Have a New Partner? When & How to Tell the Kids??

So, you’ve been dating someone for a while – perhaps several months, perhaps years – and the million dollar question is when and how to start blending them into the family??  It can feel daunting, for sure. 

In my case, I’ve been dating my boyfriend for years.  He has a couple kids.  We’ve been discussing how it should go for a while now but we were both a little scared to rock the boat I think – or maybe it was just me! 

My kids are well adjusted to their current family arrangements – a two family home, with a mom and a dad.  No boyfriends, girlfriends or step anybodies to add to the mix.  And that has been a good way to roll for a long time! :)  

It’s been over five years since their dad and I split up and so, in my case, there was no risk of introducing anyone new too soon!! 

Although, from all the reading I’ve done, and from various therapists and parents, the general recommendation is that you allow a year to pass before introducing a new partner into the family dynamic – for those of you who are faster than I am out of the gate! ;)

Several months ago, I introduced my boyfriend to my kids as a friend – and I was certain this was going to be the way I first introduced him.  Simply because I knew my kids had preconceived ideas about the fact that a boyfriend might eventually lead to a step-dad – which they aren’t pining for at this point, so I wanted to have my boyfriend and my kids start to develop a friendship without any labels involved :)  No pressure type thing.  Just let a relationship naturally develop.

And my kids are awesome and loving and friendly and believe that people are genuinely good :)  And my boyfriend is awesome too :)  So, they liked him right off the start -  he is an amazing cook and likes sports so it was easy to find activities to do together that were fun for everyone.

We even hung out together with all our kids, prior to them knowing we were actually dating.  And again, all the kids have a great time together!  It’s been a wonderful growing experience. 

And so the other day, I found myself telling the kids, rather spontaneously, that we are dating.  That he’s my boyfriend.  And they were surprised for a second and then said they didn’t really want a step-dad.  I told them that they definitely already have a dad and that they could think of my boyfriend as one more adult who is rooting for them as they grow up (like any other relative or friend of mine).  They thoughtfully took that in, nodded, and then got back to playing the game we were playing at the park. 

I’m sure there’ll be more random questions about it as the kids digest it some more, however I’m very happy with how it’s gone. 

So far, so good, as they say.

Wishing you all the best,

Lisa xo

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