When should I tell my son I have a boyfriend?

Q: I have a 9-year-old son. His father and I have been divorced for 7 years. Since the divorce I have dated many people, but I have never introduced my son to any of them because nothing ever lasted more than 3 months. I now have had a boyfriend for 10 months and we decided it was time to meet each other's kids. The kids have been having playdates for 2 months now. Do I need to tell my son that the new friends we've met are actually my boyfriend and his kids or leave my private life private?

A: I suspect your son already assumes this gentleman is your boyfriend. I don’t think you need to make any big announcement about this fact. Your son sees that this person is important to you because you’re spending time with him, and he’s the first person you’ve dated that he has met. That’s probably enough for now. Follow your son’s lead about how much information to provide. If your son asks, “Is he your boyfriend?” of course you should answer honestly, “Yes.” His next question is likely to be, “Are you going to marry him?” Again, try to answer simply and honestly, even if your answer is “I’m not sure.” If your son doesn’t ask, then he probably doesn’t want to know any more information than what he sees. There’s no need to say anything more unless there’s a change in your relationship that will directly affect your son’s life.

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