I am 29 years old, and I have been with my boyfriend (also 29) officially for almost a year — we dated off and on for about four years. I'm a single parent of a beautiful 8-year-old daughter and I have been toying with the idea of the two meeting, but I am just not sure when. I have been very cautious because my daughter has not seen her father since she was two (and even then she only met him two or three times), which is his choice not mine. I dated a guy a few years back and he met my daughter right way (she was three a the time). We ended abruptly, but for months she wondered where he went and I'm worried that she'll get attached again. If things don't work out between us, I don't want it to be a huge disappointment for her.
Also, he has never once asked me to introduce them, and that makes me kind of worried that he's not ready or doesn't want to. How should I bring up them meeting? Any thoughts would help.
— Tricky Introductions Tess
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Dear Tricky Introductions Tess,
Unfortunately, inviting any man into your daughter's life runs the risk of leaving her disappointed if something doesn't work out, but eventually it's a step you'll have to take. However, because of that constant risk, it's all the more important that the men you introduce to your daughter are committed to being a positive influence in her life whether it's for a day, a year, or a lifetime. If you've known this man for over four years and have been committed to him for nearly a year without an expressed interest from him to meet the most important person in your life, I have to say that something does seem a bit off.
Though it may just be a matter of his own insecurities from the idea of being present in a child's life, it's absolutely something that needs to be addressed before you consider letting the two meet. Give him the opportunity to reveal his concerns, fears, and weaknesses. I certainly hope none of what he discloses is a deal-breaker, but do keep in mind that if he can't be a supportive person to your daughter then he's not someone you want around — trust me on that.
If he's open and excited about the chance to get to know her then the next step is talking to your daughter. Make sure she understands that you will always be her first priority and that she can always come to you if she has questions or concerns. It's also a good idea to ease both of them into it, so once they meet for the first time, don't suddenly make it an everyday occasion. Move slowly and cautiously — the balance between being a mom and having a social life isn't easy — so no matter what, keep the lines of communication open.