KIDS.

Your children are your most precious commodities.  Your dates and their children are unknowns.  If the relationship is going to stand the test of time, you should have plenty of time to develop a relationship between your partner and your children.  Many adults prematurely expose their children to their dates for many reasons including lack of self-esteem, desperation (to have a relationship), pressure (from their date or influencers), logistical ease, and selfishness.

Date for at least four (4) months, ideally six (6) or more, before introducing your date to your children.  What is the rush?  If the relationship ends before that time, then your children have not been directly impacted.  Relationships can confuse children on many levels.  Use caution when your children interact with your dates, your partners, your partner’s children, and their extended family - just like any other person that is introduced to your kids. 

DEVELOP A NETWORK OF SINGLE FRIENDS.

If you need an escort to an important family event within the initial stages of dating (such as a Thanksgiving dinner), bring a friend.  Your date will still be there for you if they are vested in developing a relationship with you.  If they are worthwhile, they will understand.  And frankly, be a little suspect of dates who are overly anxious to meet your kids and are interested in intertwining your lives at too rapid a pace.

FRIENDS AND FAMILY. 

Be very careful about introducing your dates to your friends and family.  It can be very difficult and laborious to meet someone special.  It is amazing how many “so called” friends will aggressively pursue the person who has caught your eye.  You may be stunned at who makes moves toward to your date and what stunts they will pull.  People love the challenge.  And if your date is good enough for you, then often your friends infer that they are good enough for them.

Family can be difficult as well.  It can be intimidating on many levels.  The family can be incredibly critical, jealous, envious or self-protective.  You could be completely overwhelmed (or underwhelmed).  Be yourself, be strong and self-confident.  This is a family with history and you are a new entity to them.  The family can be judgmental and misinterpret your motives, even if you do not have any, other than to be accepted.

MEETTHEPARENTS

Idiosyncrasies.  Evade addictive personality types.  We don’t recommend entering into relationship with people who are addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, and shopping.  They can be extremely difficult and obsessive.  Alcohol, gambling and shopping are fine in moderation.

Watch out for self-absorbed people.  Remember the Carly Simon song, “You're so vain?”  Self-confidence is awesome; selfishness is not.

Keep your distance from liars and deceivers.  There are no “versions” of the truth.  Let’s face it: everyone has baggage and the older we get, the more “luggage” we have.