When’s the Right Time to Introduce Your Significant Other to Your Kid?
Dating as a single parent is difficult in and of itself. You need to schedule dates around your custody agreement and make sure you’re upfront with people about your status as a parent. Oh yeah, and there’s also the looming question of when you actually introduce someone else to your child!
You can read endless opinion pieces on when to introduce your new significant other to your child, and each one is going to have different advice. Some say right away, to get everyone on common ground. Others say to wait for a determined period of time or set number of dates, to make sure you’re compatible with them. I’ve even read pieces that advocate not making an introduction until you’re ready to move in with that person!
It’s not when, but how
For many single parents out on the dating scene, this is a big issue. If you introduce them too soon and things don’t work out, you’ve got a lot of explaining to do to your kid about this person who was briefly in their life. On the other hand, if you wait and wait, there’s this underlying level of secrecy that’s unfair to everyone.
The best answer to “when should I introduce my significant other to my kid?” isn’t about when, but rather how. If you make introductions after a first date and tell your kid “this is my friend,” it’s much less significant than “this is my girlfriend.” Kids know the difference and the significance of both of these relationships.
It’s about comfort
Before you make any introductions, ask yourself where you’re at in the relationship. Here’s the thing: your kid is the one variable that doesn’t change at all. You can’t just decide to make things work with a partner and get rid of the kid! Everything you do is contingent on your relationship with your child, not your partner.
Do you feel comfortable bringing that person into your home? If so, it probably means they’re okay to meet your kid at some level. Gauging where the relationship is at comfort-wise will give you big clues about how and when to make an introduction to your child.
So, when’s the right time?
Okay, so, you’re probably reading this to get a definitive answer. You want me to say “after the third date” or “after 60 days” or “only after you’ve said ‘I love you’.” But the fact is, there is no set time. That’s the thing lots of people have trouble coming to grips with. No book can tell you exactly when to introduce your significant other to your kid. Only you can determine when and how you make that introduction.
For me personally, I make introductions when my gut tells me I should. If I’m interested and excited in a woman and we’ve been on a few dates, and I know a little about her, I’m more inclined to make an introduction to my daughter.
It’s all about the situation and how relevant I think that relationship is going to become in the future. If there’s no spark, there’s no introduction. If I’m going to be spending a lot of time with a woman, introductions are in order.