Dating is hard enough. When you throw kids into the mix, it gets even harder. When do you tell your date you have children? When do you introduce the kids and the date? When do you even find time to date? Well, here are a few suggestions from those in the know:
Revealing Your Parental Status
Whether or not you tell your date about your children and when you choose to tell them is a personal decision. Particularly if your children are small, this is something you should be upfront about. You wouldn’t want anyone you’re dating to think you were trying to hoodwink them or conceal something of vital importance in your life. A single person without children of may not be ready to get involved with a single parent, but a fellow single parent would likely be drawn to that person.
There are situations, however, when not being quite so upfront could prove to be of value. Not that you should ever lie or try to hide your parental situation, but if you can hold onto your cards for perhaps the first 2-3 dates, you may have a better chance with someone who may otherwise have made a decision not to date you based solely on the fact that you have children. If they have time to get to know you and recognize that they like you for you, they may end up feeling more willing to make a go of things once you do reveal your parental status. Tread very carefully in this situation, however. We should all be given ample opportunity to decide for ourselves what we want. If the person you’re dating gets the impression you lied to them, they may decide they don’t like you all that much after all.
Introducing Kids and Dates
As a general rule, the decision of when to introduce your kids to your date will probably depend more on your child’s age than anything else. A child of a reasonable age, say 16 and up is probably mature enough to handle meeting a parent’s date. Just be careful about how your conduct your dates. If you’re dating a different person every week, maybe it’s not such a good idea to constantly parade in a series of ever-changing faces in front of a child of any age. It can be over-whelming. Younger children are even more impressionable and should be shielded fairly heavily. When you do go out, just let your children know you’re going out with a friend. If you decide to commit to someone special and it’s been a few months of dating in a healthy stable relationship, that would be the time to start slowly bringing your date around your children.
Once you have introduced the kids and the date, proceed with caution. Don’t do too much too soon. Give your child time to get used to a new person in your life, and give your date time to get used to them. It’s not always a perfectly smooth transition and can lead to feelings of jealousy on either side. Just be patient and loving, and ensure either party – child or date – that you care about them and they are important regardless of how many special people you have in your life.