Kids, Dating, and Introductions

This will be a short rant. It’s not even really a rant when I think about it. I’m simply curious.

I see so many people talk about not introducing their kids to the people they’re dating. That’s fine, I suppose. No one says you have to introduce your kids to everyone you go out with. But these are the same people who insist to everyone else you shouldn’t introduce anyone you’re dating until you’ve been together at least six months; some even say twelve months.

Why?

I understand not introducing everyone you date as your kids’ new mommy or daddy. Definitely a bad thing to do. But simply introducing them? I don’t get it.

I knew of a single mom who said she didn’t introduce any of the people she dated to her two kids because she thought of dating as something she did for herself. She wasn’t planning on getting married or adding someone to the family so there was no need for anyone to meet them. She was completely upfront about the fact that she was selfish (her words) when it came to her dating life; she wanted something that was just for her and that she didn’t need to share with her daughters. If she was out on a date she wanted to forget about being a mom; she had no desire to blend her dating life with her life as a mom.

I understand that. It wasn’t that she had some moral objection to introducing her children to the men she sometimes dated; she felt it was unnecessary because she didn’t ever intend to merge any of these men into her life with her girls. But the people I’m talking about? They’re not objecting because they feel there’s no reason to introduce them. Instead they argue that introducing your dates to your children is confusing to them. More specifically, it’s confusing to them when Mommy (it’s almost always Mommy) introduces them to someone and she ends up not marrying him. He’s only around for a few weeks or a few months. You must wait until you know this relationship is serious.

Ok. Why?

Children have numerous people enter and exit their lives. Coaches that coach only a single season. Teachers that transfer schools after one school year. Neighbors and friends that move. They switch teams or move up in sports. They stop participating in activities because they’re no longer interested. They switch schools. They move and leave behind everything. They have different teachers, coaches, music teachers, etc. It’s not as though every child has a life that never involves any sort of change. I’m not sure any child has a life that involves no change. People are entering and exiting their lives all the time.

To be clear I don’t think it’s a good idea to move in your boyfriend (or girlfriend) of one week right after a breakup or divorce. I don’t agree with introducing them as “New Mommy” or “New Daddy”. Or even “Your other Mommy/Daddy”. But I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with simply saying, “Hey, kids! This is my friend, Joe. We’re going out for dinner tonight. I’ll be home in a few hours. Have fun with Aunt Ruby.”

I was going to follow in that woman’s footsteps- the one who was going to keep her dating life and her mom life separate. The mobster was going to be my little secret. He was going to belong to me and me alone. I wasn’t going to introduce the kids; I would simply spend a weekend away once in a while. I was going to keep my life with Picasso and Rock Star separate from my life with the mobster.

Do you know why I changed my mind? Because I didn’t want my kids to think that there was anything wrong with me dating. I didn’t want to have to hide the mobster. I didn’t want them to think dating after divorce meant you had to sneak around and that somehow I was doing something I should be ashamed of. I wanted to normalize the idea of me dating.

My kids have never met Harley. Almost 7 years after they found out their parents were divorcing due to Jerry Lee’s infidelity and they still have not met the woman that helped to destroy their lives as they knew them. They don’t want to meet her either, but the fact is their father has never once even tried to introduce them. He has never spoken to them about her, aside from admitting to Picasso that he had a girlfriend. He’s never spoken about her except to defend her when his daughter let him know she was posting all over social media about missing him being in her bed. He’s never attempted to broker a meeting despite running off to her house every single weekend for six months, and despite his kids knowing she existed. Harley is a dirty little open secret.

When I started dating, and realized this might get serious, I didn’t want them to think that there was anything wrong with me dating. And as stated above, I I didn’t want them to think I was ashamed of the mobster or that we were doing anything wrong.

We began texting towards the end of May, met for the first time June 9th. After we met up for the second time, later that month, I asked him if he’d like to meet my kids. When he came up again in July I asked Picasso if he wanted to meet him. I told him he didn’t have to if he wasn’t ready or didn’t want to, but if he did want to the mobster would love to meet him. Picasso told me he was interested in meeting him so we ended up going to breakfast together, I believe. Ironically, Rock Star was in Virginia that weekend so she didn’t get to meet him that weekend. Her introduction to him happened at the end of the summer when the mobster and his daughter came up over Labor Day weekend. And that was my first time meeting his daughter in person, although I’m pretty sure we had said hello over video chat.

Yes, my kids were older. His kids were older. Plus, we had many weekends away with just the two of us. I guess if our relationship had ended it wouldn’t really affect our kids because most of our time was spent together, without our kids.

Maybe if they had been younger and a bit more gullible I would have delayed making introductions. Maybe.

As it played out though I decided I wanted to teach my kids that me dating wasn’t some dirty little secret I needed to be ashamed of and hide. And I didn’t want them thinking the mobster was a dirty little secret either.

End of rant.

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