All the single ladies (All the single ladies)… Now put your hands up!
There are certain questions I am asked often by newly single parents. One of those Questions is:
How long should I wait to introduce my boyfriend to my child?
In my personal opinion I HATE giving a specific time frame! Who is to say that one couple is more serious at the 12 months than another is at 4 months? I have known people who will date for years and never speak about “the future”. I will say that anything less than 4 months makes me roll my eyes in most cases (not that there are not some exceptions). It takes time to build real trust in a relationship, and I would never bring a significant other into my child’s life that I did not trust. In my last relationship I waited 3 months. I wish I waited longer. I was lucky that the guy was super nice and no harm was done, Nugget doesn’t even remember him, but had she been older she would have been much more aware of the loss of this person. Below I have made a list (because this bitch loves her a list!).
You should know a man/woman long enough to:
-Figure out that the person is not perfect.
-Figure out that the person is not perfect.
-Make sure you are willing to accept their imperfections and they will accept yours.
-Discuss your future visions and be sure they are compatible.
-Be comfortable enough to fart in front of him (not that you should, but if one should sneak out you shouldn't be overly embarrassed).
-Rock sweatpants, no makeup and dirty hair without shame.
-Get through an illness, something like the flu or a bad case of diarrhea. See each other at your most grossest. See how nurturing this person can be.
-Go to Ikea together* (This is a 30 Rock reference, if you survive this trip it is a good sign).
-Meet each other's friends and peripheral family (siblings, cousins, parents), get the dish on how he/she was raised and what kind of relationship they have with existing family before you make him/her a part of yours.
-Talk about how they would feel being a parent. The reality is if things get serious they would be taken a parenting/step-parenting role. Are your parenting styles compatible?
-Spend a long weekend together or more. (If it is possible in regards to childcare)Experience real time together, beyond a date or sleepover.
-Share you most “embarrassing” interests (improv, gaming, karaoke…). Not that it is really embarrassing, but if it is an activity that is important to you AND can be polarizing then share away. I love sports and musical theatre a man must accept this! If you enjoy dressing like a pirate and going to the Renaissance Festival…. Then DO IT! And bring your new pal along. (Think Penny and Leonard on The Big Bang Theory)
-Be HONEST about your priorities. He/she should know that your kid comes first, period. This sounds easy, but I have known soooo many women/men that will arrange their time with their kid around their dating instead of the other way around. Be upfront about saying “I can’t that night I have to take my child to swim class.” Try your best to help them understand the time commitment involved with having a kid before they meet your kiddo. Many people will say it will scare them away, but HELLO!!! That is your real life! A partner needs to know that!
-Get information on their finances. Don’t be a snoop or a Judgey McJudgerson, I am just saying you should be able to talk about money. Are they in debt? Do they have a savings? Are they responsible with cash? Check out studies on divorces and break-ups. You will see MONEY is often at the top of the list of reasons behind the termination of a relationship.
-Get drunk, responsibly. (Unless you are not drinkers) I have known a lot of people who reveal their true colors when under the influence. Jealousy, rage, cheating, selfishness… we have all seen it before. From time to time I like to hang out with friends at a tailgate or a Cinco de Mayo party where I like to get tipsy. I need to know my guy can handle himself at these events.
-Face some sort of problem/challenge; understand how you will work under pressure and stress. You do not know how strong your relationship is until you disagree, get into a fight or go through a truly hard time. I do not want to bring someone into my daughter’s life if they are going to shut down and turn tail when things get a little bumpy. This person will potentially be a role model for my child, do they fight fair? Does this person expect perfection? Any rage issues? This is shit they are not going to tell you willingly. “Umm yeah I have anger issues and tend to lose my shit when things don’t go my way.”