Generally, children should not meet a mother’s boyfriend until the relationship is serious, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics' Healthy Children website. Children, particularly those of divorced parents, are sensitive to abandonment. Meeting and building a relationship with a boyfriend that the mother later breaks up with can have a negative emotional impact on the children. Mothers who do not know or believe this may introduce their children to a boyfriend for many other reasons.
Let's Be Clear
If you have only been dating your girlfriend for a short time and she has already introduced you to her children, it may be that she has a “package deal” philosophy, according to psychologist Peter Favaro in his article “Smart Parenting During and After Divorce,” posted on the Education.com website. She may want to communicate that her children come first. She may also feel a loyalty to her children and not want to continue dating anyone her children don’t like or who doesn’t instantly like her children.
Let's Spend More Time Together
A woman may introduce you to her children early in the relationship because she likes you and wants to spend more time getting to know you. It is more complicated for a mother to adequately attend to the needs of her children and still have time left to spend with you alone on a regular basis. Also, meeting up with you alone requires finding and paying for a babysitter. So it’s easier to have you spend time with her in her home.
Let's Play House
Another reason a girlfriend may introduce you to her children before the relationship is serious is to return to a “normal life” with a partner, if she was recently divorced, says Favaro. Your relationship may not be a committed one, but in her need to be connected to someone and hold on to the fantasy of being in a partnership, she may introduce you to her children prematurely.
Let's Get Married
It is possible that she wants to introduce you to her children because she loves you and has decided she wants to make a commitment to you. However, this feeling should be mutual between the two of you before meeting the children. If you are not feeling love and a desire to make a commitment in the relationship, you should be honest about this and put off meeting her children for now.
Sonya Lott, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania, who offers online and in office counseling to individuals struggling with grief, loss or a life transition. She also facilitates mental health workshops for educational, professional, and community groups and maintains a blog on her website www.drsonyalott.com.