Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Morning Quickie: “My Boyfriend Won’t Meet My Children”

I’m a mom of four who’s been dating this guy for four months now and things seem to be going well. My only concern is that he hasn’t met my kids yet. I don’t know if this is really a concern, but it pops into my mind a lot. I’ve invited him out with us a few times, but it never happens. I’ve asked him about it, and he says that he would like to meet them but that it’s just bad timing. Would you say this is a bad sign or that I’m overreacting? Is it still soon, or it should have happened already? — Single Mom of Four

I definitely would not say that his putting off meeting your four kids is a bad sign or a red flag, but I do think a discussion about the issue is not only warranted but probably long overdue. When he says “it’s bad timing,” you need to ask him what he means by that. Meeting a significant other’s children is a really big deal. At least, it should be. I’m of the mind that that kind of introduction should be reserved for relationships that are monogamous and on the track to commitment. As a mother, you should be of that mind as well. And, if this guy has any sense, he should feel the same way. And maybe he just doesn’t feel that your relationship is at the level yet that he should be getting involved with your children. Maybe he can’t say with confidence that he sees himself in your lives months from now, and so he doesn’t want to get attached to your kids (and vice versa) if he isn’t there yet. That doesn’t mean he won’t get there. It may just mean that he needs a little more time. Conversely, the idea of four children may scare the shit out of him and he might prefer to pretend that they don’t really exist (which is hard to do once you’ve met them).

Whatever his reasoning is, you obviously need and deserve to know what it is. Is this relationship maybe leading somewhere serious or not? If he can’t give you an answer, then you need to decide whether you’re willing to give this relationship more time — without pressuring him to meet your children and move faster than he’s ready. If it turns out you’re on different pages and you don’t feel like waiting for him to catch up, you might want to MOA.

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6 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Sunshine Brite May 15, 2015, 9:30 am

    I would say that 4 months is too soon in almost every relationship to be introducing the significant other to the kids in any meaningful context (example saying hello as mom’s friend when he picks her up)

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  • sobriquet

    Sobriquet May 15, 2015, 9:54 am

    I actually think a SO needs to meet the kiddos early on. Not after the first date, but after a few months of dating, before you’re seriously committed. That way, if he’s not good with kids (treats them badly, for instance) or your kids get a bad vibe from him, you’re not so attached that you’re blind to it. My mom dated a lot while I was a kid and I met most of the men she dated. She would introduce the man as her friend and kept it platonic around us kids. It was never a big deal. Seeing how a partner interacts with your children is huge!

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  • redessa

    redessa May 15, 2015, 11:15 am

    I don’t think a basic, casual introduction early on is a bad thing. Or even having the kids see various friends/dates in passing – I think coming to the door and saying hello would be just fine. But I would wait till things are more established before inviting anyone to do things with the family or otherwise become involved with the kids’ lives. You don’t want them becoming attached to someone who’s not serious about the relationship. And even then, it’s good to take things slow and try to be objective about how everyone is getting along.

    LW, I do think your boyfriend is trying to the right thing in being more cautious about the idea of spending time together. Maybe he would be okay/feel less pressure with the idea of just a quick introduction.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark May 15, 2015, 11:25 am

    Four months with four kids seems awfully fast to me.

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  • avatar

    d2 May 15, 2015, 12:45 pm

    I see no problems having brief casual introductions of actual friends to children. After several months of dating, I see no problems having similar introductions of dates if they were presented as friends.
    .
    However, I would wait a long time before showing any romantic displays in front of the children, or before including the date in any family activities.
    .
    The LW is attempting to include her boyfriend in family activities after only a few months. That would be moving a bit too fast for me – either as a parent or as a date.

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  • niki

    niki May 15, 2015, 1:09 pm

    I have a father who constantly brought his girl of the month around and made us spend time with her. When the relationship inevitably didn’t work out we were heartbroken.
    .
    I dated a guy a few years back who had two children. I made it my rule that I wouldn’t meet them until we knew that our relationship was serious and going somewhere. That relationship didn’t work out after several months and I’m glad he never had to answer questions about what happened to me.
    .
    Frankly, I think someone in a rush to introduce the kids is probably looking for an insta-mom/dad, rather than a partner.

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