Nervous About Talking to My Kids About My Boyfriend

Updated on October 25, 2010
J.B. asks from New Paltz, NY
16 answers

I have been separated for a year and a half and have two kids 11 and 6 years old. I have been seeing a wonderful man for about 5 months. I believe my ex is a Narcissist and he is trying to manipulate my son who is 11 and alienate him from me. My daughter is much more expressive and I think my son might influence her. Should I tell my kids about my dating separately or together?

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So What Happened?

Just want to clarify that I served my husband with divorce papers last February because I discovered his long standing affair, forgave him three times each time hearing his phone conversations with "her". We are in the middle of a court battle as he wants to drag it out as long as possible. So yes, I will date and finally find someone who respects me, treats my children and I well. That is not what I was asking. I am so proud of the strength I have found though therapy, church and my wonderful support system. My husband has been absolutely horrible to me and is smothering my children with attention and has alienated everyone else from his life. It has been an awful three years and have put my children first and will continue to do so. I now have three days without them (due to visitation with their dad) and need to start taking care of myself so I can be the best mom I can. It is very hard to be without my children as I basically raised them alone for 11years as he wasn't home much. I am happy my children now spend quality time with both parents (although separately)but I am fearful about the manipulative and damaging comments he makes in their presence. My children deserve to see how a man should be treating their mother. I do not want to get married or have this man be a part of my life with them yet but I do not want to sneak around and be dishonest with my children. Please help-

More Answers


answers from Bakersfield on

I dont think the kids should know about your dating. I wouldnt expose them to other men unless you really believe it's someone you might spend the rest of your life with.... the kids get attached to these gentleman and then there is anxiety when you break it off. There are also issues like "worry", they will worry when you are out with him and they also start the "mom likes her new b/f more than she likes us" thing. Kids get very territorial when their parents date.
I say date on the down low and only introduce when you really know that its time.
I'd finish the court battle first, and you dating already does not really look all that great to judges.
Once your divorce is final introduce youf kids to your new b/f.
I'm concerned that you are only separated from your husband, you really shouldnt be dating right now......That might be why you are stressed and confused on what to do. You are not doing things in the correct sequence.
Your ex is still your husband, of course he's gonna say rotten things about you if you are doing rotten things. Don't give him ammo Chicklet.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I agree with Grandma T! You're not even divorced yet! Take care of O. problem without starting another. I think you should tell kids about your boyfriend when marriage is being considered, and not before. Keep your dating life separate from your childrens lives.
Your kids are old enough to know you're still married to their dad and do you really want them to view you (later on) as a mom who dated before she was divorced?

After reading your update, I stand firm on my advice--you are free to go out and date and whatever (your kids are with dad so that frees up personal time, right?). Keep your dating life separate from your kids. They don't need to know everything about your personal life. You don't have to look far to see how disastrous that can be. And they really will not benefit from developing any kind of a relationship with "a man" in your life until they have to get to know him b/c he's going to be living with them as a step parent--till then, keep it private. You're not lying to them, you're protecting them and doing the right thing.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

If you are still married then I would not bring another man into their lives until the divorce is final. That is just my opinion but you need to be divorced for it to be over as far as the marriage is concerned before they are introduced to the new man in your life.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

You know how your kids will process the fact that you are dating better than anyone else. I'd say tell them together because one may have questions the other didn't think of and you can have that talk all at one time.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Personally Mom, I think you need to reconsider even having a boyfriend, I think its best you not talk about or introduce him to your kids. A divorce has already had an incredibly negative affect on their lives and will affect them for the rest of thier lives. You need to befully focusing for the next 10-15 yrs on your kids, not a new love life. They deserve your full love and attention after what they have been through. It may sound harsh, but please do whats best for them; they should be your top priority, not another man.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

Until you are completely divorced from hubby, do not tell the kids about the boyfriend. In fact you shouldn't have a boyfriend until this is over and you have had 2 to 3 years by yourself. Finish one set over problems before you create a second set (which is what you are doing). Get to know yourself and love you before you find someone else. If this guy is willing to wait through all that you have to go through then maybe he is the one. If he is not willing then you know your answer.

As one poster put it don't give your hubby any more ammo than he has in his fight for the kids.

The other S.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Spartanburg on

Do you have to? If you do, meaning, you need to start involving your kids in the relationship in order to take it to the next level, then, yes, I would find a nice, non-invasive way to tell them. I would introduce him as a friend and would do things together as a family, things that are fun for the children of course...I would do that for a long while, so they get comfortable around him and you have the time to see the three of them interacting together (very important for you to see).Make sure they feel comfortable with everything happening and don't push him on has to happen naturally. Way to go to have gotten away from a Narcissistic sicko...I know what you are talking about, unfortunately! Good luck with your new life.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

If your not divorced yet then I wouldn't. Having been divorced and having parents who divorced I would not even attempt to bring anyone around them right now. You can keep that part of your life private right now. If it becomes serious and long term then I would introduce your children to him. And, yes I would tell them together, you can address any concerns together and they can also be there for each other. Hopefully Dad will be a big boy and realize any immature actions WILL effect his son. There is no winner in a divorce so if he is going to try to make you out to be the bad guy shame on him. Just continue to be a good mom to your children and communicate with them. If you are there for your children right now they will not turn on you. As far as your son, boys do tend to keep things bottled up, so make sure you keep an eye on him and if he seems withdrawn then try to get him to talk about things. If he refuses then try to get him some counseling. Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I don't think you should let your children see you date becasue you don't want to set them up for a possible marriage and not have it work out. I think you should get the divorce final then start dating. What do your fiends, family and church think? Do they think having the new guy around your kids is a good idea if you are not serious about a marriage?

I am not divorced yet I am concerned about your children meeting each guy you fall in love with and what you are teaching them in regards to marriage. Plus do you want them to believe you to have to be with a man? I would think you would want them to be strong and independent and when you fall in love with a man and you both are ready to be engaged then tell your kids, let them meet him and spend time together.

I don't think you should be single forever. I agree your children should see a man treat you good but I don't think you should have them meet each guy you date. I'm not saying you date that much, I am saying that you haven't been separated that long. Get your life together and then start talking about introducing to the man you are dating.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You are not yet divorced, and you are not ready to get engaged to this man, so do not involve him in your kids lives until you are SUPER SERIOUS. My mother has been divorced 4 times. I have lived through this and it sucks. Granted, all marriages don't last, but there's even less of a guarantee that the boyfriends will stick. Just remember, every man you date has to realize he will be in a relationship with 3 PEOPLE. You don't have to "sneak" around or consider it sneaking - you have a live independent of them. But emotionally it is awful to get attached to someone and then have it break down - over and over and over again. Enjoy yourself, be thoughtful in your relationships, and when you get to the point where you do want to get married to this man, THEN start doing the family things. And do the best thing you can to co-parent with dad. I don't know if it's possible, but your kids will respect you even more for trying.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

They dont need to know just that u are going out with a friend is enougth.
Dont introduce until you are serious even then good luck, My husband passed 10 yr ago i am now engaged they still hate the idea.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I don't believe that single moms should never date again--it is ridiculous to think that you should live and die only for your kids. They can be central figures to your life without being the only part of your life. Do married women suddenly complete ignore their husbands? LOL...well, I am sure that some do, but that isn't the way it should be. There is always enough love to go around.

However, I do believe that you should actually be divorced. You could be separated for 10 years and I would still say the same thing. There is a finality to divorce which makes it incredibly real for both parties. I know...I've somehow managed two.

Regardless of whether or not you are dating, your kids are going to work the situation to their advantage. Even if you are the best ex-wife in the whole world, chances are that your ex-husband will disparage you in some way.

Get off the stick, get divorced, and only introduce a man that has a chance of being in their lives for a while. They can know that you are "dating" when they're with their dad, but they shouldn't be involved until the time is right.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

its to soon to be introducing this man to your children, be careful.
You can start talking with them, and explain that now that you are not with their daddy you might meet a new person.
But until you don't have a steady and long relationship with someone , don't get your children involved.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Oh my, I am a little taken aback by people suggesting that a year and a half after separating from your husband, you shouldn't be dating. I don't agree with that. I would speak with the kids separately, they may each have different questions or concerns, and honestly, an 11 year old may need more info than a 6 year old. If you've been dating 5 months, I have a hard time believing that your 11 year old has not caught on and if you're not upfront about this, he may be angry with you (I'm sure my 11 would be). It's fine for them to know that you date. They don't need to meet the boyfriend or any boyfriend unless the relationship is serious and long term but I would not hide the fact that you are dating from them, because they ARE smart enough to figure it out on their own. Better that they hear it from you. I think that hiding information, as Catherine is suggesting, leads to problems later, as she says that she is having.
I hope this new man is giving you some well deserved happiness.



answers from Detroit on

I'm another vote for don't tell them about this guy yet- not because you're not divorced but simply because I think you need to introduce the whole concept of mom dating slowly and not have it be about any one particular person. Also, I'm not as concerned about the divorce/separation status so much as how soon it is to have settled down to one guy that seems to be serious enough to think you need to have "the talk" with them. I think that would be overwhelming to your kids. When I was divorced, I hid it completely. Only went on dates when my daughter was with her dad for his visitation time. That was the wrong thing to do because when I did become involved with the guy I thought was the one, 7 years after my divorce, she was totally threatened by it and felt completely alienated from me. Who could blame her? I'd been covering what I was doing for 7 years. By this time, her dad had remarried which was okay with her, but the possibility that someone else was the object of my affection was overwhelming to her and it made for her having a rocky relationship with my husband. So, if I had it to do all over again, I would have outings, openly, with friends, whether girlfriends or male acquaintances, on occassion, like maybe every other week as though it were no big deal. (You also still have the visitation time to date) Then she could have had the chance to accept that I was a person with friends including male friends and maybe wouldn't be so threatened by it. I think the talk you need to have with them is just a general high level talk about mom is an adult who needs to socialize with other adults so you might from time to time go out including having "dates" and that this doesn't change anything about being their mom and loving them and they will always come first.

On another note, unsolicited advice from one that has been there, it sounds like you and your ex need to work on coparenting. This could be real difficult if he is a person with NPD, I know, but divorce ( and remember I'm divorced) is harder on kids that we think and harder than what you see on the surface. I way underestimated the impact on my daughter and it's too late for me to change that so I always preach it to others. Invest some time in thinking of ways that you can coparent with the kids, talk to a counselor (if you can get him to go, hard with NPD) about best ways to do that in spite of his affairs and manipulations. In the long run, when they are grown, you won't regret it. My heart goes out to you, it is so hard to raise kids by yourself and always have to be the bigger person. Be strong.


answers from Minneapolis on

I'm sorry but I have to role my eyes at the responses saying that you shouldn't have a boyfriend.

I agree that you shouldn't introduce this man to your children until you are serious about him, but it sounds like you have no plans to introduce them yet anyway. You just want your children to know that you are dating some one, which I believe they should know. You don't want them to come back and say that you were lying to them about whether you were or were not dating some one.

I think you should tell them together, and I'll cross my fingers that they take the news well. Good luck :)

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