I’m of an age where it would be verging on unusual to meet a man who doesn’t have kids. I don’t have any of my own however so having a partner who does have kids, is something I hoped I would really love. Being of a certain age also means that the kids are usually all grown up and off doing their own thing. But when you reach a certain point in the relationship and want to take things to the next level, Meeting your new partner’s grown up kids is the logical next step.
You don’t have to meet your new partner’s grown up kids all at once, this will happen over time at Birthdays, Christmas etc. Meet them individually, get to know them and not just as ‘the family’ or ‘the kids,’ this gives you an opportunity to appreciate their own unique personalities and paves the way for a much stronger rapport. It can be intimidating meeting them all at once, as you’ll be the only person in the room that doesn’t know everyone else – oh to start a new job again! They’ll be keen to get to know you too and so this, potentially, could turn into a bit of a ‘polite interrogation’. One guy I was dating had a very outspoken daughter-in-law who organised a dinner with all the family and I was invited along. I said I was working which was true, but I wouldn’t have gone even if I wasn’t working. She was taking control of a situation that needs to flow rather than be forced. Lesson 1.
So where to go when meeting your new partner’s grown up kids? It’s a bit like a first date, it should always be in neutral territory. If it’s in a café or a bar, you can’t go wrong, keep it simple. Time box it too, make it a coffee or lunch, but whatever the occasion always have another appointment to go to. If it goes well, you can always arrange to do it again and if it doesn’t well you’ll know to ration the meetings to events where other members of the family will be there (escape route). Remember, you don’t have to like them just because they’re your partner’s children, but always remain civil of course.
What to talk about when meeting your new partner’s grown up kids? This one is simple, THEM! Yes, they’ll want to get to know you too, but they’ll love you if you keep asking them about themselves. Be subtle with your partner, but find out what they did at school/college/uni, where do they work, what sort of things do they like to do in their spare time, are they sporty, do they follow a particular club etc. This should give you plenty to talk about. Also, don’t let your partner go away and leave you for any length of time, they need to recognise this is a team effort and important to everyone involved.
Have Your Say
Before I met this partner, he always had Christmas with his in-laws where it was a massive family do with about 25-30 people at it. It’s an extension of the whole ‘meeting the kids’ situation, remember to have your say about how time is spent, you don’t have to do it just because that’s ‘what they’ve always done.’ You’re now part of a couple, it’s time to make new traditions and events that works for everyone. That doesn’t mean to say you’re insensitive to the kids’ desire to see their Dad on special events, but you need to have ‘couple time’ too.
Never be scared to put your foot down in a new relationship…so long as it’s done in the right way of course.
Happy mature dating!
Author: Christina Mackay – Radio Producer for BBC Scotland
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