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Just a Guy Dating with Kids

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Bruce Sallan: When is it time to introduce your kids to your new "friend," someone you've dated a while, and when is it okay for them to sleep over? One is relatively simple, in this dad's opinion, the other more dicey.

father holding flowers with kids behind

It's easy when you have split custody; date, have sex, do it all when the kids are with the ex. It's not so easy if you have the kids all the time (as I did). Then, the choice is a secret life or earlier introduction than the therapists all advise (and, remember, every therapist has a dysfunctional family, so why are you listening to them). It's not good for the kids if you are not happy. So, as with most things in life, there's a middle ground on when to make that introduction.

This is one of those areas where moms and dads differ. Many moms choose to be the martyr, denying their kids the possibility of a good male role model in the home and subjugating their own needs. I don't think a parade of dates is cool, but neither is delaying the rest of your life.

We know when someone is just a date or a potential partner. It's not about how long you've seen them; it's about how well you know and trust each other. An arbitrary amount of time is foolish. When it feels right, introduce them. And, prior, let them know you're dating. It's part of life; will part of theirs, so why keep it a secret. As for sleeping over, I'm less open to that. Not so fast; on this you need to know it's monogamous and both of you hope it's going the distance. If you have to do it in the car, for a while, great, you'll get extra exercise and rekindle that youthful spirit that probably has been dormant too long anyway.

But hey, what do I know, I'm just a guy.

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38 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous April 4, 2009, 12:33 PM

Thanks for easing my mom guilt and validating that being happy and creating a new life with a partner is a good thing.

Erin April 4, 2009, 1:13 PM

great blog…nice to hear a dad’s view and i sure hope we hear more from you.

Beverly April 4, 2009, 1:56 PM

Through my business I know several men that would most definitely be helped by Bruce Sallen’s insight.

I enjoyed reading his articles and hope to hear more from him!

Diana Hobson April 4, 2009, 4:51 PM

ok so far. Mine were older teenagers 2nd time around and my rule was no sleepovers unless everyone in the house knew the person and knew ahead of time. They took it pretty well.

Ilene Kahn Power April 4, 2009, 9:20 PM

What a delightful blog. As a former single mom I could relate female or male to Bruce Sallan’s experiences. But it is especially refreshing to see the male, metrosexual point of view. I have now told my single parent friends to go onto this site. What a great community. Thank you.
Ilene Kahn Power

Traci April 5, 2009, 6:32 PM

easy answers are not out there…and it is nice to just hear a sane, rational viewpoint from an honest real guy! Thanks Bruce…lets hear more…

Candy April 5, 2009, 7:25 PM

great blog…nice to hear a man’s point of view. Sure hope we hear more from you.


Anonymous April 6, 2009, 12:24 AM

You were blessed, Bruce, that you could give up your career and devote full time to raising your boys. I raised two boys and can relate to the difficulties of dating, remarriage, and raising a blended family. My boys are grown now, but some of the problems never go away.

Amy April 6, 2009, 10:51 AM

Great column and advice. You clearly did a terrific job figuring it all out…which ain’t easy.

dena April 6, 2009, 4:28 PM

Great perspective into what happens to us all sooner or later. Looking forward to the next column.

Michelle April 6, 2009, 8:04 PM

Cute stuff no easy answers in this department for both sexes. Glad to see a guy writing with insight,sensitvity and humor for once. Thanks!!!

lecia April 6, 2009, 8:55 PM

Great to hear a Dad’s point of view. It is so needed for any parent that is full time to have a (Marriage) spouse for themselves and the kids. As long as the spouse they pick is not jealous or crazy. What an accomplishment you’ve made. Please keep your advice coming.

Newoman April 6, 2009, 9:58 PM

Great writing cool dad!
I hope to read you here on this blog often. Your pov is fresh and down to earth.
Thank you!

Monica April 6, 2009, 11:51 PM

Good to know… now have a better understanding of where my boyfriend is coming from.

Great insight! Thank you Bruce!

susan April 7, 2009, 11:44 AM

It often seems that divorced parents gravitate to the extremes: emotional paralysis and martyrdom, or an insensitive parade of the date of the week. Thanks fo advocating a sane, sensible middle ground that offers much less wear and tear on the kids involved.
Look forward to seeing more of your pov.

Susan April 7, 2009, 9:02 PM

I totally agree with your philosophy…it seems logical and healthy to do it this way..good writing, Bruce…hope we see more from you!

Valerie April 7, 2009, 9:33 PM

Interesting to listen to a male point of view. Clear, easy to read writing.

Anonymous April 7, 2009, 10:12 PM

Definitely a conundrum. There is no perfect answer. You can always have your partner sneak out the door early, before the kids are around,ring the bell and “arrive for breakfast” !

Shari April 7, 2009, 11:49 PM

Bruce, you’re a thoughful kind of guy and kudos to you for making your kids your first priority.

Karen April 8, 2009, 1:16 AM

Bruce, I enjoyed reading your perspective and you had many valid points. I would add, however, that it also depends on the ages of the children. Don’t forget that children of divorce are dealing with many loss issues already. To introduce a new person to whom the children can get attached and then lose if the relationship doesn’t work out, presents yet more loss issues for them to deal with. I think that there are plenty of ways to find places for intimacy between the divorced parent and a date, without needing to involve one’s children. I believe when the two adults know that they are in a committed, serious relationship, then that seems the most appropriate time to be having sleepovers.

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