Don’t reserve the U-Haul just yet.


My girlfriend is recently divorced and has a six year old son and seven year old daughter. We have been together for four months. We are concerned about the effects our relationship is going to have on the kids and the upcoming issues these kids may go through when we decide to live together as a family.


Before you start thinking about becoming a family, is that really the direction you see this relationship going? If same-sex marriage were legal, would you and your girlfriend get in line for it tomorrow? If the answer is no — or even “maybe” — then you and your girlfriend should not be expecting the kids to accept you as family.

Newly formed couples without children have the luxury to enter relationships with a “let’s just wait and see what happens” attitude. When kids are involved, however, couples should be 10 times more certain of the long term future of their relationship. It breaks kids’ hearts when they see mom get together and break up with a partner or a series of partners who they were just beginning to accept as part of the family.

If you have any doubt that this is not “it” for you and your girlfriend, then you are doing the kids a favor by just being “mom’s girlfriend” and not moving in. And if she is really “the one,” then there’s no harm in waiting a while to be certain before you merge checking accounts and parental duties.

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