Let’s bolt before you change your mind.
I was pleased but also a little surprise by all the positive response bestowed upon my recent post, My boyfriend slept over for the first time and hilarity (and normalcy) ensued.
Clearly there is a whole lot of sentiment out there that you are a filthy whore if you are a mom and you seek out romantic companionship. Ty commented:
As a single mom, it is a social stigma for me to date. Many feel that my life as a woman should have stopped when I had children. Someone even suggested that it’s okay for men to move on but I should solely dedicate my life to my children.
That makes me want to bust out my nunchucks and beat the crap out of society. But you are safe here, and I’m here to tell you: Date! It’s normal — healthy! There will likely be heartbreak and missteps. You are human. But do not feel ashamed of your emotional, social or sexual needs. Embrace your womanhood in all its splendor. This is what a good mom does.
And when you are ready, bring around your family. Yes, consider how you do this. Respect your kids’ reactions. Talk about it with them. But do not feel guilty. Let go of any shame. You are normal and this is healthy.
That said, there are plenty of good reasons to take your time introducing your kids to your new amore. Maybe you don’t ever introduce him at all. (Have a listen to my podcast on this topic, in which I urge you to respect your kids’ confusion, concern or upset around your dating. Also: don’t let that discomfort dictate what goes down in your life. You’re the parent.)
Here are some good reasons you may want to delay or forego integrating your new guy into your family:
1. You recently broke up with someone else. Even though you may be ready to move on, you’re not sure your kids are.
2. You’re afraid your new guy will be really awesome with the kids. Which will make you totally love him even way, way more. Maybe you’re not ready for that kind of emotional intensity. It scares you. That’s cool. Take it slow.
3. You’re afraid he might not be so great with your kids. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t date him — it means that he might not be part of your family life. Sometimes you just need a lover or someone to take you out to dinner now and again. Not all relationships are the giant, Brady Bunch, 24/7 kind. Maybe you’ll want that sort of partnership in another phase of your journey.
4. You want to prolong the courtship. Face it: if he’s spending every Wednesday enjoying meatloaf and mashed potatoes with you and the kids, he’s not taking you out of wild-boar-and-crimini-mushroom meatloaf and truffle-laced heirloom purple potato mash at that cute place downtown on Wednesdays. Family life is wonderful. But that shit’s not glamorous.
5. You’re afraid your family life will make him run. Truth? It might. Especially if he doesn’t love you (yet). It’s hard to imagine that a man who did not sire your kids might actually like them and also want to fuck you. But it happens all the time. Maybe you want feel more secure in the relationship before you bring him home to the circus that is your life. Take your time!
6. You don’t want to signal to him it’s serious (yet). You may accept that introducing a guy to your kids does not indicate that he’s your forever boo. But he may not see it that way — which is understandable because most people in our culture wouldn’t, either. If you’re playing it cool and not ready to jump in with your heart and soul, but worry he will think you’re eager and commitment-ready if you invite him to join your clan for Disney on Ice, wait.
7. You want him all to yourself. This is not selfish. See #3. Not every relationship is meant for marriage or family. Having a lover that is separate from your daily life can be a fabulous arrangement. If that suits you, embrace it.
Listen to my podcast on this topic, when I take to task my friend Ray who snottily encourages “discretion” in introducing men to my kids — even though the last time this happened was THREE YEARS (and who knows how many dudes) ago.
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