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What's the Right Way for a Divorced Mom to Introduce a New Man to Her Kids?

by Aunt Becky on November 26, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Remember that old adage "it takes half the time you were together to get over a breakup"? I do. I also think it's a pile of horse poo.

Now let me be clear here: I'm in the middle of a divorce and have absolutely no intention of dating for a good long while. I'm enjoying having some time alone, time I can spend rediscovering myself and learning who I am now. After nine years of marriage, I have a lot of rediscovering to do.

But I still don't think it's going to take me five years to date again. Even though I am a single parent.

I know the idea of dating a mom who has three wonderful bouncing babies (although they'd murder me with a pickax if I dared call them "babies" to their faces) can be off-putting to a lot of guys. I get that - kids come with an extra layer of complexity and can be a bit messy. But frankly, I consider anyone who doesn't think my kids are awesome unworthy of my time.

When I do begin to date again, I will make one thing crystal clear: my kids don't need a father. They have a wonderful father, which means that I'm not looking for a male role model for my children. I'm not looking for a "just add water" insta-family, and any man who wants one is better off looking somewhere else.

I've thought a lot about how I'd introduce a new man to my children, and I've come up with a few ground rules.

The kids won't meet anyone I'm seeing until it's actually serious because I have no desire for them to get attached to someone who doesn't plan to stick around.

I'll also not allow my guy to sleep over when I have the kids staying with me, and not just because I have a one-bedroom apartment. The time I have with my children is sacred to me and I don't want any "stranger" or new guy to get in the way of that. Plus, it makes me feel icky just thinking about it.

I'll be sure to explain my situation to a new partner early on in the relationship. I have nothing to hide and nothing to gain from pretending to be someone I'm not, and anyone who is worth my time will appreciate me as I am.

The most important thing I can do as a dating mom is to make sure my children know they're my No. 1 priority. It's what's most vital for me ... and my kids.

How have you handled dating after divorce? Any tips and tricks for a dating mom?

 

Image via USAG-Humphreys/Flickr

Filed Under: dating mom, divorce

Comments

9
  • Austi...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Austin Keenan

    November 26, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    I'd be more worried about explaining the breakup.    Their dad is in their life forever but your new man might not be,   particularly if you're so sure you don't want him to be any kind of father figure.   Somehow you need to prepare them for that because they're going to bond with him in some fashion.


  • Venae
    --

    Venae

    November 26, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    What's the Right Way for a Divorced Mom to Introduce a New Man to Her Kids?

     

    There isn't one.  Raise your kids - they don't need you giving up the time you have w/them for some dude.

    Plus, chances are greater that a 2nd marriage ends in divorce - so give them a new daddy, make another baby or two, divorce that guy, all your kids go off on various weekends to their different daddies - who probably also have other kids w/other mommies - makes for a very chaotic and unhappy household.


  • SaphireH
    --

    SaphireH

    November 26, 2012 at 9:37 PM
    I had no issues introducing my then 3 year old son to my then new boyfriend they bonded quickly and 4 years later they are the best of friends and I did get married to him plus gave my son a brother and a sister while my husband became an amazing father figure to him since his dad only wants time with him is to get child support from me since he lied to get more time than me when I'm the one who cares about him.
  • PonyC...
    --

    PonyChaser

    November 26, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    OR... see him at first on the weekends that you don't have the kids around. And with the wonderful world of computers and cellphones, you can still privately maintain contact with him during your 'kid time' - after they've gone to bed, for example.

    Depending on the age of your children, and how you've raised them, they'll understand when you explain to them that Mommy gets some time alone with HER friends, too... that children are not the only ones who get to have friends over and have special time with their friends.

    The balance to maintain, in my opinion, is to ensure that you are not depriving your children of you. If you and your husband were still together, would you sacrifice your relationship with him to give ALL of your waking time to your children? No! You'd likely have 'Date Nights' with him, you'd have your own time together after the kids are in bed, etc. Then why shouldn't a divorced mother do that? Why should she have to sacrifice her own time, give up her adult relationships? It's possible to have adult relationships and still be an excellent, available, and loving parent.


  • julie...
    --

    julie21210

    November 26, 2012 at 11:18 PM
    After I split with my sons father (who is not a #1 dad) I had a few basic rules for new guys and new relationships. 1. My Son (who is autistic btw, which presents a few extra challenges) and all of his needs came first, and I made that clear from the very beginning. 2.)the ex will always be part of the pic. If you are the kind of person who is insecure and listen to someone talk about an ex, it won't work. But he is only in the pic bc of our child. 3.) 3-6 month of exclusive dating. The time period would be a case by case. I figured I would know when it was the right time, and right guy. And I did. I was picky tho because I was looking for a father figure. And I found him, and he takes care of me and my son and loves us both and we both love him and that's really all I can ask for
  • Cel7777
    --

    Cel7777

    November 26, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    Ponychaser, the voice of reason once again :-)


  • HS
    -- Nonmember comment from

    HS

    November 27, 2012 at 10:04 AM
    Like Venae said, there is no right way. After that, Venae can go suck on a fat one. And everything Ponychaser wrote. I was never married to my son's father but we were in a r'ship for 3 years before having our son. Once our son came along, he left. I've been single ever since, 4+ years. I've dated but I've developed a low tolerance for men and get tired of them quickly. The only "ground rule" I maintain is to let every guy I go on a date with know that I have a child. Even before a first date in convos leading up to said date. I don't go on and on about my son but I make sure to let them know he exists.
  • Fondue
    --

    Fondue

    November 27, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    Venae--once again the voice of idiocy.  Are you saying a mother should never again date or have a social life until her children are grown and out of the house?  Yeah, that's healthy.


  • Kevin...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Kevin Kirkeby

    November 28, 2012 at 12:56 PM
    @Fondue This is no longer about your social life or YOUR need for companionship. It is about what is best for the children. They've already had their world turned upside-down, and you want to further screw them up with introducing new men (or women, if you're a divorced father) and subjecting them to the loss of your time and attention? It's self-absorbed, little twits like you that have ruined the last two to three generations of kids.
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