How Do I Meet My Older Man’s Kids Without Feeling So Intimidated?

QUESTION: My boyfriend is 20 years older than I am and he has three kids with his ex-wife—his old­est son is seven years younger than me. I’ll be meet­ing the kids for the first time in a few weeks when they join us on vaca­tion in Hawaii. My boyfriend has said that they’re excited to meet me, but I’m ner­vous to meet them. How do I “meet the kids” with­out feel­ing so intimidated?

CHELSEA SAYS: It’s per­fectly OK to feel ner­vous about meet­ing your older man’s kids for the first time. In fact, I would be more con­cerned if you were going into it casu­ally because this is a pretty big step that you and your older man are tak­ing. Even in the per­fect sit­u­a­tion, meet­ing the kids for the first time is stress­ful, but throw in the big age dif­fer­ence and the fact that you’re not much older than his eldest, and it’s only nat­ural to feel anx­ious. But it actu­ally shows that you’re think­ing seri­ously about your May-December rela­tion­ship and that you’re keep­ing his family’s well­be­ing in mind, which is very mature of you.

It’s impor­tant to remem­ber that this is prob­a­bly just as stress­ful for his kids as it is for you. Don’t be sur­prised if his kids are a lit­tle appre­hen­sive about meet­ing you, even though your older man says they’re excited. You chose your sugar daddy and he chose you, but his kids didn’t ask for this, so they may be a lit­tle skep­ti­cal about your May-December rela­tion­ship with their father. If there’s some push­back with his kids at first, that’s OK. Just be patient with them and give them space. Don’t try to push your way into their lives. With a lit­tle time, they’ll prob­a­bly start warm­ing up to you a lit­tle more.

Here are some other tips for meet­ing his kids for the first time:

• Just because you’re closer in age to his kids than to him, don’t try to be their best friend. There’s no rea­son for you to be get­ting sloshed at the bar with what may become your future step-kids. Not only is it inap­pro­pri­ate, it’s also really weird. You also don’t want to swoop in and become the instant-mom. Just keep it casual.

• Avoid engag­ing in seri­ous PDA with their dad. I know you’re going to be in roman­tic Hawaii, and yes, they’re prob­a­bly adults, but it’s still gross to see your dad grop­ing and swap­ping spit with some­one. Don’t sub­ject his kids (and your­self) to that awk­ward sit­u­a­tion. It’s prob­a­bly also a good idea to leave your sexy, G-string bikini at home. His son is only seven years younger than you—you may be his dad’s girl­friend, but you’ll still be a hot, young, nearly naked woman. He might get a lit­tle too excited to meet you.

• Try to find out ahead of time what his kids are inter­ested in so that you can engage them in con­ver­sa­tion. You could also bring some­thing that you think they’d enjoy. For exam­ple, if his son is into cars, bring the lat­est issue of an auto mag­a­zine. It also wouldn’t hurt to ask your older man about top­ics you should steer clear. If one of his kids is going through a breakup, the last thing you want to do is bring up the topic of rela­tion­ships. Also, never, ever pry. If they don’t seem like they’re down for dish­ing details, then let it go.

• Never trash-talk their mom. Even if your older man’s ex-wife is the epit­ome of evil, she’s still his kids’ mother and she’ll prob­a­bly always come first in their lives. If you really want to get on their good side, com­pli­ment her on rais­ing such great kids.

• It’s impor­tant to keep in mind that, as the new woman, you may never become super close with his kids, espe­cially with a May-December rela­tion­ship. But the key is to at least have a mutual respect for each other. You can still be on friendly terms with his kids with­out being a fron­trun­ner for par­ent of the year.