Kids don’t want to meet Mom’s girlfriend.

Q:

My girlfriend of six months is mother to a son (13) and daughter (15). Until she met me, she had not been involved with anyone since her divorce 10 years ago.

Her children are very much against our relationship and are very adamant about not meeting me. My girlfriend is respecting their wishes, so I only get to see her every other week — when the kids are with their father. We are feeling very frustrated and resentful towards the kids.

At what point can we push the issue of spending time together on the weeks they are with their mom? When should they deal with the fact that we are going to spend time together? I’m mean just hanging out and doing things together, with no affection involved.

— Looking for answers in Ontario

A:

I don’t think it’s fair when a parent comes out and immediately expects her children to call her new girlfriend “mom.” I also don’t think it’s right for a parent to allow her children to have control over her relationship. Somewhere between these extremes there is a balance.

Your question presumes that the “problem” the kids have with meeting you has to do with you being “affectionate” with their mother. It could very well be part of the issue, but not necessarily all of it.

If these children have related to their mother as an unattached person for most of their lives, the idea that she is involved with anyone — regardless of gender — will take some adjustment. I’m not saying your gender is a “non-issue,” but I also don’t think it’s the only issue here. They could be adamantly opposed to their mom being romantically involved with anyone, period.

Not knowing your relationship or these kids, I can only guess to say that six months seems like a solid enough investment in this relationship for you to meet the kids. A meeting with the kids doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal. Go out for pizza or have dinner at their house. They need to see the reality of their mom’s girlfriend to counter whatever images they are conjuring up in their heads of this person they don’t want to meet.

You haven’t told me what has been communicated to them so far, but their mom could try something like this: “I love you dearly and you are the most important people in the world to me. I know you have some hesitations about meeting Jane but she is a very special person in my life. I haven’ t dated anyone since your father, so I know this is a big change. She knows how much I love you both and she wants a chance to meet you. You don’t have to love her. You don’t even have to like her. But I do expect you to be respectful when she joins us for dinner on Thursday.”

Expect a rocky meeting, but don’t give up. I would allow for another 6-12 months before getting involved with the kids beyond short visits, just to be sure that your relationship with their mom is solid enough for them to trust you and be willing to be emotionally invested with you. And be honest with yourself: if you don’t seriously see this relationship as having long-term potential, spare the kids the heartache and keep a healthy distance.

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For more information about addressing family dynamics with kids in a same-sex relationship, search for key phrases like “lesbian stepfamilies,” “lesbian stepmothers” and “lesbian blended families.” My book, Families Like Mine includes a chapter called “Family Change” which addresses related issues such as dating, break-ups, co-parenting and blending families.

4 thoughts on “Kids don’t want to meet Mom’s girlfriend.”

  1. I can relate to this. I’ve been with my girlfriend for 2 years now and have a 9 year old daughter that I haven’t exactly been honest with about my girlfriend “partner” Actually I left my husband for her 2 years ago so it’s sort of a little more difficult.

    I tried to tell my daughter a couple of days ago but it really didn’t get any where. I asked her if she knew what it meant to be gay and she said the kids in 4th grade at her “christian” school talked about it. I kind of said well what do you think about me and [my girlfriend] she said well you guys are just friends. I really wanted to tell her but I just wasn’t ready. My daughter loves her though, and we do a lot of things together, I too have her every other week and the worst thing about it is that my girlfriend and I keep a distance and we aren’t affectionate with each other.

    Everyone close to me and my family knows that I am a Lesbian and about my girlfriend, even my work place. I really don’t care I’m just sensitive about how my daughter will take it. With a divorce still in the works and all the changes she’s going through I am being maybe a little too cautious. But I really do love my partner and have every intention of coming out to my daughter.

    Let me just add that my girlfriend still hasn’t come out to her parents, and I find that kind of odd. But I’m working on that too. I’ll have to say I’m proud of who I am and of my girl. Even though I sometimes feel like an outsider. She has 6 months, I think that she should really be sure this is the one before she presses on the issue. I have 2 years this is the one for me.

  2. I can relate some as well. Unfortunately, in my case, I met my girl immediately after she told her husband she wanted a divorce. We actually had our first date before he was even moved out. I guess we ended up hiding it from the kids for about 2 or 3 months, even with me staying over (and waking up at dawn to go “sleep on the couch.” Her daughter was 14 and her son was 6 at that time. It wasn’t a big surprise to the daughter when she came out, I wasn’t exactly that hard to read. She took it pretty well, especially for her age. Her son had some trouble understanding to begin with, and it was even harder because he thought I was a guy for the first week or two I knew him. It’s been 4 1/2 years now, of an off-again, on-again relationship. We lived together for about 3 years and I got to be friends of a sort with her daughter .We get along great, but she only lived with us for about 6 months before going to her dads’…. and she’s a teenager, so any friendship with mom’s boyfriend or girlfriend is usually a little awkward. I got quite close to her son and unfortunately, the breakups have been tough on him as well.

    We’re not together currently, largely because I’m coming out again – as trans, this time. It’s not news to her, but it’s hard for a lesbian whose girlfriend wants to be her boyfriend, and we need to take some time off. I’m dreading coming out to the kids.

    Overall, though, from what I’ve seen, kids can take this sort of news reasonably well. They’re adaptable, and at least it’s not 50 years ago, right?

  3. my partner has two children. her son is 6 and her daughter is 10. her daughter is having a very hard time adjusting to her mother’s new lifestyle. this site is just what i was looking for – almost made me cry when i found it.

  4. Your gf is not doing herself any favors allowing her children to set the rules of how she runs her life…she is an adult and if you two are happy then the time to start facing the issues with the children is NOW.

    I agree that is mom has been single for a while they may not like ANYONE coming into the circle of life they have created..but it is not healthy for them to make rules.

    I hope that you and she can sit down and come to an agreement to start incorping you into her daily life…if not soon it will only get worse…

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