Anyone have experience with dating/relationships with men when you have small children?

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    May 17, 2011 4:32 AM GMT
    I am wondering what to do if/when I get to the point where it makes sense that I would want to share a home with another man....

    Background:
    Divorce was final a year ago..dating men now, and have met a few that might develop into a LTR. My girls are 7 and 3, and I have 1/2 custody and I am very close to them, much closer than their mother...I have always been their primary care giver.


    What is the best way to handle HIM being around during my custody time with my kids? What if it makes sense for us to live together? What kind of issues have other guys ran into who have done this?
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    May 17, 2011 5:42 AM GMT
    I dated a guy with kids and shared custody, and to me it felt strange being around them all. I'm not much of a kid person myself, but that wasn't the problem. It was more that I felt as though I was taking precious time away from the kids with their father. There were times that I'd go out and play catch and tag with them and all, and had a great time, but for some reason I always felt as though I was stealing their time with their dad. On the other hand, I still talk with them (the kids; they're older now) on Facebook and play video games online with them even though I'm not seeing their dad anymore. They still call me 'uncle' because they know it got on my nerves (in a loving way; damned kids :winkicon_smile.gif, but when they were younger, it just felt like they shouldn't have to share their time with me.

    This is probably based on my irrationality at the time. I enjoyed time with the kids as well, but they were also around 8 and 10 at the time, so old enough to know what was going on with their dad and me.

    Personally, I'd probably wait until I knew it was going to be serious before introducing them to my kids. Not for his sake, (okay, well, slightly for his sake too), but for the girls' sake. When the girls are older, they're sure to understand that people date and break up, and it's no big deal. But there's something to be said about stability in a father, which includes dating.
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    May 17, 2011 10:12 AM GMT
    My wife and I split when I came out and our son was 14. My wife of course freaked and my son said (and I swear this is true), "Well, duh!"

    I bought a house a few blocks from hers and we shared joint custody. He met a few of my dates but on weekdays or weekends when he was with me, I never had sleepovers. Usually he met the men in my life on lunch dates, when we watched him play high school sports, etc.

    I'd recommend this book
    http://www.healthylivingprojects.org/healthy-transitions/books-and-videos/how-it-feels-to-have-a-gay-or-lesbian-parent/

    When it came time that I wanted to share my home with a man, I sat him down and explained why and who he was. This was when he was about 16 and he had no problem with it. My ex wife on the other had freaked but it was too late to mess with custody in the state we were living in at the time.

    I know your girls are just 7 and 3 so you have to be even more careful than I was having people come in and out of their lives with an intimate impact.

    BTW My husband and I both have a child from a hetero marriage and it does make things easier. Just one piece of advice and I know its early for you. Children of divorce, especially ones with a gay or lesbian parent sexualize earlier (My hubby was a MD shrink in gay community in Dallas for 25 years)
    Just be prepared for the "talk" a bit earlier than you expect.

    OK ending this long post with a funny story, only because you are in football pants. When my son was home from college he would bounce back and forth between my house and my ex wife's. I kinda forgot he was in town and brought home a guy I met at a bar. The next morning I heard my son in the kitchen making breakfast so we decided to just go out there and face the music. The look on his face when he saw us come out of the bedroom was one of astonishment. I had brought home a well known but closeted NFL player (I had no idea) and his comment was ... "Holy Shit.. you fucked .. blank blank!!! And no i'm not telling. He is still in the closet and single and this was almost 20 years ago. I have respect for that part of his life.

    End of story. My son followed me on my move to Florida where he and his lovely wife have a gorgeous son. When my daughter in law was pregnant the first question they asked my partner was what the baby should call him..he is Gramps and I am Papi (they live in South Beach)

    Good luck
    Nate
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    May 17, 2011 4:43 PM GMT
    You are a good man and a great father, and are troubled by this. You might seek the help of a family counselor if you want.

    If you are going to be living together, you better be damn sure he will be around for a good while and likes kids. Since your daughters are so young, they don't need to be getting attached to adults who might not be around. Another thing you need to discuss with him: while he may be very important to you, your kids are more important than him. He needs to be not jealous of your kids and the time you spend with them. If it is the reverse of this, and he feels guilty about taking your time away from them, reassure him of his importance. The latter will occur more than the former. Also decide how open your relationship will be in the kids presence- how much affection you will show to each other openly,etc.

    The biggest obstacles we face were these: Deciding what role the new man will play in the kids' lives- as another parent or as a close family friend like an "uncle." How much responsibility he will carry-giving rides to/from school, doctor's appointments, making lunches, field trips, etc? What role the kids see him playing in their lives? How will the kids handle having two fathers? Since you said you are their primary care giver, depending on how close they are to their mother, her attitude toward your partner will affect their perception of him. You may need to have family meetings where this man, their mother, and your kids are present in a friendly environment. Also your daughters will not share the same perception of their experiences. Your 3-yr old will have an easier time than the 7-yr old.

    Perhaps it might be easier for you two to live apart but for him to be a regular presence in your household for some time. It will give him a chance to be around your kids but not too much. Depending on how shy your daughters are, they will slowly get used to them. You want to make sure you disrupt their lives as little as possible. Also if he has children, both your kids will have a chance to get to know each other.

    The sexualization and drug culture they may encounter like the poster above mentioned will be supplemented by how stable their home life was, your expectations of them and their behavior, and is affected by all the influences children of straight parents face.

    Above all know this, as invested as you are in their care, your relationships is very instinctual with them. Follow and trust these instincts as a father.
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    May 17, 2011 4:47 PM GMT
    Bigsmiles saidMy wife and I split when I came out and our son was 14. My wife of course freaked and my son said (and I swear this is true), "Well, duh!"
    hahahaha this is the best
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    May 18, 2011 2:31 PM GMT
    Thank you all for the kind, thoughtful ideas.

    It helps to know that others have successfully navigated this situation.

    I have taken it slow.

    My girls know daddy dates men, because their mom has angrily told them in a failed attempt to turn them against me. She tried to use my sexuality to gain custody, but even in Idaho.....that does not work. I think the judge felt that it really just made her look like a bigot. It did help, I'm sure, that I did not act on my attraction to men until after I was divorced. (She discovered gay porn on my computer 3 years before we separated and my sexuality had little to do with our separation.)

    I have the home they grew up in, so they always feel at home here and they have welcomed and liked the two guys I have seriously dated since my divorce was final.

    As far as displays of affection, I have not kissed in front of them, but we do sometimes lean up against each other when we are all watching a movie. I do join dinners and the two I've dated have both been really intuitive with them. I think one of the keys for them is to pay attention to the kids as individuals and take the time to listen to them. That's prolly exactly what it'd be if I was dating a woman.

    Kids are not born with prejudice, it is something they are taught....and I frequently work-in stories or points about respecting all people and not judging people.

    They are also getting post-divorce counseling that I successfully asked the court to mandate.

    The girls have adapted to the dating part just fine...but what happens as try to more fully integrate my lives...with my girls and my bf?

    I'm thinking it would be much better to keep my home and if we get to the point of living together, he should move in my home...just to minimize the changes for the girls.



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    May 18, 2011 3:20 PM GMT
    I went through the same thing about 3 years ago, although my kids are older. My youngest is now 16.

    The one thing I think is very important is that you don't start sharing 'dates' with the kids. You don't want them to think of you as a revolving door. We all go through a period where guys come and go in our lives, even with the good intentions of hoping that something will develop. It's good that your kids will know of your sexuality early and grow with it (and with you). I think it will offer a much more open and accepting view of sexuality for them as they grow and they will share that will their friends. It's all about educating society one person at a time, even through your kids.

    When the time comes that you have a very special person in your life, then I think introducing them to the kids is good. I started by having a coupld of pictures of us on the bookshelf so my kids would see a face with me. Eventually they stopped by for one thing or another when he was visiting and casually met. I'm still working on the final formal meeting but for the guy I'm dating now, it will happen. I'm in no hurry to force the kids to meet my bf but when it happens they will know that's he's a special guy for me and that they will be seeing and hearing more about him.

    Good luck and if you're ever interested in chatting, feel free to email me. I've been fortunate to support many guys from on here that have come out late in life, like I did, and the friendships have been great.

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    May 18, 2011 5:02 PM GMT
    Thanks for the advice.

    I have kept my dating life completely separate from the girls. I do that during the 1/2 time they are with their mother. It's really the same as if I was still living the straight life.

    For the last 5 months or so I have been getting more serious though, and a few times a month we invite him over for dinner and a movie. We have also gone to his home for the same.

    It does help that their mom is dating too and has been much less careful about how she has handled bringing men around the girls.

    The stage I am at is the morphing from bf to LTR.

    This morning, I did give him a goodbye kiss as I dropped him off for work in front of my 3 yo. (His car is in the shop.) My 3 yo said as we drove off..'I like Scott.'...to which I replied...'I like him too.'

    Thanks again.
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    May 18, 2011 5:45 PM GMT
    I did, quite some years ago. That oldest son is now in the USAF and has served in Iraq & Afghanistan.

    But he was just around 9 when I was dating this guy. My BF had a retreat north of Seattle on Whidbey Island, custom built for him. I'm sure some here know that island, and may even have seen his house, a rather dramatic 3-story affair.

    We 3 went there once for a weekend, had a lovely time (I was there without my son other times, too). But I had some discomfort, knowing my boy was in the next room sleeping, while I was one door over fucking a man.

    Sorry to be so crude, I'm usually not here online, but that's the truth. I suppose it shouldn't have been any more strange than having had sex with his mother in the next bedroom, when his younger brother was conceived (I presume his full brother, not entirely sure about that).

    How odd, I did have some conflict about him being there. Like I might be exposing him to something wrong. Which perhaps legally I was.

    Later, with my late partner, we had Christmases & other holidays together (both sons and their mother}, and visits to their house. But the boys were now in her sole custody, with no visitation rights by me, North Dakota having determined a gay father was unfit to have contact with his sons. So I only saw them when their mother voluntarily agreed we could get together for brief visits.

    I would advise the OP to consult an attorney, about Idaho law. Republicans are trying to turn that state into another anti-gay horror, as they have in many others. Competent legal counsel is my best advice.
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    May 18, 2011 6:08 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said

    We 3 went there once for a weekend, had a lovely time (I was there without my son other times, too). But I had some discomfort, knowing my boy was in the next room sleeping, while I was one door over fucking a man.


    LOL...I felt the same way when I was fucking their mom! (Wish I could erase some memories...aka Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)

    Kids are such good natural birth control!
    Add to that, the running after them all day, and you have a recipe for celibacy.

    I do have an attorney on retainer. My attorney knows everything...and in fact, during the divorce trial...my ex showed the judge naked homoerotic pics of me she'd found years ago as I was exploring my attraction to men. (I had a secret profile on GayLounge.com, but never hooked up or even talked to another man directly. Mostly I wanted to talk to other married guys about the feeling they were having and compare notes.)

    She tried repeatedly to bring up my gayness in court to our custody evaluator, who was a born again Christian, but she never got much traction on it. She prolly has Borderline Personality Disorder and has a serious anger problem. My secret attraction for men simply added fuel to her incomprehensible anger and she frequently tried to blackmail me before and after we separated.

    So, having a lawyer on call is a sad, but necessary part of my new life.

    Having said that, I should point out that my kids and my life is much better now. They have a safe home for at least 50% of the time and, no matter how much hate and bigotry she heaves at me, I will not abandon my girls.

    Even in this chaos, I have never been happier. I feel like my life is on the right track for the first time in my life.
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    May 18, 2011 6:12 PM GMT
    Ive always been very particular who I bring around my kids. Usually if I introduce you to my kids then that is the last step to us being in a ltr. Otherwise my time with my kids was our time, not dating time. If my kids dont like you, you gotta go. Fortunately my kids are very loving & accepting people.

    On this same note, since your kids are young, I would encourage you not to let your young kids get too involved unless you feel for sure that its the person you want to spend your life with.

    I know nothing is guaranteed but my ex & I were together 6 yrs, we met when my son was 4 yrs old, they bonded like glue. My son even called him dad after a while, they were so close.

    Its been 4 months since our break up & my son still asks every single week about my ex, where he is & how much he misses him...it rips my heart out. He even sleeps with the stuffed animal my ex last gave him.

    We never know what the future holds, relationships arent guaranteed but since your kids are so young dont let them get attached unless its someone you know will be good for them as well as you for a lifetime.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 18, 2011 6:15 PM GMT
    Fly the bisexuals flag, and stand under it with pride.
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    May 18, 2011 6:29 PM GMT
    queen mother said

    "Sorry to be crude. But thats the truth."

    ma'am now that you have done, it. It's now perfectly fine that I do too. I know you have used this as an excuse to hop up on your pedestal so you can look down on one for their blunt truthfulness; but thats the truth.

    Know go find your bisexual flag and fly it with pride; dear half brother.

    PS: please don't say your mummy and daddy made you do it either.
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    May 18, 2011 6:45 PM GMT
    moscowmikey said
    The stage I am at is the morphing from bf to LTR.

    This morning, I did give him a goodbye kiss as I dropped him off for work in front of my 3 yo. (His car is in the shop.) My 3 yo said as we drove off..'I like Scott.'...to which I replied...'I like him too.'

    Your family is so cute. How does Scott see himself in their lives? Have you gotten to this point of discussion?
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    May 18, 2011 6:58 PM GMT
    carminea said
    moscowmikey said
    The stage I am at is the morphing from bf to LTR.

    This morning, I did give him a goodbye kiss as I dropped him off for work in front of my 3 yo. (His car is in the shop.) My 3 yo said as we drove off..'I like Scott.'...to which I replied...'I like him too.'

    Your family is so cute. How does Scott see himself in their lives? Have you gotten to this point of discussion?


    He does like kids...we joined his family for Easter Dinner and they were all very accepting and friendly.
    Especially his mom..lol.

    Most guys I've seen in the past liked kids, but we never got close enough to get to the point where it was appropriate to meet my girls.

    We are a group package. icon_smile.gif