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home : columns : dear harriette June 28, 2016

5/15/2014 2:50:00 PM
Mom wonders when to introduce boyfriend to kids

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a divorced mom of two young children. My ex and I have been apart for three years. I recently started dating a very nice guy. I want to introduce him to my children, but I am worried that they may not like him. I think they are still sad that my husband and I broke up, so any guy they meet will be the wrong guy. At the same time, I don't want to spend the rest of my life alone. I'm still young. I need them to know that it's normal for their mom to want to date and have a new life partner. How do I go about doing that? -- Single Mom Dating, Memphis, Tenn.

DEAR SINGLE MOM DATING: I have talked to quite a few single moms and dads about this conundrum. On the one hand, you do not want to parade an endless group of dates before your children. On the other, you do want them to see that you have a whole life.

I recommend that if you really do like this man that you introduce him to them as your friend. Create moments when they can get to know him. There may be some trepidation, especially at first. Observe to see how he interacts with them and vice versa. Ultimately, your choice of a new life partner should include the requirement that he get along well with your children.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My best friend is vegetarian, and she keeps hounding me to try it out. She says my skin will get better, I will lose weight, I will be a friend to the earth -- the whole nine yards. While being vegetarian agrees with her, it isn't interesting to me. Plus, I have a ton of food allergies, and a lot of the stuff she eats makes me break out. How can I get her to stop nagging me about her food choices? I don't try to convince her to do what I'm doing. -- Her Choice Only, Dallas

DEAR HER CHOICE ONLY: Have you ever told your friend about your food allergies? That may be something that she can hear. An interesting thing that happens when people get into a new behavior or idea is that they go all in at first and want to bring everybody who's part of their world along for the ride.  

Your friend is well-meaning, I'm sure. And she may even be eating certain foods that you would like that are also good for your body. So do your best not to ignore her completely. Let her know that you do not intend to become vegetarian but that you are interested in some of the foods that she is eating. Be willing to try out a dish or two, provided you review the list of ingredients in advance. A sliver of openness on your part may help your friend to relax her proselytizing.

(Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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