New Roots Counseling New Boyfriend Girlfriend

This is such an important question. All parents want to do this right, and all the parents I have ever worked with (yes-all of them) have loved their kids and wanted to serve them well during this time.

However, people can have different opinions about how to best work through this new part of their adult life.

Imagine we’re looking at a color spectrum:

New Roots Counseling New Bf Gf Spectrum

Somewhere around the purple color leaning into black, there are folks who feel like the safest way of dating is to keep it 100% separate from their kids until their kids are grown and out of the house.

I can totally understand that.

Somewhere in the red zone leaning into black on the far-right side, there are people who feel like they shouldn’t begin ANY dating without their kids knowing about it, because they wouldn’t want to start down a road in a romantic relationship with someone their kids couldn’t stand. I can certainly understand that sentiment as well.

The truth is: the best recipe for your family is somewhere between that turquoise blue and the orange.

Now what in the world does that mean? Let’s break it down in to practical information.


When you google this question: “How Long Should I Wait Before Introducing My Kids to My New Girlfriend/Boyfriend,” most of what you’ll find will recommend 6-12 months AFTER you’ve become exclusive and dating “seriously.”

Why the time guidelines? Why so long?

Here’s what we typically tell people:

1. You need time to build that 1:1 romantic relationship with a new partner, to get it on firm footing, before introducing the stressors of having children involved in your time together.

2. Being introduced to your new romantic interest is stressful for your children. This is not a fun exciting time for them like it may be for you. As soon as they meet this new person, their thoughts begin to spiral into things like: “Will they get married? Why does she smell different? What does she drive? Will she drive me to school? Will her car smell like that? Does she have a dog? Will the dog move in? Will I like it? Will it be mean? Does she have kids? Will dad like her kids better than me?”

The amount of anxiety your children experience with EVERY introduction is enormous.

The six-to-twelve month buffer is recommended to help you filter out any folks who may come and go out of your life in a shorter time period than you anticipated, without disrupting your kids day-to-day lives unnecessarily.

Think of that time period as an amount of time set aside for YOU – time you can protect to build your own new romantic relationship. You’ll need to build a friendship and a romantic, intimate bond that can withstand the challenges inherent with parenting while dating.

Think you might need some extra help with this?


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