Video: When do you introduce your boyfriend to your kids?

by singlemomseeking on December 1, 2010

This is by far the most popular question I hear from single parents:

I’ve been dating someone and really see a future in “us.”

But when — and how — do I introduce my boyfriend/girlfriend to my kids?

If you have shared custody with an ex, it’s much easier to keep your dating and parenting lives separate.

But what if you’re a solo parent, like yours truly? How can you both be a good parent… and have a love life?

This is what RJ — founder of — and I discuss on our new video, “How do you introduce your child to your new boyfriend/girlfriend?”

  • Should you set up a time line?

Many parents make a rule: I won’t introduce anyone to my kids until we’ve dated for three — or even six — months. Does that work?

  • Should you consider your child’s age?

Young children might get clingy, or feel threatened. You can talk more openly with an older child, but what if he/she doesn’t want to meet Mommy or Daddy’s new friend?

  • Where do you do introduce your boyfriend/girlfriend to your kids?

At a restaurant, like Kate Hudson? Hint: not at your home — or his. So, where then?

Hint: we do not recommend that you say “This is my boyfriend/my girlfriend.”

So, please watch the video… and let us hear what you think!

We would love to know how and when you’ve introduced your “special friend” to your kids.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam May 16, 2016 at 2:59 pm

My backstory; I am a single, never been married with no children, very mature 28 year old female. Own my own home, car and have a great career that I have worked very hard to be where I am in life. I am a child of a divorced home, but have been blessed enough to have parents and step parents that have all worked together to make sure MY life and happiness was their top priority. I love them all, and have always promised myself that if I were ever in a situation where I was in a relationship and there were children involved, I would do whatever I could to make sure they had a blessed life as I had. I do not take dating lightly and I know that I am at a time in my life where I am mentally and emotionally stable and ready to meet someone and start a family.
Three months ago, I met (on line) a newly divorced (6 months) 38 year old father of two teenage children (girl 17, son 14). Wife/Mom left both Him and his children, however just recently had been making an effort to connect with her children again. He works out of town two weeks on two weeks off out of state, and he lives in a town about 2 hours from me. I am emotionally stable enough to have long distance not be an issue. It has given us a chance to take things VERY slowly, talk, and truly get to know each other on a very deep level. He is a very hard working, loving and caring man who is one of the best fathers I have seen. His kids truly come before all else and that is what I like most about him. I can truly see things progressing and growing into something long term. The 10-year age gap is becoming more of a positive for me than I expected in the beginning. I feel equal with him emotionally and I feel very comfortable with how well our personalities mesh together, I am however at a loss when it comes to how to go about dealing with older Teenage children. I am learning that dating a man with teenage kids is VERY different then dating one with young children.
His children are still transitioning into a world where their parents are not together. I can tell, just by the things he tells me that there is still a lot of pain, anger and sadness in their hearts about the whole thing. I understand that feeling better than most. In the very beginning of our relationship, he told me that he was not ready to tell his kids that he was ready to start dating again. He wants to give them the proper time to heal and avoid hurting them more at all costs. I completely agree. So, they do not know about me at all. The only time we talk on the phone or see each other in person is when the kids are not around. He comes to see me only, although I have gone to his town to see him once while the kids where in school during the day and was gone before school let out. We both feel it is important that they do not know about me until him and I are in this relationship for the long haul.
This is where my questions come in to play;
At what point in our relationship should we start introducing me as the girlfriend (6 months? Wait till the words “I LOVE YOU” flows freely? Ect.)?
Should I originally be introduced as a friend, and gradually work my way into their lives as a mutual non-threating person?
And if they have negative opinions on their dad dating, is it appropriate to yes, acknowledge their feelings on the situation, but continue to work on making the relationship better, in hopes that the kids will grow to understand and accept it, or just part ways? Keep in mind, when the children know about me, It will give him and I more opportunities to spend time together in person, helping our relationship grow even more. Because up until then we have been “hiding” from his kids, and our alone time is based on if his kiddos have plans or not.
I really would love to see this work out between him and I. We are trying to be smart about things, be patient, taking everything day by day, but I need your advice on what the best way to go about introducing myself to his children would be. I know this is not going to be easy. I know that they will not accept me with open arms, but I am falling in love with their dad, and I want to make sure I do whatever I can to insure their feelings and experience when meeting me are treated with the most care, but also take my heart into consideration.

Thank you for taking the time out or your busy day to help me with my questions. I appreciate and respect your opinion.


Denice June 10, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I haven’t dated in over a year. Just decided to be content with our life as it is. I am in a hard situation for dating anyways. I have a 3 1/2 year old and no one close by (within say 30 minutes or so) who could watch my son while I went out. My parents are gone, my ex’s father passed away before my son was born, my ex (who we don’t talk about) left us for someone else and signed away all rights to his son. And my ex’s mother hasn’t had anything to do with us since the divorce became final when my son was 5 months old. I hear she is in poor health now anyways.

All that being said, I did date for about 15 months when I had a friend (who has since moved away) that would babysit for me. I dated a really great guy for about 5 months. Someone I had known prior to the split and during the divorce. He too, was going through a divorce and about 6 months after his was final, he looked me up and asked me out. My mistake was that since my son knew him from other outings with some friends, I just let him “move” into my son’s life. My son was about 1 1/2 when we started dating and almost 2 when we split. He was very attached to Neal. And it took him a while to understand why Neal didn’t come over anymore and we didn’t go to Neal’s apartment. I had previously kept any men I dated away from my son because I wanted to wait to see how things went. I was careless with Neal and let my son get hurt. Granted, now he doesn’t even remember him, but I won’t ever be careless again with my son’s feelings. It’s just not something I ever want to do again.

Maybe someday, there will be someone I trust to watch my son so I can try dating again and if that day comes, I will definitely be wating at least 6 months before introducing them to him.

Thanks for the great tips. 🙂


singlemomseeking June 10, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Sure @Denice: Be gentle on yourself… and please stay in touch.


Caity June 5, 2011 at 9:50 am

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost one year. I’v met his family and he has met mine. Its a sore subject but he has 2 daughters(10 and 7) and one son(3). I’ve been around his son and bought things for the kids, etc. The only problem would be that every time a friend of ours or I bring up the subject of meeting the kids he gets upset. I dont know what to do. He says he cant live with out me and he wants to spend the rest of his life with me and I feel the same way, so what do we do?


singlemomseeking June 5, 2011 at 10:51 am

@Caity: Hmmm, so it sounds like you haven’t met his daughters? Do you have any idea re: why he might get upset when you bring up the idea?


Jean-Paul January 3, 2009 at 10:00 pm

I thought it was well done. Thank you.


SDMktg December 6, 2008 at 12:44 am

Mostly him but there’s a point when he’s talking where you get them too. Very cute.


singlemomseeking December 5, 2008 at 7:56 pm

Thanks so much for all the great feedback everyone!

Can you tell that our responses come from life experience?

SDmktg — who has puppy eyes? RJ or me?


Leah December 3, 2008 at 9:22 pm

Both of you did a terrific job with the video. I really liked how you addressed such a complex issue practically and sensitively.

Wish I was in a situation where I had someone to decide when and if to introduce to my kid 🙂

Leah´s last blog post…Lavender oil on my fingertips.


SDMktg December 3, 2008 at 8:27 pm

Love the puppy dog eyes.

Great question. I’ve been on both ends of this. I met my dad’s second wife about 3 times before their wedding. I was 15 at the time. I met my mom’s husbad twice before they got married when I was 29. I wasn’t very happy about either one. I’ve gotten to know my stepfather over the years but it would have been nice to have seen him a few more times before the wedding. It was like my mom was marrying a stranger.

My kids have met 2 women that I’ve dated and several friends. I’m a flirty, friendly person so I tone down the PDA and meet in a neutral place but they know it’s someone I’m seeing when they meet them. We do hold hands and hug. The kids haven’t ever been bothered by that. Of course they are 7 now and I’ve been with my girlfriend for 2 years. I still have plenty of times with the kids and just me so it’s worked out well.

SDMktg´s last blog post…Sweet G’s Shot of the Week – The Four Horsemen + Cheerleaders…


Eathan December 3, 2008 at 11:46 am

Great Video. I’m sure this will be a very popular video. Great job.

Eathan´s last blog post…Divorce And Holidays


GLSD December 2, 2008 at 3:18 pm

Good video Rachel. I think with everything it’s baby steps, and everyone will feel comfortable about it.


won December 2, 2008 at 12:25 pm

Love the suggestion of eliminating all PDA’s. My son’s father seems to cycle through about 3-4 women a year, and they all get introduced and become sleep over dates right out of the gate. My son is 11, so he gets it.

I finally had to sit him down and talk to him…to tell him that sex is something very special and not to be shared loosely and frequently. I explained his father and I have a different value system about that, and I pray he views women differently than is modeled by his dad.

The last “chick of the quarter” was introduced to my son in this way–he was on the football field playing a game. Dad and new girlfriend are standing on sidelines, with their arms around one another, smoking and kissing.

After the game, the coach pulled my son aside and had a talk with him about his poor behavior that game. Geez…you think he was a bit distracted??

He told me just the other day (after swearing me to secrecy) that having the girlfriend around is sometimes just too much…sometimes, even though she is nice, he wishes it could just be he and dad.

And he is only a dad six days a month as a rule. I so wish he could confine his adult activities to those days…but I know I’m wishing for the impossible.

won´s last blog post…The cost of that bargain was incredibly high


avigail74 December 2, 2008 at 11:32 am

Ok, here’s my plan. Let’s just see if I follow it. When I meet that next special someone, I will date him for six months before introducing him to my child (that way he can see how often plans to change because that’s what happens when you have a child), the novelty usually wears off and we’ve gotten to know each other–then after six months, we can slowly bring my child in–like Rachel suggested a long time ago, for ice-cream, dinner, or park–and if he’s still around after 3-4 months–then we can slowly have sleep-overs.

Wish me luck!


Rich Single Momma December 2, 2008 at 10:43 am

This is such a timely topic. Thanks for adding some clarity and great tips!


mc December 2, 2008 at 9:24 am

singlemomseeking: Half were single Dads, and half had no kids, out of a total of 4 guys I’ve dated semi-seriously in the past 2 years. But maybe that’s not a statistically relevant sample size? But yeah, I was surprised, too. I didn’t think that my idea to “wait quite a while before introducing them to the kids” was that unsurprising or controversial.


singlemomseeking December 2, 2008 at 9:09 am

MC: I’m really curious if these guys who are “bugging” you are single dads. Maybe I’m off, but single guys often don’t seem to grasp kids getting attached, etc. like fathers do?

Single Mom: Did you and your son have a chat after the break up?

T: Yes, kids are like sponges when it comes to our emotions, aren’t they?
Here’s to bouncing back!


mc December 2, 2008 at 5:18 am

Oh, excellent topic! This is just so hard for me to figure out.

My kids’ Dad has them every other weekend, giving me lots of time to date (in theory) without letting my children know, so why is this a problem?

It’s a problem because every single guy I’ve dated more than a few times, every single man about whom I’ve thought, “hmm, I like him! This could work!”, has gotten offended and pressure-y about my not wanting them to meet my kids yet.

Their reasons? They think I’m not serious about them unless I introduce them to my kids. They want to see what they’re getting into, and if my kids are holey terrors or nice (it relects on me, I guess). They want to see me every weekend and during the week, even when I have my kids with me. They really like kids and mine are at a fun age, I have to admit. They have kids of their own and they think they all would have fun together. They think that if my kids like them, if they bring enough gifts, attention, etc, that I’ll like them even more, and that I won’t want them to ever leave. Some of them apparently think I’m auditioning men for the position of Dad, that I “need help with the kids” (not!).

I’d be happy with waiting until around 6 months, which is recommended by many books on divorce that I’ve read.

Because many relationships fizzle around 4 months when the hormones wear off. Because I don’t want to be pressured into continuing a relationship just because my kids like him. Because for me, the whole point of having a relationship is to spend “adult” time together–I already have lots and lots of “kid” time. Because I want a man to date me, not my kids. Because I’d prefer taking any relationship slowly and not rushing into “joined at the hip 24-7” behavior because that can lead to mistakes. Because I often like to give my children my undivided attention–I don’t want them to have to share Mom with a guy who may turn out to be Mr Flavor of the Month. Because my kids don’t understand (or approve of) me dating serially different me–their idea of romantic love is the Disney one of you see your true love one day and boom! you belong together and you then live happily ever after, then end! And I don’t need my kids lecturing me about why I should keep on seeing so-and-so after I’ve decided that we aren’t right for each other. Because I don’t need my kids entertaining their Dad about all the men I’ve dated.

I know 6 months is a long time, and I’ve not succeeded in delaying it that long in any post-divorce relationship so far, but I’m determined to try to stick to it next time. I do wish men would stop bugging me about it.


Kari December 2, 2008 at 4:47 am

I can’t wait to see the video. I can’t at work right now.

I do know I’ve done it all wrong many a time lol

My daughter is 11, I just introduced her to the new boyfriend as just a friend. Although she caught on rather quickly. She chatted him up. I introduced them at my home because that is where she is comfortable.

The next time she sees him will be at one of his family functions where there are a bazzillion kids her age (he is not a parent) and I’m just telling her we are going to a friends party. That will be in January. She may see him in passing a time or two here or there but that will be about it.

Kari´s last blog post…I really do have the best daughter ever!


Single Mom December 1, 2008 at 8:53 pm

Not sure when you should introduce your kid to someone new. I messed up with my last boyfriend and introduced him to my son after 6 weeks. We broke up 2 weeks later. Not sure how long I will wait when I date the next guy, but definitely more than 6 weeks. Of course, my son is older (he’s 12) so we do not have some issues that parents with younger children have.

Single Mom´s last blog post…Extra Money for Christmas !!!


Jim Everson (Depot Dad) December 1, 2008 at 8:25 pm

Great job, both of you. You two have a great on screen chemistry. (I like that bookshelf too!)


Linda Sherman December 1, 2008 at 7:18 pm

Good video Rachel!


T December 1, 2008 at 6:55 pm

I love this! These are great ideas.

I have, thus far, introduced the guys I’ve dated to my children as my friends. They already know Mommy has lots of “boy” friends. The kids don’t think anything of it and we do leave the PDA away from little eyes.

Now, they met Soldier and they heard about him all year. A few times, my older daughter referred to him as my boyfriend. (she’s very intuitive and could tell that I felt more than just “friendly” about him.)

I would only tell her that we would like to be boyfriend and girlfriend but we weren’t sure yet. Then, when our R&R weekend didn’t pan out, and we decided not to pursue a relationship, I told my children that Soldier and I weren’t going to be “boyfriend and girlfriend” but we would still be friends. (And thankfully we are.)

My children saw my sadness and I didn’t mind. It emphasized the lesson, in my eyes, that even as grown-ups, things don’t always work out the way we’d like them to. I hope my bouncing back and still being happy and hopeful, will inspire my girls to be the same way.

Thanks you guys!! (I still think you’re both WAY cute together!)

T´s last blog post…Pickles and Ice Cream


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