I met my now-husband when I was 22 and he was 26. My now-husband had a 5yo at the time.
Just a warning… we moved SUPER quickly at first. I would never recommend it to anyone.
Now-DH and his ex had a tumultuous relationship to begin with. She got pregnant after 8 months of dating when he was 20, their son was born when he was 21, and they broke up when their son was about 1yo. My now-DH was in the military, so his ex took their son to go live back where they’re from. They were never actually married. When now-DH moved back to their hometown, his son was about 2, they tried at a relationship again and it didn’t work out. She met her long-term partner then. Now-DH dated quite a bit for those 3.5 years between her and myself, but none of them met his son.
We only met up on nights my now-DH didn’t have his son, so 4 days/nights a week for the first month. I expected it to take awhile to meet his son.
About a month into our relationship, he asked me to come over one night when he had his son, and I panicked. It was a lot of, “ARE YOU SURE??!” But I guess he brought me up during his son’s school book fair when his ex was there, and his son asked to meet me. His ex didn’t hesitate because now-DH was very responsible about bringing girlfriends around his son, so she could tell he was serious about me.
I spent quite a bit of time with them after that. We ended up moving in together about 6 months into our relationship… but being I was so young, in graduate school, and still figuring out my future, I realized I needed to make a decision FAST whether this was going to be serious or not. It took a good year to figure out how my career would pan out if I stuck around (because my previous career goals would have forced me to move across the country within 5 years).
We both fell fast in the beginning, and there were some rocky times, but within that first year, I knew I couldn’t let them two go. I fell in love with both of them. He bought a house for us after a year and a half together, and we were engaged at nearly 2 years together. Married at nearly 3 years together.
We had our first child (together) a little over 5 years together, and today is our 7 year dating anniversary, and we’re due in June! My 12 year old stepson is seriously at our house most of the time – all weekend, every weekend, and one or two nights during the week, unless his mom has something special going on. We have a great relationship with her and her family.
So, in summary, the initial steps were way too quick for us, but the rest of our timeline we didn’t rush… we took our time to settle into a life together, even though we were hasty from the start.
I, personally, would recommend at LEAST 3 months before meeting the children, maybe 6, and at LEAST a year before moving in together.