Meeting the Kids

Dear Dategirl,I've been with my boyfriend for over a year now and things are going great, except for the fact that he hasn't totally introduced me to his kids yet. They know of me, but I have not been able to spend time with them. I have asked my boyfriend how long it's going to take, and he just keeps telling me it won't be forever. I have been very patient with the situation, but I'm wondering if I should give him an ultimatum? Or should I keep sticking it out and wait for the time to come?—Un-Wicked Would-Be Stepmom

First, let me ask you a question? Why do you want to meet his kids? Why is that so important to you? I'm guessing you feel slighted—like he's not serious about you because he keeps you separate from his family. Maybe that's true; but you say otherwise, everything is great.Experts agree that he should have waited until he saw that you were going to stick around, so thus far he's doing everything right. They also recommend that he slowly introduce you into their lives. By letting them know of your existence, he's got that part down too.Next should be the actual meeting. Everything I've read says you should be introduced very casually—like during an outing to a park or a movie. Once you meet them, refrain from leg-humping their daddy or even holding hands. There's nothing that spooks a kid faster than thinking of their father as a sexual being.You should be low-key when you finally meet. Don't be afraid, because children are born knowing how to sense fear and they will make short work of you. Nor should you be overly friendly, because kids also possess highly-tuned bullshit detectors and will mock you mercilessly if you embarrass yourself by trying to be like them. Blatant attempts at suck-uppery—gift-giving, candy bribes, and cash prizes—will be accepted greedily, but will also cost you their respect.Obviously, you'll want his children to love you. But the more you want it, the less likely it is to happen. Be patient—dad having a new girlfriend is going to be a lot for their pea brains to process. Most kids want Mom with Dad and will do everything in their considerable powers to make that happen. Once they accept that it's not going to, things will be a lot smoother.One other thing: Refrain from giving your boyfriend child-rearing tips. Nothing pisses a parent off more than having their ability to parent questioned. If you move in together, that's another story. But for now, don't tell him you think Jordan is spoiled or that young Ashley should go on a diet—because you will come out on the losing end of that conversation.Personally, if I were dating a dude with offspring, I'd be delighted to be kept as far away from them as humanly possible for as long as I could possibly manage it. Because you know what happens once the kids become part of the equation? All the romance gets flushed down the crapper. Instead of Canlis, it's Chuck E. Cheese. Also, no more mornings spent discovering new ways to get each other off—it's early soccer practice and screaming fights over Cap'n Crunch. Lest you think this is fiction generated by my non-breeder brain, a single mom friend of mine with two daughters once shrieked, "Put off introducing them to the kids as long as possible—keep the romance alive!"And that's just when they're little. You don't say how old they are, but once they get to be teenagers, the trouble is tripled. Remember what a wretched little bitch you were when you were 15? Just wait 'til they start swiping your clothes and raiding your Xanax

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