Many people wonder when they should introduce their children to a new romantic interest. I brought my kids along on my first date with a man I met on Tinder. The problem was, I didn’t let him know beforehand. He was cool with my kids, but I never heard from him again.
As I walked up to the café in Venice Beach where I planned to meet Niko, I immediately recognized him from his photo on Tinder. I was pleased with the way he looked. He was the same hot Greek guy I’d felt attracted to from his profile. I felt lucky that I'd matched with this beautiful Adonis, with his smoldering green eyes and luscious dark hair.
Still, there was something about Niko that disturbed me. He was staring at with an aghast expression, his eyes wide open and his jaw dropped down toward his chest. I don’t know why I felt so surprised that he was gawking at me though. I knew exactly why he looked so shocked.
I had brought along my children to this date but hadn’t warned him about it. My kids were aged five and six at the time. I was recently divorced, and my ex-husband had canceled on taking our kids at the last minute. They weren’t at an age where I could leave them home alone.
Why didn't I just stay home with them? I was lonely and didn’t want to cancel my date with Niko just because my ex had flaked on me.
One reason I had divorced my ex was because he was an irresponsible father. He just had shown me again how irresponsible he could be. He had canceled on his parenting duties at the last moment. It didn't seem fair.
I didn't want to risk never meeting Niko, but I was also embarrassed about certain facts about my life. I didn't have enough money to hire a sitter. I didn't have a friend nearby who could look after my kids while we met. I didn't have family to help.
My few single friends didn’t live close and my married friends had all but disowned me when I divorced my husband. My family lived in another state. I was all alone now and I felt humiliated by this—so vulnerable and exposed.
I somehow hoped that I could create a situation where Niko wouldn’t realize any of this about me. I didn't understand that if I showed up with my kids on our date without telling him first, that would be worse.
And it was.
Still, I relaxed as Niko recovered from his shock and seemed to take it all in stride. He stood up from the seat where he was sitting, hugged me, and then said hello to my kids.
I introduced them to Niko. Everyone seemed happy. I certainly was.
I beheld Niko in all his gorgeous glory. What a beautiful man he was! Still, he commented: “This is very unusual.”
My cheeks burned with embarrassment. Yes, this was unusual. I wished I hadn’t brought along my kids on our date. I especially wished I had at least warned Niko about it.
We had a great date but you should wait longer to introduce a new romantic interest to your children.
People often wonder when they should introduce a new romantic interest to their children from another relationship. The common understanding is that you should wait. You should put off any introductions until you have a commitment with this person. You should be careful not to introduce your kids to everyone you date, as that will confuse them.
Niko and I ordered coffees for ourselves and hot cocoas for the kids. I worried I was confusing my children. I felt like a terrible mother. Luckily, Niko calmed me as he was wonderful with my kids.
As we drank our coffees, he told me about his job when he first arrived in Los Angeles. He had worked at a toy store. He still had a key chain from the store with a toy on the end of it—a plastic robot. My kids loved playing with the robot.
Niko also explained that he had lots of nephews and nieces back in Greece. He came from a big family. He loved children and wanted kids of his own.
My heart swelled with admiration for Niko as I watched him with my kids. I felt so close to him. Once we were all finished with our drinks, I even asked him to come with us to the beach. The purpose of this date had been to meet Niko, talk a little, make sure that I liked him in person, then I’d take my kids to the beach afterward. They even had their bathing suits on under their clothes.
Niko said yes, and we all walked down to the water. He and I sat on a towel while my kids jumped around in the waves. We spent a lovely afternoon together. But then it came time to leave the beach. I felt awkward around Niko again.
He said goodbye to my children and hugged me. He said he'd call me.
He never did.
I probably deserved not to be called back again by Niko. But still, it hurt because I really wanted to have a relationship after my divorce. I was emotionally distraught. I wasn’t thinking straight. I was so hurt. I just wanted a new man in my life.
But I now realized I needed to get my situation more stable before I could start dating again.
I couldn’t be introducing my children to all these different men. I couldn’t bring them on dates. It was an irrational decision to bring them along to meet Niko, especially since I hadn't mentioned it to him first.
I learned my lesson after my date with Niko.
After the debacle with Niko, I waited a few more months before I started going out to meet men again. My ex became more responsible with his parenting duties. He began looking after our children as he was supposed to.
Finally, I had more time to myself. I could date again while my ex-husband cared for our children.
I returned to meeting guys from Tinder. I never brought my kids along on another date. When I met my current partner, I didn't introduce him to my children until we’d been dating for a while.
That is the right way to do it. I learned my lesson and would never make the same mistake again.