Dating when you've got kids? It's complicated and then some.
There's no shortage of big questions to consider when getting back into the dating scene as a divorced parent, and perhaps no question is more complicated than that of when to introduce the kids to your date. Do it too soon, and you're liable to confuse your kids if it doesn't work out. Wait too long, and you run the risk of finding out that your partner isn't great with kids.
HuffPost Divorce readers are all too familiar with this parenting dilemma. Over on our Facebook page, they recently let us know what goes into their thought process when they consider making introductions. Some put a number on it (wait at least a year, one parent said), while others with teenagers said they let the kids weigh in on the dating process.
Scroll down to read all the responses, then head to the comments and tell us when you think parents should start making introductions.
- "It depends on the kids' ages, how long you've been divorced and where your kids are emotionally with the divorce. But in general, there's no need to introduce your kids to anyone unless the relationship is one that's going to last with talk of a future together."
- "Introduce them as soon as you even start to consider getting serious. The interaction with the kids will help you decide if he/she is worth another step toward commitment. That doesn't mean overnights or PDAs, just 'friend' behavior. If your potential partner can't respect that, or they are lousy with kids, then kick them to the curb. You are a parent first."
- "After it's been at least a year with no doubts in your mind about your significant other. You don't want to damage your children by having them potentially get attached to someone that wouldn't be there for the long haul."
- "It depends on the age of the kids. I felt that it was important for my teenaged daughters to watch me go through the dating and selection process."
- "Kids should not be exposed to their parents' revolving-door romantic lives. Saddling kids with attachment issues of their own while their parents are looking for 'the one' is a bad idea. At the same time, kids should be involved in any decision that will affect them; to tell your kids, 'we're engaged,' when they don't even know the prospective spouse is just cruel. What if they hate the idea? Every situation is different and having a professional involved to navigate everyone's feelings seems essential."
- "You can't quantify the passage of time. Look at the quality of the relationship, then decide if you should make the introductions."
- "Don't wait too long to introduce the kids. What if you get emotionally involved with someone, wait months for him to meet your child, and then come to find out the man has no interest in your child after they meet? You've just wasted months of your life and your emotional investment in a person."
- "You need to have put in six months, minimum!"
- "It depends. I would say long after becoming exclusive, definitely after the first exchange of 'I love you,' and very shortly after the couple discusses the long-term commitment of living together or getting married. You want to be sure you'll stay together for longer than a hot minute. For me, it was around 9-12 months of dating."
- "I have heard professionals say parents should wait until the engagement before introducing the children, but that seems impractical. I think you should introduce them as long as you are confident in the character of the person you are with. It is important for your children to see you happy."