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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 8, 2009, 10:21 AM

Great to hear a Dad’s point of view on a tricky subject.

Bruce Sallan April 8, 2009, 11:43 AM


I completely agree with you. It’s not simple, but in a short blog I can only discuss the issue so much. Thanks for your comment.

Bruce Sallan

Lauri April 9, 2009, 11:30 AM

Yes, yes, yes…I could not agree more! While sex in the car (or boat or park) is deliciously fun, kids need to know that Mom is still a person, too and not just MOM. Thanks for the rousing piece!

Navonne April 9, 2009, 2:48 PM

A happy parent makes a happy child. Love in the back of the car can be fun and (yes) it can protect the kids from premature exposure. My boyfriend and I both have kids and have had to be careful in many ways. Happy to say it’s working out and we are molding into a good unit. It just takes time.

Melissa April 9, 2009, 7:53 PM

Very interesting, I look forward to reading more. Great to hear from a dad!

Lorie April 10, 2009, 5:15 PM

wonderful take on the dating with kids thing. glad to see a dad’s view on these kind of situations.

Andria April 11, 2009, 4:23 PM

Very challenging situation. I liked hearing Bruce’s POV.
Look forward to reading more articles.

Carolyn April 13, 2009, 12:06 PM

I agree. It is very dicey. And it takes all the responsibility one can muster. Friends of mine have been going through a long, messy divorce. Years! They have a 13 year old son who already has issues. The Dad has been dating a lovely girl for over a year now and wants his son to meet her, but the Mom “refuses” to let him. I feel she’s using this as a control thing, and not putting her son first. It would be healthy to see his Dad in a healthy relationship. I worry that this might also put a strain on the Dad’s relationship with his girlfriend because I know she wants to meet his son. “Hiding” your life from your children in an effort to “protect” them is, I feel, flawed parenting.

Kathy April 15, 2009, 12:23 PM

Terrific blog! It is so important to hear things from a dad’s point of view. Very insightful. Would love to see more thoughts and writing from you!

Pat April 15, 2009, 10:32 PM

Great stuff, Bruce, you have addressed some vexing challenges.

agk April 19, 2009, 9:07 PM

Interesting read - although not a single parent I could sure relate as remember sneaking back into the parental home in the morning while I was an adult but living back home

Colleen  April 21, 2009, 12:36 AM

It was an honorable sacrifice to put your children first. Being a single parent is toughest job that anyone can have. You offer good advice. Hope to hear more from you.

Linzy Ross April 23, 2009, 1:42 PM

What a sticky subject. I think as the kids get older its easier to see “dad” as a “person with needs too”….thanks for bringing light to a topic most prefer to leave in the dark and ignore. Nothing changes if nothing is talked about, right..Im proud of you

Shortrib April 25, 2009, 11:36 AM

A tricky situation, but one Bruce and I handled traditionally. When we met and discussed the subject of when to introduce me to the kids, it was simple for me, not until we know we’re going down the marriage road. When Bruce and I met the boys were only 10 and 13. I just didn’t feel it was appropriate to meet them unless I was going to be a permanent fixture in their lives. They’d already had to endure one woman leaving them (their mom) and there’s also the subject of what kind of example does it set for the kids if two people are just living together. No. For me in Bruce’s situation I didn’t want to meet them unless we were going down the marriage road, and we did! Love you honey.

BC May 1, 2009, 8:43 PM

What a great article. i appreciate the no-nonsense approach that gets to the heart of the matter with ease and a bit of humor! Terrific work!

girl annoyed with u May 31, 2009, 2:49 PM

your a pedifile stop hitting on young girls you pervert!

Larobxah June 26, 2009, 10:30 AM

DSvflP comment6 ,

mathersonl July 24, 2009, 10:01 AM

few exert fossil capita start individual

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