Dating without children is hard enough, but when you have a child to think about, relationships become a lot more complicated.
Sure, you have to make sure you’re compatible with your new partner — but you also have to make sure this person can safely and reliably become a part of your child’s life.
This added pressure can make the prospect of their first meeting feel pretty intimidating. Most single parents have one big question: how soon should you introduce your child to a new partner?
At the end of the day, only you can make that judgment. Do what feels right for your family, and don’t feel afraid to talk about your feelings with your SO. They need to feel ready to meet your child, too.
In the meantime, here are a few pointers to help you make that all-important decision.
Important Questions Before Introducing Your Child To Your New SO
1. How Long Have You Been Dating?
According to Psychology Today, online dating has made it easier for parents to move in and out of romantic relationships. While that’s great for parents who want to find their perfect partner, it’s important to note that children are also experiencing more instability at home.
Among children born to a single mother, 50% of them are likely to experience three or more changes in who is parenting them by the time they are 5 years old. This proves an ever-important point: a lot of single parents bring someone into their child’s life before they realize the person is not a good fit.
How confident are you in the stability of the relationship? Before introducing your child to a new love interest, make sure this is a person who you can depend on for the long haul. Spend at least a few months getting to know the person before you bring them home to meet your child, and only if you both feel like the relationship is heading toward something serious.
Remember, it might be easier for you to let someone go once you realize the relationship isn’t working out, but for a child, having someone suddenly leave their life can be devastating. Talk to your partner about your compatibility, what you expect from the relationship, and what you want for your child.
Above all, before your new SO meets your child, you should have been dating long enough to feel like you’re on the same wavelength. For some couples, that might happen a few months. For others, it might take longer to reach that point — and that’s okay. Do what feels right for your child.
2. Does Your Child’s Other Parent Know About Your Partner?
Even if you aren’t on the best terms with your child’s parent, it’s a mistake to bring a new person into a co-parenting situation unannounced. Both parents have a right to know who will become a primary adult in their child’s life.
Of course, your child’s parent doesn’t get to determine who you date. However, it’s important to make initial introductions so you can make sure everyone is on the same page. If you don’t discuss the fact that there will be another person parenting your child, it can lead to a lot of friction — which will inevitably cause things to be harder on your child.
It’s also a testament to your relationship if you’re comfortable having your partner meet your child’s other parent. It sends a clear signal: your relationship is serious, and you’re both invested in your partnership long-term.
3. How Well Do You Know Your New Love Interest?
Your personal safety matters. But when you’re a parent, you also have to prioritize the safety of your child. Before you even consider making your new love interest part of your child’s life, take the following steps:
- Learn about their background
- Get to know their family members
- Put on your detective hat and verify their background
You can cover all of your bases by using an online public records search engine like TruthFinder. Since 2015, this website has helped members learn more about the people in their lives and stay safe in the digital age.
Just by searching your partner’s first name, last name, and last-known location, you could take a deep-dive into their personal background. A TruthFinder background report consists of data pulled directly from real public records, like court dockets and property ownership records.
Are they hiding any criminal records or a suspicious arrest history? Do they have any jailbird family members they haven’t disclosed? Are they hiding their real name?
To find out what you can learn with a TruthFinder report, click here.
Even though there is no one answer for every situation, there are certain rules to follow to make the best decisions for your child when you have a new love interest. Be mindful of your child’s thoughts, feelings, and (most importantly) their safety before you bring someone new into their life.