Twice-divorced, thrice-married Kim Katz is most proud that through her romantic ups and downs she has maintained a steady home for her children. Her children come first and that’s a priority that’s held true even when she found love again.
When I was dating my second husband, I was very concerned about how to introduce him to my daughter – when was the appropriate time, how to approach it and all that. She was about five at the time and she ended up being very adaptable. We just started slowly doing activities together,about three months after we had been dating. He’d come over for Disney movie night or we’d go to the zoo. They were activities that were centered around her. Because she was still pretty young I don’t think she gave it much thought. She certainly didn’t have any issues after the fact.
After my second marriage ended, I started taking Tae Kwan Do as a physical and mental release from everything. My now-husband, Richard, was also a student there and he was part of the business and an instructor. He was on his way to getting his black belt when we started dating and I was on my way to one of my higher belts as well. He got my kids involved – they started going with me and it just became something we all did and we loved it. He was really enthusiastic with them. Then he just started coming over – he’d say hello to the kids. I think our first official day together was Easter dinner. We tried to do our dating when the kids were with their dads because that was more comfortable for me.
Then my daughter’s father moved about 40 minutes away and got remarried. She was going into high school, her social life was picking up and all her activities were here. Her stepmother was not being very supportive of her and her dad wasn’t living up to his end of the bargain as far as getting her where she needed to be. We did go through mediation to try to resolve it but she basically started living with me full-time. That presented some problems because of my work schedule as a nurse. I just had to sit down with Richard and ask if he could help because he lived literally two minutes away.
He agreed but it wasn’t like this was a relationship of convenience. The two boys were still too young to understand what was going on but my daughter was fine with it. She saw the good that Richard gave right off the bat and he basically became her dad. He talked about her as his daughter, he was completely devoted and even now they have a great relationship.
It was pretty clear Richard and I were crazy about each other but he had already raised his kids and I was worried he was looking to retire, do things on his terms and I wasn’t there. So I did say ‘If this doesn’t appeal to you, let’s just part ways and be friends.’ But he was on board from day one. He always was and he was great with my kids. He just kind of stepped in and finally it became pretty clear. I said, ‘I can’t live with you if I’m not married to you. It’s not a good example. So are we getting married or not?’ He said, ‘I knew I was going to marry you the first night, so yes. When do you want to do this?’
The tips I take away from Kim’ story are – don’t introduce your new love to your children until you’re ready; take your time and then introduce them through an activity that’s centered around the children. What advice would you give? How do you know the right time to introduce your children and your date? What are the danger signs?