While I'm away, readers give the advice.
Introductions when "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" seem juvenile
Mike: Nothing. An introduction should be, simply, "This is Mary. She's here with Jeff." It's true and connotes neither status nor judgment. Those who wish to know more can ask Mary and/or Jeff how long they've been seeing each other.
Parenthood after a divorce requires degree of maturity
L.: My parents divorced when I was 12 and my sister was 10. We saw my dad two or three times a month, and most often he had his newest girlfriend along for the evening; we rarely saw the same woman more than two or three times. I was old enough to be icked out by what appeared to be my dad's need to show off how popular he was, though he felt he was "showing off my wonderful daughters." If we'd been able to see him, alone, more often, it might not have mattered so much to us that we always had to share those few hours with someone who we assumed he could and did spend more time with during the week.
When I was 20, I started dating the divorced father of a beautiful 21-month-old boy (I knew he was beautiful from photos). The dad had twice-weekly visits with his son, and for the first few months, I refused to be around during what I felt was "dad-and-son" time. I explained repeatedly to the dad about my own experience, and since "son" was too young to vocalize his feelings, I believed it best to not become an issue.
After we'd been dating a few months and we became more serious about our relationship, we started "accidental" meetings at the shopping mall, or the pizza place they liked, or the zoo. I would stay long enough to have a soft drink and a short chat, then leave. We stuck with this arrangement another few months, until "son" was old enough to decide whether he wanted me to stay longer. I eventually moved in with the dad, and even then, I would make an excuse to leave for a few hours every weekend so dad and son could have their own time together.
You do have to be a grownup about it all.
Hopeful Dad: I am the father of a beautiful 4-year-old little girl and am also recently divorced. I feel very blessed to have my daughter in my life as much as I do (I get to spend significant time with her most every day), and while I obviously have my differences with her mother, I hope that when she finds someone else I will have it in me to accept him and welcome him into my daughter's life.
One thing I try to keep in mind is that this wonderful little girl who means so much to me is half her mom. I hope her mother proves to be everything she could ever want and need. Just because we couldn't get it together for ourselves doesn't mean it has to be the same for our daughter.