Author Topic: Am I a bad parent? About meeting a new guy..  (Read 1039 times)

Helena

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Am I a bad parent? About meeting a new guy..
« on: June 13, 2016, 06:12:19 AM »
Ten months ago my husband and father of my three children died, very sudden and unexpected. Four months ago I signed up on this online dating thing. Almost three months ago I went on a first date with a guy. He has two children in my kids age and he has raised them (almost) by himself. He is not a widower but his childrens mother is mentally ill so she is only seeing her children in the weekends.

He has met my children 2-3 times and it went ok. I´ve said he is a "friend" and for now maybe he just is. I would like to get serious with him but I have kind of a guilty conscience. Is it too soon? Am I hurting my children? When is it ok to meet a new partner? I don´t want to have a new father to my children and I´m not sure I want a new partner to move in with us. I just want companionship with another adult person and I like him because he seems to understand my situation and he´s gentle with me and says we´ll take it slow.

Can someone ease my mind please?

Portside

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Re: Am I a bad parent? About meeting a new guy..
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2016, 06:44:59 AM »
Quit beating yourself up. No, you're not a bad mother.

You post a number of concerns in your note; It isn't too soon to date - everyone is different and if it is working for you, great. If not, well, give it a bit more time before getting further involved in the dating scene.

As far having the kids meet your guy - for you, at least, that ship has sailed. But, you probably aren't hurting the kids. I do think everyone needs to be a bit careful introducing our children to the folks we are dating though. This is what I did - your mileage may vary of course - I did not have the kids meet anyone I was dating until after my now wife and I decided to date exclusively and with the idea that we were going to be together forever. Doing it this way, for my family at least, just cut down on conversations we didn't need to have or introduce multiple people into my family circle.

If your children become attached to this fella and it doesn't work out, then not only will you have to deal with your own feelings of loss but also the children's. Not good. 

Try not to worry so much and, as you said, take it slow. 

Good luck - Mike

   
The war is over for me now. But those of us who did make it have an obligation to build again, to teach to others what we know, and to try with what's left of our lives to find a goodness and a meaning to this life.

TooSoon

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Re: Am I a bad parent? About meeting a new guy..
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2016, 07:16:48 AM »
You are not a bad parent.  I don't know  your children's ages but if they've just met him as a friend 2 or 3 times, really, he could be just that for them.  If they don't see him again for a while, do you think they'd even really notice he'd been different from any other friend in your lives? 

I took the same route as portside because it is what felt right for me knowing my daughter the way I do.  I also took that route because I wanted to be sure that I knew exactly what I was doing before I involved other people and their emotions, not just my child's but my own, my partner's, his children, etc. as it was fairly early on as well for me.   

Over the years on this message board, I have read all sorts of stories about how differently people have approached this.  There is no right or wrong; there is only what works and what time frame works for you and your children and everyone else involved. 

I also agree with portside that beating yourself up is going to get your nowhere fast and only cloud your vision. 

Good luck! 

Trying

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Re: Am I a bad parent? About meeting a new guy..
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2016, 08:01:03 AM »
It's such a difficult topic and I feel for your concerns and uncertainty.  I also started dating one man early out and I have made several mistakes as well as good decisions in my handling of my children along the way because of my caution and uncertainty. I kept the relationship secret from them initially because they had major meltdowns at just the idea of me dating.  By the time they met him we were very serious but I still kept the meetings very brief and infrequent.  We have now been dating 2 years and my kids are finally more accepting and he is spending more time here with his kids also.  I am definitely to the extreme in how slowly I have integrated him into my family but I did so in response to my children.  My errors, I would say, have been in not being more honest with children in the beginning in my attempt to protect them.  I am glad that I waited until I was sure I wanted to share my life with this man before involving him in my kids lives. 

You know your children best and what is right for them.  As parents I think it's natural to worry and second guess ourselves.  Our children are experiencing so much pain that we can't fix and the last thing we want to do is add to it.  try to enjoy the relationship and see where it is going, so many wise people here have shared their experiences and support with me along the way which has been a tremendous help, but ultimately you need to figure out what works for family.  Wishing you all the best.
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Captains wife

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Re: Am I a bad parent? About meeting a new guy..
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2016, 08:31:41 AM »
I completely understand the apprehension about our kids - I felt with my son's loss, he didn't need to lose another man in his life - so I initially approached the situation with the utmost caution. I also think timing of dating is different for everyone - I waited 14 months before I even thought about dating...my son didn't meet anyone I dated until my ex, 2.5 years after my husband died (and I waited for over a year of dating before ex and my son met).

I think timing with our new partners meeting kids is partially dependent upon the kids' ages and how much time you plan to spend with the other person and their kids. My first go around I waited far TOO LONG to introduce the guy to my son (and I could have saved myself heartache had I introduced them sooner and realized that our lives weren't a good match). This time around - I am dating a guy with younger kids, I have a 5 yr old - I introduced my son to him around 1 month in (but only after we decided to be exclusive) and our kids go on dates with us regularly - although not always as we want alone time too. This time,  I wanted to see how well this guy could deal with my single parent life and I wanted to see how our kids got along so I could see if I wanted to continue in this relationship. At 5, my son only knows him as my "friend" (and when my new guy sleeps over he stays in the guest room) and we spend about half our dating time with our kids together (which is great as I love spending time with my son and I love his kids - and I used to have to always find babysitting and leave my son behind when I went out...) and half the time with just us. I also "stagger" the dates as I still want to see how I feel about this guy before our kids or this guy spends "too much" time with my son and they are get too attached. I am also mindful of getting too attached to his kids (which are great). I too wonder if I am doing the right thing as its almost like an "instant family" but I feel sometimes we need to take a leap of faith and see if our lives are compatable as its not just the two of us. I also realized that my son is young enough that if this doesn't work out, he will bounce back from it pretty quickly. (He asked about my ex a few times after the break up but then never even mentioned him again).

Wishing you all the best, none of this is easy - but do enjoy your time together. Remember that the plus of introducing your new "friends" to your kids is that your kids get to spend time with you too - and in my case, my son loves it. When I mention I am meeting new guy for dinner, my son asks " can I come too?" and its so nice to say "yes" finally : )
« Last Edit: June 13, 2016, 08:34:29 AM by Captains wife »

MrsDan

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Re: Am I a bad parent? About meeting a new guy..
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2016, 12:24:29 PM »
This really is a fumbling in the dark type situation, because no matter how calculated you try to be, in my experience curveballs get thrown and you just have to deal with them. I had planned on waiting until my BF and I were dating at least six months before introducing him to my daughter. But I also didn't anticipate falling as hard for him as I have, and at some point, it felt weird that they had not meant. I love her, and I love him, and it just didn't feel right to keep them separate anymore. (To give you some sense of the timing, we started chatting in mid-September, met in early November, became exclusive by the end of December, and they met in late January.) She has always been very reserved and shy around guys, so my primary concern was just making sure she was comfortable around him. To my surprise she liked him immediately, and now I sort of have the opposite concern, that she'll get too attached and view him as a surrogate father. He is not that, and can never be that. He has a child of his own, and I don't believe he would ever love mine to the same degree. So that's my biggest concern right now. Should I have anticipated this? Maybe, but I just didn't see it coming.

The other thing that maybe makes it different for me is that my husband died when she was just three months old. So I didn't really have to deal with her shifting her notions of me and her dad as a couple quite the way others have.
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