I must admit that I missed him. The hustle and bustle of the holidays was taking its toll and while I enjoyed the Airbnb home I was staying at, my heart still fluttered a little for this new “love” who was missing me back home. Who doesn’t enjoy being missed? As we talked on the phone and he mentioned how good it felt to miss someone I allowed myself to enjoy that feeling also. ALLOWED! Yes I allowed it. That can be difficult for a single parent or any adult who has experienced relationship difficulties to admit. It is exactly what was keeping me from enjoying my dating experiences over the last few months. I never ALLOWED myself to indulge in those romantic moments or to relax in vulnerability.
“My Girls May be with me when I pick you up, is that okay?” the text message updated on my phone.
I’m actually a pretty cautious person and secretive with my personal affairs. I also don’t like surprises at all. So while I took a few seconds to let his statement sink in that basically read “You are meeting my children” common sense prevailed that I really had nothing to worry about. See countless dating articles and advice gurus will tell you to watch out for a man that moves too slow or moves too quick. The constant pendulum swing of reading dating advice about what to do versus not what to do causes us to over-analyze mundane details about people and their actions. In reality much of the people you meet could care less about you and are only passing the time away or compensating for their “lack.” However when somebody genuinely wants you to meet what’s most important to their lives it’s something you should take seriously.
The scary part of meeting someone’s children
Meeting someone else’s children is scary and as I’ve gotten older I have been more cautious about it. Mine are young and don’t fully comprehend the concept of boyfriends, girlfriends, and dating. His children are much older and can comprehend so they are not stupid and I would insult their intelligence to pretend they are oblivious. I’m comforted by the fact that they are aware and are used to both their parents dating. I can’t just pass off as being their father’s friend because obviously I’m much more special and “NYScorpio” (his nickname on the blog) is very demonstrative in his affection. So he didn’t really leave the decision up to me, he sort of surprised me with meeting his children. One of the things that I’m careful to do is to be calm and relaxed about the situation and how it unfolds.
As I trudged up to baggage claim in the aftermath of holiday travel chaos he found me before I could find him. It was a sense of relief for me and it felt like that moment when you are plopping down in a comfortable recliner. I was nervous but as the adult in the situation I knew we could make meeting in such a crowded and chaotic atmosphere almost seamless. Besides the distraction of tasks at hand such as getting the bags, getting the car and delegating tasks it helps to take off the sting associated with the awkwardness of meeting someone else’s family. Not really the ideal situation for me but nevertheless done and complete.
So here are just a few things I learned from this initial experience:
- Don’t Take Things Personal – Actually this is one of the The Four Agreements from Toltec author Don Miguel Ruiz Sr. Most people identify with this feeling when it comes to harmful words or awful situations but even in good situations – don’t take it personally. If the person you are dating introduces you to his children or his family don’t allow your imagination to go wild with thoughts of what it means. Enjoy the moment, educate yourself and engage in learning about the people you just met. Allow things to take their course instead of trying to control situations.
- Be open and non-judgmental of who you meet – By audience I mean the people you are meeting. I knew right away that I was meeting preteen girls. I know nothing about preteen or teenage girls. I only know what their father tells me. As the adult I take the initiative on starting conversations based upon what their father has told me and not on what I assume. This goes back to not taking things personal and taking in the knowledge of these human beings that I’m about to meet no matter how little or tall they are.
- Don’t pretend – While you don’t have to disclose your entire life upon first meeting, don’t pretend to be larger than life or something more. As you get to know each other any lies told from the beginning will unravel later and you will have to explain them at a point when you get close to someone emotionally. You can’t betray someone whom you have no close emotional bond with.
- Have fun – Explore the things you have in common with the other person’s children. Be ok if you have nothing in common but as the adult, be open to new experiences and be ok to communicate whether you like something, have no experience with something, or don’t like (not comfortable) with something. Just as they don’t have to like what you like.
- Keep communication open – At some point if you ever decide to hit a milestone in your relationship such as being exclusive, moving in together or getting married this is where keeping communication open and honest is important. The key people you need to protect are your own children. Respect the other person’s communication about life changes with their children and families. Communicate openly with your own children instead of surprising them. Be open to the possibilities of their emotional reactions. I would highly recommend that such big life moments be discussed with both partners together and explaining to the kids but this can only be done if the pattern and routine of communication has been already established and is a comfortable mode of communication with the kids.
Something tells me that this romance will be a little bit different from the others. Based upon his actions it is clear that he is very much into me and I take that knowledge in and breathe with it for a moment. It is best to savor slowly instead of rushing ahead without full understanding of what life has yet to unfold. Love is not that hard and it comes to those that are willing to be patient. I am enjoying this romance so far and what it teaches me about myself. Of course only time will tell but in any case I have met some very wonderful people.