When is the right time to introduce a new partner to your children? Is a family dinner the right setting? Our guest expert Lucy Cavendish answers your dating and relationship questions in our Ask Lucy series.
I have met a man I really like. We have been on a couple of dates and now he wants to come to my home for dinner. The problem is, my three children aged 10 – 16 will be there and I am not sure how I feel about this. What should I do?
It is early days isn’t it? So I would urge caution here. Unless you and he are involved in some mad whirlwind romance (are you? If so, I would STILL advise caution), there is no reason to involve your children at the moment. From my experience, children do not take too kindly to a new man appearing regardless of who left whom.
It can seem very unfair, but the woman who meets a new man tends to take more flak than the other way round. I think this is to do with how dependent children feel on their mother for her unconditional love.
Also, as it tends to be the mother the children remain with, they are very keen she shouldn’t waltz off and trip the light fantastic with a new bloke, leaving them behind to master the art of cooking and self-soothing. Also, teenagers are Freudian, judgmental and very hard to please and that’s when you are their parent! I would calm it down a bit and tell your lovely new man just to bide his time for a while until you all feel a bit more able to deal with it.
TOP FIVE TIPS FOR SINGLE PARENT DATING
1) Do not talk about your children all the time on a date – even if the other person has kids, hearing about someone else’s ad infinitum can be very off-putting.
2) Enjoy your dating time for you! How heavenly to be able to go out and have fun without kids in tow.
3) Take it easy. Your kids don’t need to know everything about your life. Keep your new person separate for a while and see how it goes
4) If you do want them to meet, be very calm and laid-back – do something easy and fun – a cup of tea in the park
5) Don’t expect too much – they might not gel with each other at all but they don’t have to for the time being. Give it all time and space.
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About Lucy Cavendish
Lucy Cavendish is a successful journalist and mother of four living in Oxfordshire. She writes for the Times, the Guardian, and the Daily Mail.