Dating After Divorce With Kids: Let’s Talk About Sleepovers


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One of the most complicated aspects of dating after divorce with kids is deciding when and how often your new guy (or girl) will be around your kids. Is it going to be one of those relationships that you keep separate from your kids and only get together when the kids are with your ex? Or is he or she going to start sleeping over every night and become part of your family?  Or, perhaps, will your relationship be somewhere in between?

The first night my boyfriend ever spent the night at my house while my kids were there was about two years into the relationship. Yes, we took things kind of slow. I was worried the whole night and barely slept. ‘Is this affecting my kids?’ ‘Are they going to feel sad that the man in our home isn’t their dad?’ Meanwhile, they had been begging me to have him sleepover. But still, I was a wreck. I actually ended up sleeping in my son’s bed with him, and let my boyfriend take my bed! LOL.

I realize that is the ultimate extreme of being overprotective, but I have seen the other extreme countless times—the mom (or dad) who lets a boyfriend/girlfriend of 2 weeks practically move in, and the selfishness and stupidity of it really makes me cringe.

There are many factors to take into account when it comes to dating after divorce with kids and sleepovers:

 

  • The amount of time you’ve been divorced
  • The amount of time you’ve been dating the guy/girl
  • How old your kids are
  • If your kids are adjusting well to the divorce
  • What’s going on over at your ex’s house—in other words, do the kids need to start having sleepovers with your boyfriend if they are having them with dad’s girlfriend, too?
  • If your kids actually like the guy (or girl)
  • How serious is the relationship? What’s the long term plan? Is this just a guy you’re having fun with or do you plan on marrying him?

In my opinion, the time after your divorce is a time in your life to be very unselfish in certain aspects and really focus on your kids. And that means being very thoughtful in deciding if sleepovers are right.

I’m not against the sleepover, and I don’t expect people to do what I did, but I wish men and women would take a less selfish approach and think the sleepover through a bit more, before they let someone into their bed with their children two rooms down.

 Here are the advantages and disadvantages of sleepovers:

Advantages:

 

  • A sleepover really allows the kids to get to know your boyfriend/girlfriend. So, if you are pretty sure you are ending up with him/her, it’s a good way to get a picture of how life is going to be.
  • Sleepovers can be fun. My kids still beg me to ask my boyfriend to spend the night. They love their dad a lot, but they see it as something fun and different, and they enjoy being around him. I think I can credit that to us taking our time and not having sleepovers often. Less is more when it comes to sleepovers!
  • The person sleeping over can really bring something to the table, in other words, he or she can be a positive influence on your kids, and not take the place of their mom (or dad) but be another role model, support person for them in the future, which can be a lovely thing.

 Disadvantages:

  • The kids might begin to resent the guy/girl for taking their parent’s time and sharing their bed, especially if it’s early in the relationship.
  • What kind of example are you setting if you have multiple men/women spend the night? Meaning, are you one of those people who allows sleepovers in every relationship? Ask yourself how many different men/women have slept over with your kids there in the past three years? If it’s more than two, that’s really selfish (just being honest.)
  • Your kids are (or have) suffered because of your divorce. Not faulting you for getting a divorce, but just keeping it real. They need you and your full attention. Having a sleepover cuts into the amount of attention and the time you spend with your kids.

In closing, I think sleepovers are okay, if it’s the right person, the right timing, and if you handle it the right way. Talking openly with your children and making them feel like they are part of the decision is such a nice idea. I’m not saying let your kids rule your personal life, but let them feel like their feelings on the situation matter.

Lastly, PLEASE close and lock your door if you plan on being intimate, and keep things quiet. Do you know how uncomfortable, even traumatizing it would be for your children to hear or see you having sex? Yikes.

 

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Author: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorced Girl Smiling offers advice, inspiration and hugs. If you want a Cinderella story, be your own fairy godmother. You're the only one who can pick out that perfect glass slipper!

10 Responses to “Dating After Divorce With Kids: Let’s Talk About Sleepovers”

  1. Doug, Chicago

    Loved this post today … very, very topical for me this weekend, as I have long been conservative on the topic but got a steady drumbeat of conflicting input from both girlfriend and kids. Everybody has their own notion of “right” and wants their way. I tend to have less fixed notions about “right” but want everyone to be happy … a sure recipe for a lot of unhappiness (certainly my own). Loved all the factors you listed. You have a great way of seeing all sides and giving relatable examples and scenarios … you certainly saw many aspects of my situation! Thank you as always!

    Reply
  2. Veronika

    I’ve been dating my divorcing boyfriend for eight months, he has four years old daughter ( met her two months ago) and not friendly ex. I’m going to stay over night soon (we don’t live at the same city, and we both have busy schedule) ,my boyfriend thinks if we’ll sleep in the bed and his daughter will tell her mum about it she will get absolutely crazy. For me is the most important person his daughter not his ex. I really need to talk about this with my boyfriend again but I don’t want her making the rules, I do resprect her but there are lines. His daughter really likes me, I’m her new best friend so there shouldn’t be any problem from her site.What do you think about this situation?

    Reply
  3. Katrina

    Great discussion and story. Perfect timing. I am a widow and have a 13 yr daughter. Finally after 8 years I have a decent man friend. We visit alone at his house when my kid is at school. But it is summer and he is visiting for 4th of July. My daughter and I are excited about his visit. But he cant drink and has to leave and make a 50 min ride back to his home. Which is how our visits usually end. I am thinking of asking him to spend the night. I will have to discuss this with him and see what he thinks. My kid is an only child and nothing will be ok with her, so, what ever I do She will just have to suck it up and go along for the ride.

    Reply
  4. mel

    I having the same problem my bf of 4months i want him to stay over on my vacation ive know him 2 1/2 yrs as a friend now as a bf dont know if its ti early my kids are 14 and 8. We are talking about living together soon so this is a serious what should i do

    Reply
  5. Steve

    Hi Everyone. Don’t over complicate your life.when it comes to this topic. Being divorced for 10 years, I can relate to your challenges. Been there. I’ve done lots of different things and can say this. Save the sleepovers until marriage. You and your mate will be better off for it as well as your kids. Got any queations, Google what the Bible says about sex. Follow his plan. Nothing says you can’t get married ASAP right? And if you are totally in love…why wait. Blessings

    Reply

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