Your Kids Hate Your Date. So Do You Go Anyway?

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Dating momYou’ve got on a killer dress. You’ve coaxed your figure into hourglass-shaped perfection, thanks largely to Body Magic and no food or liquids since breakfast. You’ve slid into some gorgeous stilettos and fluffed your hair into the kind of full-on vampishness that would make Beyonce beam with pride. You’re nervous about your date — the fifth or sixth with this particular gentleman — but it’s more of a butterflies-in-the-tummy excitement than tax-time jitters. You like him. A lot.

But as soon as you open the door to let your new beau inside, your kids bumrush you at the foyer. Please don’t go, they beg. They don’t like him. And though they don’t come out and say it, you can already tell: they’re going to make dating him a little slice of hell.

I’ve never had the experience myself — thankfully The Girl has been a fan of the two men I’ve had relationships with in her lifetime. Anybody in between didn’t get close to the honor of meeting her. That’s actually how a dude could tell if he was in there for the long haul or not: if he met my child, he was probably going to get the boyfriend job.

I don’t believe in introducing kids to just any ol’ body, particularly because little (and sometimes bigger) ones have a tendency to get attached and a breakup, though it might be par for the course with their mama, could be confusing and hurtful to the children. That’s rough, so why put your kids through it unnecessarily? Besides that, it should be a privilege for a man to meet your kids, not part of a run-of-the-mill dating routine.

But I do have a friend who’s living this scenario. When she started seeing a new guy after breaking up with her youngest son’s father, her boys would frown up their faces every time dude would come to pick her up. Tantrums would fly, the silent treatment would be in full effect, and they weren’t above hiding her keys if they knew she was going out with him. She laughs telling stories about their love-blocking antics, even though it makes me frazzled just hearing about them. But it also makes her wonder if she’s missing something. Is it possible that they’re just picking up on a vibe that she isn’t getting?

Dating a man your children don’t approve of or flat out don’t like can make a mama feel like she’s straddling the peace and happiness she tries to maintain at home and the enjoyment she gets from adult time with her boo. It can be a knee jerk reaction to either drop new dude faster than a bag of bricks because little Simone or Shamar doesn’t dig him or dismiss a child’s feelings because they’re young and don’t know any better (and because mommy deserves to be happy too, right?) But kids do need to be comfortable with the man their mother is serious about — which brings me back to my point about not introducing children if the relationship isn’t looking long-term.

Instead of arguing with them, I think a mother with one foot in the dating world should ask her tots why they don’t like The Mister. The whole brouhaha could come from a couple of different reasons. Maybe they just don’t like change. Maybe they’ve seen their mom get hurt and they don’t want her fall into another hot mess. Maybe they don’t have enough time with her as it is and they think a boyfriend is going to cut into it even more. Or maybe, just maybe, their intuition tells them that he’s actually not so hot.

My friend is still seeing her man and the kids eventually warmed up to him. I mean, they’re not cuddling in front of a fireplace reading bedtime stories with warm cocoa at nights, but at least her three-year-old doesn’t run through a whole box of Kleenex begging her to stay home anymore.

I guess after a heart-to-heart, a mama can decide whether it’s worth it to keep her guy or if she and the children can work through it, especially if she really likes him. Shoot, you can’t just be tossing good men away like carryout containers in this day and age. It’s rough out there in the dating world and if he’s got a job, all his teeth, his good sense, a clean criminal record, and a modicum of common sense, let’s work that out.

Would you continue to date a man if your kids didn’t like him?

Image via Danail Nachev/Flickr

dating, dating mom, love, online dating, single moms

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thudt... thudthud88

oh my god...my life right now with my mom and im 22! i loathe her her new "fiance" who moved into my parent's home after theyve been dating all of 6 months. And a whole month later theyre engaged. Oh ps he was married when my mom met him. Now since I'm grown she thinks its none of my business and im just mean because i want to "fight their love" . she said she lived her whole life for us so we have no right to question her life now when im honestly looking out for her. ive never been rude to him ive just had it with the way she acts now its like hes changed her. i think your friend needs to reevaluate her actions. she might not even realize that shes different now that she has a new man and her kids dont like it. 3 or 22, you can pick up on that

Samal... Samallama

My SO went through this with his mom and her boyfriend many a year ago. He hated her boyfriend, and in the end turned out to be right about him. Acted all lovey dovey with her and then 3 months after being married got caught with another woman.


I say, listen to your kids, take note of what their intuition tells you, but don't do whatever the heck they say.


 


I liked this article, it's a very interesting topic, I'll be interested to see what the other commenters have to say. 

Pua Smith

I would always listen to my kids. I'm not divorced, but if something were to happen, I would never date anyone my kids didn't like. And they wouldn't meet every Joe Schmoe. It would be a good few dates before he ever picked me up at my house and saw them, and when he did, if they told me they didn't like him, I probably would go on that date and end it. I would imagine that being with someone who your kids hated would create a lot of resentment for everybody. That isn't a loving family environment that I would want to create for them.

nonmember avatar Sean

I have to disagree with Samallama. I am over 40 years old and have hated several of my mother’s former boyfriends/husbands. It had much more to do with me than them. For the first 3+ years of my life it was just my mother and me. There was no way I was going to give the "interloper" a chance. I even told my former step dad that "just because you are f...ing my mother dose not mean that you have any authority over me. Fast-forward 25 years and we now have a great relationship, it just took some adjustments. It might sound cruel but I think that your friend should just tell the kids to "get over it" and go spend some quality time with another adult. Just my opinion I could be wrong.

jelly... jellyphish

The age of the kids plays a role in my opinion of this. The younger the kids the more their opinion should matter. And I'm a big fan of the idea of waiting until you've been seeing a man for at least six months before introducing them.

nonmember avatar shane

I really don't see why a single woman with young kids needs to introduce dates to her kids at all. I am a single mother to a toddler and when the time comes for me to date again, I will organize things so my son is somewhere else when I get dolled up and go out, whether or not the man comes to my door. I don't plan on letting anyone meet my son until I know for certain that it's serious. Not only is it strange that my son would see me looking sexy for a man that is not his father, it would be unfair to have him form attachments to people that aren't going to be around.

GlowW... GlowWorm889

Children are excellent judges of character. Whereas adults often would like to think the best of other adults, children do not have such moral standards and therefore act on instinct. If my child did not like someone I was dating, I would take that as a major red flag that something is seriously not right with this man. Your job as a parent is to protect your child. I wouldn't want someone my child felt uneasy with around my child. That's not me doing my job.

Kasey Comingore

i had, and still have, have an issue with my dad's gf.  they started dating when 1 was 15-16. i really never did like her, but i gave her a chance for the first couple of months.  she is flaky, and in my opion, flat out crazy.  but my parents had a wonderful relationship, and when my mom passed away, i never even thought he would date anyone else.

Julie Carlson

That is such a catch-22. I once got into a situation where I dated someone who also has a son, age 9. He strongly dislikes me mostly because of our parenting differences. He is allowed to drink soda (by dad and family) from dawn to dusk in spite of cavities. His diet consists only one item, chicken because all he has to do is turn on the waterworks and he gets what he wants on demand. He is allowed to watch adult themed movies, nudity and all (think American Pie or a B-movie horror flick) as long as he buries his head when asked to. Grown ups usually are not paying much attention to that. My parenting style requires a balanced diet, age appropriate viewing, etc. I do give the kids a voice but with the understanding that I am the parent and will make the final decision period. I think it is important to understand the root cause of why either partners children may dislike the other as opposed to making their opinions the sole deciding factor.

the4m... the4mutts

I agree with julie about considering WHY the kids don't like the new SO.

My kids didn't want me with anyone but their dad. End of story. Even female friends, they had a fit when I would go anywhere without them, unless it was their dad. My ex husband and I tried to work it out, and the kids were happy being left with gma while I went out with daddy, but not with anyone else.

They got over it quickly. I dated someone for 6 months, he moved in, and tough shit if they didn't like it. They're my kids, not my bosses. After only 1 month of living with my SO, they loved him. It was just post-divorce pissyness

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