7 reasons to wait to introduce your kids to your boyfriend that have nothing to do with protecting their precious innocence

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.

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. 




Emma Johnson is a veteran money writer, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, REAL SIMPLE, Parenting, USA Today and others.

The Kickass Single Mom: Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self, and Raise Fabulous, Happy Children (Penguin, 2017), was a #1 bestseller and was featured in hundreds of media, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, Oprah.com and the New York Post, which named it to its ‘Must Read” list.

Her popular blog Wealthysinglemommy.com, and podcast Like a Mother, explore issues facing professional single moms: business and career, money, sex, relationships and parenting. Emma regularly comments on these topics for outlets such as CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine, Woman’s Day, The Doctors, and many more. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” one of “20 Personal Finance Influencers to Follow on Twitter” by AOL DailyFinance, “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and “Most Eligible New Yorkers” by New York Observer.

A popular speaker on gender equality, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality.

Emma grew up in Sycamore, Ill., and lives in New York City with her children.

4 thoughts on “7 reasons to wait to introduce your kids to your boyfriend that have nothing to do with protecting their precious innocence

  1. Love this piece! I find myself using the “I don’t want to emotionally confuse my kids” excuse in place of the seven listed above. My BF is very excited to be around my children but after a few months of seeing each other, I continue to hold him off. I currently share 50/50 custody with my ex. Every other week I transition from Multi-tasking Mommy to Carefree Girlfriend and I’m not in any hurry to change that. I love having him to myself and I love having my kids to myself. I know he will be wonderful with my children, which of course will make me love him even more. My fear is that it will have the opposite effect on him. Adding children to my marriage was a huge game-changer, but we were fully committed (well, so we thought). I can just envision our first “family” trip to the grocery store, upon witnessing my daughter’s tantrum over being able to pick only one box of fruit snacks instead of two, he’ll be running for the hills. My sweet, considerate, sometimes clueless man (who, I may add, has never been married and has no children) believes with his entire heart that he is 100% ready to have two children in his life. Sorry babe, you’re never ready. My kids are 6 and 4 and most days I don’t feel like I’m ready to have them. In the end, it’s our choice as Moms to determine when to bring these important aspects of our lives together. No point in rushing something you’d like to last forever…or at least a few more months.

  2. Chelsey – I’ve had every one of these thoughts (which is why i was able to write this!). Sounds like you found a great guy — do what you want and keep him a way from that family grocery trip as long as you need to!!! xx

  3. Totally agree on everything, but even more so where you mention “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.”

    I’ve gotten this so often it makes me sick to my stomach. After years of coming to terms with the fact that I don’t need to sacrifice anything, I feel like my life’s gotten a whole lot more fulfilling. :) My son knows I love him and my world sort of revolves around him. At the same time, he’s happy when I’m happy… Which means he understands that I don’t need to sacrifice anything for his sake and later blame him for my “sacrifice” lol.

    1. “Which means he understands that I don’t need to sacrifice anything for his sake and later blame him for my “sacrifice” ” — LOL indeed!

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