The Quintessential Single Parent Dating Question

Jason Kapel

You don't get to meet them yet. Maybe later. Maybe.

Here’s the plan, are you ready? 1) I throw out a question I don’t know the answer to. 2) I add some thought starters, further solidifying my lack of knowledge on the topic. 3) You make comments in order to enlighten myself and others. 4) We continue the dialog through more comments. Okay, today’s question…

At what point in a relationship do you introduce your children to your special friend?

The easy answer is, “Whenever you know that the relationship has a good chance of being long term.” It’s an accurate answer, safe, uncontroversial, at times realistic, and very boring. I’m not ready to accept that one, at least for this discussion. I want something more. Here are those thought-starters I promised…

Let the kids answer the door at the beginning of the first date

Introduce them fairly early. On one hand, the kids are an extremely important part of your life, so if someone is going to get to know you better, it is impossible for anyone to really get to know you without experiencing that part of your life. On the other hand, “they” say it could be damaging to the kids to be introduced to these people that may only be around a few months. And it’s very hard to argue with “they.”

On the way to the Chuppah

Don’t introduce the kids until there is a high level of certainty that this one is the one. Maybe this means waiting nine months, a year, more. I see how this protects the kids, but what does it do for the relationship that you’re hiding it for such a long time?

Whenever she says so

I’ve used this one before. Without a strong opinion of my own on the subject, I’m somewhat willing to go along with whatever the other person says. Of course this solution gets thrown out the window if the other person doesn’t have kids, because, honestly, they just don’t get it (you know what I’m talking about).

The Jewish angle

This is a Jewish site, so I should ask, would our people answer this question any different from others? Would you be less likely to introduce if you’re dating a non-Jew (read: Shiksas are for practice)?

Does the age of the children matter?

Yeah, I would guess so. If you have an 18 month old that is going to have no long term memory of someone they only meet a few times, then I guess there’s no issue. It’s like worrying about introducing a date to the dog (c’mon, if I don’t get any nasty letters for the ‘Shiksas are for practice’ line, I deserve at least a few for comparing the toddler to the dog). But at what age does it matter, and what age does it stop mattering?

And what if the ages of your children are similar to the ages of your new friend’s kids? That could make a breakup harder if the kids have become friends. But not introducing could deny them all the opportunity to have fun group outings together, allowing you to spend more time with that special person.

Well, I’m no closer to having an opinion then when I started writing this. And I’m assuming this issue will come up again in my life, so I’d like some help. Start commenting, and remember, no “when you know it’s right” answers, because we already know that.