Meeting The Kids

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Meeting The Kids
35
Thu, 10-02-2003 - 6:47pm
I have a friend who has been dating a man exclusively for 5-6 weeks. They are in their 30's he has two young children (about 5 and 9 years) who he has joint custody of - divorce was final about 7 months ago. They are serious about each other. She spent most of the weekend with his kids about two weeks ago and this weekend she plans on sleeping over when his kids are there.

I have expressed that it is too soon to let the kids get this attached to her and that they do not need to see daddy having a sleepover with a new woman (and yes I believe that children of that age are fully aware of sexual activity going on). She disagrees with me and has told me several instances of the children getting attached to her. They are discussing the future but no imminent plans to get engaged (which of course makes sense).

What do you think - is it too soon as a general rule to expose the children in this way to her - is it a case by case thing - is it only up to him to decide or does she have an obligation to look out for their interests/needs. How soon have you met children and how soon have you had sleepovers, in a relationship. I have zero personal experience with this although I likely would not do a sleepover until we were married, if the kids were there. The only slightly similar situation was one I had a boyfriend's 8 year old niece stay over with him - she slept with me in my room, he slept on the couch in the other room and of course he is her uncle not her dad.

Thoughts - thanks!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: deena33
Thu, 10-02-2003 - 7:07pm
"I have a friend who has been dating a man exclusively for 5-6 weeks....I have expressed that it is too soon to let the kids get this attached to her and that they do not need to see daddy having a sleepover with a new woman "

first of all... how long have they been dating non-exclusively?

i think six months of dating before meeting each other's children is a good rule of thumb?

Avatar for northwestwanderer
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: deena33
Thu, 10-02-2003 - 7:10pm

I think HE is being incredibly irresponsible towards his children.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: deena33
Thu, 10-02-2003 - 7:35pm
They have known each other for almost 6 weeks and met on line.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: deena33
Thu, 10-02-2003 - 7:37pm
Sheri,

Thanks - I was feeling like maybe I was being too traditional and I have to say - so impressive re: your behavior with respect to Ricky and his son - I mean, you were serious and with him quite awhile and so into him and he into you - and that you were able however to take a step back and consider his son (meaning, despite your strong feelings and sincere hopes for a future) - well, that is what I wish my friend would do.

Deena (who is doing a happy dance - well, mentally as I am at work - that I get to meet you next Wednesday - woo hoo!)

Avatar for northwestwanderer
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: deena33
Thu, 10-02-2003 - 7:46pm

Oh, come on, I want the actual dance being done in your office right now ;-)!!!!

Avatar for cl_shywon
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
In reply to: deena33
Thu, 10-02-2003 - 7:55pm

Each relationship moves at its own pace.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2003
In reply to: deena33
Thu, 10-02-2003 - 8:54pm
I think that 5-6 weeks is too soon to even introduce children to dates - even if they are exclusive - let alone have sleepovers. I don't have personal experience as I don't have children nor have I dated anyone with children (more that one date anyway). I do however have training in psychotherapy including child psychology and family systems theory.

Introducing a child to a new partner does not necessarily mean that an attachment will form. But the child will try to figure out everyone's role in this relationship - including their own - and how they all fit into the picture.

The children of divorced parents will have some sort of fantasy regarding the people in their parent's lives. Their imaginations may run in fast forward and begin to wonder if this new friend is going to be their new mommy or daddy. They may wonder if this person is going to replace their mommy or daddy. They may begin to feel insecure with regards to their own position in the family and wonder if there is enough love and attention for them. Their fantasies might be hopeful or fearful.

I don't see any need to bring this into their lives unless there is fair certainty that this relationship is going to be long-term. I think it would take a few months - and not a few weeks - to make that determination.

jhoover

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-08-2002
In reply to: deena33
Thu, 10-02-2003 - 11:19pm
It's too soon. Involving a woman in the lives of his children this soon seems irresponsible to me. Six weeks is only a month and a half. They barely know each other and they are already having sleepovers with the children there? Why? It just doesn't bode well for the children's long term well-being. But maybe he and your friend will be perfect for each other and get married and none of this will matter. Unfortunately the odds are very high that it won't happen like that.

Ava





iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: deena33
Fri, 10-03-2003 - 7:50am
Thanks, Ava, I agree - I am not comfortable sharing details of the "why" - suffice it to say that she believes he is special/different, that this relationship is serious/different and that in 6 weeks seeing him every day she knows that he is a wonderful person and father. She felt this way after 3 weeks, too, when she started hanging out with his kids. They have begun to get attached to her from what she tells me.

Although what i think is irrelevant to her (and it is irrelevant - none of my business) what I think is that no matter how hard I fell for someone, I could not be intimate right away, and if he wanted to see me every day I would see it as a huge red flag/and/or would get turned off - I would wonder whether he had a long term view of things which to me means you take things at a reasonable pace, I would be concerned it was a rebound based on his recent divorce, that he was needy/clingy - of course saying flattering things is fine - great - even early on but I am most comfortable/compatible/excited about a man who has his own life and sees the value in integrating me into it at a reasonable pace - I can't see seeing a new man more than twice a week in the first month and as far as talking every day - not sure that's such a great idea either. Partly to protect my heart and partly to keep things fresh - I think missing each other is a good thing, while playing house in the first two weeks, typically is not.

But again what I think is irrelevant and I have apologized to her for sharing my views on the kids - I thought she wanted me to from the tone of her email but I am guessing not (as far as the rest of the relationship - that is totally up to her - but when it came to the kids I felt compelled to give my opinion - but that was probably wrong. Aarrrgghh

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-08-2002
In reply to: deena33
Fri, 10-03-2003 - 7:53pm
I really do wonder about couples who see each other everyday in the first few months. It would turn me off as well. So much togetherness so soon is just too much for me. In neither of the two long term romances I've had since my divorce have I wanted to see the guy every day. I can't see spending even remotely that much time with someone until I am engaged and married to him.

In my view, early excessive togetherness leads to a false sense of intimacy with someone who is essentially a stranger. In that situation, dating each other becomes a thing of the past and routine and the mundane take over. Because D and I only see each other 1 night during the week and varying amounts on the weekend, depending on whether my son is with me or not, we have time to long for each other. When we are finally together, it intensifies our enjoyment of one another's company. I like that feeling. It is different from being married to someone. However, I do want to marry again and at some point, routine will return. But I'm enjoying romance right now.

I'm sorry your friend didn't take your sharing your opinion about her sleeping arrangements with his children in the house as well as you'd hoped. But maybe hearing another viewpoint will make her pause and rethink the choice she is making.

Ava





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