When Should Divorced Dads Introduce The New Girlfriend?

dating post-divorceBy Tara Lynne Groth

Divorce is the end of a relationship, but how soon should divorced dads introduce the next relationship to their children?

While co-parenting with their former spouse, adjusting to a new routine and establishing a separate household, dads may meet someone new whom they want to share their life and family with.

Children are adjusting too, and introducing a significant other too soon — or someone who is not a positive influence — can have damaging psychological and emotional effects.

Every mental health professional underscores the same rule: wait.

“Don’t hurry to introduce someone new to your kids,” says Aaron Welch, a licensed therapist with The Lifeworks Group in Winter Park, Fla. “The tendency is to be very excited that you’ve met someone you really like—especially after a tough divorce. Because of that excitement, people believe their kids will share that same feeling.”

Welch explains that children become attached to new people in their life. If the relationship doesn’t work out, then the bond the children established is broken. Kids begin to expect instability and will lose focus and attention in school work and their own friendships.

Welch is a firm believer in waiting until fathers and their new partners are committed for a long-term relationship.

Furthermore, you should be aware of any morality clauses that could be included in your child custody order that might prevent overnight guests when your kids are with you. This in and of itself could prevent your new girlfriend from getting to know your children. If you have any questions about whether or not your girlfriend is allowed around your kids, you should clarify with your divorce attorney so you avoid any potential legal issues.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

Even though it may take patience and time before children are introduced to a new partner, should divorced dads even talk about their dating life?

According to Dr. Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. (aka “Dr. Romance”), licensed psychotherapist and author of “The Unofficial Guide to Dating,” children should not have any clue that their parents are dating.

With 30 years of counseling experience, Dr. Tessina says, “Until the relationship is a serious one, children shouldn’t know about dad’s new partner.”

She stresses to fathers that they need to really think about what they’re looking for in a new partner. Fathers are not only looking for a partner for themselves, she explains, but also a stepmother for their children.

Dads need to learn as much as they can about their significant other before inviting them into their lives. And when dating, fathers should make it clear early on that they have children and they need to ask the right questions to learn exactly how their significant other feels about children.

If a father knows he’s found someone he can trust around his kids and is certain they will be present in his life for a long time, most experts recommend waiting at least six months before coordinating a meeting between children and the new partner.

Nancy Fagan, divorce consultant and owner of San Diego’s Divorce Help Clinic, says that six months is essential, but it must be six months of exclusive dating. For some families the time may be longer.

“If any of the children are still in pain over the separation or divorce, dads will need to wait longer,” Fagan says. This is to eliminate confusion while kids process their pain and grieve the loss of their former family unit.

Other situations prompt more time. Fagan stresses new partners who happen to be friends with the ex-wife, have a significant age difference, or are the first partner after a divorce are all very likely to upset children and the father’s former spouse. Relationships that share any of these features, more often than not, do not last.

If a father identifies with one of these situations, but they know their new partner is committed for the long haul and will be a good influence on his children, it’s best to wait much longer than six months to test the relationship on its own.

Read Related Article: “How To Introduce Your New Girlfriend To Your Kids


Tara Lynne Groth is a full-time freelance writer residing in Cary, North Carolina. Her work has appeared in places such as GO (AirTran Airways’ in-flight magazine), the Providence Journal and Chesapeake Family. Learn more about Tara by visiting her website www.taralynnegroth.com.

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67 comments on “When Should Divorced Dads Introduce The New Girlfriend?

    My husband left me for his ex wife, This was just 2 years of our marriage. The most painful thing as that I was pregnant with our second baby. I actually thought it was over that I lost it all until my best friend connected me to, I did everything I was asked to do and got a love spell to bring my husband back. My husband not only come back but also bought me a brand new car and we are going to bahamas next month for a week vacation. This is why his ex wife will not let us be in peace.

    My husband left me for his ex wife, This was just 2 years of our marriage. The most painful thing as that I was pregnant with our second baby. I actually thought it was over that I lost it all

    So, I’m trying to figure out how to make the best of my situation (and possibly do a little damage control). My divorce was finalized a little over a month ago, but my ex-wife and I have been living separately for a year. The divorce was completely cooperative (no attorneys involved) and her and I are on good terms (still help each other out, joint activities with our son, etc.). I have our 7 year old roughly every other weekend, sometimes a lot more, and I see him at least once during the week.

    The relationship my ex-wife and I had was basically non-existent for the last 4 years of our 9 years of marriage (essentially just cohabitating and paying bills while I finished school and worked, and thus feelings have been dead a long time). When we separated, we agreed that we were okay with each other seeing/dating new people. I honestly had no intent or real interest in dating anyone at the time, but I met a woman about 4 months ago and we have become very close. At first we were just friends and it wasn’t going to go further as she was moving away and we were both dealing with our own lives. Well, we stayed in regular contact and she is moving back this week and it could very likely turn into something more/long-term.

    Herein lies my worry. My son has already “met” her several times over video chat and enjoys talking to her and asks about her on occasion. At the time, I didn’t think anything of it because we were just two friends talking about our day. I don’t want to introduce him to her in person too soon and him get too attached in the event something happens, but I also don’t feel that abruptly cutting contact would be the best solution either. I’m not really sure what would be the best thing to do at this point. I appreciate any advice from anyone who has gone through something similar. Thank you!

    I’ll be honest, this advice is trash unless you take only the relevant bits and apply it to your unique situation.

    Waiting 6 months is a terrible idea, unless it’s immediately after the divorce and there is a real concern about damaging he child’s development. Otherwise if you’re dating someone new and it’s been a decent amount of time since the divorce, waiting 6 months to introduce them to your children has to be the worst general advice possible. That’s 6 months of basically lying to your children and 6 months of forcing your new partner out of your life when your children are around. Yea, the new person needs to know the need for patience, but no new relationship is going to survive if you can literally never see each other for half of the week… the same days (usually the weekend)… even the most well-meaning partner could understandably become jaded by that.

    If you’ve got a good situation with your ex (maybe consider talking to your ex about this first), and it’s been years since the divorce, I think it’s safe to introduce each other way before six months. If you’re both complete idiots and never talk about the future and expectations, then yes, that will likely blow up… but if you’re asking the right questions and having the right conversations with each other then earlier should be fine and I would argue, better.

    I’m not saying instantly, when you’re dating, or even within a few weeks of an exclusive relationship. But for some people 1 or 2 months might be enough… more might start to feel like you’re living a lie. 6 honestly sounds like a terrible idea.

    You could miss so many great chances to create positive memories while you’re trying to do everything “by the book” (a not so good book, it turns out)


    I totally agree you already wasted enough time in your marriage and they got divorced life is short enough I agree with you.. my deal is he was in a loveless marriage everybody was distant nobody talked it was like The Dead zone in his house gets a divorce and is 18 year old is told to accept his new girlfriend she’s a nice person and now the 1800 keeps threatening to leave cuz he doesn’t want to Dad’s girlfriend over he’s putting the guilt trip on his dad So dad hardly can see me.the dad says the eight-year-old is part of the equation of our relationship I said no it’s not he’s 18! He only talks to you when he wants something. 8 year old says his divorce is too hard on me I’d rather have you miserable dad that see you happy. The kid says I don’t want to have to explain to my friends why you have a girlfriend I can’t handle.. but the kids drinking all the time goes in and out of the house whenever he wants and the boyfriend and I took a break because I refuse to be last I should be number one

    I have been on both ends of this scenario. I have been the single mother dating a guy, I would introduce my daughter no problems. I am now divorced with 2 other children. My ex decided to take the kids to another country and I get visitations. His gf (whom he was with while we were married) is in the picture, I don’t mind if he introduces her or if they decide to live together. Now on my end, I am dating a single dad of 2 and I am treading very carefully on how to meet his kids. I also am worried about how the ex wife will handle this when she finds out he’s moved on.
    From my experience being the ex wife, I really don’t mind. That’s life. People move on. The children will be fine. You do what’s best for you. I feel like the ex wives here commenting are still having some unresolved feelings for the ex to mind so much. I’m ok if my ex husbands new gf gets called mom. My daughter called my husband (now ex) daddy so to me it’s very normal.
    Mommy’s you have to let him go and live your life. You have so much more fun ahead of you than to worry about what the ex is doing. Let him figure it out and do you. Geez, I lived and I enjoyed it. Your child will be happier to see you happy, not stressing over their father being with someone else. It’s irrelevant. Children are strong and they have survived far more harsher things than this and they will have much more harder things to get through in life SO be strong, you got this. It’s all good mama!

    Your point of view is interesting yet I would
    not cope if my children were taken to another country. It works for you, yet for others, it is not the man moving on, yet the man not respecting that you are both sharing the most treasured possession you have. It is hard trusting an unknown person with something as valuable as that.

    I hate hearing kids will be fine, do what’s best for you. That’s why divorce is so out of control because one or both parties is more concerned about themselves than the well being of their own children!

    I agree. My husband was cheating on me and I did not even know it. Yet when he decided to leave he told our son he was not happy. He wants to find his happiness. So easy. But my son was shocked. Been separated for six month and he still tells him “ you and your mom did not pay me attention”. It’s so not right. I always knew he was selfish but this takes the cake. Kids are not fine. Introducing your kids to your boyfriend or girlfriend is not fine. Especially if those people are the ones you cheated with. Saying anything negative to the kids is not fine. You want to leave. Leave. Be honest and leave. Don’t use the kids. Don’t guilt them. Don’t degrade your wife or husband even more by making them accept that the trash you were with will be called mom. Or dad. Not ok at all.

    Hello all, I’m looking for some insight. Very good topics and discussions here and inspiring. My ex cheated on me with a long time married friend (10 years), which in turn split them up. Our kids have always known them as husband and wife and we would go over to visit. One was younger at the time around 5, and the other was around 17 when this happened. Shortly after the break up they were spending the night together, doing all sorts of activities together and finally she moved in with him, and I feel like she forced the child into a situation that should not have happened. If someone was to separate/divorce first, than after a certain amount of time, start to date again. Am I wrong here? I waited a while, maybe a year or so to start dating, and when I did introduce someone, it was as a friend, that way if sometging happened it wasn’t a failed relationship to speak. Glad I took this route because I felt like I just couldn’t respectfully invest time in the relationship and called it off and we still talk every now and then.

    Another issue I see Is this person spends an enormous amount of money on gifts, I’m talking one gift was 700.00 for a ten year old. There’s evidence of a lot of big expensive items are being bought and it’s seems to be way to buy attention. It’s even getting noticed by another parent that he’s just buying love, and it’s making it hard for them too, because their child wants these things niw too. I recently read an article of this being narsacistic behavior and it’s becoming more evident that this person has always been like this. This person Is also paying for an attorney, which happens to be his attorney, to work on an updated custody schedule, and I’m getting threatened she wants full custody now. Does any one know if this is a conflict of interest with the attorney? Seems like stretch but thought I’d ask.

    One reason the order is getting updated is at my request because of lack of communication, disrespect, unwilling to work anything out along with several other things.

    I’m not looking for drama here, so please be respectful, and I appreciate the input. Thanks kindly.

    I have been divorced 4 years and have 3 sons, aged 21, 17, and 13. I rotate custody with the 13 year-old and have full custody of the older two, when they are home from school. I am 56 years old. I did not choose to divorce and my sons know this. I do not disrespect their mother, but I have told my sons that eventually I would be looking for nice women to date and it would probably be weird for them. Given their ages, when I have dated and the lady would come to my house (before going somewhere), I did not mind introducing her to my sons. I knew all of the women’s character. I am now dating a lady from over an hour away and she is worried about being around my sons much to protect their welfare. Because I have rotating custody, this would mean difficulty spending time together when my 13 year old is around. I was thinking that at age 13, and after 4 years, and after appearing to have no difficulty emotionally, this should not be such a concern for her, but I respect her concern. Also, when only my 17 year old or 21 year old is around, I have told them that if this lady comes to visit, there might be times that I would let her sleep in my room while I would take the other bedroom we have. Emphasizing that we do not sleep together while we are not married (which is a half truth). We will not do this with my sons in the house. Do you have concerns with any of my thoughts actions here?

    I truly respect what you are going. I wish my ex thought the same way like you. Unfortunately he meets someone and very quickly introduces his girlfriend to his kids and even sleeps with the women in the same bed while my teenager daughter and son is staying with him.

    The situation does seem pretty sticky, however, it not most difficult. I can appreciate that you’re trying to be careful and make the kids and everyone feel comfortable. I think however the staying part isn’t cool just yet although your kids are pretty good ages to understand some of this. I would get help family members or close friends who have children or hire a sitter when you want to be with your girlfriend. My advise is away from the home unless all the kids are not there. This is the dating situation i would set up and not have my girlfriend around unless I have put a ring on it.

    This advice seems common, but I’m curious if there’s any research behind it. To me it seems like a terrible idea to hide a relationship from kids for many months, and then out of the blue spring on them this new person who’s probably going to be part of their lives forever. Am I the only one who thinks that sounds nuts?

    Here’s an idea. What if we tried being honest with kids? Instead of trying to give them some BS impression of relationships that they just kind of magically happen one day and then it’s happily ever after, we let them know that relationships are difficult and they’ll probably experience a whole lot of them in their lives. And maybe their parents can be mature enough to share with them what it looks like to build a relationship, how you know a new relationship is healthy, and how you determine that somebody is a good match for you.

    This just sounds like the old school approach to sex, where you just don’t talk about it and hope they figure it out on their wedding night.

    Totally understand where your coming from. What If your just looking to have fun after being in a relationship that was supposed to be long term but the other person didn’t feel they needed to commit to their vows. 6 months or longer is a very long time to see if anything is going to go anywhere especially being a guy. Kids are not dumb, I don’t care what any head shrinker thinks. They figure out things quicker than you think!

    You gave up the right to just “have fun” whenever and however you please when you brought a child into the world. Have your fun while your children are with the other parent and treasure your one on one time (no distractions) with the little people you brought into existence.

    The article isn’t saying to hide that you are dating someone or lie to your kids. It’s saying you should be mature enough to not flaunt it in their faces when they are mourning the loss of their family as they knew it. My ex dates and has found a way for the subject to not come up at all around our 7 yr old. Our son has met some of the women his father dates, but each was introduced as a friend and they interacted only as friends in front of our son. It is part of our co-parenting agreement that we will not have overnight guests of the opposite sex while our son is in our custody. That should be standard in every divorce/custody agreement, but apparently isn’t. Just pay attention to your kids when they are with you…not to your stupid phone, or the TV, or your new girlfriend, or your drinking buddies. Focus on showing your kids that you love them and they can never lose your love. One way my ex and I try to show this to our son by letting our son (and each other) know that we still love/care about each other too. Even if we couldn’t make the marriage work, even if we make each other mad, we still care for one another and will do our best to help the other find contentment. Think of being a little kid and seeing your mom and dad split up. What’s to stop mommy or daddy from deciding they no longer love you either? You need to have that figured out and be able to explain it to your kids. And if you still have time and want to date, then fine – just do it on your own time and away from your kids. There is plenty of time when your children are older for them to see how relationships grow…they don’t need to watch the growth of the relationship that follows the loss of their family unit.

    Spot on! Thank you! I thought *I* was nuts…what’s nuts is lying to your kids while setting them up with unrealistic expectations and a skewed sense of reality.

    I have been divorced since June and I met someone online who I have been seeing now for a few months. It seems over the last couple weeks our relationship has been moving forward and to a new level. I have a 7 year old daughter and a 5 year old boy who is extremely attached to me both are. I love there mother but she is nuts and I cannot stand to see my own children miserable in a new house, new town, new school. My ex has a boyfriend who she has been with for over 2 and half years , I have come to accept the cheating and BS but she has him over with the kids and god knows what they have seen and heard. I am new to this and I just want to make the right decision because I am nothing like my EX and my Girlfriend is not like her either. We hav talked about the kid situation a little because I am suppose to see my kids every other weekend and one night during the week but up until last weekend I have had them every weekend since June plus additional 23 days. I am trying to establish boundries with my ex because now I am seeing someone and I need to move on and we need a routine to follow like our papers state. Plus it is not fair to my new Girlfriend that we cannot ever make solid plans because she is wondering if my EX will push the kids on me. That has been my mistake because I let it happen only because I miss my kids and not seeing them everyday still kills me but I am getting adjusted. Anyway sorry for venting I haven’t really talked to anyone but I just want some opinions on when I should introduce my wonder new girlfriend. I know she wants to meet them and get things going in which she talks about how it will be better and great when we can go out and do things with the kids. I know my GF is a great person with a huge heart, she is 38 with no kids and divorced as well. My ex wife is 8 years younger then me ,she is 30 now going on 22. I really want to make the right call and do it the right way because my kids are my life and they are amazing but they have had there life turned upside down like me by her. My ex says to listen to her advice which I just laugh because she has had this guy behind my back for 2 years lying and cheating and now sneaking him in and out constant arguing and just craziness with the kids around with him there. The kids are miserable with her in there new house and town and constantly call crying to be with me all the time and it kills me. I know my GF will love them and they will like her I am just worried about the backlash from my EX. You know what I am just ranting and I apologize this is the first time I have just started typing my feelings . I just want to move on and do it the best way for my kids , my GF and even my EX. I figure to take it slow and introduce her slowly and gauge the kids reactions each time . I don’t want to be selfish and just bring her in just so I can have both on the weekends, that is a cake and eat it too move that is how my EX lives and the kids would see that. I just need to take it slow see how it goes and make the balance work. Thank you everyone , I needed that. please feel free to give me some advice I would greatly appreciate it

    I am divorced and in a committed relationship with a new woman. She will never have a relationship with my children. She has met them once, so they know she exist, but she will not be a part of their lives. I do not talk to them about her, and I try to be as brief as possible when she inquires about them.

    She is the best possible person, most positive influence I could think a woman could possibly have on my children.

    She knows I will never live with her, and we will never have events like Christmas or summer holidays together when my kids are present.

    Why? Because it serves no useful purpose. She is dating me, not my kids. The kids have a mother. If they develop a bond with this woman through routine daily exposure, how will they feel when the relationship is over (as odds are it likely will end within a few years)?

    Also, what if they don’t get along wonderfully? This will create situations where I will have to compromise with a child over her, or vice-versa. What good is that?

    I know children are resilient, but who they meet (or don’t meet) is a variable we have control over.

    Relationships in 2018 are fragile enough they do not need us adding complicating factors on top.

    I say yes to loving a person again after divorce, but each person lives in their own house, and keeps children from previous relationships completely sheltered from the new partners that will likely, despite the best of intentions, come in and out of our lives.

    I also say that divorced Dad never introducing his “serious” girlfriends will likely transmit a better model of relationships if he does not expose his children to a new “life partner” every 3 to 5 years, as is the normal way these things go nowadays. Imagine a kid who developed a bond with 3-5 wonderful women who all eventually disappeared from his life before he turns 18. What good is that? It can’t be better than seeing Dad happy and thriving by himself, keeping his love breakups and heartaches private, as they grow up they will have been exposed to a model of decency and consistency…and privacy and respect for their developing emotional persons. Thoughts?

    What if the girl he is with now is the one that helped him break your heart? He left me and got into a relationship about a week and a half later with the girl I thought he left me for. We have only been separated for just coming up 4 months and they have been together about the same length of time and he has spoke to our daughter behind my back about meeting her. I have not even delt with him leaving never mind being in a relationship but now he wants her in our daughters life.

    I feel like I’m losing my mind with him and I’ve only just started divorce proceedings. We haven’t had a conversation without being angry with each other or even been able to work out co parenting, all I feel is hatred for them both but he has said I’ve just to get over it because she’s going to be in his life so she needs to be in our daughters life.
    I don’t think it’s acceptable to force this on me with everything still being so raw. Can anyone give me any advice on how to deal with this situation?

    Check your state laws. In many states there is no such thing as legal separation. You are married until the divorce is final. If that’s the case, consider hiring a private investigator and get the evidence you need (lawyer will tell you what is needed to prove adultery). It is money well spent as it is a reality check for spouses who think they can skirt responsibilities and just have fun. Even if you don’t use the evidence in court, it is a good bargaining chip…does he really want his family to know (in detail and pictures) what he’s been up to while you’ve been packing lunch bags and going over homework? I’m not saying to use it or even threaten to use it. Just let him know you have it. Some people need a reality check that there could be consequences to their actions…they behave better. Don’t be a victim; take charge of getting your life back to the best it can be. Once both parties are behaving well, it should be easier to work out an agreement of what is acceptable and unacceptable regarding what the kids see regarding adult relationships. A mediator can be a big help and is usually much less expensive than getting a lawyer.

    I am currently in a relationship with a man who has been separated for about 7 months, not divorced yet. He has two daughters, ages 4 and 2 1/2. We have only been together for about 2 months, but we are both very committed to each other and our relationship. We are both very well grounded, intelligent, stable people, family oriented with good careers, who just happened to find each other and fall in love very quickly. I have been around his kids (introduced as a friend mostly because of their age, and we do not hold hands, hug, kiss, or anything in front of them). He has also met my kids and all of us have been together twice now just for casual dinner/play date. We both understand this is pretty early for introductions, but we are that sure that our relationship will be very long term. The issue that has now come about is that his ex found out about me being around the kids and is starting to cause trouble. She is making threats about taking kids from him, etc and since they are not divorced yet he’s worried she’ll really try and screw him over in the divorce, go after alimony maybe, and who knows what else. Right now they have no official parenting agreement or anything in place, however He says when they separated he had told her he wouldn’t introduce them to anyone, #1 because he didn’t think he’d be in a serious relationship this soon and #2 because he was afraid of the men his ex might bring around. I believe this is part of why she is so mad, and I had suggested before that he sit down and have a talk with her, explaining the situation and apologize for going against their verbal agreement etc. He had not done this yet, and now she is very mad and beyond talking to. Now her threats have him worried and he wants to back off my contact with the kids for now. I respect that if that’s his decision, although part of me wants to stay as is, since we’ve all already been together and everyone gets along great, and his girls love me and the kids. Anyway, my question is does anyone have experience with this, and does his ex have anything legal to hold over him seeing that they are not legally divorced yet? Thanks for reading. I hope someone can help.

    If he’s married to her she’s still his wife not the ex wife. This is disgusting. Your kind of relationship with him and involvement with their children is what makes divorce hell, ugly and hurtful. It is so incredibly selfish.

    In my opinion, if you care enough for his kids, then let both parents end things in a clean and healthy manner. It will surely benefit the kids in the long run, so as your relationship with the guy. Always be mindful about the kids. Set a good example. This kids will be future lovers. How would you explain to them one day how you and their dad started? Can you tell a good love story to them? Or will it be a love story that started from a tragic ending?? It’s not just about you and your man. Time is the key. Be human dealing with the future ex- wife too. Time heal all wounds. Better things are yet to come for sure.

    You don’t know the circumstances and the moment a piece of paper is more importance than anything else, you are screwed. Don’t lose your ID you may lose your identity.

    Stop sleeping with married men. Respect her wishes and get out. You haven’t done anything to deserve to be in her children’s lives…..and they don’t “love you”, they don’t even know you. You are assuming that she has no reason to be upset, yet you stated that her HUSBAND, that you are sleeping with, made a verbal agreement with her that he has broken. So, he’s a liar and a cheat. Wonderful. I hope she does go after everything in the divorce.

    You are assuming she is causing trouble because he went against the agreement. She is upset that she is being disrespected. She may be fine later on. When someone normally says ‘ I am not coping with this’ we take it easy and allow them time to process. Her actions are clearly telling you that it is hard for her to have a stranger bringing her unknow children into her precious kids lives. For all she knows, You may be a lunatic and your kids may be feral and out of control. I am not saying they are. You need to ease her mind. Give her the time she deserves. This would show you have maturity. What is it to you? A few weeks, months? To her and the kids, it is everything. In her kids eyes she will always stand on equal level with your boyfriend, their dad, her ex husband. It is you that should be trying to impress. Are you worthy? Leave her kids be for now, you have your own. I am sure you would appreciate that even if you wouldn’t care, she does. We are all
    Different. You want to be getting to know him, not the kids. Have some empathy and compassion.

    It is not always about you, it is about all of you now. 3 adults and the kids.

    This is great advice I hope all divorced dads get this and follow it. Along with how to introduce the kids to a girlfriend. I have a stepmom blog that I do. I wish I could tell them this but by the time they join my group it’s to late they already met the kids to fast for some. Then they wonder why there is issues with the kids adjusting to the new stepmom. Great advice.

    Okay, I am a father of three daughters. Two of the three are adults living on their own. The third just turned 17 years old. The 17 year old sent me this article because she wants me to wait before I move on with my life. My ex wife left me with no warning. The way she left me sent me into a deep level of depression. I’ve now recovered and met the woman I plan to spend the rest of my life with. My daughter will be graduating from high school soon and moving on with rest of her life. In the meantime why should I put off moving on with my life. This article makes sense for parents with young children, but, what about parents of older children? I really think those who wrote this article should note that this advice does not always apply. My youngest daughter lives with me. She has never liked change. She cried and threw a fit once when we chose to sell a car she liked. Putting my new relationship on hold will have a more negative effect on me and my new partner than I think the addition of my new partner into my 17 year old daughters life. Some children resist change no matter what. Sometimes waiting to move on is like slowly removing a bandaid. Sometimes it is better to get painful things over with as quickly as possible. Unexpected things happen to us through out our lives. Nobody wants these things to happen. Just the same I think it is healthy for older children and adults to learn how to move on looking for a positive future instead of dwelling over a painful past. Articles like this should include the disclaimer that the advice given in this article may apply in most cases it is not always right for all circumstances.

    That’s a nice article excepts of that you are forgetting a woman. Yes, that woman who became a girlfriend of a divorced father. She is already sacrificing her interests because she has to maneuver around her boyfriend’s kids schedule, but it’s not the main issue. All these other psychologists, those that give advices to women, say: “Hey, if your boyfriend is not introducing you to your family and friends, it means he is not serious”. How should she feel about these six month? It’s her life too, she is trying to be happy, and she will not necessarily want to wait so much time only to figure out that she was just another temporary solution for a divorced man. And even if she was not, what is going to happen if kids will not accept her? Is she going to be dumped or sent back to her semi-illegal position when she already fell in love and got attached to a man? Why is it normal to hurt a woman only because you cannot prepare your kids to the fact that you are not going to spend the rest of your life alone? Come on, be responsible after all and either date when you know you can dedicate a part of you to your partner, or don’t date at all.

    That’s too darn bad. Kids come first always. I’m a woman and have been dating for that magical 6 months but I certainly will not be introducing my kids to a man who could potentially be in my life another six months. What happens to my kids then? They’ve become attached to this person and they are heart broken again? No way! You either have to go along with how the dad feels his kids are emotionally or don’t date a dad.

    This is my current agreement with my not even ex wife yet, our divorce is set for prove up on Tuesday but I found that she’s been dating a guy for a couple of months and has had our son who is only 5 already sleep at his house. But all she has to say is its part of divorce get used to it.
    So forget about our 5 year old still not used to the fact that he goes from house to house, now throw this guy into the mix? But I’m supposed to quote unquote get used to it!
    I applaud you CeeCee!

    Larry, I’m sorry! I feel for you. I had just found out about this woman he’d wanted to introduce to my kids. He said that “she was the one” after only meeting her online 6 weeks prior. And then come to find out from my kids that he’d lied and had already introduced them to my kids. At the time I had asked him to please wait at least until they’ve known each other six months, obviously why listen to me? He had already tricked me into signing an agreement where I get absolutely no support for our kids, and have to wait until they are 18 to get my share of the house AND I had to continue paying for his medical insurance meanwhile he earns more than half of me and I was forced to move into a bad town in a one bedroom basement apartment where I share a bed with my daughter and my son in a twin? And he said he was not in the position to provide me with support but yet takes her to broadway shows and dinner and spends money on her 3 kids. Um…. am I crazy???? I’m so livid!!!

    I don’t know. My Dad brought a lot of girlfriends in my path. And I didn’t get al that attached them. The only scenario that wasn’t so good was his relationship with his next wife was tumultuous.

    What I think is this: Maybe okay to have let’s say a visit here and there. Allows you to see how they are with the kids, before you get attached……

    But it shouldn’t be happy families all the time until you know you are engaged/long haul. Dating someone know with a child and I would never push to met the child. If he wanted me to met her I would agree, but I would say very limited till we know how we feel about each other.

    Becca, I agree with you in regards to waiting to see how you have established a relationship before you meet kids. And agree that it should be limited and not push kids to be a happy go lucky family right away. You have to allow the children to adjust to the new situation. It’s now been a year since my ex has introduced this woman into my children’s lives. He seems to want to please her so much, so much so that he forces my kids to allow her kids take over whatever it is they are doing. My son defended my daughter against her oldest who pushed her and hurt her. Then my ex took the woman’s side. How do you not defend your own kids for doing the right thing? At the months, she was already sleeping over with her kids and had the nerve to tell my daughter that she wasnt there to replace me. My daughter at the time was 7. Why plant that thought into my daughter’s head? I’ve been with my bf now for almost two years. My kids have met him a total of 5 times. I dont bring in drama in my children’s lives, especially when we are still in the process of divorcing. They feel safe, secure and loved in my house and not so much at their dads. I feel that I have placed my children as first priority. And it’s really the way to go with my children. They have enough drama with their dad. My son is in conflict with him all the time and he puts my daughter and son at odds all the time. who is right here? I can only guess my kids would say me.

    I’m very much in synch with your thoughts on how the woman gets to feeling in this situation. I’m living it now. For over a year now I can’t call at certain times, When I visit and his phone rings I have to be silent so the daughter doesn’t know I’m there. I’m invited over but when the babysitter drops her off I must leave and make sure I don’t leave a trace of me behind. I feel alot like the mistress of a married man actually. It really doesn’t feel great to not seem to be good enough to even be known.

    Teresa, I feel you girl. It’s been over a year now. Unless you two have an open relationship, I dont understand why your bf has not introduced you to his daughter. He can introduce you slowly. A visit here and there in a public place, like a park. What’s he afraid of?

    wow, I like your message. I’m dating a man who has been separated from his wife for over two years and recently divorced for a few months. I have had to do similar things and it doesn’t feel good. I am a good person and the man’s ex wife needs to lighten up and maybe meet me to know that I can be around the children.

    Yes. Meet her and let her know about you. Let her share her concerns to your face rather than have them misinterpreted by your partner. No offence yet some men assume the intent is about them so see it negatively. It is usually about her kids and being scared that you are not the kind of role model that she would choose.

    I feel a lot like you…ugh. I’ve even said I feel like a mistress. My boyfriend of just over a year has been divorced for 5 years and has 2 girls 9 & 12. Not to mention an “abnormal” relationship with ex. I’m glad they are good friends, but they vacation together with the girls…once a year. Not to mention holidays together, where I have not been included yet. He insists there is nothing between them and that it’s best for his girls. Yes, I feel like a mistress. I’ve just met the girls a handful of times as dad’s “friend”. They are not friendly girls, very stand-offish. I have 2 amazing teenage boys and a great family. I have one world and my boyfriend is included in that entire world. Our life as he and I is awesome, but he has more than one world and it’s wearing on me. I want a future with him and I know he does, but I have been tolerating and been patient and will continue to do so, but can’t do this forever. It weighs on me. Thanks for reading.

    I am seeing a man with kids and I encourage him to keep the relationship going. They divorced for a reason, however, when I met him, I knew the package. His ex wife, not a friend, yet is part of our blended family. Let the children enjoy their parents alone. They are not pretending to be a family, they are just playing the roles of Mum and dad.

    I totally agree my boyfriend isnt divorced but he got full custody of his daughter over a year ago and I still only get to see him on Saturday nights for 2 hours each week. It’s been almost a year and half now and being that other woman that has falling in love it really has put a damper on things and makes it difficult. I understand he is a dad first boyfriend second but it’s been so long and I have only been around his daughter once in the whole time we have been together.

    Ok this is my story i.have 3kids and my ex let.her.fiance move in my house that i bought everytime.i.pickup my kids.they.complain that.there mother lets him.punish them.i.called.her.and. told.her.tell.your.boyfriend my kids have a reall dad..tell.him.to.punish me not.my.kids because.i.know were he work’s.and.i will.give him.a giod.italian beating he.will.never come. Back.around my.kids.only in a wheel.chair.he disappear thank god

    Listen just because you devorced dont mean that your girlfreind can replace there mom trust me my kids dont call.nobody.mom. or dad just by name you. Tell.your.girlfreind your kids have a mom.they.dont.kneed another one.women.girlfreind.get.away.if.you.let them boss your.kids around dont let her do that.to.your.kids.if.she dont like say.goodgye find someone else.a.lot.of fish in.the sea.check.it.out. keep.your eyes.open.when girlfreind.is with you.and.them kuds.are special.they kneed only one.mommy.not two

    Hi I have been a single dad for 3 years now. I have custody of my 6 year old son. His mum does not want anything to do with him. I recently have found someone and she loves him. I am at a stage now where my boy asks for his mum. And I just don’t know what to say anymore. I would like to introduce him to my new found love that I am planning to marry in the next year. How do I introduce her to him. He knows her as she is an old family friend. Please help

    I am a woman who just started dating about 3months ago. He is a single dad of a 15 and 12 year old, the mother hasn’t been in the picture for 8-9years. She hasn’t been in the picture and doesn’t want to be ever. I have already met the kids they are awesome his daughter and I get along great. His 15 year old boy seems to want his dad all to himself. We are totally committed to one another, we emailed and text for almost two months before meeting. We really want to spend more time together and have even talked about moving in with each other. But it’s his 15yr old son that is the concern and is causing some problems between us, we are both willing to do whatever it takes for us to be together. But we do want everyone to be happy with this relationship. Help please

    Its hard especially girls dad tries to have kids call his girlfriend mom no way my kids call her fiance mr bob that.ist no calling daddy.they.know he not there father or mother.kids are special and.kneed reall parents not fake ones i.whach.my.kids because i have my brother follow them.were they.go sometimes men.or.womanm disappear with.your.kids i call them.every 30 minutes.and both of.my.kids if.they see they.going.to.far.they.tex me.without him.or her knowing.got to.be careful listen they kneed there mom.not a stranger because there no love better then mom you kneed to.worry.about.your kids men sometimes.have double.life and.and.you.you as a mom.get.supervise visation that means.a relative.will.be.with ypur.ex.to.make sure things dont go.wrong kids come first boyfreind.girlfreinds are just around to.be bossy.and nobody.can.love there kids.like reall mom and dad

    my long term partner walked out in January, and within 3 weeks moved in with a younger woman, by 23 years…..no explanation was given to the children..I had to do it after 5 months of waiting for him to do it. In the meantime my son sibbed himself to sleep and my daughter slept in my bed since the day her father walked out.
    My point is he made no effort to explain this new person, yet the children were expected to go and spend time in what was her house overnight…..obviously sleeping arrangements would become obvious….

    After the introduction
    I’ve been dating a recently divorced dad of two, ages 6 and 12 for the past 5 months, have known him for over a year, however had no involvement with him until after he was divorced for 4 months. We courted for about 1.5 months before bringing his kids into the picture, meeting as an aquaintance, not as dating. We didn’t make our dating official with each other until about 2 months into the courting process, at that point having actual dinners as “friends” with the kids. I’ve always gotten along very well with kids and bonded quickly with his. It’s been 5 months and we all have a lot of fun when we hang out. I’ve attended a couple of soccer games and hung out at their house once. However, dad has been doing a lot of research lately on when to introduce kids to the new partner and realized he may have jumped the gun. He has begun to withdraw and mentally punish himself feeling as if he has failed his kids. They are still in the healing stages of losing their mother. Both parents share the two equally in visitations, alternating days and weekends. Both are very involved in their lives. My question is what to do now that the introductions have been done?????? If I take a step out of their lives, my fear is it being a double wammy on the kids. Dad nor I know what is the best course of action now. I do not want the kids to hurt in any way and even though we all have a wonderful time together, wonder if some type of counseling should be done. I haven’t yet met their mom and have no issues with meeting her, life happens and I’m mature enough to know that people divorce. Anyway, your thoughts are appreciated, thank you… Signed, scared and confused!

    As a divorced mother of three my suggestion is to respect and support your “boyfriend”, allowing him to take his time going through this situation. He did jump the gun but you both were at least smart enough to introduce you casually as a friend and mostly in group settings. I think it’s important for their dad to concentrate his possession time to be exclusively with them. His children do not need to continue seeing you both as a unit. You will show your love to all of them by temporarily taking the back seat in this scenario for as long as is necessary.

    what is best for my girls
    I am a divorced dad and we have joined care of the girls, 7 and 9. They are from Friday to Friday with either mom or dad and we can have them any other time if it suits the other parent. They are very happy with this arrangement and they well balanced girls. We have dinners together with mom sometimes and mom and I get along very well. After I got divorced I was in another relationship for 5 years, but unfortunately we broke up. She still wants to see the girls. Should I keep her in the girls life? I only have the girls every second week and now I have to share the girls with my ex-girlfriend. The girls goes to her after school (like before) and then I pick them up from her after work. She also want the girls to sleep over a few nights and wants to take them out over the weekends. I am worried that this “three” homes will confuse the girls. Will I hurt the kids if I cut my ex-girlfriend out of our lives, to start a new life?

    I have the exact same problem…only WORSE! The ex-girlfriend of my new husband has only increasingly become worse, the further we advanced in our relationship…now she has even destroyed the great long-term parental relationship he had with the mother of his child, the child has now even been asking to see a shrink (she’s just barely 11 years old)….this ex girlfriend has gone crazy asking for vacations with the daughter, etc, etc….it’s a nightmare! And he has one adult child (32 years old) and she has manipulated him so much, it’s become miserable. Then she has used social media to bully me (but she’s very good at making sure his kids don’t see this behaviour, so they only see this sweet side of her, and not the devil side. Even some lifelong mutual friends of his and this ex-girlfriend have stated “the WORST thing you (my husband) ever did was allow the ex-girlfriend to remain in their lives”….please, please,please share any information on how to fix this out-of-control problem…someone PLEASE offer assistance to this problem….and George, what I say to you is DEFINITELY NO!!! Don’t allow the ex-girlfriend to stay in the picture with your daughters…in my situation, the ex-girlfriend has worked extra hard to block me (new girlfriend, now new step-mother) from being able to develop proper, healthy relationships with my step-children….it’s a horrible feeling!! Don’t put any future great woman in your life, through this misery…

    I found this article while trying to find info on how to help my girls adjust to the news my ex gave me today. He is planning on moving in with his new girlfriend of 4 months and her 3 kids and is going to *try* to get 50/50 custody of our daughters.

    We were divorced in 2012 after a 1 yr separation. Within 5 months of us separating and before we were divorced, he had introduced the girls (current ages 7 and 8) to a new girlfriend…they broke up weeks later. Within 2 months of that one failing, he began dating a new girl, but told the girls she was not his girlfriend, just a friend of his roommate. 1 month later, she moved in to his home. They still told the girls they were not dating, but that she was sleeping in his room until her bed arrived. They lived together from December 2012 until February 2014 and then he abruptly ended the relationship and kicked her out. In May of 2014, he met this new woman. They have only known each other and been dating for 4 months. She has 3 kids of her own.

    His current parenting time includes 1 overnight per week and 2 dinner dates per week.

    And now he says he wants 50/50 custody!?!?! I expressed my concerns to him regarding introducing ANOTHER woman (3 now in 2 years) and moving in with someone he has only known 4 months. I told him I was uncomfortable with my girls living with someone I have never met and I felt they needed to date for at least a year before moving in together. And that’s when he pulled the nasty name vocabulary out of his hat and rampaged on me.

    How am I supposed to help my girls grow up to respect themselves and choose decent men when they see their father womanizing and verbally abusing their mom!?!? Any opinions and input is wecone!

    My ex and I were informally separated for approximately three years before we filed for divorce. During the separation I had primary custody of our two children, ages 7 and 9, and they rarely saw their father (approximately 3-4 times per year). When they did see him, he would never take him to his home, but rather he would travel to them. Under the parenting plan executed as part of the divorce, he began taking the kids more often (6-8 times a year), and they were to stay at his home during the visits. After everything was finalized and our case was closed, but before the kids made their first trip out to see him, I discovered that my ex had been secretly co-habitating with another woman the entire time of our separation. Thus, the first time my kids travelled to his home, they met the new partner who he was already living with. I was reluctant to reopen custody issues at the time, even though I was livid, until I determined whether the kids would actually have a hard time with the situation. Now the kids are beginning to show signs of stress from all of it, and are asking a lot of questions about the nature of the relationship. Any advice is appreciated.

    I kneed a great mom for my kids in njits ruff raising kids.alone they kneedna mom.around.to.help.with.homework ckean there.roms.love them with all.your heart because.there mom was on drugs.and grandkidswithi.took.cousdady.and knned help witt a woman that has kids like the brady bunch how.do.i.find one for me and my kids ny ex waa doing drugs in the same house they were living in when i found out.i took her to court and took.my.kids from.her and they.can go to.her house got to.take them.to.a relative house that way they could do.harm to.them

    Its not good for him to lie to kids if you kneed to.let.him.see them.get supervise visation that way its better that.what.i do.because my ex tells lies about me

    I am not even divorced from my husband yet, he is moving a woman here from another state to live with him, we still currently live together, he has found a house to share with her and my kids. I still have not established a new home and we havent made custody arrangments. I am worried about the psycological effects of this new person being introduced so suddenly during this transition.

    My ex and I have been divorced for over a year and I started dating someone seriously roughly 8 months ago. She is the only woman I have dated since the divorce adn things are going fantastically – I don’t want to look anywhere else. I have 2 1/2 year old twins that are obviously the most important things in my life and I think that it is time to introduce them all – my ex seems to disagree. I wouldn’t want them in an intimate “just the 4 of us” setting, but at a family function or other social gathering where they aren’t getting to know her on a personal attachment level I don’t see the issue…any thoughts…

    New partner living arrangement
    It has been almost 2-years since I ended the relationship, my son was 4 at the time. We have joint physical custody and he spends equal time between the two homes. My partner of 5-months is going to move in and when my son comes over he will obviously see her. He has not met her, however he knows about her. Over the holidays he told me that I deserve to be happy and it is ok that I have a girlfriend.

    The mother is reluctant to the her meeting our son, even though she has never met her. (not a good idea as the ex is not that friendly). She has threatened to not allow my son to fly up to see me on my scheduled visitation. Flights are bought and paid for.

    Can she legally deny my son to fly and see me due to someone living with me?

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