Advice on Moving In When Kids are Involved
Move In Mom and the Single Man
Dear April Masini,
My boyfriend has asked me to move in with him — and normally, I would just go for it, but I have a six-year-old daughter. What advice do you have for women who have children, when deciding whether to move in with a man?"
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Move-In Mom,
Before making any major life-changing decisions, you must first complete some deep soul searching to make sure that there aren't any regrets later on in life. Now, that you're involving children, you must now complete the soul searching process more than ever to make sure your decision is the best decision for both you and your children.
Before deciding yes or no, consider your reasons for moving in with him:
Reason 1: You truly want to get married to this man. The whole shebang with the ring, the wedding and the thank you notes.
In this case: Don't move in with him until you're engaged, and it's close to the wedding date.
Why? Because you want to show your children that you have respect for yourself, for him, for marriage, for family, and that there is structure in life.
Reason 2: You need male company. Yes, it's the sex, but it's also being able to "decompress" with a grown up at the end of the day over a glass of wine or dinner.
In this case: Move in with him after it's a "committed" relationship. You've dated exclusively for a year. You have a deal about monogamy. For whatever reason you're not the marrying types.
Why? Marriage isn't for everyone, and we live in a country where you are allowed to express yourself and your love for a person, their children, and yourself, in many ways. Living together is one of them. A good tip is to keep a family therapist in the loop so that communication is facilitated, and the children's best interests are overseen by a professional.
Reason 3: You are so excited about this great guy you are seeing.
In this case: Don't move in with him, period. Living with a man, to whom you are not married, when there are children involved, can be irresponsible and emotionally harmful to the children.
Reason 4: Financial. You're paying rent, he's paying rent. Why not cut down on the rent?
In this case: Move in with him if certain conditions are present:
Your fairy godmother will tell you that money is never a good reason to make an emotional, sexual or familial connection. However, being a single mother in America, is a largely unsupported (financially, legally, emotionally, socially and every other which way) lifestyle. In this case, while it's not p.c., it may be better for the children to have mom less stressed, and enjoying the company of a nice man she loves than living by principles that don't pay for new shoes. Make sure that the children's best interests are first and foremost, and be honest with them. Don't lead them to believe that this is Mr. Right. Explain that you all love each other, and this will make life easier, and make mom happier and more available for happy homework help, more family nights without stress, etc. Kids are extremely intuitive and they will "get it."
Of course, NEVER move in with anyone who is in any way abusive, has a history of any kind of abuse, or presses any buttons for intuitive flashing yellows.
That said, this can be a wonderful situation, and often love grows on ground well tilled.