially that they see new person as standing in the way of Mum & Dad getting back together. If they see Dad is ok with Mum's new partner, it might help kids accept that things have moved on.

Obviously this will depend on your ex co-operating. Has he got a new partner? If there are control issues, as you say, it might not be feasible.

All the advice on this subject says to take it slowly, arrange initial meetings in neutral location etc but only you will know what's right for your kids.

It's fantastic that you've found someone new you see a future with and I wish you all the best. I hope it works out.

hairytriangle · 04/09/2010 10:34

I think you need to consider your childrensneeds first and foremost.

It sounds like your eldest daughter is not yet ready to have a new partner introduced to family life, so I would personally put herneeds first and wait.

I also think it sounds like she is having difficulty coming to terms with the split but you don't mention acknowledging or helping her come to terms with that?

For the moment I think your kids should be your priority... If this new relationship is as string as you say it will last through a slight delay while you prioritise your existing family

aristomache · 04/09/2010 10:55

I'd be very careful - 2 months isn't that long especially if you aren't getting to see each other very often.

I introduced my dd (aged 9) to my first new partner 3 years after splitting from her dad - like you I'd dated and even had a couple of casual relationships that she knew nothing about, but this one was different and I was 100% sure about him after 3 months of regular and pretty intense dating.

After an initial period where she was a bit apprehensive, she ended up absolutely doting on him.

Unfortunately it turned out that he wasn't as sure about me as I was about him and the relationship ended after 8 months.

Then I not only had my own hurt to deal with but DD's as well - which as you can imagine was just awful.

It was a harsh lesson and I will never rush into introducing her to anybody else in future.

Orangerie · 04/09/2010 11:57

Two months is enough to see that this man has not the issues/traits that caused any rift in previous relationships, but it is NOT enough to help you identify new ones that you may find difficult to live with.

I sit in the middle regarding introducing the children early on or later in the relationship.

I have been in a relationship where the children were involved since early on (we met, accidentally, when we both had our respective children around) and it was really easy to blend as a family BUT it didn't leave much space to find out if beyond the lovely family dinamic we were really for each other. We weren't. DS still miss him and his children, I cried more for the children than for the father when the relationship ended.

On the other hand... I met a fantastic man and, after the experience above, I decided not to introduce the children until later on. As a result, we developed, very much, as a child less couple, great weekends and days out. But now, that the children have been very introduced, I think that our parenting styles are very incompatible. So we are perfect for each other but there's no way on earth I would consider settling down as a family with him. So... I feel pretty much as if I wasted 2 years of my life.

BEsides, living so far apart is really not feasible if you both have family/work commitments in your respective cities. It is difficult to move around without affecting contact. It could open a full can of worms trying to change the place of residency. I wouldn't get into that for anyone who I have only known for a couple of months.

Orangerie · 04/09/2010 11:58

been very gradually introduced... I meant to say...

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