Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

When is it “too soon” to meet the kids of someone that you are dating? And what does it mean when someone says they want to “take things slow?”

DEAR NATALIE: I have been dating a woman for three months, and she has a 2-year-old daughter. She wants to introduce us, but I think it is way too soon. Plus, a 2-year-old isn’t really going to remember me, and if we don’t work out, she wouldn’t know the difference anyway. Don’t you think it is too soon? When is a good time to meet her daughter? -- TIME CRUNCH

DEAR TIME CRUNCH: I agree with you. I think three months is way too early to meet the kids, especially when they are are so young and impressionable. I think a relationship should be solid for six to 12 months before kids are introduced. When they meet a new partner, it is best to say this is a “friend” and not have them around the kids much until further down the road. Kids are smart. They pick up on everything, and they need consistency and stability in their lives. You should let your girlfriend know that while you are open to the idea, you don’t think this is the right time. It isn’t fair to her if she were to become attached to you and then you break it off with her mother and appear to have abandoned her. If you do end up in a long-term relationship with this woman, remember this: You are not her father. Just be someone she can have fun with, and when she gets a little older, someone that makes her feel protected and loved.

DEAR NATALIE: I just started seeing someone. He is really great. I want to take things to the next step, meaning being exclusive, but he says he wants to “take things slow.” What does that mean? Does that mean he doesn’t really like me, or is he interested in sleeping with other people? So confused! -- TAKING IT SLOW

DEAR TAKING IT SLOW: Not only is he interested in sleeping with other people, but he most likely is already. If he wasn’t, why wouldn’t he just say, “Sure, let’s take this to the next step.” Clearly he is having reservations about the relationship and doesn’t want to limit his romantic options. Instead of looking at this in a negative way, however, use this information when considering whether or not you want to continue to see him. At least you know where he is at emotionally. If you aren’t on the same page, don’t waste your time unless you have a lot of it and don’t mind “taking things slow.”

Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: It’s about the quality of your interactions, not the quantity. You don’t want to just be handing out business cards to everyone. Instead, focus on meeting and connecting with two or three individuals at your next event and form something more substantial.

Please send your questions to Natalie Bencivenga to her email, nbencivenga@post-gazette.com; or through postal mail to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Follow her on Twitter at @NBSeen and on Instagram @NatalieBenci

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)