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You Asked: When Should My Daughter Meet My Boyfriend?

Dear Sugar,

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

To see DearSugar's answer,


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.


Join The Conversation
beegril beegril 9 years
You have been dating this guy on and off throughout the years. I think its time to find out if you can take it to the next level. You need to be clear with him about you wanting them to meet, but he also needs to know that you are not asking him to be your childs new dad. Whether her real dad wants to be in the picture or not she also needs to know that you are not looking for a dad for her. Her dad will always be her dad even if we didn't pick the right dad for them (myself included). If this guy has been in the picture long enough I'm sure he'll know that. Good luck to you! I am curious to find out how this all works out to you since I am stepping onto that boat myself.
Lanfear Lanfear 9 years
Berlin - my thoughts exactly. I also see the chance that he might feel that if you do not offer for them to meet he should not pressure you.
Berlin Berlin 9 years
Like the other posters said...8 is very different from 3. At that young of an age of course she'd get attached fast. But at 8? She's fine and can handle it, just make sure you let her ask all the questions and make her feel very comfortable. Have you ever thought that he may be wondering why you haven't mentioned him meeting her? It's your daughter therefore your responsibility to say "hey, come meet her" rather than leaving it up to him. Maybe he's thinking that you don't feel that he's the one you want to keep around and that's why YOU have not brought him into her life. He could not be bringing it up because he doesn't want to pressure you. Only you can judge that for yourself since we don't know anything about him or the situation, but it could be that it's your fault and not because he doesn't care or isn't interested. He could assume you'll bring her around when you are ready. ..Just a thought:)
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
Why have you been screwin' this guy all this time and he has shown no interest in meeting your kiddo? I dunno. at first i was like, "let her meet him. it'll be okay", but now that i think about it, i'm hesitant. as for your babe's (the child)feelings, i think she's old enough for you to be straight up with her. when i was 8 the biggest things that would piss me off was if adults tried to sugar coat things that I even as a child understood. Mommy has been going out with Jared. Jared is very nice and I really like him. I hope that you will like him as much as i do, because i value your opinion. how do you feel about that? unless she's traumatized from past boyfriends, she probably be excited to meet him . . .especially if it's a day at Knott's Berry Farm or something that kids do for fun. She's 8, she'll ask you things when it comes up. be honest with her. I wouldn't have him spending the night just yet. there's nothing wrong with being a sexually liberated woman, but your daughter doesn't need that lesson yet (smirks). Plus, we don't know how much we can really trust ol' buddy around your daughter yet. I think if you keep it real with baby girl, and make sure you beau isn't a commitment-phobe. Kids = BIG commitment.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I think that you should introduce them but make sure you aren't giving her the impression that he's going to be her new daddy. At 8 she's old enough to understand dating a little bit. I would not let him spend the night or tell her you'll be spending the night with him if you get to that point. Tell her he's your friend and don't infiltrate him into everything in her life especially not all at once. He'll probably feel awkward about meeting her so just take the pressure off by having them meet somewhere other than your home and make the meeting short. See how they feel about each other and then gradually have them start spending a little more time together.
kmh5424 kmh5424 9 years
I really think that you should take Dear's advice on this one, and make sure that the first time they meet, that it is kept pretty casual and what not. I am a single mother as well, and while my son's father is a consistent presence in his life, I have only introduced him to one person I have dated since his dad and I split up (almost two years ago), and that is my current boyfriend (of about six months). I told him very early on before we even started dating that the man that I would introduce to my son would have to be someone who was going to have to be a serious, long term presence in both our lives and he will be. He actually introduced me to his kids before meeting my son, but so far, so good. Hopefully, your boyfriend will be excited to meet and spend time with your daughter as well. I know it is scary, my son attaches to people pretty easily, and he always wants to see my boyfriend and his kids too (they are all prety close in age) but it was a leap of faith that I had to take.
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