Dear Matchmaker Rabbi:
As a divorced mother of two boys, aged 11 and 16, I’ve been dating a JDater® for one month. He is a divorced father of a girl, age 11.
He has no problems including me in his programs with his daughter; he said he would tell her that we are friends, and maybe one day he will tell her that we are more than friends. However, I’m afraid of introducing him to my children, with whom I have a very trusting relationship. For me it is too early to involve my children in something that is still beginning. I’m afraid that the relationship will not improve, and what shall my children think/feel then?
Am I too concerned? Should I also “take it easy” and not make a big thing of a new beginning? (I’ve been separated for nine years, and just got my divorce and “get”).
Thank you very much for your opinion!
―Cautious Single Mom
Dear Cautious Single Mom:
Given that your kids are “older,” I don’t think introducing them to someone you are just beginning to date should be a problem ― all the more so given you have a “trusting” relationship with them. (Congratulations on that, by the way. That is a real credit and testament to you!) I think your instincts are right, though, to not overly involve them at this juncture.
The balance between being “easy going” and being a responsible, careful parent is a delicate one. It’s worth continuing to wrestle with, in this or any future relationship you have.
To your question, “What will my kids think if the relationship fails?” Well, they will think you dated someone, and it didn’t work out. And if/when that happens, you’ll be sad for a while, and you’ll get yourself up again and go back to dating. I think that’s great, healthy modeling for your kids. Their first relationship(s) aren’t going to last either, maybe they will have false starts for years, and they will know that there is nothing unusual about two people breaking up.
Here is a question back to you: Is it possible your cautiousness about introducing your kids to this guy might actually be a reflection of your own reservations or “desire to take it slow”? Given your formal divorce is only recent, you may need to be more cautious for your own sake ― and that’s OK too!
― The Matchmaker Rabbi
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