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When should single moms introduce kids to a boyfriend?

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When should single moms or dads introduce a new partner to the kids?

Short answer: Whenever you want.

Growing up, my mom, who was divorced, dated a lot for a few years.

I loved it.

I loved watching her get dressed up to go out to dinner or dancing. I'd sit on her bed as she'd stand at the dresser and set her blond, permmed hair on rollers, apply makeup and a spritz of Norell, her signature fragrance. She was happy, looked like she felt pretty. Then the cool teenage babysitter arrived, and my brothers and I did everything we could do to contain our rambunctiousness before my mom left.

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This was back in the 1980s, and the guys she dated grew up in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and they would come to the house and pick her up. They often brought flowers — even on (especially?) first dates. My mom used these interactions as opportunities to teach her kids manners, and we learned about shaking hands, introducing one's self and looking the other person in the eye when you spoke.

A few of these guys turned into relationships that lasted a few months, and in those cases, if they had kids, we'd all have outings. I remember a few times everyone sleeping over at our house.

The guys were nice, the kids were nice, my mom was happy around these men and it was all very normal.

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How long should you wait before you introduce your boyfriend to your child?

Today, when I hear single parents talk about dating, the most common scenario is waiting until the magical six-month mark to introduce an amour to the kids. Divorced couples even mutually agree that the kids will not lay eyes on a romantic partner until half a year has passed. Some custody agreements even go as far as engagement.

This is nonsense. There is no reason that you can't introduce your kids to someone you are dating any time at all. People pass through your children's lives all the time:

  • Beloved teachers are left behind every year
  • Grandparents and other loved ones will die, guaranteed
  • Trusted neighbors and best friends move away
  • Etc.

Just because your kids meet someone you are dating doesn't mean they will become attached to them — especially if they are introduced as someone you are dating. NOT your new husband / their new stepdad / a huge deal.

But first you must become comfortable with dating yourself. After all, if you are determined to find a new husband / stepdad for your children, they will assume that intensity and will try to bond and be heartbroken if / when it ends.

If you have a healthy attitude about dating, then it is healthy for your kids to know about that, too.

Hiding your boyfriend from your kids

I recently heard a really great story from a newly single mom that illustrates the importance of being open about your dating life with your children, and modeling healthy life-long romance, starting young.

Facing divorce, this mom of two's own childhood loomed large as her point of reference. After all, her parents split when she was in preschool, and she was raised almost exclusively by her mother, who was a great role model in that she rose from a store clerk to a corporate executive during my friend's childhood. It's no surprise my friend has also become incredibly successful herself.

But, she never saw her mom date. At all.

Facing her own single status, she was terrified — assumed, even — that she also faced perpetual loneliness. Why wouldn't she? That was her model: You divorce. You're alone forever.

However, this new phase of life has opened a new chapter in my friend's relationship with her mother, as these things tend to do. And it turns out that her understanding of her mom's personal life was inaccurate.

“Oh I always had an active sex life,” the mom confessed recently. “I just kept that separate from my relationship with you.”

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My friend was stunned. This not only TNT'd her impression of her mom, but upturned her expectations for her own sexual and romantic life — which suddenly became so much brighter.

I love this story because it serves as such great evidence for why we should all be open about our dating lives with our children. I've said it once but it needs to be said a zillion times more:

There is nothing shameful about a mother dating. You are an adult woman who has romantic, emotional and sexual needs. Embracing this fact is great for you, and great for your kids.

Those needs do not conflict with your kids' needs of you, or your relationship with your family. In fact, happily dating is the healthiest thing you can model for your children, both now — and in shaping their points of reference in adulthood. Being sexually fulfilled gives you the energy to parent to your greatest potential. Plus, a healthy romantic life — whatever that means for you — frees your children from their own natural sense that they must fill that void, now and in the future — which is prone to happen in single-parent families.

A sexually satisfied mom is a happier mom.

Now, you know all about age-appropriate information, so I won't even go there. Because, again, you are an adult woman and you know better.

So, tell your kids you are going on a date. Let them meet the man you are seeing — even if you are not sure where the relationship is headed. The more you embrace your sexuality, the healthier it is, and the easier it will be to share with your kids in a way that doesn't make anyone squirm.

Just ask my friend.

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My new boyfriend had a sleepover with my kids home for the first time

Here is what happened when my boyfriend of three months stayed over:

My kids met him a couple times. He was sweet with them, and he tried to play it cool, though I can tell he was a little nervous about making a good impression on them (and on me, with them), which made him all the more irresistible.

In the spirit of being normal about mixing kids with dudes, I also tried to keep it cool. We'd planned for him to have dinner at my place with the kids last Thursday. Earlier in the week I texted: “Do you want to stay over?”

Sure, he said. I didn't want to make it into a huge deal with the kids, but I also believe it is really disrespectful to sneak men into your bed, or simply wake up with a man laying next to you without any explanation. Kids aren't morons.

So, I first mentioned to Lucas, then age 4: “He's going to sleep over at our house Thursday.”

When his sister, 6, came home, Luke eagerly rushed up to her: “Helena! Helena! Guess WHAT! Mommy's boyfriend is going to SLEEP at our HOUSE!”

Helena: “Where is he going to sleep?

Me: “My bed.”

Helena: “Where are you going to sleep?”

Me: “In my bed with him.”

Helena: “I think you wiggle too much at night. Maybe he should sleep on the couch.”

Lucas: “I know! I know! He can sleep in MY BED!”

Me: “Where are you going to sleep?”

Lucas: “With you.”

Me: “I'm going to sleep with him in my bed because he's my boyfriend and I want to snuggle with him.”

Lucas: “What about OUR morning snuggles?”

Me: “We will still do that — there are plenty of mommy snuggles to go around.”

Helena: “I promise not to fart on his lap like I did with your last boyfriend. I think that's why you broke up.”

Maybe that last bit about the boyfriend snuggles was TMI, but it is true and go to the heart of the kids' confusion — this visitor is different than the many houseguests who frequent our couch. And it turned out to be completely accurate (read on).

The day of The Great Sleepover, I picked Helena at the bus stop and she giddily skipped along the sidewalk holding my hand.

“My mommy's boyfriend is going to sleep at my house! My mommy's boyfriend is going to sleep at my house! I told everyone at school — even my teachers! My mommy's boyfriend is going to sleep at my house!” 

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The rest of the evening was pork chops and roasted cauliflower and cupcakes my boyfriend brought for the kids. He cleaned the kitchen (even the stovetop which I religiously leave for the housecleaner) while I got the kids into the bath and jammies. I read Helena one of those Madonna English Roses books and he read Lucas a Planes book. There were kisses all around, followed by yelling to get back into bed, and it couldn't have been more normal or cozy.

And it was, at its core, a normal and cozy Thursday evening with the kids. I put on my long-sleeved pajamas, washed my face and slipped into bed next to him, my head resting in the crook of my arm and then on his chest. We turned off the light and talked about what I don't remember. I wish I had a funny story about stifled howls of passion or a knocking headboard that awoke the kids, and while there were some steamy adult snuggles under the predawn covers, we crawled out of bed to make coffee and muffins and listen to NPR as I yelled at the kids to hurry up and get dressed already. And then the day had begun.

Why you may want to wait or not introduce your boyfriend to your kids

In response to the above essay, a mom wrote me:

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.

Maybe you and your boyfriend disagree on when and how to tell his kids or your kids when to introduce the other partner. Couples counseling can help—even if you're not married.

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.

1. You recently broke up with someone else.

Even though you may be over the rebounds and 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.

When should a single mom tell a man she has kids?

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 something casual or a friend with benefits that is separate from your daily life can be a fabulous arrangement. If that suits you, embrace it.

How long should you wait before you introduce your boyfriend to your child?

Short answer: Whenever you want.


This is a personal preference, and many of the pros and cons ring true to me, however, I don’t mind kids seeing me date, but I’m not bringing ANY old person around my kids or family. Just like when I was younger. I didn’t invite any old person over to our house. Yo u need to get to know a person to see if you want them interacting with your family or not. See what their priorities are, how they maneuver through life. Sure, I like a night of dancing and hanging out as much as the next person, but someone I’m partying with til the wee hours of the morning and god knows what else, doesn’t deserve to meet my family right away, and I need to see how I feel about a person being around my kids too…AND knowing where I live for that matter.

When? Whenever you want!
What a narcissist person, teachers or fiends are not touching or sleeping with you while your new partner is doing more than that, so those are two different things.
Little kids are easily engaged whether negatively or positively with new people so THAT’S WHY you have to be very responsible and respectful with their space.
You can do whatever you want in your private with your new lovers but keep them out of your kids at least until you know your in a serious healthy relationship.
I assume you’re the topical liberal person who thinks everything is ok until the hammer smash your head then is wondering why me, i don’t deserve, etc.
That’s why single moms are the worst to give a healthy advice.

There is no such thing as a “trauma free” divorce. Sure, there are some divorces that involve less trauma, but the deprivation of being raised in a household (and having that same household to go back to after maturing) that has a mother and a father is pyschologically detrimental to children, no matter the maturity level. Also, divorced people should really consider if they need to be dating in the first place. I don’t agree with the concept of casual dating–that’s mutual use. Perhaps I’m old fashioned, but sex should really only be for marriage. That sounds like nails on a chalk board to the modern ear, but the idea that having sex with whoever you want is liberating is completely erroneous. All you are doing is hijacking your bodies biological bonding mechanisms someone who really doesn’t love you (no matter how much it seems they do). Sex is not a recreational activity. You don’t have sex with a body, you have sex with a *person*. Most of the time people date, and especially for divorced people, it is to fill an emotional, psychological, or spiritual wound that they are stuffing away. The excitement of a romance seems to make the pain go away. By stuffing away your pain by going on casual flings with non-commital men (and vis a versa) you are inhibiniting your ability to deal in a constructive way with any of your problems. That in itself is enough to make you a bad parent. If you are incapable of dealing with your emotions and problems in healthy and non-dysfunctional ways, you cannot be a good parent. It only adds insult to injury to then introduce to your kid the very person you are stunting your emotional life with and engaging in mutual use with (by the way, he doesn’t love your kids, even if he has some affection for them and thinks their cute). And this is the great lie of the sexual revolution and third wave feminism: that you can choose to have sex with whoever you want and their are no consequences. Oh, and by the way, somehow that’s liberating. What are the fruits of the sexual revolution? Nearly 50% of marriages end in divorce and the average age for first exposure to pornography is 11 years old. Welcome to a hyper-sexualized civilization that puts people through the meat grinder of basing their worth solely or largely on their sexual identity (which, while important, is only a small part of who a person really is). If you value your kids, you’re not going to go on casual date sprees. If you value your kids, you will consider the fact that what you do deeply hurts them–your actions are not committed in a moral vacuum, they have effects on everyone. As an “mature” adult child of divorce who is still deeply hurt by my mother’s dysfunctional dating (and any form of dating for a parent–and really anyone for that matter– is so) this article is deeply hurtful and insensitive. You should really take this down instead of enabling dysfunctional parents in their insanity.

I disagree.. your child shouldn’t meet every man your dating.. unless you know its going somewhere but in 6 months you’ve switched partner at least 5 times, why would you wanna introduce every random man to your child especially small girls? iI’d prefer to date privately and introduce my child once I know the relationship is getting somewhere.. this isnt the same world. People are sick and its up to us as moms to keep our kids safe, cant introduce just anyone to your kid or your home! No-one shows their true colors until your moved in together.

I just want to say I needed this. My kids are 17 and 19. I’m separated after 32 years with the ex. I am starting to date and I have been hiding it. After covid especially I realize that companionship and sex are so important to staying healthy. I am going to be upfront and honest from now on. And if the dating goes beyond a few dates invite the man to dinner! Thank you so much for your honesty examples and the liberating feeling you have this mom.

As a child of divorce, I can assure you that nearly everything she wrote is wrong. You’re not doing your kids a favor by introducing them to your boyfriend.

Just gross. None of this is about shame or sexism, It’s about protecting your children. First of all, there’s a lot of sick fucks out there, whom you probably don’t want around you’re children (or even knowing you have children/where you live). If you don’t even know them enough to know if you want a relationship with them……..then how can you trust them around your kids. Second, you can’t control who your kids bond with. What if your son and the new guy just hit it off from the get go…….that happens. You say kids lose people all the time……well FUCK, why don’t we add some more traumatic events in their because WHY THE FUCK NOT? Lets also remember that kids are developing….they don’t understand (nor should they) the complexities of adult romantic relationships. It’s none of their business. Now you can say mommies going on date…but that does NOT mean you bring the guy around until you’re both on the same page and in a secure relationship (6 months minimum IMO).

Now if you’ve got older kids, say 14+ maybe they are mature enough to understand it……..but it’s still disgusting to be bringing home different men all the time. Do you honestly want your daughter to think its totally fine to get her back blown out by different men every weekend? You ok if she ends up being known as the “blowjob queen” or the “campus slut”. I can assure you MOST of the girls I knew that were like that in their late teens/early 20’s either got pregnant young (and surprise daddy didn’t stick around), or continued that lifestyle till they hit “the wall” and suddenly guys started wanting the younger women. My facebook is filled with these Used up girls in their late 20’s early 30s, whining about how they just want a good man. They’re no longer, the sexy young thing anymore and don’t have much going for em beyond bedroom experience. And most have kids in tow…ah yes, where are all the good men????

This is seriously the worst advice I’ve ever seen given. Disgusting and completely selfish. If you want dick with no strings attached so much, just go download tinder, and meetup at a hotel so you can get your weekly dose. Leave your kids out of it!

Thank you so much for this article! That huff post article made me feel like since I’m single my heart and brain shouldn’t be trusted, and that I should set up a timeline for my thoughts and feelings around artificial moralistic bullshit. I’m a single gay dad and there is so little written out there with some common sense and from a shame-free point of view.
Thanks again!

I don’t think a mom should feel shame while dating, but I do feel she should be safe while doing so. My mom was married several years so when she divorced she was in a dark place. She ended up hooking up with a guy at a party that then convinced her they should date. She moved him in a week later. Our first time meeting him was when my sister and I were coming home from work at our regular time. We opened the front door and saw him on top of her. She then told us he was moving in. A week is not long enough to know someone or trust them around your children. This man got my mom into hard drugs and gave her herpes. He was a convicted felon and would not work because he didn’t want to pay child support to his own family. He later convinced her to sell the house and get a home for only them. Luckily my grandma was there to take us in as we were just out of high-school paying for college classes and living expenses when couldn’t afford. This guy was off. He would be super nice to my mom then quickly change when she walked out if a room. He would tell us we were good for nothing and routinely tell my mother bad things about us to cause a wedge. This was before we even posted our concerns to our mother but by then it was too late. She would believe anything he would say and go along with any demand he would make. To this day they are still in an off and on relationship. If she leaves him he calls her work non-stop and sends her things in the mail. If she blocks his number he uses his friends phones. He makes life hard for her. Once she kicked him out and he called the cops using squatters rights to stay. He even got her brother a night in jail by lieing to the cops about him threatening him. I feel bad for her. She is still emotionally manipulated by him but feels she cannot do anything about it because he is such a talented compulsive lier that is well versed in the laws in our state. My sister and I went to therapy for many years and am still trying to rebuild our relationship with our mother. It is still a battle and a painful one.
Please be safe while you date. Not just for your kinds but for yourself too. Dating should be a fun and happy experience. Just try and find the realness and that and try not to fall onto the mania. Protect your kids as well, pretors are more common than you would think, and emotional trauma can last a lifetime. In the end, if you take the time to know a good mate, your children will come around to them. Even with the last experience my mom had I still encourage her to date.

Good Lord! This is such a load of tripe. Just stumbled across this blog, and every article I have read so far drips with the solipsism of the author. You saw your mum do this, and it damaged you. Now you want to do this to your kids? I notice the story is silent on how those many dates worked out for her in the end.
I have read a few other articles on this blog, and all I can surmise is that the author is a selfish person. While that is not such a bad thing, it is toxic when you are selfish in your dealings with and around your kids.
I should say grow up, but, I sense that train has already left the station.

I’m glad I read this I have been a single mom for 13 years I have never brought anyone around my children that have been worthy. but now I have met someone I have connectee with. which is why I was googling around because I am the first one out of every one of my friends and family to know that they know you cannot bring a man around your children for at least a few months. but also I am a feminist and do not believe in men shaming us and I totally agree with your article and we just don’t realize how toxic, we do, we still don’t even learn to this degree of how toxic they make women’s sexuality to every f****** different degree. Thank you.
Also my kids Daddy has been bringing mad random women around my kids since they were little. Has pissed me off because like why maybe it’s cuz I have parents that are Irish and he is Americana.
I was glad to read different because my mother was also a divorcee who never did, still don’t have a boyfriend etc you know and I don’t want to be like her. I do realize I am emotionally unavailable sometimes because of the stigma that is put on Mothers.

This advice is messy as hell……if you are to protect anyone, it should be your child. A parent and all involved have every right to be concerned and want to do what’s best for the child, especially when it comes to bringing people around. I have yet to bring a random man around my kid that I was dating. I have no regrets. Things didn’t work out, and my child was spared more confusion and heartbreak. Thank God! I am with a man now that I see things going to a serious commitment, and still not rushing that aspect. What’s the point unless you are sure? Come on. Be responsible. It’s not just your life anymore!

This article is something I really needed to read – I am normal and what I’m doing is better than okay. I found myself waiting for it to address my specific scenario because I’m sure I’m not alone – but sadly it didn’t, so I’ll ask the question. How does it work when the person who shames you and wants you to live a separate life is not Society or other people, but your 17 year old daughter who lives with you full time. I separated one and a half years ago after my husband cheated and this is my first boyfriend. That I am not free to introduce him to my life, especially with the additional constraints of COVID, is so heartbreaking. I suffered in my marriage and now I have someone telling me that the suffering needs to continue because she is going to make my life hell if he comes near the house. Aghhh

I skimmed through this. Separated for five years now, and about to introduce my new boyfriend to my daughter. Not long into relationship (3 months), but I like him as a human being, and I thought it’s an opportunity we have fun together. That includes my daughter. So we are going away together.
I’ve had few relationships in the past, but daughter met none of those men. I often left her home alone, while I went dating and it felt bad. Relationships ended, and frankly daughter gained nothing from it, and aside from learning what not to do, nor have I.
I’m amazed by the negative comments of others. I do not consider going away selfish in any way, just an opportunity to have fun. After all, in five years daughter has not spent a single day at her dads. So why not have fun? Why judge others when you have not really been in their shoes?
I totally wholeheartedly agree with you, Emma. We are going to have fun for at long as it lasts.

Funny how people equate dating to just fucking, but somehow expect the madonna mother to find a husband and get engaged before introducing them to their kids.

I have open communication with my kids. They arent exposed to anything they shouldnt be, but they understand sex and sexuality isnt shameful.
That giving love isnt shameful. That loss hurts, but there are ways to deal with it and learn from it. That love is worth pursuing.

It’s not selfish. These puritans afraid of their children feeling anything are selfish, expecting kids to be and feel perfect all the time. Do you understand the pressure children have to be happy all the time?

Teach them about relationships and maybe they’ll have the right amount of self respect and self esteem to have productive healthy dating lives as adults.

It’s a fantastic article. Brought me great comfort. The people on here acting rude and being vulgar really need to evaluate how they view women. Its dangerous, the comments were dangerous and scary. I’d have never expected to see that language in the comment section of an article this well reasoned and written.

JENNIFER I feel like youre missing the point of some of these comments. If the children are of a mature age anywhere from 14-18; all kids mature at different rates. a 14 yo might be able to handle something a 16 yo couldnt. But for me when I read these comments its more about the younger more impressionable kids. Plus I’m speaking from experience; my kids mother started dating someone and in less than a month he was moved in, hanging out with my son etc. all before she even had the decently to let me know she was dating someone. (i knew because i meditate and have strong intuition). but one weekend my son said he didnt want to go home because he didnt feel comfortable around this man. this man i later found out was 40 years old living at home w his parents. had an ex wife and 6 year old child he wouldnt introduce to my kids mother until he spoke with his ex. Now i know more about this man, whats okay for his child is not okay for mine? Anyways as my son was telling me all this he broke down cryiing saying that one night he shared a bed with his mother and this man; who she still hasnt known for a month. So a mother let a grown man who she hasnt known for a month share a bed with a minor (hes 8). The next day my son asked his mother to have this guy leave, she replied “i’ll try”. she never tried; my son brought it up again she answers him “ill only see him on weekends when youre w dad,” she didnt hold up this statement ether. finally my son tells me he asks her a 3rd time and she made sure to put an end to it this time by saying “DONT YOU WANT MAMA TO BE HAPPY? ISNT THAT WHATS IMPORTANT TO YOU?” after hearing this i was fighting back tears. heres a 32 year old girl using HS mental manipulation and mentally abusing her own son to put her wants before his needs. Then the cherry on top of this ice cream crap sundae was later that night because my son felt uncomfortable with this guy and sleeping in the bed, he slept on the floor next to his mother. This still wasnt enough for his mother to say ‘you know my sons obviousyly uncomfortable maybe you should leave’ or if the guy was a real man he would say ‘ i wouldnt want my son to be put in this position so im not going to put yours in this position ill get up and go.’ kids are NOT dumb they start testing us before the age of 2 and that night an 8 year old boy was the most mature person in that house. so tell me Jennifer should any mother put their own child before a potential mate? i can say for sure when i’m dating someone and that time comes to meet my son, if they dont make my son happy they dont make me happy because his happiness is my happiness. When a child is born your life takes a backseat to the childs,no pun intended. PS. This was the 2nd case of my sons mother introducing too soon or rushing in to fast; the first time 6 years ago to the month today and i was granted custody. as for the 2nd time well i gjuess ill find out tomorrow. ***fingers crossed*** that this judge recognizes this is a pattern thats been revolving for over 5 years now. As for you Jennifer I hope you find happiness and love but let it come to you, for when you try to force something odds are things will be broken and may take a LOOOONNNNGGGG time to be repaired if ever. The children ALWAYS are the # 1 priority. May you find and follow your path and be lead to your true purpose in this life.

OMG thank you thank you thank you.

It’s what I was saying deep inside, looking online for someone else – ANYONE ELSE – who said the same.

Now, i’ve made a few mistakes. Bu the communication with my daughter around it, the debriefing, etc… that’s where the life lessons will be. And then, hopefully, when she makes mistakes or when she is in a position of decision-making, perhaps she will also talk about instead of hide and try to figure it out on her own in a small bubble of shame.

But I’m talking, she met him and 2 months later moved in with him so my 5 year old lives w a stranger who by the way doesn’t have visitation w his own 2 year old daughter. This is the 4th boyfriend he’s met this year.

I think this article is an excuse for women to use their children in dating. If you introduce your children early on in a relationship, you’re a terrible, selfish parent. You don’t deserve to have them. Children are impressionable and form attachments quickly. Do yourself a favor and leave your kids out of your dating life until you know this person is the one.

Your advise is so wrong in so many ways I wanna puke. I’ve seen first hand in two relationships now what it does to the children. Where did you even come up with this nonsense.

It’s a shame that the men are the ones that reply with more common sense. I’m scarred for life thanks to my mommy bringing in so many “friends”. I refuse to do that to my own kids!

Emma you literally made this whole article about you and not your children. You justified your decision because it makes you happy. Why don’t you just slow down and take a minute and stop thinking about missing your boyfriend for a minute and enjoy your children.

Because narcissist only do what matters to them …. no one else.

Our society as we know it is in trouble. Kids are just objects.

I would love to see this same topic discussed for single men. I’m involved seriously with a man (only few months but we’ve become very close and are exclusive, with an eye for a committed future). He’s in his early 50s and I’m 62. My kid are early 20s and on their own (but haven’t been for very long). His daughter is almost 17 and has autumism but high-functioning. I don’t know what that means exactly as I haven’t met her. I’m still his “secret” though we just returned from a trip abroad together! He’s not divorced yet (we met when he was 6 mos separated). I have been divorced going on 3 years. He’s met most of my family and friends. I’ve met none of his. Holidays coming up and it’s clear I’m not factoring into his plans. Only her. It’s tearing me up to feel so jealous because it seems so unbecoming and immature, but this topic has a lot of truth in it for my situation too!

For many single parents, dating is exciting and scary at the same time. On one hand, you can hardly contain your enthusiasm for your new love interest. Yet, you may be plagued with questions about when and how to i ntroduce your kids. Before you take that all-important step, consider this advice for dating with children . A lot of single parents ask, When should I introduce my kids to the person I m dating? Peter Sheras, a clinical psychologist at the University of Virginia, and the author of

I am currently dating someone I really like and came across this article for advise. I am in my early 40’s, my children are now either grown or in high school. My ex and I had a horrible, horrible breakup which for a while left me emotionally detached, untrusting of men but also with the impression that all men will eventually cheat on you. Nine years later my ex has since remarried(4 years now) while I had the liberty of spending the first five years of our breakup rebuilding my faith and trust in men, helping my daughters through the struggles they faced due to the breakup, adjusting my kids to a new life, being strong for them and hiding any struggles we may have been going through financially due to the results of that disfunctional relationship. Through all this I never gave up on love and at that time dated ( 5 guys) but my girls only were introduced to those that I formed a relationship with ( 1). As I felt no need to introduce them to someone I was not sure about. Fast forward as I say nine years later the past 4 years have been hell on my dating life. My daughters are now old enough to date themselves or are asking questions. I have opted to now be more transparent about my dating life for a couple of reasons. 1. For my safety, I provide a picture, location and my dates contact information to my children before going on any date with any man. ( before this was provided to my sisters). 2. They are dating now and are looking at me and the way that I handle my relationships and dating techniques also because I could no longer hide it from them. ( kids are smarter than you think) However, I find that now that the cat is out the bag dating is much harder for me now. When I hit 40 I went through the 40 year old midlife crisis of why haven’t I found the right guy, serial dating, etc…it’s like I got worse. I don’t know if it’s because I know my kids will all soon be grown and I don’t want to be alone or WHAT!! But it has changed. However even through all that I never introduced them to anyone. Although they know of them they have never met any of them however I think I may have a winner and would love to introduce my girls to him eventually if things work out. I tell my story because I felt it was important for other single people to know that dating is hard and no matter how you present it to your kids , now or later kids will form an opinion regardless. I sometimes have my girls compare Dads relationship to me dating as if they feel sorry because I haven’t found anyone. But I had to explain to them that ” Mommy found SOMEONE quite a few time, I’m just waiting on the right one”. Dating with children doesn’t have to be complicated for our children or us if we don’t want it to be.

Hi. I find your article very interesting. I disagree with a lot of the other comments. My kid’s father died when she was 3. She’s 8 now. On my 33rd birthday I saw myself getting old and dying alone so I started dating again. My instincts have never failed me. I am not a selfish parent and I know the little person I brought into this world. I think that should be every parent’s barometer–your own kid. You raised that child, you know him/her better than anyone. After reading your article and the many of the vitriolic comments, I refuse to judge. I do not know your children or their children, but I do know I have a right to be happy. I have a responsibility to this little kid I brought to the world. And that I have to be fair to the other person I am bringing into my life, and my child’s. I want to thank you because your article help put things into perspective, and that is to trust my judgement. I thank you for this.

You go girl!!!
Why don’t you have sex with a new stranger every week? But don’t forget to make your kids know they can’t rely on you whenever you are “spending time with him” aka getting fucked, give them a shitty example of how healthy relationships should work and off course that they deserve to be exposed to adult themes at an early age because you obviously can’t help it.

And if your aren’t tired of being a disastrous single mother (not that you don’t deserve to be one)
you may as well want to take the risk of them getting mistreated or even molested by “mommy’s special friend”. your house your rules :)

And why would children need wholesome parental figures anyways? it’s never you fault :(
You have been negligent enough to bring them this world,even though you’re aware you can’t even take care of your own life.

You are selfish and probably mentally ill.

I agree. Sounds like someone is validating their own promiscuous behavior!
Consider yourself lucky that you were not molested as a child by one of you mothers many sleepover boyfriends.
Your beliefs are in realistic and putting your children in possible dangerous situation.

Amen, this girl teaching her kid how to get around, teaching her kids how not to be committed. With “Woman” like that the word Family wont exist too long. Cycling threw men wtf teach your kid morals not skills to get you a new man cause your so damn picky and cant stick to one!

No kid wants to jump in the bed with a strange man when their scared in the middle of the night. Just saying.

I loved your article. It is absolutly true that this culture puts tremendous strain in single moms to stay single and raise thier children while dads are encouraged to ‘get back out there’ and find someone to raise the kids (as if they couldn’t do it themselves). It’s demeaning all around.

Emma, I have often wondered throughout life why I WASN’T able to be taken by my dad! The laws have thankfully changed!

What a grievous shame it is that you would feel more strongly about your own selfish desire, and the need of children to feel secure at home. That actually includes the way you approach your sex life. (home, as I referred it here, is a well packed word that encompasses a LOT more than mere place… it’s everything)

As a grown child of a single mother, sex addict, actually, with an endless supply of eager men who by my mother’s example, felt NO need to protect us from anything (because it was HER life and we were just a part of it) we learned to distrust. Everyone. Everything. My brother’s grew up wondering if the girls they liked were really just playing with their hearts, all the while well into adulthood I cringe at movies depicting the mom’s sleepover helping himself to orange juice in the morning. Orange juice provided by the single mother. Orange juice that was meant for the children. But the orange juice is just the surface, subtle but tangible standin for what those men, and the children’s mother are actually giving away- robbing from their children, from YOU!

If you want to go out and “enjoy your sex life” reclaim YOUR sexuality, whatever, keep in mind that that’s how some of us ended up with half siblings and our mother’s increasing resentment of the little people she created holding her back from what SHE wants.

Don’t bring your dude around until you know the man (and you’re fooling yourself if you actually think that sex helps you know a person… it does… in a very intimate soul bonding sort of way that can only authentically be expressed in marriage -otherwise, it’s a premature bonding agent that KEEPS you from seeing a person, but damages you, and your children), know his friends, know his family. He should know you have kids, and if he’s a man worth taking home to meet them, he’ll see your nonchalance about your children’s well being (and safety) as a red flag.

Hell, if you feel that selfishly for your human sex toys, you’re frankly not ready to date. You’re probably not suitable to be trusted with the fragile vulnerabilities your children carry with them; take a deep look at what you’re teaching them about their own self worth, their own sexuality, love… life, It’s NOT about you anymore. Grow up!

Why would you assume it damaged her? Why is being an honest, open, real person with her children selfish? Why should children be sheltered from the idea that there is more than one way to live one’s life in regard to relationship choices? Is the concern that they might grow up to think it’s ok to date or, God forbid, have sex with multiple people throughout their lives? It is possible to raise happy, healthy, stable children while being open with them about the perfectly natural part of life that dating is for many people. Stop shaming people because they don’t have the same traditional values you do.

Her romantic life is none of her children’s business and completely inappropriate to discuss, especially if they’re under 12. As for why the children should be sheltered? Do you honestly think seeing mommy bring home a different dude every night that you can hear getting her back blown out through the walls is good for the children? Obviously you’re all coming at this from an adult perspective, but that shit is very disturbing and confusing to a child. Not to mention they will replicate the behavior most likely. Hope you like grandchildren as soon as your daughter/son turns 16.

The kids obviously had to deal with losing their father (either part or full time) and now you’re going to introduce a new guy who a child might gravitate towards, and when you get bored of him, you’re gonna rip him right out of your kids life. A mother who does this is an immature, selfish slut, with no concern for the emotional welfare of her child or their future. You wanna get your weekly dose of dick, at least do it outside the house, while the kids are with a trusted family member. Still not great, and trust me, you’re kids will put the pieces together and figure out years later why “mommy was out all the time”.

Clearly you didn’t read the “only if your COMFORTABLE with dating.” This means that you must know the difference between dating into a relationship and dating into fucking. For some, they may not understand the difference because they may be too naive, but for others… if you understand that you put your children first and you make sure they are happy before you are, this is perfectly understandable. As a single mother, I understand this completely. You can not hide your relationships from your children because your children won’t learn. This does not mean to bring in every man home. Her kids turned out just fine and she gave examples of how happy they were. This was like a new friend. If a man seems to be disrespectful or sexual without boundaries in your own home, it is the mother’s duty to end the relationship for safety purposes. THIS is being a mother. Taking care of yourself and your children’s needs. Balance is something everyone learns at their own pace.

Thank you so much you basically said everything i was yelling at while reading this damn post! People like this should have never brought children into this world if they weren’t ready to be a FAMILY god bless you and i really appreciate you and your views

I had a horrible ordeal where I had to leave my child’s father due to drug issues, I have sole custody and am back on my feet. By some amazing turn of events I have met someone I connect on every level with. We have only been together two months, my child is under two and I would like us to spend more time together, I question sleepovers only because there are a few people in my life chastising me for even giving it a thought. I am now starting to feel selfish for wanting these things and encouraging progression to the next level of this relationship.


You are awesome. The six month rule is absolutely ridiculous. Imagine all of the lies you would have to tell your kids over that time period, sneaking around like a teenager. I see people who impose the most ridiculous expectations on their dating partners. Like every moment you share is supposed to be sacred, as the partner is preparing for a life-long commitment. Gaw, too much pressure. Love you Emma!!

The problem is this article is clearly written from a fairly trauma free perspective and that’s not a lot of people’s experiences. Many of us *were* traumatized by our parents partners. Many children lived through trauma in their parent’s marriages. I really disagree with a lot of what this author writes to be honest and I find it irresponsible. I also think there are some fair points to consider. However I don’t equate taking precautions to protect your children with suppressing women’s sexuality. Sure that *can* be part of it, but nowhere near the level being promoted in this article. Your kids can know you date without meeting the people you go on dates with. I don’t even want someone I barely know to know where I live let alone know where my daughter and I live alone together. I personally was sexually abused by one of my mom’s boyfriends. I also experienced the loss of getting attached to people my parents got serious about quickly. It’s not some small oh well life is shit sometimes kids too bad thing. It’s really not. Sure we can’t protect them from every loss, but we can be more thoughtful about it.

There is a lot of middle ground between throwing your casual dating life in the mix and completely sequestering kids from someone you’re getting serious about or knowing you are a woman or man with needs who enjoys dating. Taking your time to get to know someone is as important for you as it is for your kids. Keeping in mind that not everyone is who they seem to be is crucial. Especially if you’ve picked some bad apples in the past. You can always move forward but there are many things you can’t easily come back from. Pump the breaks. Be sensible about things. Have your kids meet him/her in public places for relatively brief periods of time or in groups. Let everyone get comfortable with things and take it slow. What is that going to hurt? If what you want is something other than that I think you need to take a step back and consider why you feel that way.

Also the part about your one year old’s comment about mommy kissing is just ridiculous. A one year old doesn’t know about making out and sex so his comment meant exactly what he said. Mommy kisses Larry. He saw you kiss him in greeting or whatever. Mommy kisses her kids, mommy doesn’t kiss a lot of friends and acquaintances, mommy kisses Larry. Yes Lucas that’s exactly right mommy kisses Larry, so Larry must be a little more special than people mommy doesn’t kiss. Lol what you read into his comment was clearly you putting your biased grown up spin on it.

There is room for opinions, but there are also people who specialize in these things and when you don’t maybe it’s not responsible to write blogs as if your life experience trumps that experience and perspective. It can be damaging. There are people in the comments who clearly don’t need to be rushing into introducing their children to their current love interest. Especially those who think a good first introduction is to go away together for a weekend. You can write an article like this with more of an air of hey this is another perspective based on some of my experiences, rather than having a bash fest on things that you don’t agree with, but are also valid and often based in research and mental health backgrounds, or even other life experiences contrary to your own.

Thanks for saying what’s on my mind. In my experience most are happy to see me dating again. I went through a divorce just like my mother did. She was in a long unhappy marriage just like I was. As a teen I was happy to see her happy again. Dressing up and dating and smiling made me so happy. She had a few relationships she tried. Oh and they spoiled my sister and I. And we would have a blast. My mom eventually married a man that she dated. She has been with him 21 years now. I myself, hope to find someone as special and make it last a life time. You really brought up some good memories of my mom today, thank you.

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