Dear Dr. Romance:

I have read several of your comments in articles on the website concerning when to introduce a new girlfriend to your children. I have a unique situation. I have been divorced for over a year two teenage boys. A few months ago a woman I met long ago got in touch with me. At that time we lived in different states.  For more than five years we talked on the phone, wrote letters, and visited each other. Eventually we broke up and she married someone else. She has been divorced for a few years. We now talk and text multiple times a day. If feels like the old days. I loved her then and I love her today. She loves me. We live closer to her now, but we are still about ten hours apart by car. She is coming for a week-and-half visit this month.

You talk about waiting before introducing a new person to your children. My ex does not want me to introduce the boys to her during this visit, but I don't know when her next visit might be.  Her next visit may be when she moves down to live here.   It's not like she lives here and I can see her regularly or that my boys can see her casually as a friend.

We also have in our marriage documents Standard Parenting Clauses, one of which states that when children are staying with a parent no partners of that parent who are not married to that parent can stay overnight.

Any thoughts or recommendations?

 Dear Reader:

I'm happy you and your old flame found each other, but please don't let your excitement make you act in ways that will create problems for you. Also, don't forget about the dangers of the pandemic.  Getting everyone together for some video chats is a good idea, certainly before your lady comes for a visit. Build up to watching films or videos together via chat, and talk about what you're watching.  Your boys can meet this new woman as an old friend, nothing more, and your behavior and hers should be appropriate to that. It's completely normal to want your sons to meet an old friend.  Give your boys a chance to meet her without pressure, or they may hate her forever. They're not automatically going to like her because you do, and they will see her as a threat to their mother if you drop he on them like a bomb. Just do something casual, just as you would with anyone who's visiting from out of town. Act like a grownup, a parent and a rational man, not a love-sick teenager.  Focus on some things they may all have in common.

You also need to worry about your legal obligations, so do yourself and this new/former lady a favor by taking it slow and being sensible, no matter how excited you are. She can't stay overnight when the boys are there. Get her a room somewhere. Maybe she can stay with relatives?

"Dating Guidelines for Single Parents"  and "The One Who Got Away" will give you guidelines for how to be more sensible and successful, both with your children and your new relationship. You messed up once and hurt your kids by not being able to work it out with their mother. Don't do it again. If you follow my advice, you can have a happy new relationship, and your kids will be OK with it.  Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences will help you communicate better with your ex wife, your children and your new love.

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For low-cost phone counseling, email me at

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.