Honesty is the best policy, they say, but should you protect your children by not disclosing what you’re doing when you start dating. As you well know, children can be the smartest of detectives when they want to be, so it may not be possible to retain the secret for long anyway. Still, you will probably not find “the one” with the very first person you go on a date with, so the chances are that you will be seeing a few people before finding someone you want to consider a partner.
With this in mind do you really want your children wondering who all these people are that you are seeing? It would perhaps be a wise move to ensure all of your dates are in a public place (for safety) and meeting away from your home. That way your date will not know your address (again for safety) and you will not be exposing your children to a number of callers at your house asking for mummy or daddy.
It is a sensible move to ensure you meet on familiar ground, local restaurants, bars, parks etc, somewhere where others are around and you are comfortable with the surroundings. If you choose to have a second, third date etc with someone then you should still keep to this pattern, building up to the time that you would consider letting your children know about your new friend.
How many dates you have with someone before they meet your children is one that is open for debate. You need to feel comfortable with your date enough to know that there will be some longevity to the relationship and that introducing them to your children will not harm your children’s state of mind. For example, you don’t truly know someone well enough after two or three dates to know if they will be a long term partner choice for you. Allowing them to meet your children would be unfair on your children as they would experience all the uncertainty of someone new coming into their mummy or daddy’s life, they would take time to settle with this new face around and then the chances are the relationship would end and your child would be exposed to someone else leaving their life.
Personally, I wouldn’t expose my children to meeting a new potential partner until I had five or six dates under my belt and had a chance to assess their long term prospects as a new member of our household. My children are the most important thing in the world to me, so they must come first. However, I am allowed a love life in the future, so it’s a balancing act between my happiness and exposure of my children to unnecessary risk or emotional trauma.
I’d welcome your thoughts from your experiences…