Monday, June 8, 2009

Honey, Meet Mommy's New Friend

About two months ago, a relationships website, yourtango.com published an essay of mine about what it was like when I first introduced Jake to Andy. You can read it here:

My Son And I Are Dating My Boyfriend

A comment from one of the posters, "Big Al" (as in Big Gay Al, I'm guessing), stood out as most interesting:
"Some people I know grew up with mothers or fathers who had new "friends" every few months or years and it was really hard on them ... the cycle of trusting, getting attached, and then having to say goodbye."
My parents divorced when I was eight, and though my mother is an amazing woman and the best grandmother you'll ever meet, she has readily admitted that she didn't make all the right choices as a single mother. Let's just say she had a couple of boyfriends. And though they were all lovely, sometimes I met a boyfriend a little on the early side of the dating game. Maybe before I should have.

So when do you bring "Mommy's new friend" into your child's life? When is it the right time, and how do you do it? I waited four months. First, I talked to Cason about it in our co-parenting counseling session. (We went to co-parenting counseling for about a year and a half. I wrote an essay about it for Parenting that will hopefully be published in the fall.) This was an important person in my life, I said. Someone you're going to marry, Cason asked? I don't know, I said.

Here's the complicated part. At that point, I didn't know if Andy and I were going to be together forever. I don't think you have to know when first introducing your child to your boyfriend. In fact, I don't think you can know your boyfriend (or girlfriend for any guys reading this) is the one until he meets and then develops a relationship with your child. If Andy and Jake didn't hit it off, or if Andy was in anyway unkind to Jake -- Andy and I wouldn't be together right now. Simple. Done.

There is a certain edge to a divorced child's life that's inevitable. There are certain lessons they have to learn earlier than other kids. Thankfully, Andy is the only "special friend of Mommy's" that Jake's ever had to meet. Not everyone is that lucky. Sometimes, you have to meet a couple of Mommy's "special" friends.

I did read the book, "Mom, There's a Man in the Kitchen and He's Wearing Your Robe" just as Andy came into our life. And it was good. Ellie Slott Fisher went into details about ages of kids and serious relationships without being too heavy. And God, don't you love the title?

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