One of the relationship questions I get that comes up often by my clients is about when to meet the kids. There are many factors to consider: the age of the child(ren), the length of time you are dating, the circumstances under which you met your partner and whether this is a serious relationship or leading to a more committed arrangement.
I remember when I was dating I really did not want to meet a child until I knew that our love relationship was exclusive, monogamous and moving in a direction of further commitment. However, one man I dated I met through a social/support group where we were all going though our divorces at the same time. He also had full custody of his son so he didn’t have the time apart like many divorced dads. So I did meet the son very early in our relationship. We told his 10 year old son that I was Dad’s friend and we were careful not show any physical affection when we were around his son. This was early in my dating history when I was separated and in the process of getting divorced in my mid thirties.
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One of my clients expressed that he met the child too early in the relationship and that as a couple they did not get enough one on one adult time. Most of their activities involved the child. He felt this was a mistake and would now set a boundary about not meeting the child(ren) so soon. This way he could get to know the woman without the distraction of the child to see if there was really a connection between them.
I also have heard stories about the person who is without children feeling attached to the children and then having to lose that relationship when the couple breaks up. It can be heartbreaking on both sides. So my dating advice to women and men is to err on the side of caution. Wait until you are dating exclusively and know
that you are moving towards a more committed arrangement before meeting the children.
It is important to see how well you get along with the child(ren) before considering engagement. I have seen relationship break up because of difficulties with the child and when children from both
sides don’t get along.
Believe it or not, older children (who get to vote) are more difficult to meet than younger children who are more open and accepting. One of my female clients was dating her boyfriend for two year before he would introduce her to his children who was in their late teens and in college. First, this man was afraid to have both of his worlds meet. He liked the situation with my client being as an oasis when just being the two of them. He did eventually introduce her to his children (they were curious about his girlfriend) and it worked out beautifully.
So each situation is different for each set of circumstances. When did you meet the kids of the person you were in a serious relationship? What were the factors that mattered to you when dating and children were in the picture? What worked and what didn’t?
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This inquiring relationship coach wants to know your answers to these questions and any comments you may have on this subject. (Click comment link at the end of this blog post)
Your relationship coach,