I'm a woman in my thirties with two teenage daughters and a blossoming career at a big firm. I've been single for the better part of the last decade. There were probably close to 100 men that I've met through online dating over the last few years, and none that ever earned any affectionate title beyond "Dearest." Suddenly I find myself in a viable relationship with a guy who has two younger children. I'm referring to my "boyfriend" and it never feels natural rolling off of my tongue. I force myself to admit it out loud to stretch my comfort zone further and further away from glorious predictable solitude.
Tomorrow night his kids are coming over to spend the night at my place for the first time. He won't stay. We want them to feel comfortable building their own space and identity in my home, instead of trying to carve out room in a place where Dad has already found his groove. The latter seems to force the kids into adapting to his decisions, whereas the former is aimed at allowing them the opportunity to feel like this is something they're excited for rather than subjected to.
Good luck to me finding information about this online. There was nothing. Lots of stuff about "dealing" with the boyfriend's kids, meeting them for the first time, or how to approach the relationship when it's first starting out. And there were some things about preparing your kids for the marriage you'll be going in to.
But we're past that and not there yet. We've been dating 7 months. His kids and my kids get together and huddle into a room to entertain themselves. We display our normal level of affection in front of them. We all like each other already. The other day his youngest leaned against me for a light hug when we were in line to buy strawberries at the local pick-your-own farm. It already feels...natural.
While my children are old enough to think I'm weird and embarrassing for being the only perpetually single mother ever, his babies have fond memories within the past couple of years of their parents still being a pair. We need to be careful and cognizant and deliberate about the way we proceed. My hope is that blogging about it will help chronicle how this pans out, so maybe someone else will find ideas to apply (or not apply).
Tomorrow, the plan is to do pizza and a movie, followed by lights out with electronics allowed past the normal bed time.
Simple, right? I don't need to find 35 blog posts or magazine articles to tell me the best thing to do and the best way to do it, right? Our collective moral compasses and love for our children is all we need to make sure the way we continue to overlap our lives is healthy...right?