Perfect timing – when should your kids meet the new girlfriend?

Ever notice that furniture companies offer ‘90 days same as cash financing’, most stores hold you to a ‘90 day return policy’, and the new job’s health insurance doesn’t start for 90 days?  Why not 54 or 218 days? Apparently three months is the time necessary for the human animal to make a conscious commitment to a product, service, and in some cases a job. While this nuance may serve some business practicality, I’m of the opinion that this principle may apply to other areas of our life as well.

When a couple begins dating everybody is on their best behavior. He’s diligently calling and texting just to say ‘Hi’, ‘I miss you’, ‘Can’t wait to see you’, and she’s careful not to complain if he leaves the toilet seat up; though both behaviors may be completely out of the norm. But by the third month he has probably farted in front of her and she has likely had a PMS meltdown. At this point he’s referred to her, vocally or mentally, as a b*tch and chances are high she’s complained to her girlfriends about how big of a d*ck he was the other night. Most homo sapiens are able to keep up a charade for about a month, but eventually the spots on the bathroom mirror start getting noticed. The news of a couple breaking up in the first month lands a different reaction than the couple who broke up after 6 months. It appears we subconsciously think that if a pair can make it 90 days they should be able to make it much longer.

Being a divorced parent makes dating as simple as Differential Calculus. The factors to consider are almost endless. For example, do I date women with or without kids? If with, how old or young should they be compared to my own? If not, does she want her children and if she does do I want any more? Even if we’re blessed enough to actually stumble upon someone with most of our requirements, we are still faced with the potential land mind of bringing the kids into our little love fest.

When a single dad decides he is going to date someone ‘seriously’ (as in committed, as in not seeing anyone else), it’s a big deal! He’s hopefully considered how the girlfriend might handle his kids and how they will get along with her? And the same factors should be considered if she’s also a parent. Plus, how will the ex react to his new love interest being around her kids or will a restraining order be necessary?  But with all of the factors to consider, from my experience, the majority of men put more thought into their choice of underwear than who they should introduce to their children.

We forget youngsters tend to get attached very quickly. It’s kind of like a dog without the crotch sniffing or dry humping; if you like someone chances are your kids are going to like them too. But children don’t understand the finer points of casual dating or friends with benefits; all they know is that there is a woman hanging around the house, she’s really nice, and daddy really likes her. When suddenly the new woman isn’t hanging around anymore they’re left confused, scratching their heads, and wondering what happened. Even today, my kids occasionally ask about a past relationship from over three years ago.

An advantage to divorcing when my little ones were still in diapers was that relationship mulligans were in ample supply.  Since their little brains were at the developmental stage of a garden gnome, I suffered minimal damage from my plethora of dating snafus. But fortunately I came to my senses before they got out of sippy cups and started living by a rule that served me well.

No mixing girlfriends and kids for 90 days.

As a single papa I have the dating life and the daddy life. And mixing them before it’s time is like premature ejaculation which isn’t enjoyable and is embarrassing. I knew a dad who started having his new girlfriend sleep over, with the kids there, after their first month together. The relationship didn’t make it through month two and he was left to explain to his kids and his ex-wife why she wasn’t around anymore

There is always a risk that single parents take when they bring someone new into their lives and that of their children. Unfortunately we have other people to think about and there are no guarantees that after 3 or 6 months the relationship has staying power, but giving a new relationship time to marinate makes the odds better than at any Vegas casino.

For the single mommas out there, this is an equal opportunity concept.

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11 responses to Perfect timing – when should your kids meet the new girlfriend?

  1. AMEN BROTHER! I am dealing with this issue as we speak! My little man understands that the ladies come and the ladies go. I actually think that witnessing the revolving door could be preparing him for his future dating life a little better than I was being raised in a two parent home. I was under the impression as a teenager that all relationships should be like a solid chick flick including the happy ending. Even still, I have learned the hard way that I shouldn’t bring someone new around him for awhile. He always asks what happened to them and it gets tough to explain. I just tell him that I’m very picky and that my time is to important to spend with just anyone. There certainly haven’t been many that have lasted for 90 days!

  2. Starthrower

    ok Let me throw this out to you Chopper Papa and Brett, I am dating a wonderful man recently divorced within the past two years and his youngest 13 still doesn’t want to see daddy with anyone else. His oldest feels dad should do what he’s gotta do. We’ve been dating for over a year now. Long past the 90 days which hey, I knew nothing about!! He’ll wait until the younger one is ready. Are young girls of single dads ever going to be ready? Especially, if they have this issue to begin with? I have been ok with it because I’m in no rush but my daughter would love it if we could all hang out. Another fear this great daddy has is, say we do all hang out, he won’t be able to show me affection in front of her because what if we don’t work out and he meets someone else and brings her around in 90 days. Won’t his daughters wonder WTF? My thought is, shouldn’t it be understood that dad’s dating by that point? Can this dad be being too protective? Just looking for a daddy’s point of view. I know from your recent post CP that you wonder how far to take being a good dad. Thanks for your thoughts on this. Great blog.

  3. Starthrower, From what I can tell you have yet to meet his children? Correct? If so, at 13 and older they are far enough along to formulate their own opinions about dating and such. If he is, in fact, holding off from letting his daughter(s) know that he is dating someone (which by reading I assume is the case) then I have to put the ownership on him. He has to take the parent role here and not the other way around. HE first needs to find out from 13 year old what exactly is the problem, why does she have this issue with him and another woman? Is she threatened or something else?. Secondly the affection issue, while I can appreciate his situation. His children aren’t young kids. THey must eventually find out that he is dating some one else, that he has the right to have a fulfilling relationship just like they will someday want to have. I get the sense there is some feeling of guilt on his part, are you aware of any? Why does he feel the need to shelter her so much? I would understand if he was traipsing multiple women into their lives but that apparently isn’t the case here. There is something more, have you had discussions with him about this. Please respond I’d love to see if I am understanding your situation thus far.

  4. Anonymous

    Hi, Thanks for the quick reply. I have met his children twice. They have met my kids once. I’m just not sure why he shelters her from seeing us together. I understand how she must feel. But knowing that we have been seeing each other now for over a year, I was wondering if I was just not understanding the daddy/daughter connection. He hates to see her get upset when he brings up his dating. I don’t know. It’s all new to me. I was just wondering what another dad might think. I have to reach out to gain understanding because I don’t know many dads with this same thing going on. I decided that I’m done asking him when we can all hang out together. In fact it was my daughter that asked him when recently. But we’re patient. I just can’t help but wonder when this waiting begins to be unhealthy for her and him. Thanks for your insight~ Starthrower

  5. I personally think he needs to take ownership of the relationship with her. She seems to be dictating the terms and that can certainly be unhealthy. The real concern is what is driving his need to shelter her, get to the bottom of that and I think you can begin to find some common ground and have a real dialogue. I don’t want to see your patience turn to frustration if you don’t begin to see the change you are looking for. You have the right to be seen as a part of his life, not just so when they aren’t around. I feel that it sends the wrong message to you, your kids, and to his children. He’s taken the exact opposite approach of most men who just bring anyone they date into their kids lives immediately, that too is unhealthy. And to your last point, this is more than a daddy/daughter relationship, I still feel that there may be a bit of underlying guilt which may be driving his behavior and attitude towards your relationship. I think I’ll use this general theme in an upcoming post and a similar personal experience. Thanks and good luck!

  6. […] And above all else, and I can’t type this loud enough, don’t do any of this until you’ve had a chance to get to know her and she’s had time to learn about you. I see so many of my buddies introduce their latest ‘girlfriend’ to the kids after the second date only to end up dumping her two weeks later because she’s actually deranged. For more observations on that I’ve written here about when the right time is to introduce the kids to the new girlfriend. […]

  7. Peter Papageorgiou

    Here is my situation…
    My second serious relationship started six months after my first divorce. I made the “mstake” of bringing her into my life a month after or so. She met y kids (no kids of her own) They seemed to get along fine (she was also 12 years younger than me) Seven months later she was pregnant and we married just beofre she had our beautiful son… our relationship unfortunately never fully “recovered” ad we are going through our divorce now. about 14 months ago I fell in love with another woman. It is serious. we are still together although we don’t see as mch of each other as we wold want. She has a 7 year ld son who is ood pals with my 5 1/2 year old. I get along fine with her son… we meet on a friendly basis and enjoy various activities with the kids. She unfortunately has not been able to get rid of her “husband” yet…(“husband” because they are not actually married just living together albeit in different parts of the house and not sleeping together for over two years…) Hopefully this will be resolved soon… However my ex is not keen on our meeting with the kids even though our rletinship is now counting 14 months… what is your opinion Chopperpapa?

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