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Introducing Your Children to Your New Significant Other

By HERWriter Guide
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Relationships & Family related image Photo: Getty Images

I just read a rather horrifying story about arrests being made at a huge birthday party on Ohio, after a drunken fight involving 75 of the 150 guests attending. It was so bad that the first police responders had to wait for reinforcement before taking control, due to flying bottles and glass shards everywhere. Tables and chairs were upturned, and the rented hall became a blitz of brawling party goers that ended up with several arrests (and even more hospitalizations) and a very frightened centerpiece of the party – the birthday girl. Who, incidentally, is three years old.

I’m not sure who throws a party for a three year old with 150 guests (I had about half that number at my wedding) but it’s all a personal choice, often with a cultural spin thrown in. But this fight didn’t have anything to do with culture or the overblown guest list. It began between the child’s father and the child’s mother’s boyfriend.

It’s unclear as to what was going on between both men but it’s likely that it was the typical dynamic of parents of children living apart, and new love interests moving into the picture. Perhaps the father feared being overtaken by a new “daddy” or wanted to reunite with the mother. Perhaps the mother taunted the father or the boyfriend was the instigator. Perhaps everyone got drunk and turned into morons. Whatever the trigger, it’s clear that this story brings to light the delicacies of blended families or relationships, that can be very tricky. Many blended relationships work well, but many others end up with children feeling just like the little birthday girl in this story – lost, unheard and caught in the middle of adults who don’t put their children first.

So it begs the question – how does a parent introduce a new boyfriend to her children, and how does she approach it with her ex – her childrens' father? Very carefully, right? But what are the best ways to do this?

The best start is a slow start, over a long period of time. Bringing home a boyfriend after five dates is a really bad idea. Making sure the relationship is very strong, serious and committed before bringing anyone home is a better option.

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I haven't officially introduced my new partner to my child as a "boyfriend". They have met. We both have children so they often play together. My hope is that as we all get to know each other better/continuously, when an annoucement is made to my son that this is mommy's boyfiend it will go over smoothly because my son will already be familiar with this gentleman and he will already be accustomed to him being around me. I don't think there should be a rush to announce my relationship status to my child. Once I am 100% certain of this persons permanancy in my life then I can tell my child this is someone that is important to mommy.

Right now as far as my child is concerned its all about him and his playdates and this man is his playmate's parent.

November 9, 2010 - 2:00pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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