When it comes to dating, one of the toughest challenges single moms face is introducing a new partner to their children. As Circle of Moms member Krystal F. remembers, “I was a single mom of two girls when I met my fiancee and it was not easy to get my girls wrapped around the idea that someone else was going to be in the picture.”
To make the process easier, single moms on the front lines of dating offer tips on how to approach this all-important introduction.
1. Reassure Your Kids They're Top Priority
A key part of preparing your children to meet a new partner is reassuring them that they are still your top priority. As Krystal F. recalls, “At first they tried to say that he was going to take all my time away from them. I talked with them and with him and we took it real slow. Three years later we are all happy."
Candace Y. relays a similar experience: "I have had a conversation with my daughter, letting her know that she is my number one. I even offered to make more time with her if ... that is what she needed. She needs constant reassurance.”
2. Wait Until It's Serious
Even after you make the decision to date and get your kids accustomed to the idea that new people might be showing up in your life, you should still be cautious about who you let in.
“Don’t bring a host of new men in and out of your kid’s lives,” says Jill F. “It's very easy for a child to get attached, and having people coming in and out of their lives is very difficult."
Most moms agree you should wait until you're "serious," but just what that means is a bit vague. “I have heard people say to not introduce the kids until you are engaged," notes Eileen. “I happen to think that is totally unrealistic. You kind of want to know someone inside and out before you get engaged, and your kids are part of you. I would say that you should wait until you are actually in a relationship. I wouldn't have him hanging out with you and your kids all weekend until it's pretty much a sure thing.”
Others say a good gauge to use in evaluating whether or not to introduce a particular boyfriend to your kids is how he feels about the idea that you're already a mom. “Weed out the ones who can't handle [that] you have a child,” says Christina C.
3. Wait Until Your Kids Are Ready
In addition to postponing an introduction until you're in a serious relationship, moms like Kerstin D. say you need to consider whether your child is ready: “How do the kids feel about a new boyfriend in theory? Are they delicate right now, or are they in a good place emotionally?" She adds: “I think you'll know in your gut when the best time is.”
Crystal F., meanwhile, suggests giving your child the choice: "I say always give your child the option on whether they are ready to meet mom's boyfriend, it worked for me..."
4. Expect an Adjustment Phase
Even after you’ve made the hurdle of an introduction, don’t expect everything to fall into place perfectly or immediately. It's almost always best to give the new relationships between your boyfriend and your kids time to grow at a pace that works for each person involved, says Amanda C.
“It will take time," she cautions, adding, "but my husband (once boyfriend) and I have been married for six years now, my oldest is 14 and we have two children together. It takes time, but just be patient, it will all work out in the end.”
What is the best way to introduce a new boyfriend to your kids?
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