My boy was about 5 when I met and started to date Mono. He had a hard time with me being out of the house at all and then for one night a week I was gone all night and then two.
I tried to think of it in terms of how parents deal with the fact that their work might mean they have to work nights. I had that in mind when I explained to him that I was going to have a sleep over with my friend and that I would be back at this time. He became comfortable over time that I was coming back and that I wasn't gone for good. I came back when I said I would.
When I was sure that Mono would be in our life for the long haul I told him that I was going to his house for a sleep over. Now he gets mad at me for having more sleep over nights than him (he is staying over at Mono's on Friday night). It took an adjustment as every change does, but then it becomes routine and kids do better with that. Change is good if it is brought in with consistency I think. At least as much as possible. The best thing I did was to make light of it and stick to what I said I would do.
I was also confident that my time is important too and that I had a right to my own time. Just because I take my own time does not mean I love him less or taking something away from him. This is a whole other topic though I think.
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