How soon do you bring a girlfriend over to introduce to child??

almoststepmomJuly 8, 2009

I was talking to a friend of mine that has recently began dating a man that she has known for years. He has been separated since January and the divorce has become final recently. My friend has known the couple since before they married and had a child (now age 11) and the child knows this woman as a family friend. Nothing ever happened during the marriage but when the separation happened she offered a shoulder to this man as she knew him before his wife and they realized they had mutual feelings for each other. He dated around quite a bit for the first few months but over the last two months has began to see my friend more and has eliminated the other women. The man and his ex made an agreement not to have anyone they dated around the child until after the divorce was final and he abided that even with female friends so my friend has not been around when the child visits. They are not rushing things but have talked about making more of a commitment to each other on down the road a little. They realize that this is way too early at this point but she is not sure how long they should wait and is trying to prepare for it. So my friend asked me how long they wait before they bring her into the mix and at what capacity? She is no stranger to the child but she doesn't think that instantly appearing as dad's girlfriend so soon will have a positive impact either. They thought if they brought her in as dad's friend and kept it on that level while the child gets used to the idea that it might be better for awhile but when is what they are struggling with. I honestly have no idea and feel that many times I have brought a date into my son's life way too early so I thought I would ask other opinions and I figured this was the perfect place.

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So the divorce is final? And the child knows this woman is a family friend? Is this woman still the mother's friend?

How is the child doing with all of this? I assume the child is not living with the father primarily if he's been dating "quite a bit". How often does the child see her/his father?

What is to be gained by introducing her as "girlfriend"?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 1:54PM
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Personally, I think an 11-year-old could see through the whole "friend" thing. I also think that if there's deception over the nature of the relationship ("and my friend's with us today"), the kid is much more likely to think that there's also deception over when the relationship started. Your friend is going to have a much, much harder time with the child if the child develops the notion that the relationship started during the marriage. And his/her father's denial isn't going to hold a lot of water if the child has figured out that their father lied about being just friends with his girlfriend.

You said that the man and his ex have been separated since January. I think that waiting at least until December or January to start bringing her around might be better than bringing her in as "a friend" anytime soon.

...also, and your friend may not care to hear this... a longer lead-in period to the introduction as a girlfriend may give her more time to verify that this isn't a rebound thing for him.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 2:05PM
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Since your friend is someone Dad knew while he was married, it would be very easy for an 11-year old to imagine that she was TOW, or for a vindictive Mom to spin her that way -- even if it's not in the least bit true. So for those reasons, I don't think an 'ordinary' answer fits the situation.

If your friend is still friendly with Mom, now would be a good time for her to have a friendly sit-down with Mom and clear the air. I'd put 'meeting the child' on the waaaay back burner, and just ask for Mom's blessing for a dating relationship. (Does your friend need Mom's blessing to date Dad? Of course not! But without it, Mom can easily make her life miserable.) Plus, Mom will find out about it, and may even jump to the wrong conclusion herself. If Mom gives her 'OK', then I'd also seek her input about how best to introduce the relationship to the child.

My SIL went through this when she began dating a friend's Ex. Initially, her friend was enthusiastic and supportive of SIL and Ex's relationship -- an amicable divorce, apparently. Friend changed her mind when Ex and SIL got serious, then changed it back once she realized how kind SIL continues to be to severely-disabled SD, and what a pushover SIL is for respite care. They co-parent pretty well...

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 2:39PM
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So I am assuming that the divorce has been final for about 6 months now? Has the mom moved onto introducing the child to men?

Because your friend was a family friend I agree with the others perceptions that your friend could be seen as a cause of the divorce if introduced too early. What is the rush anyways? If dad only has the child every other weekend that still gives your friend and the dad plenty of time together without needing to spend time with his daughter.

If it were me I would wait in this situation to see the child again. Give it till after Christmas next year and then maybe do introductions. And I agree with being honest and not trying to pass off his gf as just a friend.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 2:54PM
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Dont pass it off as a friend....kid will see through it and it only show deception on your part from the begining...well deception on your friends part.
Yes, the divorce is still fresh...wait a least a year before showing up as his new interest. You want to wait and give it time because for :
1. Child - needs to adjust to new life pattern first...before putting in the girlfiend factor and sharing,..
2. Let time pass , long enough , so GF is not accused of being the other woman...mind you i was accused of that and he was well divorced for almost 2 years before i came into the pick...maybe 1 year...8 months or so...either way. give time
dont rush...theyre' nothing to rush for...give it helps.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 9:02AM
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IMO i feel that a child shouldnt be introduced to a GF or BF until things are quite serious.....I feel like I was introduced too early to my SD (from a parents perspective) it just worked out nicely that we became a family but what if we hadn't? SD met too many GF's in Dh life prior to me and feel like it was confusing to her...she was only a toddler though, and it is probably different with an older child.........

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 3:43PM
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I also agree with fiveinall. He should not introduce GF until they are really serious. They should both make sure the relationship is not a rebound and make sure they will be long term.

And then take it slow with the child. He may need time to adjust and accept another woman in his father's life.

The x-wife really has no say in who he dates, so he really needs to concentrate on making sure he handles it right with his son. That is who he is responsible for.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 4:20PM
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Whatever you do... DO NOT do what my SD's mom did:

She meets a guy, they hit it off... she runs home and tells her girls about Mr. Wonderful. SD would come tell us mommy is getting married and she's gonna be flower girl and a month later, things cooled/fizzled and SD would tell us that "that guy was just using mommy" and onto the next guy.

She is currently living with a BF she moved 3 hours away to be with after knowing him 2 weeks. She left both her girls behind and they think she's going to marry him... soon. Problem is, she's already married to the father of her older daughter (divorce filed 12 years ago but never finalized) and the kids don't know it. But, even if she were divorced, telling kids too soon is SO damaging. They may get excited, have all kind of feelings one way or the other and then when things don't work out as expected, it's hard on them.

SD was talking to her sister about a boy she (her sister) had a crush on, but the boy liked another girl. Grandma told her that's another example of how all men are jerks. (well, she didn't say jerks.. she said a** holes) But, that's a whole other issue. It's just not a good idea to get the kids involved until you KNOW it's going somewhere... because even then, sometimes things don't work out and kids are learning by our example... and they will learn all about relationships by watching what we do!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 4:45PM
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Instead of leaving her with a baby sitter so they can go out to dinner, I would arrange a meeting on an outing and introduce her as a friend, make it a fun day. I would do everything I could, not to barge in, sort of ease her way in so there would be less jealousy. I think any time after the divorce is final.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 6:38PM
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Wanted to add to my reply. I would be sure it was pretty serious situation, not a casual fling.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 6:40PM
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