After a lot of deliberation, I have decided to tell Sprog about my current relationship status.
The Boyfriend and I have been together for five months now, and have had a lot of discussions about the future to be sure that we want the same things, and that we are in this for the long haul. I’ve called him “my friend” when people ask, I’ve omitted details about our outings together, and I’ve felt ashamed for too long.
There is absolutely no reason I shouldn’t be seeing him. Absolutely no reason whatsoever.
I’ve had a lot of people, even close and normally supportive people, tell me that it is “too soon” for me to be embarking on a new relationship. Let me just get this out there: yes, my daughter was sexually abused by my last partner. That was two years ago. That is not a valid reason for me not to see somebody new now, and to assume it is means that you are both blaming me for what X did, and accusing my new partner of being the same. There is no reason to assume that that situation will ever happen to us again; if anything I am more cautious now than I was back then – and I was back then.
Then another group of less-angry people have told me that I absolutely should see whoever I want to at this point, but that Sprog should know nothing about it. So I thought I would share my reasoning for telling her.
There are three reasons, the first being that she is a smart kid, and she notices things. I don’t like the thought of lying to my daughter. If she were to figure the situation out on her own, she might feel uncomfortable or scared about why I didn’t tell her, and she might be very upset. Plus, it promotes lying.
The second reason is that I conduct myself and my social life from my home 90% of the time. I don’t have any childcare in place, and I’d much rather be home with her myself. Unfortunately this means that sometimes The Boyfriend is in the house (after bedtime) at the same time as Sprog, and as all parents know, kids don’t necessarily stay in bed. Sprog knows him as a family friend, but if she were to catch us together during a 10pm trip from her bedroom to the loo, I would have a lot of explaining to do. It makes more sense to just tell her.
The third reason is that, despite numerous people suggesting one should only tell their children about their relationship if they can guarantee it will last, I don’t agree with that. I don’t advocate having a string of short term relationships in front of your kids if you can help it, and I don’t advise moving your new partner in, or leaving your kids with them, but I don’t believe that children should be shielded entirely from the workings of adult relationships.
Our children understand more than we give them credit for, and brainwashing them into believing that all relationships last forever is a disservice to them. We fall out with friends just like they do, and sometimes, we split up with partners too. Letting our kids know that these things happen, and letting them see us dealing with these unpleasant situations and emotions in a mature manner, sets them up better for later life.
These are my reasons for planning to tell Sprog about The Boyfriend and I, and honestly, I expect that she will take it on board better than the friends and some family members I have told so far. I will post an update about how the conversation went, after I have found a good time to tell her.
Thank you for following our story, and feel free to share your thoughts – we love hearing opinions, even if they are different to ours!