Letter: My New Man and My Children

Letters From Readers

Dear Susan:
I have been divorced for one year and I met a wonderful man.  We have been dating for three months and are getting ready to take our relationship to the next level.  I have not introduced him to my children who are 5 and 9.  We would like to spend weekends together, to include sleepovers. What do you think?
Thanks in advance for your answer.
Lisa

Dear Lisa,
First, I want to congratulate you on meeting a wonderful man. It sounds like you gave yourself some time to reflect before you dated and now you have met a great guy.
Dating, as you know, is very different now that you have children than when you were a single woman.  Your children are very young and your new relationship will have a tremendous impact on them.
Let’s take a look at the situation from two perspectives; one if the relationship is fleeting and one if it is ultimately the one which you will spend the rest of your life in.  If it is fleeting and your children become attached to your new boyfriend, there will be another loss for them when it does not work out.  When your boyfriend sleeps over, he invades their living space. You feel comfortable with your boyfriend sleeping over but  I promise you that your children will not.   Again, if you are in a Toxic Divorce situation, you are playing with fire.  Do the sleepovers with your boyfriend when your children are with your ex-husband.
My suggestion is to introduce your boyfriend to your children casually.   Slowly, involve him with the children and take cues from the children so that the relationship between your boyfriend and them grows organically.  As for sleepovers,  I personally don’t think there should be sleepovers until you are close to, or are engaged but, that’s just me.
Keep us informed on how it goes.
Susan