My First Relationship After Separation:
My Ex and I had couldn't file our divorce until the end of the tax year, but I didn't wait that long to start dating. I did wait until after our separation agreement was filed to aggressively seek out a relationship though.
My first relationship was with a very nice guy we'll call…what's a good fake name? Pasquale. Because I've never met a Pasquale in real life. Pasquale and I would see each other when neither of us had kids and talk on the phone in between. His kids were older than mine, and he was firm about not introducing me until some unspecified time in the future, but we did meet each other's parents.
I didn't want my kids to get attached to someone until I was sure they would stay around. But I also didn't want to fall in love with someone who my kids hated, or who was bad with children. I figured better to know sooner rather than later if they couldn't cut the mustard.
When is the right time to introduce a boyfriend to your kids? I think it changes as they get older and wiser, but in my case, I underestimated the wiser part. I had a three year old and a six month old baby. They had no clue about any sort of grown up relationship dynamics, so I could have a subtle meet and greet. I was sly.
Or so I thought, until I got this message from my Ex:
EX: I'd appreciate if you wouldn't bring your boyfriends around the kids until you have been dating at least two years.
ME: Wait, what? Boyfriend?
OK, so I did have a boyfriend, and he had been to the house, but only in a gathering of a bunch of people. I was sure I had never been within three feet of Pasquale the whole time.
EX: I heard you had a party and "Mama's boyfriend Pasquale was there."
ME: (in head) EEEK! How did Big Pants know he was my boyfriend? He was only three!/!?
Little beastie ratted me out to Daddy. Kid was more astute than I thought.