The delicate question – when should kids meet a new partner?

feeling lonely as a single parent

As far as my daughter is concerned, I’m a nun.

Since I split up from The Father, Flea has never seen me with another guy. Of course, she’s aware that I have male friends, but as far as she’s concerned, these are just friends we meet occasionally for lunch, or who come round to the house to put up lights and fix door handles.

Preserving this illusion takes some effort, and the odd bit of outright subterfuge. There’s a fair amount of military planning involved in my social life, but it means that Flea hasn’t encountered any new faces over the breakfast table. If a guy is visiting during the day, then what my old headmistress referred to as “PDAs” are strictly off the menu.

I don’t know when is the right time to introduce your child to a new partner. A few months seems too soon. For me, personally, a year would probably still be too soon – but that’s probably just my commitment issues talking.

I had a childhood with more than its fair share of upheaval, and I want something different for Flea. I feel as though, having made the choice to be a single parent, I have a responsibility to provide her with as much stability and security as I possibly can. And – to me – that means not introducing anyone new to our family unless I’m pretty damn positive they’re going to be a permanent fixture.

Flea has plenty of contact with male friends and relatives. Actually, she loves men – I think not seeing her Dad so often means she craves male attention. For example, recently we met one of my friends for a drink in a hotel, and Flea actually moved my chair while I was at the bar so she could sit next to him. She then proceeded to insist he ran through his entire repertoire of magic tricks, while I munched peanuts and read the bar menu 5,000 times.

This is cute to watch, of course, but it worries me that Flea would become very attached to anyone I was involved with, and of course I worry what it would then mean for her if my relationship didn’t work out. I guess at the moment, I feel she’s too young and I would rather wait until she’s old enough to understand a little more about adult relationships before taking that next step.

I’m not sure there’s a simple answer, but I’m sure it’s something every other single parent must think about. I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences – when did you think the time was right to introduce children to a new partner after a divorce or separation?

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