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Dating can be hard enough, but adding kids into the mix can make it feel like a minefield. Oftentimes, you might be setting yourself up for a dating disaster. Your kids are the most important thing in your life, and introducing them to new people that might not stick around can keep parents up at night.
Dating as a single mom or dad can be difficult, and it's likely you will one day find yourself asking this question: When should I introduce my kids to my new significant other? Whether or not you decide to introduce a new partner to your kids comes down to many factors, and be prepared to have a bunch of questions that don't really have any answers.
But, there are things you can do to ensure a smoother situation. There are bad ways to introduce your kids to a new partner, so much of this advice will be things you should avoid all together. Getting back into the dating scene as a divorced parent will not be easy, so knowing that in advance will help you to better align your expectations. These are the things that I'd keep in mind if I was to introduce my kids to my new significant other.
It depends on your kids age.
If I was to introduce my kids to my new significant other, one of the biggest factors is going to be the little guy or girl's age. If you have older children who are mature, odds are they are going to want to see their mom or dad happy. They shouldn't have as much of a problem with your dating, unless it was an ugly divorce or perhaps a tragedy had recently befallen one parent — then they may not be thrilled about it.
So much of it depends on the kids’ ages, how long you’ve been divorced, and where your kids are emotionally with the divorce. You're going to have to be sensitive, certain young children take it harder than other older children. And even if the kids are a little older, don't introduce anybody to your kids that you don't see a future with.
Also, while it's your right to date whoever you want whenever, it might be unwise to date if you've recently had a baby. That time is important for you and your baby to bond — both men and women. However, if you find someone who somehow fits the bill to date at that time in your life, more power to you, just know, it is rare.
It depends on your level of commitment to your new partner.
Don't just bring any bar fly home to meet your kids. If I was to introduce my kids to my new significant other, I'd have to be pretty sure that I'm serious about him or her. Kids are impressionable, so you're going to want to know what kind of person you are exposing them to before you let him or her get anywhere near them.
The easy answer is to take your time dating after divorce, and don’t introduce your new love to your kids if you are only dating casually. While it’s normal to seek sex and companionship after a breakup, it’s crucial to take it slow so you can assess whether this relationship is casual or might be permanent — which can take varying amounts of time.
If your potential partner can’t respect that, or they are lousy and uninterested with your kids, then give them the boot and don't look back. You are a parent first and foremost, and bringing home a whole roster of characters unfit to meet them will have an impact on their mental state.
Now, this can go both ways believe it or not. If your new partner introduces you to their kids and they seem like shitty parents, I'd probably move along, as well. If they treat their own kids like shit and don't seem to care all that much about them, just what kind of relationship do you think you can expect with this person?
It depends on the quality of the new relationship.
While this is related to commitment, it isn't the same thing. Two people can be committed to an awful relationship — it happens. If I was to introduce my kids to my new significant other, the quality, and not the length of the relationship would take precedent. The passage of time is a hard thing to quantify, and a great relationship that you are committed to over the long haul can happen sooner, rather than later.
Again, kids are impressionable, you don't want to saddle them with a host of issues they will have to deal with later in life, because you liked to bring everybody you ever went on a date with over to the house for a meet and greet.
If you have a decent head on your shoulders, the moment won't be all that hard to recognize. In addition, your kids are going to get curious pretty quickly where you've been spending all your time, so be thoughtful and carefully consider who you decide to go out with in the first place.
It depends if you've discussed living together.
This goes hand in hand with commitment and quality, but this one is far more concrete and practical. If I was to introduce my kids to my new significant other I wouldn't want to spring anything on them. It's hard to believe how many parents out there will let any old person into their home at seemingly anytime, but this is horrible parenting.
Just because you've been having the best time of your life and want to move this person in with you post divorce doesn't mean you should — at least not just yet.
Give your kids some time to catch up. If you and your new partner have exchanged "I love you's" and have been seriously discussing sharing the same roof, then introduce them as soon as you can. Because you can't just move them in or out with some stranger after just a few introductions and maybe a plate of spaghetti — it's one of the worst dating mistakes people make.
If you see the long term, it's time to get the kids involved. Whether you're a divorced dad trying to introduce his new girlfriend, or a single mom thinking about moving in with her new boyfriend, always keep in mind that the kids come first.