Episode 7

Lovers Without Borders

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Modern families are tricky especially when introducing a new mate. Just because you’re excited about someone, doesn’t mean your children share your enthusiasm. How do you handle dating when you have kids? What boundaries do you set? Tell me your story and how it all turned out.

Your stories

  1. There has to be Borders !!

    by ITCS M.E. (Cadillac) Lealie
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    by Z. I am an adult child of divorced parents. They divorced when I was a minor child. Dad had a "woman in every port" this went on for so long yet my mother is of the don't divorce under (almost) any circumstance. It got so out of hand, that Dad actually brought home one of his floozies one day, to our family HOUSE! She asked if our antique Singapore plate on coffee table "was an ashtray". Mom divorced eventually and tried dating. One potential invited my sister & I to check out his new Porsche car. Once in the car, he asked us kids, 9 & 13, if we "smoked grass". End of mom's new "rich guy"! Eventually mom & dad found decent people, but the lesson I have for single parents is STAY ALONE! Don't want more kids? DON'T DATE! It's not worth it. Your kids do NOT need a stranger in the home. It causes too much trouble, it's just weird. Need a father figure, get an uncle or grandparent to help out. Women stay single, don't be slutty- your kids need a clean, moral mother figure.
  2. There has to be Borders !!

    by ITCS M.E. (Cadillac) Lealie I'm a single parent that dates and, to be honest Judge J, I play the ladies man role a lot. One thing I do not do is bring the ladies home or around my kids nor do I get involved with her kids. I believe if a couple is dating they should focus on the two to them for a period of time before bringing the kids into play. The women I date want to immediately bring the kids into the situation and do family things before we get to know each other. When I tell these ladies to slow things down or it's too early to get the kids involved a lot of them get mad and we stop seeing each other. I feel if you’re out doing your dirt your kids should not be a part of it until you meet that special someone, spend ample time with them, and are prepared to take it to the next level. I just don't understand why so many women are willing to quickly involve their kids with a man they just met in a short about of time. That's my take .... Thanks Judy Judy and all the Best to you…!!!
  3. My dad dated a girl the same age as me!

    by S. When my parents divorced, my dad starting dating a girl that was the same age as me. I was 27 at the time and this just did not work for me. The rest of my family loved her and accepted her. This only turned me more against her. I don't like the fact that someone who is my age, is sleeping with my father and that my family is getting her gifts for Christmas and her birthday. Not cool with me. I mean I am happy to say they no longer are together but for real, that was not cool. I was immature and yes jealous. I know that and I see that. But it was very strange for me and I'm not even the oldest child. What got me was when my mom started being nice to her and getting her presents. I just didn't understand what this was accomplishing. But in the end, she gave my dad an STD. Yeah not something I needed to know but hopefully my dad learned that he needs to be aware of who he sleeps with and who he brings into our lives!
  4. Protect the kids above all

    by Cathy My ex-husband remarried soon after our divorce, which was after an affair. The woman he married must think she is a family specialist. She has never been married before and has no experience with children. But that doesn't seem to stop her from trying to raise children belonging to someone else. To that I wholeheartedly say STOP! You have no right to tell my children how to act and behave. Your advice may be asked, but you have no say in the upbringing of these children. That is job of the parents. As a result the children now dislike her and hardly visit their father. Stick to your own business and leave the kids to their parents.
  5. Discipline in a Blended Family

    by Robin Been married 32 years to my second husband - I had two and he had one, and we have none together. The first thing I told my children is regardless of what was going on, they would respect him as an adult and as my husband. The second thing I did was tell my husband that I would handle all discipline, Ergo, if one of the kids did something wrong under his watch he would tell them"wait till your mother gets home". This took away the "your not my dad and also my natural reaction to not have someone else discipline my kids. He and I would discuss the offense in our private bedroom and talk about possible punishments and then I would allow them to tell their side of the story. This allowed him to participate but also allowed the kids to feel like they got a fair hearing and punishment. By the way, he liked my style so much, he had me discipline his child and as a grown-up he thanked me for that and for the common sense way I parented!
  6. Keeping the Kids Out of It

    by Katherine I was relatively lucky (all things considered) that when I met my husband, my daughter was still an infant (her father having left us when I was pregnant). We laugh about it now, but before I even went to a movie, I had run a background check on him. If she hadn't been so little, I'd never have introduced him to her until things were serious. We didn't do sleep overs and he was aware we came as a package deal. We married 18 months after our first date and will celebrate 4 years of marriage soon. When we married, I gave him a book about fatherhood and wrote inside "Congratulations! It's a 2 year old girl!" We have minimal contact with my ex--but even we don't argue. We recognize that our only goal here is to provide this child with the most stable household she can have and to keep our personal feelings and petty squabbles out of it. Our situation is rare I'm sure--but it's what our child, who didn't ask to be brought into this world, deserves.
  7. Keep it Kopacetic ;)

    by Michelle Our children can know our friends without knowing our relationship details. Keep it simple in mixed company, and that can include other adults. Guard your privacy and take time to fully process your own feelings before sharing. That also keeps gossip and unwarranted opionions at bay until your special relationship is strong enough to withstand the scrutiny. Children don't have to know that you don't plan to see a certain friend again or why. Children don't need to know that you have seen the same friend every day for three weeks. Even young children understand that we have different friends for different reasons. (Some friends like to watch movies and some like to play outside.) Watching us navigate a healthy social life will teach our children skills with their own friendships. We can get through our dating experience with a new introspective, some enduring friendships and respect from our family and friends.
  8. Chapter II

    by Mandi I was widowed at 20 and was left to raise our 4 month old son (now 11 years old). My husband was in the Marines and was killed in a training accident preparing for Afghanistan. When my son was 3 1/2, I met my current boyfriend. We dated 2 years while living 60+ miles apart until I decided to move to Austin with my son to be in the same city as my boyfriend. After nearly 8 years of dating, we still don't live together, however we spend almost every day/evening together (the 3 of us). My son adores him as he adores my son. We've had "sleepovers" but only with my son's permission and after the first 6 years of dating. I couldn't imagine a better scenario or situation for my son and I. My boyfriend goes to more football games and karate belt tests than the grandparents do. My son can't have his father, but this man is the best alternative. He was never immediately involved in my son's life, but little by little, after time, there's a bond there now that was worth waiting for.
  9. Putting My Toe Back In the Dating Ocean

    by Karen After finally leaving an abusive marriage of 20yrs., the last thing I had on my mind was a man! But after 2yrs. of celibacy it was actually one of my sons who urged me back onto the dating scene. Quote, "We're not gonna be around forever Ma, get your sexy butt out there!" I was mortified, not to mention a bit scared. After a few duds, I did meet what I thought was a great guy. But I did always have my children and their needs in the back of my mind and didn't even entertain the idea of introducing them to him until we had been together over a year. They were aware of him, but not forced into knowing him. They learned to trust again in part because of my consideration of them in this. Things didn't work out, but it had its benefits..My children learned to accept that I am a person, not just their mother. That I too have needs, emotional and otherwise, and that they can trust me not to forget them in the process of finding my happiness. That they do, and always will, come first!
  10. Meeting my second wife...

    by Everett It was back in 1994. I had put an ad in our local newspaper in the lonely hearts column. It was called 'meeting point'. In the ad, I said that I was a single father with 3 children all living with me, one of whom has special needs, looking for lady for friendship possible romance please apply to p o box......It was in there for approx. 7 days when my wife answered the ad. We met up the next day at an arranged location in the city, where she told me she had 3 children of her own. This was not a problem to us, but we agreed that we should all meet up in a local park in a week's time with the children and see what happens before we went any further. Well to our surprise, they all got on realy well as if they had known each other for longer, and as luck would have it, both sets of children like us as well. We have been together for 18 years, married for 17, and we have found that if you treat the children fairly and equally. you should all get on.We think together we have created a very stable family.
  11. Marrying again...

    by Barbara First I want to say how grateful I am to communicate with you Judge Judy. You are my hero. I never miss your show or any show you may be on. I respect you immensely and admire you to the utmost. I was a single mom in 1987 when I met my husband now of 25 years. I am so fortunate. My girls were 8 and 6. He married all of us. He is a wonderful man who loves them as if they were biologically his. He and I raised them a lot like your father did you. They are wonderful adults now and have children of their own. They live nearby and I get to see them often. I have 5 beautiful grandchildren. I'm proud of them all. A lot of love is here and we all feel this is most important and that we get to be together at holidays. My daughters have both instilled into their children the meaning of the holidays and not the monetary value you put into it. I am blessed. And I wish you the very best. This is irrevelent but I am 63.
  12. Men can wait! My daughter is more important.

    by Samantha My husband and I spilt up 3 years ago. I have had offers to go on dates with guys, but I alway say no I am married. My daughter is 9 years old, and I don't want to be a bad example/rolemodel to her. If I went out on dates, introduced my daughter, then after a year or two it didn't work out, then i went on another date, then that didn't work out and so on....? I just don't go on dates! I am a mother that wants to bring up my child to best way I can, instead of men in and out of her life. When she grows up and is emotionally strong, has her education, then I will start my life....men can wait!!! My daughter's life is far more important to me...I don't want her messed up!
  13. Happily Married

    by Denise I met my husband 20 years ago when my daughter was a teenager. We married after 6 months. I did not introduce my daughter to my husband for about 3 months. Once they met and I asked her opinion about him I felt a lot better. We as parents have to remember that we have children to consider when getting involved in another relationship We must set borders, and boundaries and bring out all our guards to protect our children.I had been married to my daughter's father but that was a very physically abusive relationship. I did not want her to grow up in that environment and think that she had to settle for a weakling like that. This 2nd marriage was a dream come true. We are a very close family and my daughter has more respect for her stepfather than her real father. In life there are all types of borders that we must adhere to. I watch your show and I can not believe the girls that place a relationship before their children. At some point you must seek your own borders and live by them.
  14. Blood Comes First

    by Frank I can understand someone wanting to find a new mate for a variety of reasons, however, one must consider the risks and challenges that come with bringing a new partner into the picture. If it's done correctly, it can certainly be a positive thing in a child's life. Gradual introduction is the best way to get the child or children acquainted with this new person that will be sharing living quarters. The biological parent needs to set boundaries and limits as to what their new partner can and can not do as far as being a guardian to the child. With that being said, the biological parent needs to make a lot of judgements and decisions, before and after the partner moves in and plays the role of parent. He or she must understand that they are not the biological parent and must respect that. If it comes down to problems that can not be worked out, The biological parent needs to always remember the child/children are blood and the new partner is not, so choose wisely.
  15. A successful introduction

    by Rachel All of us want to move on after divorce, some faster than others. However children need time to adjust and introducing a new partner is a delicate process. I decided that I would always date for a few months before I would even consider an introduction to my children. I made sure that I talked to them about him and gave them an idea of what kind of person he was. Only when I was sure that this was going to be a long term relationship did I introduce the children to my new partner. I made the introduction at a neutral place that was fun for the children and also very casual. I am proud that my children have only been introduced to two partners one of whom I'm still with. Each one I've introduced successfully and the children have on both occasions had a good relationship with the man concerned. I believe that children can adapt really well to a new relationship if it is done with sensitivity and they feel that their feelings are considered. Rachel from Derby England
  16. My Single Mom Dating Experience...

    by Doreen I had two young girls and divorced when they were around 7 years and 5 years old.  I dated, however, I never brought the man home and never introduced them to my girls. My girls did not know I was dating, as I would meet him somewhere. Why? I did not want just anyone telling me how to raise them. I did not want my daughters confused. Even though they knew their father and I were divorced, they still loved their father. I did not want them to have different men come into their lives and then leave, hurting them even more. UNLESS you know you are serious and it is going to be long term - don't mix them into your life with your children. It worked for me....
  17. Love with definite borders

    by Amanda Kids are good judges of character. My son was around far before my partner. If he had an issue with a partner of mine, we would talk about it. If it was not working for him, it would not work for me!
  18. Wednesday Is Your Day

    by C Morgan When I was a single mom and my daughter was young, I only dated when she was at her Dad's on Wednesdays. I felt it was best not to bring anyone into her life that may not be a permanent fixture. I think it is too confusing for children. She did not meet anyone I was dating until it became serious. She got along great with her stepdad; she was 7 years old when I married him. He asked her if he could marry me and she said "Yes but Mom might say No." Everyone gets along great...my daughter is now 21 and she consults her step dad more frequently than her father.
  19. Single Mom Waiting for Daughter to Go to College

    by Barbara I am a single mom and to avoid the problem I have decided to wait until my daughter goes off to college in the next to 2 years to move towards any relationship. I have had a friend for 20 years and have avoided the commitment for all this time. The only thing that keeps it working is because we have never been in the same place for any length of time. I keep running, because quite frankly I cant deal with the problems that seem to crop up between them both, and I have no intention of chosing this man over my daughter; I was abused because my mom made this choice. So, right now I am making that sacrifice for my daughter. It is very hard on me when he visits, leaves and I am all alone and my teenager is with her computer and Iphone ect, but I keep my sanity by keeping faith in God and the famous quotes "what is yours can never not be yours and if it's God's will we will be together." If I had it to do over maybe I would have done it diffrent, but for now it is what it is. Thanks for listening you all.
  20. Totally Single NOW

    by Christine I had been married 11 years when I divorced; my son was 6 years old and my daughter not yet 2 years old. I had a pretty wild time back in those days and an excellent baby sitter who didnt mind staying over. I never introduced my children to any man. (I won't say boyfriend). After about 3 years, I did meet someone who was very special to me. We lived together very quickly after meeting, and my children adored him. He was like a big kid himself so he fit in very well. After 5 years, he walked out on me and I was so glad, sad but glad to get the burden from my shoulders. My son was then 14 years old and he took it very badly, played up at school, started smoking pot; he had lost his street cred as the boyfriend had left. That was many years ago. I went on to meet someone else, but since that relationship ended I have decided I am hopeless in relationships. I am a much stronger person on my own, achieve greater things and in general am happy to be alone, less complicated.
  21. Boundaries

    by Joanne I am 58 raising my grandson who is 16. I am in a marriage-bound relationship. To attenuate the story, my divorce after 34 years has caused a wedge between my ex-husband and our grandson. This was not my doing, but theirs. The one thing I have taken away from the whole saga is this...Always remember, in order to begin a new relationship, specifically when it involves children, many times, other relationships must end. No matter how careful and sensitive a parent is during this 'restructure', the child certainly finds themselves in 'no man's land, and their innate feeling of loyalty is questioned. If they're older, you almost have to allow them to set their own boundaries. That is hard.
  22. Caution

    by Dave What if the kids get attached to you, but the relationship doesn't work out, as most do not. Then the kids just feel another loss and have less of a sense that adults are reliable and will be there. Knowing someone 6 months is just scratching the surface.
  23. Love all around

    by Janice I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for just about 6 months. We had a connection immediately when we met, we couldn't stop talking. He has two children, a son 8, and a daughter 7, from a previous marriage; myself, I have none. I met his children early on and was introduced as a "friend." We did not show any affection in front of the children, unless it was a hug goodbye. No kissing. It was about a month and a half in and we could tell the kids liked me, so we let them know I was someone special. They got excited when I came over, told me about their day, about anything new they got. And when we watch movies, especially his daughter, but they both snuggle up to me. They've recently told their daddy that they'd like him to marry me so "we can all be a family". Our relationship is solid. I don't know if all relationships would work out this way, but for us it just all fell into place. Hoping in due time, that their wish (and mine) will come true, and we will all be a Family.
  24. Stand on Your Own

    by Harriet I have been a single parent for more than 7 years and have been dating a man for almost 6 years. For the first years of our relationship, we were in different states. I flew to see him most of the time and I shared very little information with my kids. Eventually he came to see us. He didn't go to bar or bat mitzvahs or other family functions with us, we were not engaged. I learned to stand on my own and create a family of my children and myself. We take care of each other, protect each other, and rely on each other. The children knew that although I may love this man, they came first and our family came first. Men may come and go but the kids and I are forever. He is still in our life; they have forged their own relationships with him and there is genuine and separate love between and among them. I truly believe that bringing "dates", boyfriends, etc. to functions is a reflection of one's need to appear a certain way to others. It shows weakness not strength. Neediness, not courage.
  25. Children's Blockades

    by Melissa Dating with children is extremely difficult if the children want mom and dad back together again- which is true in many cases. Take the child's opinions in consideration and think of where they are coming from. But, don't let your children run your life for you. You are the adult and should make your own decisions. Just make wise choices when trying to find a mate. Chances are, children will not like your mate regardless she/he be a poor choice or the best in the world.
  26. Children come First

    by Sandra My five children at first liked the man as a friend. Soon he became relaxed enough to be himself. They picked up on it and became harshly rejecting of him. It took me a year to come out of denial, and thank G-D I didn't marry him. The reason for remarriage can't be for company , it must be for rebuilding a family unit. So, he has to match the children's needs, or it's goodby and good luck.
  27. No Lovers/Partners for Me ...

    by Margarita I have been a fan of your show since the beginning and am glad to be able to contribute to your forum. After 12 years of marriage, I went through a very sad divorce, in particular because we have a child that was only 5 years old at the time. She is now 13. I made a conscious decision to dedicate my life to raising my little girl without introducing any new partners or boyfriends, and have remained totally single for 8 years. I was 45 at the time of the divorce and had sort of lived my live, but my daughter's life was just beginning and she deserved all my attention, stability and love. When she is a grown up and living independently, I will consider looking for a partner, but not until then. On the other hand, my ex-husband has remarried two more times since our divorce. He has chosen to share only every second weekend with our daughter.
  28. Getting the right man,,,,,

    by Rebecca My daughter was 4 when we divorced. She knew of a few men I dated, but she never knew if they spent the night. She would be asleep before they came over, and they would be gone before she arise. If not, then they just got there. Her bedroom was upstairs, mine was down. My daughters name is PJ ....I always said to my friends (not my dates) - they had to pass the PJ test. If she did not like them - they were history. I look at it this way, she did not ask to be brought into this world - I owe her the best upbringing I can give her. I myself had a stepfather - it was not good. I was not going to put her through that. I figure if the man is smart enough - he should know the way to any good woman's heart, is through her children. Also - one of my clues in dating, if a man has children of his own, and does not take care of them - I know he will not take care of mine, or any we may have. Another bites the dust.
  29. Dating and kids

    by Robin I had my son in 1990. He was seven when I met the man I knew I would marry. My then boyfriend and I wrote back and forth through the mail for 6 months before we ever had our first date. After our first date, it was another 4 months before I ever introduced my son to him. I had to be sure how things were going to work out before I involved my son. We dated two years before we got married, and I'm proud to say we have been married 15 years and have been together for 17 years. You must be very careful to NOT let your kids get attached to any and every man or woman you date. You must realize EVERYTHING you do will affect your child. They are MY number one priority!!! Everything I do and say, I worry about how it affects my children!!
  30. The worlds best man

    by Susan 20 years ago, I met a man who told me from day one that he accepted the fact that I had two boys from a previous marriage and he made sure he always included the boys. When we went someplace, we took an 8 & 10 year old with us. From day one, it was all of us. He took my boys places and did things with them that their real father didn't do. Maybe I didn't handle it right because looking back the boys could have been hurt if he had left but I trusted him not to hurt us. We have had rough times but he is always there for us. We have been married for 10 years now and even though the boys are 28 & 30, they both say that he had a big influence on them and we are all very close.
  31. Lovers Without Borders

    by M I feel it is never a good idea to bring anyone into the family without dating this person for a long, serious time. I would not waste my children's time or emotions on someone I'm not serious (marriage) about.
  32. Being a widow and dating

    by Denise My husband passed away in 2009 very quickly from cancer. My children and I were, of course, devastated. But I knew we needed to keep moving forward. After settling everything, I decided to start dating. Mainly so I would have a reason to dress up pretty and go out to a lovely dinner and have some grown up time. My children were not crazy about it of course, but I did it in such a way that they were included in what I was doing, and they saw how much happier I was. Almost a year after my husband passed I met a wonderful man who lives near me which makes the relationship work. My son who is now almost 17 is very glad about my relationship of over 2 1/2 years, but my daughter who is 19 is having a much harder time, as she is a Daddy's girl. She and I have had our dicussions about it all, and I think as she grows older, and has her own relationships she will have a much better idea of how it feels. I think what really helps is my children have always been my first priority, Thank you :)
  33. Really Single

    by Sandra When I divorced, I just resigned myself to a life pretty much alone, except for friends. I would never feel comfortable with a man other than my children's father in our house for more than a casual "visit." I never wanted my children to feel I needed love more than they needed my love. No step-fathers for them. I don't want my children to feel uncomfortable in their own home, and I sure didn't want some other guy telling my children what to do.
  34. Don't rush it!

    by Simone After I left my husband, I was determined to stay away from serious relationships for a long while. I needed time to heal and so did my daughter. Eventually, an "old flame" came back into my life. We began spending a lot of time together, however, I would never bring him in my house. After a couple of dates, he said he was intersted in meeting my daughter. I agreed for him to say hello upon picking me up one evening. It was quick and I introducted him as my friend. About a month in, he asked if we could all go to the zoo together. Although I would have enjoyed it very much, he and I had not had "the talk" about "where this was going". I politely explained that if it was too soon for that talk, then it was too soon for him to spend time with my daughter. He understood. Two months in, we had "the talk" and we began involving my daughter. Two years later, we were married and have been for 3 years now. We are all very happy and he has done a wonderful job being a dad to my little girl.
  35. Kids Come 1st

    by Anise I have been divorced for about 14 years when my son was two. He is now 16. I have dated in the past looking for a husband but no one was right for the both of us. As my son aged, I realized that I was raising him OK alone. His father is long distance and he does see him in the summers. So until God sends me the Right Man, I will wait, continue to be a good mom and not expose my son to my hurt, foolish choices, and a man that isn't going to put his mom & him first. By my son being an only child and me somewhat spoiling him, I saw jealousy in some men and never wanted to expose my son to that.
  36. Having a lover while your children are young.

    by Denise It is absolutely the worst thing to bring another man into a very difficult and chaotic situation, and then expect your children to be all good with it. It's completely unfair, and believe me when I tell you it's the worst mistake you can make, and you will regret it for life....the kids will make sure of that. It's best to take on your own responsibilities and face the fact that your going solo for awhile, for the kids sake.
  37. Your children come first.

    by Sue When you have children, you make a commitment to that child as parent. I married when I was sixteen, I was having my son who is now 38. I had another child, a daughter when I was 24. The relationship with the father did not work, so I made a decison and that was to commit to being a strong parent. I have always worked hard, so I decided that I would raise my children alone and that I would not get invoved in a relationship again until both my children were grown. I did have couple of relationships, but I DID NOT involve them with or introduce them to my children. My veiw is that, if you have a child, you will still lovethat child even when they are their most 'trying' and driving you completely insane. If you meet someone and introduce them into your family and the child becomes difficult, the new partner may be less tolerant and dislike your child; the love element does not enter into for the new partner. We have a saying in the UK, 'Dogs are for life, not just for Christmas,' (so are kids).
  38. Modern Families

    by Allen I am with a fantastic woman with three great kids and have also brought my son into the mix. I think the most important thing you can do is to show the kids that you have respect for their mother and let them see that their mother is able to be happy. That is what has worked with us. The kids have found life after the split can still be productive for all.
  39. From the outside looking in...

    by Lucy Although I have been married for 35 years to the same man, both our children belong to both of us and neither of has ever been previously married, I would like to talk about this topic from the observer point of view. Of all my friends that I have seen go through different types and stages of family blending, the ones that I have seen successfully transition their children into a new family variation have always taken a cautious approach. They've taken their time, no moving in together after a couple weeks or months, no handing over the kids to the new spouse before a long period of old fashioned (no sex until there's a committment) dating. They haven't comingled assets until they were married. All the people I have seen get themselves into harder and harder situations and relationships have gotten into all of these relationships too soon and too fast. Kids need to be treated as if they are the most important part of their parents lives. Take it slow, it will grow.

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