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Ask Rene: Is It Too Soon To Introduce My New Boyfriend To My Son?

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Ask Rene:
Is It Too Soon To Introduce My New Boyfriend To My Son?

 

Hi Rene,

I have been dating a guy for 3 months and he’s amazing. We have a wonderful time together and he is a great guy. The problem is, I haven’t let him meet my son yet. He knows I have a son and he is eager to meet him but I have been burned in the past introducing my son to men who don’t end up staying around. Now that my son is old enough to really understand what is happening (he’s 8), I feel even more cautious. I don’t want men coming in and out of his life. He gets enough of that from his father.

My son means the world to me and I want the man I love to love my child but I’ve only been with my boyfriend for 3 months. All of my friends have different opinions. Some say I should just get it out of the way if I think this guy has serious potential. Others say I should only have my son meet the man I plan to marry. I don’t know which is better. What do you think Rene? Should I introduce my son to my boyfriend now or wait?

Pam, Philadelphia

 

 

Hey Pam:

Thanks for writing in. New relationships are so fun and exciting, but they can be hard work and that’s just when two people are involved; they take on added dimension when a child is a part of the equation. In this case, while the relationship is between you and the new man, your son, though just a little guy, casts a large shadow over it, as well he should.

I’m actually quite encouraged you’re thinking this way; your son is your primary responsibility and if his father is a bit of a flake, he’s probably desperate for the stability you provide. Having said that he’s not a baby; he’s eight years old, surely old enough to understand that everyone, even adults, need friends too. Okay so here’s what I would do if I were in your shoes:

 

3. The Introduction

Picture 3 of 3

Once you have determined the relationship is serious and headed toward some sort of long-term, if not permanent status, it’s time for your son and your man to meet. You know I’m a big fan of keeping the pressure and expectation low. So I would plan a fun outing, like mini-golf, which would promote interaction without pressure. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something your son wants to do too. Make the introduction, facilitate if you will, but don’t hover! And remember the microwave analogy? Going forward, think of this budding relationship between your son and your new love like tea that is steeping. Let it sit quietly for a while, let the flavors naturally blend and get stronger on their own.

One of my Good Enough Mother sayings is that “you might not have all the answers but you’re smart enough to figure them out.” That’s where you are right now. I know this place. Make sure your son knows how important he is to you and that you value his opinion (but be careful not to allow him to dictate, however). Then forget what your friends say, follow your own instinct and take it a step at a time.

You’ll be fine, mommy!

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(Editor's Note: This piece ran in its original format on 4/1/2011)

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