I want to have a healthy relationship with my partner's young son
July 18, 2011 6:05 PM Subscribe
I'm in a relationship with the man of my dreams (who has also been a close friends for years before we got together) and I couldn't be happier. It is serious and it is going in the "forever" direction. He has a young son, though and I want help introducing myself to his life without causing too much stress or confusion. Also, divorce fun times...
posted by gwenlister to human relations (9 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I have been very close friends with a man for years (over three). I'm 30-ish, he is a few years older. We were only ever friends (albeit close ones), and everything was very very platonic and appropriate (we only ever hung out together as part of a larger group) and we never crossed any line. However, he has been unhappily married for as long as I've known him but it was something we just never talked about. Earlier this year she made the decision to end their marriage, they both are incredibly relieved it is finally over, and they filed for separation. (They have to be separated for a year before you can get a divorce.) So far every thing has been amicable. Basically they both just want it over and done with so that they can get on with their lives.
The second the separation became public knowledge literally everyone that knows us just waited for us to get together and no one (except for me and him) were surprised when we did. Even his soon-to-be-ex-wife expected it (not in a "OMG you were cheating!" way, in a "You two always got along so well" way) and is happy for us. (She is already dating someone else so everyone is being very friendly.) Anyway, It has been absolutely wonderful. We're both old enough that we know what we want, we aren't interesting in jumping in to something without thinking it through or being impulsive, we had a very long conversation when it became clear that dating was an option, but both of us are very very happy now that we are together and have the distinct sense that this is likely going someplace serious. After being basically best friends for over three years we already know each other really really well, and this relationship just feels right. Very very right.
So here comes the question: he has a four year old son with his soon-to-be-ex-wife. They share custody 50/50 so having a part time child is a reality I am facing. Over the years I have met his son briefly a few times, but in general his son doesn't know me from Adam. Since we've started dating I have hesitated in including myself in his life - I don't think it is fair to add me in to the mix while he is still trying to acclimate to the fact that his parents don't live together any more - but in time I WILL need to be introduced in to his life. I'm looking for any tips or suggestions for how to make this as easy for his son as possible. I'd also be interested in anyone's personal experiences in dating someone with a young child, navigating the ex-wife waters, and (yes, this is jumping the gun) people's experiences being a step mom. I don't want to cause any issue with his mother, I don't want anyone to think I am trying to compete or replace her. I do, however, would like to have some level of closeness with him if possible...