When single parents date… 

When single parents date, “When should we introduce the kids?”, is a common question. And an important one.

There’s no easy answer because every situation and family is different.

I was a single mom (I dated with three kids and an infant), and I’ve helped hundreds of single parents find love. So, this question has come up a gazillion times, and I’ve definitely got some thoughts on the subject to share with you.

Let me start by telling a story…

Years ago, I had a client who was adamant about waiting a full year before introducing her kids to anyone she was dating. She wanted to shield them from any possible pain and suffering a breakup might bring. I loved that she was being intentional about dating and being a thoughtful and caring parent. While I understood her good intentions, I felt a full year was too long to wait, so I suggested she introduce the kids to the man she was dating sooner.

So, how long should single parents wait to introduce their kids?

Each situation is different, but In my opinion, a year or even six months is too long.

Why?

Let me share a personal story…

Many years ago, when I was a single mom dating, I met a sexy Spaniard; I’ll call him “Miguel”.

Miguel was handsome and fun, he had a good job, he was a total gentleman, and I liked his family. Miguel treated me like a princess. We also had great chemistry – I got excited whenever I saw him.

After a month, we decided to date exclusively. I felt comfortable introducing Miguel to my three-year-old son, and the three of us spent a good deal of time together.

As time passed, I noticed Miguel wasn’t connecting with my son. He didn’t play with him or seem to enjoy being with him. I also realized he had a strained relationship with his own teenagers, whom I met (they were great). As time passed, and I got to know him better, I realized Miquel and I had very different values around parenting.

So even though Miguel and I were having a blast together, I ended our three-month relationship immediately.

Yes, I ended a relationship with a gorgeous, gainfully employed sweet man who treated me beautifully and had a great family because I knew he wasn’t a good fit for my son.

And that meant he wasn’t a fit for me.

When I ended things, Miguel was upset. He promised to get to know my son better and to try harder. That was very sweet, but I knew our values around parenting were too different. This wasn’t an issue that would change. Miguel was an awesome guy with so much to offer, but kids just weren’t his thing, and it was time for me to move on.

What if I had waited six months or a year to introduce him to my son?

I would have wasted a ton of time on the wrong person, and it wouldn’t have worked out in the end.

I was ready to find “the one”, and I knew exactly what my dealbreakers were. In fact, before I met Miguel, I had written them down.

Do you want to know the best part of this story?

Because I had the insight and courage to end things with Miquel, just two weeks after he and I broke up, I was in the right place at the right time and met my future husband!

Does this mean single parents should introduce the kids to everyone they date?

Of course not! But once you decide to focus on someone you trust and feel has real potential, I recommend you include your kids in the equation so you can see if everyone gets along. After all, a family is a package deal.

Spending time together with the kids is a great opportunity to learn more about the person you’re dating.

And if you want to have kids someday, dating a single parent will give you insight into the kind of parent he or she will be – it’s a great preview.

I didn’t waste a minute of my time on the wrong person. And you shouldn’t either.

When I work with my clients, we spend a lot of time defining their dealbreakers because knowing what doesn’t work is just as important as knowing what does.

It’s crucial to spot red flags quickly so you don’t waste time dating the wrong person.

Make sure you know what your deal breakers are and stick to them, no matter what. Don’t twist yourself into a pretzel when the person you’re dating isn’t a fit.

Don’t wish things were different, hope they will change, and waste your precious time.

If you spot a red flag, and it’s a dealbreaker, move on immediately to make space in your life for the RIGHT person to show up.

This is a very personal topic, and not everyone will agree with my recommendation.

Kids, divorce, and dating can be complicated and every situation is different. At the end of the day, single parents who date need to do what works best for their families.

I hope these stories and my advice give you food for thought so you can make the right decision for you.

Wishing you so much happiness and success on your dating journey!

xo,
Michelle