How should I feel that my boyfriend of a year and some change hasn’t introduced me to his kids? To give you some back story, when we first started dating he didn’t tell me right away that he had two kids. About a month into seeing him, he finally told me over dinner that he’s a father. He claimed not to tell me right away because he wanted to see if what we shared was real and headed somewhere. Ironically though, I feel like if we are in a real relationship that he should introduced me to his children. They’re a part of him. They don’t live with him full-time, but he does see them every other weekend and that’s when he keeps me at a distance. I guess I might understand me not meeting them if they were young, but his kids are 11 and 13, which I think is old enough to meet me. So I really do feel some type of way. Am I wrong here to feel a bit annoyed?
-Lite Brite 93
Dear Lite Brite 93,
Thanks for writing to me. I have to admit, the situation you wrote to me about is a sensitive topic. Anytime you bring children into the mix and what’s right and wrong when it comes to parenting, you run the risk of people catching feelings in the worst possible way. However, you asked a question and I intend on answering it. I’m just going to be sensitive to the dynamics that may be at play.
About seven years ago, I “dated” someone who also had two children (looking back, he and I were more of a fling than anything else hence the quotation marks). Now I knew he had children from jump, but he made sure that I also knew he didn’t introduce who he was dating to his kids. He seemed to be pretty firm in that decision and I respected it. There are many parents in the dating world who are adamant about not parading potential partners in front of their children. These parents don’t want their offspring getting attached to people that may not be present in a month or week. I get that, as I’m sure you probably did initially.
The difference between my situation and your relationship, is just that. You’re in a whole relationship with your boyfriend and have been together for quite some time. The fact your boyfriend hasn’t made an effort to introduce you to his kids, leads me to believe that one of three things is going on. Either your boyfriend hasn’t opened up about his fluid sexuality with his children, he and the mother have an extremely strict agreement about the kids meeting their partners, or you and your boyfriend aren’t as far along in your relationship as you may think. Allow me to clarify.
Starting with the first explanation I offered. I can imagine that some mothers and fathers in the world find it extremely difficult to explain their sexuality to their kids. I’m not sure when your boyfriend split from the mother of the children or the circumstances around the split, but if the kids have any hostility toward your boyfriend because the parents aren’t together, your man may not want to rock the boat any further. At 11 and 13, the kids are probably in middle school. And middle school kids can be so temperamental. Plus, if the mother of his preteens doesn’t know your boyfriend is gay, finding out could push her to be vindictive and put him in a contentious custody battle he’s not ready for yet.
The second explanation I offered is actually a pretty solid excuse if you ask me. There are some parents that have agreed not to expose their children to outside partners unless rings are in the picture. They don’t want to change the dynamic of co-parenting by adding someone else in the mix until there are marriage plans involved. After all, this is a solid way to guarantee the kids aren’t exposed to too many “uncles” and “daddy’s special friends.”
Finally, I sincerely hope you don’t take offense to the last possible explanation I mentioned. I’m trying to help, not hurt or insult you. However, sometimes when two people are involved, one person may think they are in a relationship, while the other is thinking they are more in a situationship. Yes, even after a year of dating. If you two aren’t on the same wavelength in terms of commitment and the stage of your relationship, then that would give some insight as to why he’s made his kids off-limits.
Suggestions going forward.
- The best suggestion I can give you here is to talk to your boyfriend. Ask him where he thinks you two are in your relationship and where you’re headed. Get clarification from him directly as to why he’s chosen not to introduce you to his kids.
- If it turns out that he hasn’t introduced you to his children because of an arrangement he has with the children’s mother, then you have to respect that and wait. Trust me, in a predicament where your boyfriend has to choose between making you happy with an introduction and keeping the peace in his family dynamic for the kids, more than likely you’ll be the one that loses.
- While you can inquire why you haven’t met your man’s children, don’t push him into making the introduction. Again, issues of parenting and kids are sensitive topics.
As always nothing but love,