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Single moms and dads who have begun to date often wonder, When should I introduce my kids? That's an excellent question. Ideally, though, I think you should grapple with this issue before you even begin dating.

On one hand, enjoying a casual dating or social life apart from your kids is healthy. They certainly don't need to know every detail or set about appraising someone's long-term prospects before you've even had a chance to decide about a potential relationship for yourself. But on the other hand, you do need to talk with your children about your basic life goals, and share how your vision of the future you hope to create will affect them.

For example, if you know you'd like to get married at some point in the future, clue your kids in to that before you go bringing someone home to meet them. In other words, let them get used to the idea of even recognizing you as a "social" being before you expect them to accept or even tolerate the inclusion of a significant other in your life.

For an explanation of how to go about having this conversation with your kids, and how to actually introduce them to your new boyfriend or girlfriend when the time is right, read the article How to Introduce Children in a Serious Dating Relationship.

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June 6, 2008 at 9:05 pm
(1) Lilia says:

Single parents shouldn’t be whoring around at all. Until their kids are 18 their duty is to them and them only. Dating or (re)marrying is selfish, and a lot of parents have screwed up their kids by doing this. My mother dated the same guy off and on for around 15 years. When I was 5 she used the money she was saving to take me to Disney land to move us across the coutry to be with him. Then proceeded to move us back and forth across the country, and different cities every year since then. I haven’t lived in the same place for more than two years. So any parents who date are selfish and shouldn’t be parents at all. Try worrying about your kids instead of being a slut.

June 9, 2008 at 1:27 pm
(2) Eric says:

First off- yes Lilia, your mom screwed up bigtime. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve been divorced 4 years now, and the kids have ALWAYS come absolutely first. In the few relationships I’ve managed in that time, none have progressed to the point of introducing the kids. My standards are high, and I won’t introduce them to somebody with whom I don’t have high expectations of a healthy long term relationship. But they deserve and need to know what one of those looks like, and they won’t ever see it in their mentally ill mother. And frankly, I’m a better, happier, more patient person … aka a better father … when I’m with her. So why shouldn’t I have a relationship? Now to actually find some advice on the title topic…

November 7, 2008 at 5:47 pm
(3) Toni says:

i actually agree with eric, my daughter is 3 i have been single since i was 20 weeks pregnant and had a lot to contend with. I run my own beauty salon and find it hard to even have a social life. I looked on hear for advice, however after reading the first comment i’m totally put off, i’d never compromise my daughters future, but could not live for the next 15 years without anyone, i do have a life too and my daughter deserves to come from a loving family enviroment, i’d also like to think if i found someone else we could have a larger family. The advise seems a little one sided and just because 1 person got it wrong not everyone is the same i have had 1 serious relationship which sadly ended and although my daughter met him she has not been scarred by this if anything she has benefited.

November 28, 2008 at 7:17 pm
(4) Amy lewis says:

Im a single parent of a ten yr old and a six yr old. Ive been single 4 5 yrs. Im just coming round to the idea of finding someone to settle down with. Im nearly 31 and i cant seem to find anyone, im not desperate, would just b nice 4 me and my kids

December 30, 2008 at 1:00 pm
(5) Katie says:

I’m horrified by Lilla’s response. I have been a single parent for 11 years. My children are 11 & 12. To think that I should give up a social life is ridiculous. I do believe, however, that there are ways to date that make the children comfortable and happy. They don’t need to be part of every social situation, but I believe the relationships that I’ve had with wonderful men who love children has made our life much happier. Even if we break up, I still maintain positive about the man and how much fun we had. One of the rules before anyone meets my children is that once they cross that line they must agree to be a positive role model in their lives. So far I haven’t been let down.

There are good men (and women) out there to date and have relationships with. Kids deserve honesty and more importantly, they want to see their parent(s) happy.

Lilla give kids credit for being loving people. Your horrible experience is not the norm.

April 11, 2009 at 12:24 am
(6) singlemom says:

Women and men should never introduce their boyfriend/girlfriend to their kids and should never move them into the home. This is selfish behavior on the part of the parent.
I have a 11 and 9 yr old. I have been a single parent for nine years. My children have never woken up and found a man in my room or at the breakfast table and they never will.
My daughter has a friend who’s mom has her boyfriend spend the night often. Her friend comes to my house and tells me how uncomftoralbe it is for her.
We didn’t all chose to be single parents but we are and have to do whats best for our kids not ourselves. We need to teach our children morals, values, and self respect.

April 15, 2009 at 12:07 pm
(7) SinglebychoiceinNM says:

I am a single Mom by choice. My ex-husband was a con-artist who truly hid his real self and agenda until we had already said our vows. When he began to show his true colors everything went downhill. I now a have sole custody of my daughter with no visitation.
While I don’t agree that single parents can’t date, I do agree that we should double and triple check that who we are dating is a good role model to introduce our children to.

April 24, 2009 at 2:06 am
(8) James says:

I am a 25 year old man that has been with my beautiful girlfriend (10 years older) with 2 kids for over a year now. I have a great relationship with the children. I think it would be wrong for any man/woman not to get involved in a relationship because of fear of what your children may think. I wake up in the morning next to my girl and the sit at the breakfast table with 2 beautiful laughing, smiling kids.

May 21, 2009 at 12:36 am
(9) no way says:

if you are still with this more mature mom in 5 years, then I will take back saying that you may play a significant role in why those smiling kids turn into troubled teens and adults.

May 25, 2009 at 5:26 pm
(10) John says:

Most women have a sense of entitlelment and feel what they do is right. This society has messed up a lot of people. Divorces shouldnt be so easy. Kids dont need to be subjected to seeing their Mom with other Men. or vice versa.

June 6, 2009 at 11:05 am
(11) Aaron says:

Caution should be used in a new relationship. Putting your life on hold for your children and growing old is insane. Your kids should always be your top priority, but to sacrafice your life for the mistake of a relationship you had is depresssion and you need help. Learn to live and laugh and make better decisions in your life so you have happiness, which will give your children happiness. Stop the pity party and live.

June 27, 2009 at 8:28 pm
(12) Katnip says:

I started going out with my boyfriend 4 months ago, he is the brother of my best friend. I was very concerned about how it may effect my daughter (12) when he first asked me out and spoke to a lot of people about it before I agreed. I have been single for 6 years and previous to that I never involved my daughter with anyone that I saw. However this person was different as we knew him already, and he and my daughter already got on well. In the end I spoke to her and asked her what she thought, her words were ‘thats cool, you deserve to be happy’. I dont see him all of the time, and make sure myself and my daughter have plenty of time when it is just the two of us. Both myself and my boyfriend make sure that she is involved in things so that she does not feel left out and I speak to her frequently to check how she is. I think that she is seeing a positive relationship role model and I know that if things dont work out we will talk about it and will all still be friends because of who we are and that we are friends first and foremost. I do think that if there are kids involved you have to be very careful, but I dont think you need to wait until they are 18 to have a meaningful relationship. I was 3 when my dad met my step-mum and they are still together 27 years later. I wouldnt have wanted him to wait until I was 18 and I dont think I should either. Having said that, if she was not happy I would not have a boyfriend as her happiness comes first.

August 14, 2009 at 7:22 pm
(13) Michelle says:

If your child sees their parent in a happy, healthy relationship it sets an example of how a loving, nuturing relationship should be and how they should treat or be treated by their significant other when they’re older. If their parent never has a relationship that makes them happy and makes them smile in 15 years, do you really think that’s setting a good example? It’s not showing them how to have a successful romantic relationship at all. It’s showing them that once you are a parent, you are only a ‘parent’ and no longer a ‘person’. You lose your identity and you’re right to be happy as a WHOLE person. Yes I am I mom, and I love being one, but I am also a woman, something I love being as well.

August 25, 2009 at 6:59 pm
(14) Maddy says:

If you truly love someone and make your kids a priority while in the realtionship, there is nothing wrong with that! What is wrong with you people who think that single people need to grow old and become a “spinster”!!

August 29, 2009 at 7:48 pm
(15) Maddy says:

Lillia is WRONG!

August 30, 2009 at 9:43 pm
(16) Fiona nclea says:

Lila is a cretin who’s never been on the other side of the coin, single ladies/men pay no attention to this idiot!

October 29, 2009 at 8:15 pm
(17) ccccccc says:

Lilla is absolutely correct!!. Your child comes first. ALWAYS. Their happiness comes before yours. You made that choice when you decided to becomes parent. Get rid of him/her or you will lose your child forever. I am not joking. I was the child in that situation. If you honestly think that you can choose him/her over your kid then you don’t deserve to be called a mother and he should know better than to present himself in front of your kids when he knows they don’t want him around. How dare he even think of coming between a mother and her child!!! A real man goes way!! Be a real mother!!! If you choose him you will regret it for the rest of your life.

November 18, 2009 at 1:15 am
(18) sedjemai says:

I think there are trolls (one troll perhaps?) about this comment thread. I think while it is a parents duty to always put their kids first, you can’t expect people not be single for 5, 10, 18 years, that’s ridiculous because humans weren’t meant to be that way. We seek companionship. Give me a BREAK Lila and all those with that same mind frame. I think being careful who you date and choose to spend your life with is key to your children’s happiness. It shouldn’t be right away and any single parent shouldn’t bring home a new man/woman every week or so, that definitely confuses the child(ren). TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN, if you can, about this. My daughter and I discuss situations like this all the time, how she feels if mommy remarried, and when she brought her bf around, etc. They are very intuitive and understand more then most realize, even at a young age. Michelle (comment 13) spoke very wisely about this matter as well.

January 17, 2010 at 3:00 pm
(19) Bill says:

Let’s say all we knew about post-er 1 was what we read in her post. Would I want my kids raised by her? I don’t think so! I’ve raised three kids almost entirely by myself for more than a decade. They get first priority from dad before, now, and forever. But part of that committment includes not only not being a bitter reclusive hermit but also helping show them healthy, caring, adult affection. Sure, take your time and meter it in carefully but these kids have to grow up and they need to see how respectful, loving, affectioniate real-world relationships work. Who better than a parent to show them the way and if mom wasn’t the best model for that why cant a caring, kind, beloved girlfriend offer something constructive?

January 23, 2010 at 3:55 pm
(20) TLG says:

I hate to break it to you folks but in my many years as a divorce attorney and, in consultation with many therapists with whom I collaborate, bringing the new guy or gal to the party, nearly at any point, is hyper-destructive to a child’s sense of security. You can rationalize it, minimize it, ignore it or simply not believe it, but the die is cast and the child’s life is compromised. it’s really that simple. You can not have a social life and be discontent. Or you can move that new guy or gal in and watch the quality of your child’s upbringing suffer. Sorry to be the party pooper but that’s reality.

January 29, 2010 at 8:55 am
(21) Unbelievable says:

Why are teenage girls so difficult when it comes to this? I am 40 and my significant other is 50 and the two teenage girls (16&22) are the most awful example of children I have seen in my life. So much disrespect (which may stem from the divorce that was never dealt with). Not having someone to deal with day to day life is not a good thing. Taking care of your children is imperative. There has to be a middle ground!

February 2, 2010 at 4:30 pm
(22) Monica says:

As an adult child of a mom who is divorced twice and now living with her boyfriend, I can honestly say that I would like my mother to be happy and to have someone in her life.

HOWEVER, my sisters and I currently do not have a good relationship with our mom. We avoid her at all cost, and cringes at the thought of spending more than an hour with her. Reason? She criticizes everything that we say, and she has never said one nice thing about us (I know I’m using definitive words like “everything” and “never”, but it’s not far from the truth. Also, we feel that she has never put us first or spent the time to get to know us. She would spend over 3 hours on the phone each night with her boyfriend at the time, and less than a minute talking with any of us. She has never once asked to see our report cards, or asked how our days were. Even now, she doesn’t understand that she was a bad mother — to her, providing a roof over our heads and food on the table was enough. Also, when my youngest, then 15-year-old sister refused to go with her to her boyfriend’s house for Thanksgiving and Christmas, she left my sister home alone. Yup, she made her choice many times, choosing herself over the needs of and what’s best for her daughters.

So, to all the single moms and dads out there, I say, yes, look for someone. I think your kids will want you to be happy. But the advice that I would give is to be sure that your relationship with your kids is healthy and that you devote lots of time to them first (so that they have the security of knowing that they are more important than your boy/girlfriend), before looking for a partner. Otherwise, it’s just going to be hard to work out….

April 26, 2010 at 12:14 pm
(23) Wondering says:

I am have been with my current boyfriend for about 6 months. He has two children that I have never met. I am just curious as to the time frame that I should meet them or if I should. He is a great father, but I feel like he keeps a separate life. The one with his kids and the one with me. It is probably too soon and I understand being cautious about who you bring around your children, but at what point do you join the two? His children live with him, therefore I am never invited to his home. It makes me feel a bit alienated. Is it something that I should bring up or just let it be? I don’t have children myself so I may not understand.

May 18, 2010 at 11:48 pm
(24) Cassandra says:

First of all, Lilia, ccccccc (aka Lilia), and TLG (who is dealing with divorce all the time and has a negative outlook on life in general anyway)…are all WRONG! I would say that it really isn’t different. It matters who the person is not what their legal title is. The biggest mistake people make is bringing a significant other into the relationship before they are sure they want to be together. But even two biological parents living together can get divorced and hurt the children (right TLG?). So people are saying that instead of teaching our children the reality of life, keep them hidden from it until they are 18? Why? What has that taught the child? Children need lessons, they need to see reality, to see other people go through things so they can learn from it. Adults make mistakes. We are human! Children will also become adults. More than anything, we need to teach our children that life has ups and downs and we get through it together.

May 19, 2010 at 12:02 am
(25) Cassandra says:
May 19, 2010 at 10:18 am
(26) Single says:

I feel that it is okay to date, go out to dinner or movies and include the children from time to time. When you are the parent that only sees the child every other weekend or whenever you may feel like it you should make that time about the child only. I don’t want my child spending the night with the father when he has his lady friend(s) over, because I am trying to instill morals, values and respect. I have a companion and he is not allowed to stay over and I do the same with his children. We hang out together, but at the end of the evening we go to our own places. My child’s father has recently moved out of his place and in with one of the women, these women have bad reputations, he knows the guidelines and my child has been taught this (that they will have their own space at mom/dad place).

June 21, 2010 at 11:44 pm
(27) lovemikids says:

Wow.. all the negative single parents on here must have crappy relatonships with their exes!!

My kids are 8 and 3. I did at one point have a bad relationship (after their father and I split) and remained single for a year. I was happy with my life and my accomplishments (first time in my life I was ever on my own and I am turning 28). My kids and I had moved to Ontario for that year so I could get back on my feet.

We’ve moved back to Alberta and we pureposely live around the corner from their biological father. He has them one week, I have them one week, and if they ever need or want to – we have an open door policy. Kids can come and go as they please. My ex and I spend a lot of time just hanging out together with or without the kids (we got together when I was 16 and were together til I was 26 so we are still good friends – just not together).

I am also dating. My children are thrilled. They LOVE my boyfriend, they don’t confuse him with daddy. And yes, my boyfriend AND my ex husband hang out together too. We could easily be as bitter and hateful as the other people on this board and yes, that could really F%%^ up my kids… however… my kids never ever see an arguement, never experience a birthday or holiday seperate from mom or dad (we start at my house then go to dads).

I think the boyfriend brings a lot to the table for my kids. He teaches them new things, spends a lot of time with them and is genuinely interested in becoming a major part in their lives. When we met, we were originally just friends and he met them on that basis. We’ve developed more since then. I think its good for the kids to have more people in their lives who love them and I think its great for them to see mom in a healthy happy relationship with someone she loves. My kids are the #1 most important thing to me and that will never change. And I’m quite careful what they see and what they experience in life. And if at any point I felt that their well being was compromised I would put an end to it. I certainly wouldn’t be with anyone who didn’t accept that I’m close to my ex and keep a strong friendship with him and he’s always allowed here.

Anyway, I think that to be a good parent, you yourself need to be happy – otherwise you can’t fully ensure your childrens happiness because you’ll secretly be pining away for something you’re lacking. And that takes a tole on them, they see it… even if you think you’re not showing it.

July 29, 2010 at 9:36 pm
(28) Startdating says:

I have been a single mum for coming to 5 years. My ex husband has already remarried and has his own family. My daughter is now 13 years old. My bond with my daughter is very strong because she is staying with me. Everyday, the house is just 2 of us. Now I am starting to date with Caucasian man (I am an asian female). My daughter does not reject him, but she feels awkward having a Caucasian around. My boyfriend has visited my place twice and we have been dating coming to 5 months. I am very concern how well can my daughter accept this man coming into our lives. My boyfriend is also concern about this because he knows that me and my daughter’s bond is very strong. My boyfriend has been in my daughter’s shoe before and so he is very concern about her feeling and how we can bring our relationship to next level without hurting her or make her hates him etc. He is very understanding and we discussed this topics every now and then. But still, we are unable to come up with a good solution. He has even suggested that he buy WII game and play with her at home to get closer to her, without telling him that the game is bought by him (as he doesn’t want her to feel that this uncle is bribing her to get close to her mum). I really appreciate his consideration on this part. He is single and no kids. We have agreed that we will not have kids if were to get married. Once, he has the thought of bringing us to a holiday, but accommodation become a big headache – who is going to sleep with who? For sure my daughter would insist that she sleeps with me. I cannot ask him to go sleep in another room while I sleep with my daughter. Hence, holiday might not be a good idea for now. Whenever I go on a holiday with him, I have to tell white lies to my daughter that I am on a business trip. I am at lost to how this can be resolved and handled nicely. I suggested that he pop by my place as often as he can so that my daughter will get use to him being around and take things a step at a time. Do you have anything to suggest on this?

August 23, 2010 at 2:24 pm
(29) Jen says:

I don’t understand what planet you people live on???? There is nothing wrong with dating when you have kids. Why would you want to sit and teach them that if they screw up on a relationship that they do not deserve to EVER be happy again? Don’t you think that is selling your children short of a great life. People will come and go in ALL of your lives. Learning how to adjust with that is what makes better people. Life is and never will be a constant. This idea not only relates to single parents dating but to friends, family and employment. I will not deny my children the opportunity to have experiences, good or bad. You people need to snap back to reality and have a more positive outlook on life. It’s really TOO SHORT to waste!!

September 6, 2010 at 8:39 pm
(30) ron says:

Well from what i have read here,is that women or men should not date until their children have grown up and left home.Sounds good if we are living in the 1800′s.Are there people still out there living under a rock? Growing old alone is unhealthy!!!

October 8, 2010 at 5:59 pm
(31) really? says:

I am so disgusted by some of the comments on here. I came from a family of divorce and was occasionally introduced to the person my mother or father was dating. It never screwed me up in any way shape or from. There is no reason you should not introduce your children to a new significant other… with stipulations of course.

I will also share that I am currently dating a man who has been going through a divorce. He has two young boys 10 and 6, and I have not met them as his girlfriend. I met them about 6 months ago once before we were even together. We have been together for about 5 months now, have discussed getting married and having more kids when the time is right. We both know we are in the for the long run and yet I have not been around him and his children. He wants me to meet them and I want nothing more than to spend time with them too considering we will be a big part of each others life. However, I want it to be the right time, I understand this is still kind of fresh to them and for both our sakes I don’t want to be around them before they are ready. It takes time and discussion. I do not want to be seen as the reason “mommy and daddy” aren’t together anymore, so it will take some time for them to get used to. I have every intention of being a part of these childrens’ lives in the future, but I know timing has to be right.

I would never suggest that you bring children around a casual partner or someone you don’t see a future with considering they don’t need to for the attachment and then be dissapointed again. I do not think a parent needs to put their life on hold until their children reach 18. The children need to see an example of a healthy relationship at some point in their life. As an outsider coming in I already know those children are the number one priority in all of this. And even though I have not been around them I put their best interests at heart, as far as their time with their father. Which is more than I can say for their mother.

October 18, 2010 at 10:35 am
(32) JustJJ says:

Wow!! I have never heard such a load of old claptrap as I have read here!!!

My parents split up when I was 5, new man in my moms life was a brilliant stepdad to me.

And to say that parents shouldnt date again till their kids are 18 is totally ridiculous (can only assume that these are children posting these types of comments).

I am seperated, and have a new boyfriend who I have introduced to my 8 year old daughter, he enriches her life, and she sees that I am happy. Me and my ex are still good friends, no animosity at all, it just didnt work out.

Its unfortunate if your parents were not good parents but dont tar us all with the same brush.

My daughter is number 1 and always will be, it doesnt mean I am a bad parent because I love another man (as in not her father) and it doesnt mean I dont deserve to be loved because my marraige didnt work out.

Sorry but some of you are talking complete and utter rubbish!!!

November 7, 2010 at 8:50 pm
(33) Jessica says:

My mother didn’t force her boyfriend into our lives. In fact, she never even bothered introducing him to us. She dealt with an awkward situation by running away from it and refusing to address it. She lives with him now (I live with my dad) but none of her relatives are welcome at his house. It’s like her children were an optional extra that could be put aside when it suited her.

I don’t understand why you would want to be with someone who took no interest in your children. If you think your boyfriend’s not good enough to be around your kids, he’s probably not good enough to be around you either.

December 5, 2010 at 5:38 pm
(34) emtiv says:

I was wondering how long I should wait to introduce my kids to my new BF? They are 17, and 16. I have been single for 6 years, so they have adjusted to the divorce. They also said that I should be getting out and meeting people. It seems like they are advocating for me to date. Now that I have meet someone, what would be a good adjustment time for them considering their age?

January 9, 2011 at 5:27 am
(35) Saintster2000 says:

I agree with some of the previous posters. Introducing a new person can your kids can be confusing and even traumatising – but it doesn’t have to be. Involving them is important. It’s true that it’s more important to be careful than it is for non-parents – do you really have a connection to this person? Will they be a good example to your kids? Will they support you? And can you see yourself staying with them forever? Forever is a long time, but it’s really important you see a future with someone before you get your kids involved.

For Emtiv – I was seeing my boyfriend for six months before I introduced him to my son, who’s two. He has only stayed at my house twice, and we’ve been together about 20 months now. The norm is for me to see him while my son is with his dad (I’m not lucky enough to have the great relationship with my ex that another poster has – wow! – but it’s not too bad and we manage to keep things polite if not always pleasant); sometimes my boyfriend spends time with the two of us, and my son really enjoys his company, but there is no way he’s anything like a dad to him, more a friend. I am very happy with the way things are. If we were to move in together, we’d have to have a big think – that certainly isn’t going to happen in the immediate future.

January 15, 2011 at 9:08 pm
(36) Appalled says:

I am absolutely appalled by some of the comments here, particularly by the first poster.

Giving birth to a child is not an automatic agreement to resign everything in one’s life outside of the children. In fact, the happier the parent is, the better parent they will be.

What is selfish is for a child (who is old enough to know better) to expect their parent remain single simply because they want it that way.

I suspect the posters with negative views, if they are even adults, are still trying to blame their adult behavior, over which they have complete control, on their parents.

February 2, 2011 at 11:36 pm
(37) urs says:

I have two teenagers and have been with my girlfriend for nearly 7 years. My kids like her a lot, she sleeps over at times – but not in bed with me – we both stay in the living room, on two different parts of the U shaped couch. I won’t sleep over her house and leave my kids home alone – if I can get their grandparents or other relatives to have them for the night or a weekend then I spend the night at her place. I just don’t feel it is right to tell my kids they are staying home alone so I can go sleep at my girlfriend’s home. My girlfriend is not in agreement – especially now that my son is 18 (my daughter is 15 1/2) she feels that I am entitled to a my own life and the kids are old enough to accept that I have a personal life and they are old enought to stay home alone overnight. I don’t agree. I don’t believe that kids need to know the intimate details of their mother’s relationship – I believe there is a limit, but yet there is a part of me that wonders how others join their new partner with their children and all live like one happy family with the parent and partner sharing a bed while the chilren are in the home.

February 7, 2011 at 12:36 pm
(38) datingasingledad says:

Oh my, how the punches come out when people have such strong opinions. I just want to say to all the single parents on here that are saying the other single parents who are dating or are thinking about dating are ‘bad parents’ or ‘don’t deserve to be called mom’ should really take a step back. Way to set an example for your children by name calling and judging other people you only have a snapshot of their life and situation to understand.
Everyone deserves to be happy in life. And to a single parent, if that means looking for that special someone to move on in your life with, go for it. There are ways in which to do it with concern for your children, their happiness and well being. Don’t bring every guy you date home. Make sure you’re feeling confident first in where the relationship might lead. Take is slow and gradual once introducing the kids to this new person and make sure there are guidelines for the new person entering their life. Why not have one more person in the life of your kids to be a positive, loving influence for them?
Closemindedness and judgment of others isn’t going to get you anywhere in life.

February 9, 2011 at 11:39 am
(39) new millenium says:

ok wow. As I’m reading this I’m wondering what year are we living in. Its 2011 not the 1600′s 1700′s or 1800′s. When you become a parent yes your child is your first priority. however with that being said it doesn’t mean that your life has to end. My daughter is 7, her father is not in her life and never has been. I have dated casually over the years never introducing my daughter to anyone. However i just start getting serious with someone and i did introduce him to my daughter and she loves him. After seeing the two of them get along it increased my feelings toward him. Just because i’m a single mother does not mean i have to live under a rock. as long as your honest with your children and still make time for them blended families can work. i grew up in one. my mom met my step dad when i was two and he’s been in my life since then i’m now in my thirties they married and had a baby i’m not hateful resentful toward her. so people please get with the current times. you can still be good parents and have a happy life yourself.

March 7, 2011 at 11:05 pm
(40) cannot understand says:

First off as a person coming from east i am very much appalled with the reasons lot of people Divorce here without considering the impact on their children.Children are very sensitive from 5 to 16 and it will be very bad impact on them if these things like mom and dad living seperately and a parent sharing their space with other person other than parent. I think Divorce should not be given easily unless there is very great valid reason and parents should compromise and not divorce for petty little things for the sake of their children. I think after divorce parent can introduce a person to children only if it is LTR.

May 22, 2011 at 3:37 pm
(41) Camryn T says:

Some of you people clearly need counseling. A single parent can be in a healthy relationship. My mother was a single parent and pregnant with me when she met my dad. (Notice I said DAD) He raised me and my sister as his daughters, he is the only father I have ever known. My parents have been married for 25 years. Dating as a single parent can be tough but good decisions have to be made. Many women date whatever man come along and of course that leads to problems. But if you take some time and get to know a person, their family, values, and morals. A healthy relationship for you and the children involved can be established.

June 16, 2011 at 3:52 pm
(42) Julie says:

“Single parents shouldn’t be whoring around at all. Until their kids are 18 their duty is to them and them only”

Quoting the first response from Lilia, it is ridiculous to think that a single parent should not have a life outside of their kids. In fact it will probably benefit the kids, because you are a better parent when you are happy and have a well needed and deserved rest.

That however, does not mean that it is acceptable to bring men home all the time. Children should only meet someone if the relationship has gone to another level and you are both serious about each other. Everyone has a right to continue with their life and most will still put their kids first as they do this. Life doesn’t end after divorce. It provides more challenges for sure, especially in relationships, but if both parents work together instead of against each other to make the child feel secure, the children will learn to accept divorce and the fact that this new person in mom or dads life makes them happy.

June 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm
(43) Am I wrong? says:

I have a 3 year old dghtr. her mother left me when she was 6 mos. she dated n moved into her bf’s home 6 mnths later. they dated 2 years. she left him a month ago. she is already seeing another man. the new man hugs N kisses my daughter bye @daycare and says ill see you tonight after u visit daddy,when he drops her off. i asked daycare wut they notced. this is what they told me today. she says shes known him 2-3 months. shes affectionate infront of our daughter. she leaves her alone with him in the mornings bcuz she leaves for work b4 daycare opens.to me i feel its ok to date etc. just keep ur dating life outta ur childs life. my daughter just turned 3. she has had me,fred and now rusty in her life. my daughter says she liked fred and now says rusty loves me. thats 3 men in 3 years. i ve dated but have had no serious relationships. she has never became attatched to any1 i date since i dont introduce them 2 her. am i wrong for trying to let my ex know shes messing up? i cant just stand aside and watch it happen. i text her too much i know. but she just dont get what shes doin.

June 28, 2011 at 6:16 pm
(44) Jessica says:

First, I am a single mom with a four year old. My boyfriend and I have a very balanced relationship. I have quality time with my daughter and quality time with him and time all together. Whoever says it is a big no no should realize it is UNHEALTHY to not have someone in your life that cares about you and your child. GROW UP!!

August 20, 2011 at 10:31 pm
(45) Ava Marie says:

I think what some ppl on here are saying is really stupid! Like, I have a 5 year old daughter Alani from an ex boyfriend and so far I have had no problems with her when it comes to my social life.

My beau Carlos and I were best friends before we started dating, which was almost a year ago. Alani loves Carlos to pieces, and I think it’s not only because together they have so much fun, but because he is always having fun with ME.

From becoming a mama, I have seen how major it is for us to be a role model for our kids, and how major it is for us to show them and teach them things. It’s obvious in life that we can’t show them or teach them anything if we don’t know how to do it ourselves.    

My girl is almost 6 and even tho she is still young and learning about love and life, she knows MANY important things already, and she is also very smart. She learns from me AND Carlos,
so to her she has BOTH her mama AND her daddy around, even tho, she really doesn’t, and she is VERY aware of that one.

There is nothing Carlos or I would do for Alani, so not EVERY SINGLE ‘new guy that dates mommy’ is that bad. What most of you all are saying is crap especially about the selfish thing.

When saying that it’s selfish to date unless your kid is 18+, do you realize that some ppl can’t survive on their own? I was one of those girls, 21 years old, pregnant, BETRAYED, and had no one to turn to except for my best friend (Carlos). I was so happy when he asked me out, and now so happy that were together. I don’t have him over so we can do nasty things,
but I have him over so we can all be together and enjoy and have fun, and the same thing vice versa. I love where I am and really couldn’t be happier.

Life is good when you start to appreciate what you have. My advice: live everyday like it’s your last, and take what you have and don’t ask for too much more :)

September 12, 2011 at 11:15 am
(46) dd says:

My tendency is to agree with Lilia based upon TLGs reasoning and my own experience. I was a single mother for my sons life who is now 21. I intentionally chose not to date as it seemed to expose him to unnecessary adult issues and when I removed those from the equation together we had peace and it was easy. So my gut told me to protect him from undue drama. From Lilia’s eyes, she is the child who was experiencing these role issues. With divorce at 50% and who knows what the live-in breakup stats are, chances of children seeing a revolving door of companions is high, and that isn’t a postive. Becoming a parent does mean you dedicate the next eighteen years to them and if you already messed it up by divorce, your duty is to not mess up their tenderness any further with yet more relationship trauma. I feel quoting TLG again is important and cannot be stated any more simply: “bringing the new guy or gal to the party, nearly at any point, is hyper-destructive to a child’s sense of security. You can rationalize it, minimize it, ignore it or simply not believe it, but the die is cast and the child’s life is compromised.”

October 3, 2011 at 11:41 pm
(47) Kerri says:

For a single parent to want to date or remarry is not selfish at all…some just go about things the wrong way. but why would a parent wants to make their lil family a complete one with a mother and a father as long as they are the right guy…thats not selfish at all

October 26, 2011 at 5:51 pm
(48) RJ says:

I am a child of a parent who had me when she was 16 and went on to date and get married 3 times since (Im now 25). She married my stepdad (now her exhusband) and divorced him when i was 16… i couldnt be happier with him. He is the one i refer to as my dad, he put me on the right track in life.. he believes in tough love and it has worked for me. My mom has 4 children with 4 different men and is currently not with any of there fathers, she is married to a new man. How she lives her life is her own business, she always kept me as her number 1 concern and i know if i need help i can ask, or call or just talk… but she also had a life as well.. i would never expect my mother to give up everything for me. We’re all our own people and need to live our lives… your kids will soon grow up and if you avoided dating for 18yrs it might be difficult to get into it, dont be so close minded. Maybe if you date try and find a significant other who is single with children as well.

October 31, 2011 at 1:36 pm
(49) Seriously says:

I met a man a 6 months ago that I love dearly, he is the only man I have ever truly loved. He has a 6-year-old son that is not only his number one priority, but has also become my top priority. We have tried to keep make the best possible decisions about how to introduce me to him. About 4 months into our relationship my bf sat his son down and told him about me, at that time he asked if he wanted to meet me. His son said he wasn’t sure (honestly I would have been more worried if he had said yes), so instead of meeting me my bf would tell him small things about me, so he could get use to the idea of me. One night as I was on the phone with my bf his son came in the kitchen and asked if he could talk to me on the phone (it was his idea, not his Dad’s) so we talked for about 15 minutes. this went on for about a month, we would talk one the phone about all sorts of things. Then last week my bf decided that he was going to take his son to a local pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin for Halloween, when he told his son, his son asked if he thought I could come too. So of course I went. We got along extremely well, I think because he felt as if he already knew me from the phone conversations.

Now the ex-wife is threatening to go to court and have it made where I can’t be around their son. She will never win that case, I am a elementary school teacher and I volunteer with a local special needs organization and I’ve never been in any trouble with the law or done very many things I’m ashamed of.

So, the reason for this entire post is to let you know that you should absolutely date, but be careful. If your child is old enough, let them make their decision on when they are ready to meet the significant other. When you know this is going to be a serious relationship tell your kids that you have met someone. Let them talk to them on the phone. Let the child decide when they are ready for the first meeting.

October 31, 2011 at 1:45 pm
(50) Seriously says:

Also, dating is not scarring for children. Not knowing that adults can have caring relationships is. My sister married her husband who had a teenage daughter at the time. They have been married 5 years and her step daughter will tell you that her Dad marrying my sister is the very best thing that has ever happened to her. She considers her a Mother to her and spends more time with her than her actual Mother does. If her Dad had not remarried, my niece would not know what it was like to have two parents (and I call my sis and her hubs parents because that’s how she sees them both) who loved each other and her.

November 27, 2011 at 1:15 pm
(51) wow says:

Lilia and all others in that frame of mind….
I am the product of divorced parents. My mom met and remarried a man that I also call my dad. They have set a positive example of a loving relationship built with friendship. My dad also remarried. His wife is also a good example and i call her mom. These four individuals have made me feel more love than you can imagine. I have become a happy successful adult. I’m sorry for your experience but you shouldn’t judge others. Everyone is different…and if you’re sure this is who you are spending a long term amount of time with, then be open and your kids will be fine. I am glad my parents divorced. I love my step parents and can’t imagine life without them.

December 2, 2011 at 2:53 pm
(52) Rose says:

My daughter’s divorce was final last week. She has two children 4 and 8. My 8 yr old granddaughter just told me her mother is going to move her brother into her room so she can rent the bedroom to Mr.Ray (my daughter’s boyfriend of 3 months. I was shocked. I feel it is alright to date after divorce but you should be cautious and careful before you bring a new man into your home. She has also had him and others spend the night. She thinks that as long as her bedroom door is locked, it’s okay. My heart is so fearful for those children.

December 11, 2011 at 3:31 am
(53) frankie says:

my ex n i have been seperated for almost 2 yrs, he often travels OS and recently has had a lady friend come stay for a week. that is fine, i am happy for him, but became seriously angry that he thought it would be fine for our child who is 3 and does not have her own room at her dads house, and we still sleep with her every night, which i know is a habbit we need to break, so he thought it fine if our daughter stayed over 3 of the 7 nights, would sleep on the couch, while his woman from OS was with him. she is a recently seperated woman with 2 young kids of her own. I dont get it, drives me nuts. I totally think if is fine if single parents start dating and moving on, i just feel that a childs home should be a safe place for them and once adults feel they r on to a good thing, and child is respected and cared for, then go for it, but i am searching the net now trying to find some info that will help me explain to my ex about what is appropriate when it comes to dating new people/..

December 16, 2011 at 11:10 am
(54) key says:

I initially came on here to hear what others had to say about the introduction of a bf/gf and an adequate amount of time before that happens. What i’ve found is unfortunately a lot of hurt and insecurities of relationships. I understand that children and young teens need to see healthy relationship whether their parents are together or not. If they see one side, they only learn that one side, and lets face it, not many of us grow up with the morals and ideas instilled by our parents. We adapt and adjust to our own. I come from a broken home and was daddy’s little girl, however daddy never came around. Didnt reconnect with him for another 10 yrs..mom never remarried even when she had the chance becasue she didnt want another man raising her ex’s kids. I cant say i agree or disagree, but she did what she felft was best for us. My mom dated, but it was neer really “in our face”…except for the 1 that she literally pushed away. It was hard growing up in a single family home, but not terrible. As an adult I can see just how that truly affected me and my ideals of a good man or a good relationship…hell its warped!…but dont blame my mother….As for me, ive been divorced for 9yrs and have been in 1 misguided relationship…ive “dated” but no one yet has met the kids. I still havent found a medium as to when is and when isnt appropriate for the kids to meet that person. My kids are 10 and 13(i have adult kids in the 20′s) and they are very aware that mom needs a life outside of coaching and things like that and they understand.

December 16, 2011 at 11:11 am
(55) key says:

part 2…my 10yr old wanted me to go on a date site…she understands the importance of a loving relationship and her moms happiness. Fortunately for her and my other children their dad and i and his wife and famiy have a great relationship and they(my children) are able to see the importance of a significant other. My kids are tired of me hanging out at home and knowing i go on dates, but nothing ever really comes out of it. i am currently seeing someone for a few months now, and never has he met the kids. they are aware of him but keep asking( well my daughter asks, my son could care less…lol) when they are going to meet. I even asked him what he thought being he is older than I and im almost 50,,,lol…his comment was not too soon but sooner than later? im like huh?..i still dont know when is a good time. After reading the above comments im guessing its all on how we feel. perhaps a few more months…and yes he would eventually stay the night, but that wont be till there isa ring on this finger and I know and he knows that this is where we want and will be…im getting too old for this issh.lol.i know this was long, but i just wanted to comment on what ive read..we all have different values of whats right and whats wrong in a relationship and that all stems what what we learned and took on as well as discarded..all i know is family is very important to me, but im just as important and momma needs love too!

December 26, 2011 at 9:05 pm
(56) turnedoutok says:

I am a child of a divorced mother who dated . My mom and dad divorced when I was 2yrs old, my father was never a part of my life. My mom married 2 times and divorced each time. She dated off and on during my life and introduced me and my sister to a total of 4 guys during my childhood. I am happy that she didnt stop her life for me. She was young, beautiful and didnt deserve to grow old waiting on us to grow up to start living her life. I had a great childhood, I was happy and well adjusted. I am now 28yrs old, a college graduate and have a great career. I think life goes on and to expect a human being to be alone until they are old just because they have kids is really absurd. I had a loving, kind and very attentive mother who always put me first.

January 24, 2012 at 11:14 pm
(57) singlemotherof1 says:

I’m a single mother of a 13 year old daughter and have been single for over 3 years. I have only had 2 boyfriends since her father that met my daughter. My daughters father is married with 4 kids and I feel like my life just paused. Im very particular about who I date bc I set high standards for myself as well as my daughter. I dont want her to be like I was growing up (always a new man in my face) every other month. I recently just started dating a wonderful man, told my daughter about him before they met. The first thing she said was “its about time!” LOL! I’ve also met his child. I think I forgot all about myself these past few years and havent been living life like I should. All I do is work and pay bills…no fun, no social life at all. Im too young and have too much to offer to be alone. What I want my daughter to understand is JUST BE HAPPY. True, things may not always work out but how will you know if you dont give it a try? You may get hurt but its not good to go into a relationship with a negative mind bc you’ll never be happy due to always trying to FIND something wrong.

January 24, 2012 at 11:15 pm
(58) singlemotherof1 says:

cont’d–No relationship is perfect but there is someone out there perfect for you. Im ready to settle down and so is my boyfriend. Im praying for the best and I believe God will bless me with the one He has for me and my daughter even if he’s not the one. Im feeling really good about this relationship mostly bc he asks about my daughter, whats going on with her, her grades, etc and she asks about him every now and then as well. We show each other affection all of the time. Not hard kissing and groaping but hugging, playing, pecks on the lips or cheeks. We leave all that other stuff for the bedroom. LOL. When we’re all together, we have such a great time. My daughter is not one that withholds how she feels about a person ESPECIALLY someone she has to see again and so far she has had nothing but good things to say. She doesnt feel left out either. Our children will tell us how they feel if we will only listen and/or watch. Watch your child’s body language and attitude when you talk about him or when he comes around. Do they leave the room? Suddenly get quiet? Gets snappy when you ask them a question or talk to them? We have to know our kids and understand we used to be their age too. Lets put ourselves in their shoes.

February 7, 2012 at 10:14 pm
(59) missy says:

We have been separated for 6 weeks. My ex is already dating, has already introduced the kids to the new woman AND had her there over night when they were there. My sons are 14. I am livid – am I over-reacting? I am not upset because of jealousy (that ship has long ago sailed). I am upset because I think it is all too quick and sends the totally wrong message.

February 9, 2012 at 4:20 pm
(60) Mimi says:

I am sorry for the sad experience that Lillia had, however, i have been divorced for 9 years. My children (all girls) were 14, 16 and 18 when I divorced, and they have seen me date, but have not met everyone I dated. I think it is healthy for them to see how you handle relationships, and even how you handle a break-up or disappointment (that is if you can handle it in a healthy way; if not seek help because you need those skills even for the relationship with your child(ren). “Children learn what they live.” If they are raised in an environment where you, as an adult, don’t have a life outside of them, and everything is centered around them they will not develop into healthy adults.

February 27, 2012 at 6:31 pm
(61) worried says:

i’m so confused. i had a baby at the age of 17. me and her father broke up but remained good friends and i feel have raised a very emotionally healthy girl. at the age of 26 my sister passed away and i became guardian to her 6 year old daughter. two years later my girls were 9 and 7 and due mainly to loneliness i got back with an ex. he was always really good with my daughter. he moved in too quickly and we had another baby together. she is now 4 months. i feel like ive made such an awful mistake. because my niece will take to him at all. she makes our life miserable. she is so rude to him. she is sweet as pie when she wants something and then so rude and wont speak to him when she gets it.
this constant stress has put a major strain on our relationship. i feel really selfish and i wish i had of just stayed single and concentrated on my kids. i love my new baby so much but i know i rushed into everything. what should i do. should i try make it work for our baby or ask him to leave for my niece.
i am so sad all the time.

February 29, 2012 at 1:06 am
(62) Bernice says:

This is an interesting post. I am relatively new single mom (less than a year) of a six year old boy. I don’t agree with putting your life ‘on hold’ so to speak like some of these other posters say – but when is the right time to introduce a new partner. I am at odds with my ex because it was only a couple of months and he pretty much moved his new girlfriend into our sons life and she does everything – cooks, cares (even when sick), does crafts, teaches new things – everything that the father should be doing as a ‘shared parent’ but doesn’t. He has never built a bond with my son and has moved to fast in introducing someone new to pick up his slack. So two questions – how soon is appropriate and what are healthy limitations in what a new ‘girlfriend’ or ‘boyfriend’ should contribute to the child – my concern is what if it doesn’t work out and it’s one more person my son got attached to that is no longer in his life – as well my ex is not building the bond with his son that he should be doing.

March 10, 2012 at 1:53 am
(63) blue says:

I am a single mother of two and basically have been since my oldest was born. My son is 13,my daughter is 9. I separated from their father about 5 years ago (my choice),but didn’t file for divorce out of fear for a few years after. Our divorce has now been final for about a year. I didn’t date until after it was final and really haven’t dated much since (again my choice). I met someone a while back and we recently starting hanging out on occasion. My kids know nothing,but my ex knows everything. He’s been stalking me since we split. The PPO was worthless and my kids suffer constantly. He is a habitual liar and even lied in court. He wants nothing to do with the kids and the kids don’t want to go with him,but per court he’s supposed to get them every other weekend. He only comes around when he thinks he can be near me. We are all afraid of him. He parks elsewhere and will walk and stand in neighbors yards,etc to spy on me. My friend came over last weekend to visit. He somehow found out his name,where he lives,works,what kind of car he drives,etc. He’s threatened he and I both and is now stalking him as well. My kids have been told that I’m a whore and a liar. I just want to be happy. I want peace. I’m not looking to introduce my kids to my friend anytime soon. I need advice on how to make my ex stop. I’m afraid all of the time and constantly have to watch over my shoulder. My kids are aware of all of it even though I’ve done everything I can to protect them. It’s been 5 years. How do I make it stop?

March 26, 2012 at 5:11 pm
(64) singlemomdoingherbest says:

Some of these comments are very “interesting” and personal. What is good for one person is not necessarily good for the other. I think making statements like “never”, “selfish”, etc. are clearly based on very personal experiences and don’t necessarily reflect the general public. Some people clearly need to do a little self-reflective work around some of these issues.
Life changes…and there is nothing more certain then that. New relationships are going to happen and preparing children to be accepting and open to change and new situations as challenging as it can be is good.
If single parents are going to date it just needs to be done conscientiously and without ignorance.
Some of these comments make me sad because of the lack of flexibility I see.

April 10, 2012 at 12:53 am
(65) free online tv shows channels says:

Hi there, I discovered your blog by way of Google at the same time as looking for a related subject, your website came up, it looks good. I have bookmarked to favourites|added to my bookmarks.

May 12, 2012 at 12:54 pm
(66) Kerry says:

WOW! Lovemykids that is awesome.
I’m 38 years old, tough guy,full of muscle and a huge heart, but reading your commet brought a tear to my eye. I read all of the B.S on here and totally agree with the way you and your husband are doing things. I’m currently going through a seperation now. My wife and I are trying to be civil, we are going to show our beautiful little 7 year old daughter that Mom n Dad don’t have to be living together to be awesome parents. We never really got along, just tried and tried, but realized that the arguing could not continue around our girl so this split is the best for all of us. My daughter was happy to hear she might have even more parents in the mix…Haha! I know it sound weird and she is very smart for her age. she(Maddy) said “cool I get to have two moms and two dads like some of my cousins and friends at school! Guess they learn faster then we all know. I did stress to her that no women will ever replace her mom, but only hold a valuable spot in our family as a good loving friend. :) My parents are going on their 50th this summer/ Wish we could all be that way, but not everyone gets lucky the first time!

May 30, 2012 at 12:11 am
(67) JJ says:

OMG… I was with my boyfriend for almost 3 years and my 5 year used to love him as a father. Now that we separated I explained to my son the reasons why we decided to go different ways and he understands that we don’t need an unhealthy relationship when we can be in a very loving one.
The person that I’m dating right now who comes over as a friend, spends time with my son and me together and at the end of the day sometimes he sleeps over but without my son knowing, he has his own room! I really think there’s ways to be the best mother/father on earth and at the same time have some time apart to develop need relationships!

June 1, 2012 at 12:51 am
(68) Betty says:

I have been dating my boyfriend for 2 years. We love each other very much and even talked about getting married. He has always told me he knew he would never get married. Plus he has two kids from two different woman. Even after that I still care for him. It was a long time ago and I know how much he loves his kids. But even after 2 years I still have not met his kids. I’m just wondering if someone can explain why he needs so much time. I know I cannot force him but at the same time I want to meet them. He son knows about me but has not talked to his son about me or has even asked me if I’m ready to meet them. Also he asked me recently to buy his daughter a gift and I can’t because I haven’t met her. Is that also a bad thing. Just looking for some understanding. Thank you anything will help.

June 2, 2012 at 4:34 pm
(69) Becky says:

I split up from the father of my children & swore i would never, ever introduce them to any man in my life, as my relationship with their father ended badly & we were all devastated and had to rebuild our lives from scratch… i didn’t think i’d ever be able to trust another man again, but along came an old school friend who promised me the world & said he wanted to be with me & my children and said he loved us dearly, could never live without us & would never leave us. I believed him & fell in love with him. I had only introduced him as a friend to my children in the very begining, but he begged for more & said he felt like i didn’t want to let him in. Sooooo, I let him in, he became a massive part of our lives & my children completely fell in love with him… but 3 weeks ago after a silly argument over nothing, he walked out & i later received a text saying he “couldn’t do this anymore” & that he couldn’t “bring up another mans children”. I am completely heartbroken… but that’s nothing compared to the hurt & anger i feel for my children. They are both completely shocked, upset, confused, annoyed & so much more. I love my children so much & never wanted to see them go through this again. Therefore, i will never bring another man into my childrens lives, it is just not fair on them. They feel like they have done something wrong & they haven’t…. i feel like an idiot as i trusted this man, i would never have brought him into their lives if i didn’t.

June 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm
(70) the other side of the story says:

I am the child of a mother that chose not to date or see other men, she has currently been single for the last 17 years. It left me with the sense that a woman must sacrifice everything in her life for her children and that a woman does not deserve to be happy, she has to continue suffering for her mistakes the rest of her life because she was not perfect. My mom talked about sexuality as though it was the worst thing in the world and that men were trolls that were to never be trusted. I spent my teenage years torn between the feelings that I was having coming into my self and worrying that everything I was feeling went against what my mom had taught, which was all self-sacrifice. I met and married young a young man because he was the first person I had intercourse with because I was told I had to be responsible. The relationship did not work out, but I was blessed with three lovely children. I would never encourage my children to remain in a relationship for thier childrens sake, I will not let my children believe that the only thing they are capable of in this world is being a parent and that without that they cannot be happy. I have 2 brothers and a sister that say they do not want children because they find that a selfish action in this life and they do not want to procreate the same genes that we all share. This world is about finding and sharing love between one another. I want them to realize that we all make mistakes and that the world and the power that controls it is love and forgiving, if we choose to accept it. I would hate for them to grow up without a father like I did, solely because I can’t get over my fear of trust and placing love out there. I want my children to learn to love, share, forgive, and try again. Bitterness is not the answer, and when you isolate your children to try and prevent people from hurting them or yourself, you are doing the world and your children a great disservice and robbing them from being forgiving individuals.

July 3, 2012 at 2:13 am
(71) Thomas says:

I think the children should always come first. I made some mistakes on this part myself. Hope they will forgive me!

July 7, 2012 at 5:19 pm
(72) Sonia says:

Eric, how good of you to have “standards”. Most people, if not all try to do their best for their children some with more success than others, and the reason for success includes support. I am a single mum toa lovely 12 year old boy. I love him to bits, and unfortunately I have only had a boyfriend during 3or 4 years, and it is very good for a child that their mothers got partners and feel loved and supported, because we are very close my son andme, sometimes the boundaries are foggy, which is not good, he gets cheeky and I get nasty, one because there is no man inthe house to set an example, not that all men are capable of that anyway. But having two adults diffuses too much attention on a child.l Lilla, you are pr obably right in some tings, but you are showing the behaviour of a disrespecting brat, that is not realising the. Sacrifices your mum has to do for you all the time. I am convinced that once you have your own children n you won’t be so judgemental, and hopefully you will avoid the pitfalls of your mum. Not to mention, that you never talked about your dad, it is always the person that stays that copes with the flack on top of everything. I would love to whore. It around, instead I have been doing a life sentence for 13 years because I got pregnant of a child! I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I haven’t had anymore kids because circumstances have been difficult , we do what we can!

July 21, 2012 at 3:18 pm
(73) Sara says:

My situation is a little different but, I would love some input!!
My husband of 4 years married, together for 9, kicked me and my 12 week old babies out of the house about 3 times before finally me leaving for good. We have been separated now for 7 months and he met someone about 1 month ago. He has already introduced her to the babies and has had her over at the house on his time that he should be spending with them. I don’t know if I should address the situation or just let it happen. I’m not a jealous person so I could care less who he is with– she can or anyone can have him!! He’s a drug using, alcoholic ass! I never thought I would end up in this situation but, here I am and I’m trying to do my best. Please if anyone else can help me with this I would appreciate it :)

August 5, 2012 at 11:42 am
(74) Alison says:

Wow…I am so sorry Lilia had such a rough childhood. But not all parents are like that. My sons father and I broke up when I was 9 weeks pregnant because I found out he was using drugs again after two other times of swearing and promising he would quit. I have dated a few times during the last five years of my sons life but my son has always come first. I have finally met someone who is also a single parent of a three year year old girl and we are very happy and our children love each other. We introduced fairly quickly as we wanted to be sure we merged together well. We have plans to marry and move in together some time next year probably. We both believe that showing our children what a healthy relationship is will benefit them as they grow up. While I do think some people make bad choices, I don’t believe everyone does. I think having two caring parents in the home is always better than only one, as long as the choice of partner is a good one. Many women (and men) make very poor relationship choices or cannot end a bad relationship when they should. I do think our kids being young, 3 and 5, made a big difference in how accepting they are of the other person. Introducing older children is most likely much more difficult. But expecting someone to be alone for the rest of their child’s childhood is ridiculous. People just need to make good healthy choices for themselves and their kids.

August 19, 2012 at 3:03 pm
(75) MOMMYOF5 says:

I am the single mother of five wonder children, and as i sit here reading a lot of these comments i am very bothered. I was with my ex-husband for thirteen yrs and finally decided i could not take the cheating and abuse anymore. We have now been divorced for 5 yrs, and the thought that I should not have a life until my children are 18 is crazy. Not saying that i go out and bring random men home because i dont. My children have only met two men that i have dated. Parents deserve to be happy just like children do. Your kids should always be your first priority but never should you not try and be happy as well. Giving birth and then not staying with the children’s father, does not condemn a parent to be a prisoner to their kids lives with out sometime for themselves. You all who have the negative comments to say about this, may have just had bad experiences. But that does not mean every parent or significant other that ends up with the parent are making a bad choice cause they choose to go on with there lives. If you raise your babies right and give them plenty of love and attention they would want to see the parent happy!

August 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm
(76) youngmomof1 says:

OMG! As a Psychology major in college, I have to say that some people on here are crazy! It is NEVER healthy to give up EVERYTHING for your children. Yes, your kids are always supposed to come first. That is the most important part of being any kind of good parent. However, companionship is necessary and beneficial for any adult (parent or not).
I got pregnant and had my daughter when I was 17 years old. Her father and I broke up when she was a month old. We were good friends until he met his new girlfriend. My daughter is now almost 2 and her father hasn’t seen her in 5 months. I do everything I possibly can for my daughter: Full-time college student and employee at a retail store. You don’t see him making any effort to take care of his daughter. Now, I’ve been talking to a guy for nearly a year and we just made things official. He hasn’t met my daughter yet, and that’s why I came to this site. I need to know when is an appropriate time to introduce them to eachother. I don’t want any advice from those of you who think it is unacceptable for a single mother to date. Screw you, okay. Grow up and get over your childhood issues and stop trying to make everyone else feel bad for trying to find love in this world. I need advice from someone who has experience in this area. Yes, I am very young and quite willing to admit that I am no expert. I’m 19 and have made some bad decisions, but I refuse to believe that I have to live in seclusion for the rest of my life.

September 2, 2012 at 1:33 am
(77) Cassie says:

Young mom of 1:
At two or three your child isn’t old enough to understand or judge your relationships with anyone from a personal point of view so I wouldn’t worry about having a serious relationship with a man in your life – as long as he’s a good guy and you share a healthy relationship together your child should benefit from it.

The main thing everyone should keep in mind here is that the quality and character of everyone you allow into your child’s life is important, not just the romantic ones. That includes family members and friends with unhealthy coping or relationship behaviors and those who aren’t good role models.
Another thing some of you posters may or may not be thinking about or remembering is when we get to be teenagers we don’t want our parents focus to be on us, quite the contrary, we want our parents to be distracted with their own business and relationships instead of on what we’re doing. A teen or young adult could end up with tremendous feelings of guilt that turns to resentment if they feel responsible for their single parent’s happiness at a time in their development when they need to pull away toward independence, especially if it’s been made clear they’re the only reason their parent never had a relationship. For all your well-meaning sacrifices you could end up being not just single, but pathetic, resented, an embarrassment – maybe even pitied by your children when they grow up. Just saying…

October 8, 2012 at 3:14 pm
(78) Me, Myself, and I says:

I am a single parent. I did not choose this life but I wasn’t going to stay married to someone who cheated and was never home and let my child see how miserable I was and think that was normal. I remember my mom dating and it didn’t bother me. I liked some and some I didn’t. I liked seeing my mom happy and it didn’t make me feel bad. They never stayed the night or anything but they did come over for visits. I just hated my mom for everything ELSE she did to me…..

October 10, 2012 at 11:12 pm
(79) boxer365 says:

My wife just filed for divorce last week after 12 years of marriage (she moved out of the house 5 months ago). She has been having an affair for the past year and a half and after months of counseling with three different therapists, she has basically said that she can’t / wont break it off. She also indicated that she plans to introduce our 8-year old son to him tomorrow even though she has admitted to me on several occasions that she misses and values the “family” and that she is unsure if she even wants to be with him in the long term. I know that I can’t stop her, but it breaks my heart to see this happen, and to think of what lesson that is teaching our son. For that reason alone, unless you are on the verge of re-engagement leading to marriage, I don’t think that I would introduce my child to a new significant other.

October 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm
(80) KJ says:

I think it’s horrible the way that some of the posters have made comments such as “you’ve already screwed up your marriage”. Some of us were left behind when our ex-spouses decided that family life was not for them. Some of us suffered horrible abuse in our marriage. I have not brought any men home, but if I ever am in a loving relationship it will be a far better example for my children than the abusive relationship that they saw during my marriage. Some parents donate chromosomes, but aren’t parents. That does not mean you are bound to the abusive jerk who abandoned his family until the children are 18. The kids come first and always will. They love when friends come over and we all have fun together (other single mom friends). As long as it is handled properly, why would a male be any different? They don’t even remember living with their dad.

December 14, 2012 at 9:42 am
(81) Wendy says:

First, in response to some of the more extreme responses… only crazy people use always and never.

It IS important to put the needs of your children first, and to be constantly away of their emotional needs and development. They are your first responsibility.

With that in mind, it is not good parenting to become their responsibility. A parent child relationship should be dependent in only one way. Your child should not feel like they are your whole family. If you didn’t date for their entire childhood, they would grow up worrying about you, caring for your emotional needs, and acting as your family. That’s a big burden for any child.

During my daughter’s tender years, I didn’t date. She wasn’t ready. She needed all of me. Now that she is growing older, she needs less of me. It is my responsibility to allow her to become more independent, AND to show her that I am okay with the space she needs. She needs to see that it is okay for her to grow up, and that I am not going to be alone when she does so.

I also agree that after being through a divorce and custody battle, it is super important that she see what a healthy family looks like. She needs to see what a good father and husband looks like. That’s also my responsibility. She needs to see what a strong Christian family looks like, so that she can find one for herself.

To say always and never is limiting the needs of your family. Each family will reach its readiness to grow in its own time. Be open to that time and move deliberately with purpose. Just as the article describes.

December 19, 2012 at 10:00 am
(82) Melanie says:

My ex has ruined my children and his relationship with them because he put finding a girlfriend before his kids. He allowed her to treat my children very badly but they were supposed to suck it up because his happiness was more important than theirs. Also after they broke up for the 5th or 6th time it was for good (after 4 years) but he was immediatly looking again and completely ignored out 10 year old daughter to be texting and online obsessing about finding a GF. He has broken plans with my children for a date and will NEVER EVER text or communicate with them when he is with a date however will constantly text and communicate with all theses women on his childrens very limited time with him. He is so obsessed with having a GF his kids are nothing to him and all he seems to care about is getting a GF.

December 29, 2012 at 8:31 am
(83) Kelley says:

I am a mother of 3 girls, and after 13 years of trying with their father, we decided to end the relationship. A week and a half later we lost him. Now I understand dealing with divorce and visitation and Step parents, but my kids do not have a ‘father figure’ in their life. I have a few male friends that have always been in their life, but what I would like to have is someone that loves me and my children unconditionally and accept them as his own. Never losing sight of the father they had. I come from a divorced family (age 4). The only turmoil that came with the relationship was when my spoiled youthfulness acted out when I didn’t get my way! I have a great relationship with my fathers wife who has been in our family for over 30 years. I believe the foundation of a child takes more than one person to raise them, and I will with values and morals, date and hopefully find a mate for which to share my heart and my children with

January 24, 2013 at 12:22 am
(84) Christine says:

I was left widowed in my early thirties when my daughter was 15 months old. it is absolutely ridiculous to suggest that I should stay single for 18 years until my daughter has grown up. I agree that she does not need to see a stream of men coming and going from my bedroom but having her see me in a healthy, long term relationship is a good thing. And you know what? I have every right to have love in my life again and not have to hide it away from my daughter. She also needs to see what a healthy relationship looks like.

How many of those giving the become-a-spinster advice are single?

February 9, 2013 at 3:14 pm
(85) Zay says:

I was that young child who had a solo mum, but she met a man who actually became my real dad- since the man who had adopted us did a runner. I’m so grateful mum found this man, and he made her into a much happier person. Mum was very careful about how she dated men before he came along. Yes it did cause some issues a long the way, but that is life. I’m in the same situation (sadly) and I haven’t dated for six years. I’m finally getting into it now, and I’m VERY careful about who and how I meet these guys. She has never woken up or met a guy in my bed, and will not untill we are something serious. So I guess I’m trying to say I have been both the child with the solo mum, and now the solo mum with the child. She always comes first, but i doubt she would want me to be single and unhappy my whole life- just as I didn’t want that for my mum. Nothing wrong with having a relationship, but being careful where your children are concerned and doing your research is important.

February 28, 2013 at 10:57 am
(86) Lisa says:

It is very sad that many of the comments have been negative about single parents dating. Divorce sucks no matter how you look at it. I know many couples who have sucessful step children relationships. I think if the children are well adjusted, and not spoiled brats, before the parent dates then they will adjust well to a new person in the mix. Of course the parent has to be sane first. I am very careful about who my children meet. I have been single for a long time now. my children are 17 & 9. I am now in my 40′s and would like to meet someone for the long haul. My children agree that I need and deserve to have someone in my life. They are well adjusted and I would never involve them in a messed up relationship. I am sorry that Lila had such a horrible childhood and thinks that all single mothers who date are sluts. We are human. Why should we be denied a chance at happiness? Children are happier when their parents are healthy and happy. Good luck to all of you. God Bless.

March 12, 2013 at 1:06 am
(87) Myrri says:

After living with my ex for 14 yrs, right around year 8-9 the arguments started to become more frequent. Around the time of my 2nd daughter’s birth. For 5 years I was in turmoil on how to deal with it. Even tried discussinf it with him and even had a meeting with my parents to advise…. Only thing that came out of that was that I should stay married, even though the love was gone. I forced myself to fake it, and managed to hide how I felt well enough. But when his yelling became a daily occurence, and
I saw him yelling at the girls, the way he yelled at me, I knew I had to do something. It’s been so incredibly peaceful ever since. Now I’ve met a wonderful man with the same wants and desires as myself. My worry is my 16yr old. I am treading very cautiously with her and gauging her reaction daily. I think she resents him already. More because I think she feels like he’s taking time I could spend with her. When he comes over, it’s for dinner. Or to just pop in for a bit after work, on his way home. She sees that I’m happier and likes that, but is still not 100% ok with him. I’m going to continue to involve him in smaller doses and see how it goes.
Each child and parent are different from the others. Some of these posts were insightful. Each person has different wants and needs… As a single parent, it is hard to juggle my personal needs and my daughter’s, but life is never easy.

March 22, 2013 at 12:07 pm
(88) joe says:

I been Divorce now for a month, and my sons mom has already has a new man and she brought him home one night to meet him and woke him up to do so. To me this is sick and is screwing up the poor child he is only 12. He right now hates the man. Every book I have read says you should not do this. Now his Grandma is asking him if I’m coaching him not to like him. The bad thing about it she will not let me have him when she goes out on dates with him. The weekends she has him they don’t do any thing. But she has time for that man. So to the very first comment was said on this post is very right.

April 4, 2013 at 1:45 am
(89) Leanna says:

Wow! Sme of these response are SHOCKING! I’m the product of divorced parents, and my brother and I have turned out to be EXCEPTIONAL people. I am now, unfortunately, a single mother. I wish people would STOP selling this lie that kids come first. In life, NO ONE GETS TO BE FIRST ALL THE TIME! This is how self-centered human beings are made–by constantly telling them they are the center of the world. They’re NOT!

I think people forget that the biological job of a parent is to teach their offspring to hunt, kill, and survive. In the context of our current world, I’d say that means that the job is teach them to be balanced, productive ADULTS. The job is NOT to mitigate and avoid all discomfort and unhappiness in childhood. Inevitably, they will experience these things in life, and it is a parent’s job to prepare them to handle these experiences. Pretending that my identity begins and ends at mother is dishonest and a horrible way to model a life. I choose to assume that my children would like to live a balanced, happy, productive life as adults–even if they are unlucky enough to experience divorce. I would never want to lie to my kids and give the misperception that I lost value as a person the moment I became their mother. This is crazy! .

My advice to parents is to set clear expectations for children about what is acceptable behavior (respect, manners, politeness) and clearly defined consequences for not meeting the expectations. Obviously, people should always respect the physical boundaries set by a person (whether an adult or child), so I would advise my boyfriend to respect their space if he were a big hugger. My next piece of advice is LIGHTEN UP! If the discomfort of meeting their parent’s new boyfriend/girlfriend is the worst thing they experience, they’ve got a good life. As they say… First world problems! ;)

June 3, 2013 at 1:41 am
(90) Carrie says:

I believe that the kids should come first. I have been divorced for four
years and I have dated a man for three years. We have separate households and both have 2 young children ranging from ages 12-7. We share the same custody schedule with both of our exes. We both get quality time with each other and enjoy the time we have with our kids. We take vacations together and get serge rooms. Both of our parents were married for almost 50 years, so we both value the sense of family..

My ex- husband has had two women in that time since I have been divorced. They had both stayed with him within one month of dating. I am trying to bring the value of family to my children so they do not think a parent should have a revolving door for relationships. It can be hard for me to watch sometimes, but sometimes you have no control over what the other parents do..

June 17, 2013 at 12:47 am
(91) mary says:

Dear fellow codependents, It is healthy to take care of and seek happiness for yourself. Your children may not be comfortable seeing you do that (and you know why) but its important that they do see it. Happy parents, together or not, equal emotional security. Love your kids… don’t live or die for them.

June 29, 2013 at 9:22 pm
(92) ggggg says:

You have to see how they are around your kids. And being misrable and alone is not the way kids need to be raised

July 11, 2013 at 10:30 pm
(93) Hallie says:

Ok I read some of the comments but I’m still not getting an answer to what I’m looking for. I have been single since I was 6 months pregnant. I did screw up by dating someone and immediately introducing my daughter to him. It was only 2 months and she was 2. I don’t believe I did serious damage to my daughter. I have definitely learned from that mistake. I am ready to settle down and add on to my little family. I’ve been dating/seeing the guy for about a month now and so far so good. We are definitely not rushing into anything. We really enjoy each other’s company and great conversations. He could be a potential life long partner. My question is when should I introduce my daughter to him. She is 5 now. I don’t want it to be too soon. POSITIVE feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

August 8, 2013 at 10:32 pm
(94) Stacey says:

Ok, I can give my experience from both sides of this arguement. To say it right off the bat, there is a right and wrong way. It’s not an answer of WHEN it’s ok to date, the important question is HOW.
I was 12 when my parents split, my dad dating my now step mom right away. We literally met her the day he told us my mom and him were getting divorced. Meeting her honestly did zero damage to me long term. Yes, I was mad he replaced our family with her so quick, but I got over it.
The part that screwed me as a teen was that my mom then started dating and left me completely alone at 12. First she spent weekends with her boyfriend 2 hours away, then sold out house and bought one down the street from him so she could move in with him without me. Not only was I moved from all I know, and my dad, but my mom abandoned me and figured it was totally ok since she came to make sure I was ok a few times a week. If I wasn’t home the rare times she showed up, she reported me as a runaway so that I was put in foster care without her looking bad.
Kids will not be damaged by you dating, they’ll be damaged by being abandoned.

August 9, 2013 at 3:49 am
(95) Tim says:

It is Painfully obvious who all of the self centered people are! First of all spinster, and and no social life, are not in any way a part of NOT INTRODUCING YOUR CHILDREN TO YOUR NEW OTHER!(other than their parent) I find it Very hard to not ridicule those who would attempt to RATIONALIZE the contrary! Rationalize is just that Rational LIES! When you have to justify your actions, you know they are wrong. First of all Go out Date, hell screw your brains out. DO NOT INVOLVE YOUR CHILDREN! Women you are teaching your children that men are transitional and not to be counted on.(here today gone tomorrow) and Men you are performing the Mirror or flip side of the coin. You should introduce your children when and only when the discussion of marriage is on the table and that ring is in your pocket or already on her finger! IT is DAMAGING whether the damage is recognized or not. Shrinks, psychotherapists and psychologist, love all of you that argue to the opposite. Their waiting rooms are full, bank accounts are fat and you are setting up their next batch of clientele by Introducing your new found other, to your children. especially directed those of you who have mentioned your multiple others. There is the existence of a word in the dictionary called INTEGRITY, look it up. As a side note your children might tell you that they are ok with it ,or not say anything at all. However, having been privy to many conversations with adults, who’s parents, involved them as children with their escapades. Well, they do not speak with high regard of those parents nor have much of anything worth mentioning when it comes to these issues.

August 15, 2013 at 3:18 am
(96) Monica says:

Wow! Blame blame blame.. I’m hearing people comment on here, comparing dating to whoring around, and that being divorced means you already screwed up your child’s life, ect. I fought for my marriage and he decided to leave his wife and child for another women. Some people don’t choose divorce, we have no say in the matter. I love my son, he comes first always, and I choose to date, because I know GOd has a man out there for me and my son, that will be a positive influence in my 5yr olds life. With his dad teaching him that girls have vaginas and boys have penises and balls, at 5 yrs old and lying every chance he gets, my son needs a good positive male around. Everyone is saying that dating will mess their kids up, have you looked at the rates of criminal teens that grew up with no positive male influence? Just choose to date carefully and talk to your child about it, my son at 5 is so intuitive, he knows when mommy is not happy, they can sense a lot more than we give them credit for.

October 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm
(97) Tdugu says:

I find it interesting how selfish that adults can be! First of all there are baby sitters. second of all like my relationship I have our children every other weekend and on thursday night until 8:30. (plenty of time for dating and/or wanton lifestyles) My Ex used all of the rationalizing that some of the people on here have as well. Introducing our children to her new boyfriend less than 6 mos after we split. She did not inform me nor share these plans yet I was left holding the bag for all of the questions that my 2 daughters had about what it meant. First if you/she are saying that my children deserve to see me happy? Take a look at what you have said, it is all about you and not about them (your children). Your children should see you happy with them. If you need to have someone else to make you happy then you have deeper issues. Date away, date a lot, do not involve your children it is selfish, pathetic, disgusting, and as ghetto as you can get. Your children should not be used in vetting your next ex as that is what he or she will be. I am not sying that you should become a Nun just protect your children they deserve it. My daughter will meet my girlfriend when her and I start discussing Marriage and not a minute before! And my ex will be informed of this meeting well before and not have it dropped on her by our children. Rationalize is just that Rational LIES!

February 4, 2014 at 9:26 am
(98) This is Sad says:

Statistically, most of the people who are in the dating scene are a product of divorce. Where there are kids involved, they watched their parents destroy a union between them that they vowed to be ’til death do us part’. So now, they get to watch and learn the next worse habit, which is a revolving door of intimate relationships until Mr or Mrs right comes along. Where does the madness end? Wait until little Johnny or Suzie is all grown up and repeating the identical pattern you have taught them. Trash bags are disposable, people are not, and children should not be taught that. They should be given a fighting chance to have a healthy marriage by being
taught how to wait and choose the person who they will
remain married to for the rest of their lives. Also, that person they marry will be the father or mother of your grand children. Do you want these patterns repeated in their lives? Divorce is a generational curse that must be broken and careless dating habits in front of children are a poisonous by-product.

March 17, 2014 at 8:21 pm
(99) Andrea says:

I think Lillia is a child everyone. She was in her feelings.

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