Raising tiny humans is a huge responsibility; dating a parent is, too. Natasha Miles offers a few key considerations before you date someone with children.
In the midst of the selection process, you just may find that one person who makes life awesome. But what if they have a child or multiple children?
Today it’s not uncommon to see people who are in relationships with those who already have kids. If you find yourself facing this situation, how do you know you’re ready? How can you be sure you can deal with the requirements of this relationship?
Here are a few things to think about that can help you decide if you are mature enough or ready to date someone with children.
1. Dating Someone with Kids Isn’t Impossible
First thing you need to understand is there is nothing wrong with dating a person or marrying someone with kids. Just because a person has kids does not mean they are off the market. The fact that there are children involved doesn’t change why you were attracted to them in the first place. The only thing that it changes is knowing this relationship will have more requirements. People in this situation can and do have success, and often end up in happy marriages. Dating a person with kids has a different set of challenges, but its not an impossible feat.
2. Know and Respect Your Limitations
From the beginning you need to know what your limits are—especially those who aim to please people. If you are going to be an adult about this situation, you also have to protect yourself. Don’t feel like you have to chip in every time something needs to be done. Ask first and then act accordingly. Sometimes when a person is dating someone with kids they are too helpful. If you have good open communication, your partner will tell you when help is needed. On the same token, if you are asked to do something and you are uncomfortable do the task, speak up. Your partner will understand and appreciate your honesty. At the end of the day they need you to be up front and known that you won’t take on more than you can handle.
3. Understand the Other Parent’s Role
Now, while you are in a relationship with one person, there are two other key players in this game. If your partner still has interactions with the father or mother, you will too—to the extent that the parent has the right to know who is around their child. If your partner and the ex are on good terms you may have to meet them, and deal with them frequently. You don’t have to become best friends, but you will need to be as cordial as possible. If they no longer talk with each other, be prepared to hear about the ex on more than a few occasions.
4. Honor the Children’s Feelings
Now, when dealing with the children of the relationship, things can get a bit weird. It takes kids a bit to warm up to new people, especially if they want mom and dad back together. You should never, ever say anything bad about the ex to the child, no matter what your partner says. Kids want to know that they can count on you, and that you will protect them. Once you show them this, things may start to get easier. It won’t be an easy road, but it’s worth it.
5. Give Yourself Time to Let Love Grow
Sometimes people wonder if they can truly care about kids that aren’t theirs. If you fall in this group don’t worry, you can. It may take some time to get to know each other, and understand each other, but that’s where the care and love come from. The little stuff is how your feelings grow. There is room in your heart if you have courage to allow people in. Kids aren’t scary, but if your partner sees that you are not careful with what they hold precious, the relationship won’t last. This doesn’t mean you can be fake; kids can spot a fake person blindfolded. If you aren’t genuine, you will be dismissed.
6. Children Require Extra Planning
There will be times that your partner will not be able to go out or do things that you want to do because of the kids, so last minute spontaneous outings aren’t the best unless you have taken into account a need for a reliable and trusted sitter (and any other needs). Or you can do something that includes the kids. Understand that as much as your partner wants to spend time with you, it is not wise to make them pick between their child and you. Never put them in this situation because it makes you seem inconsiderate. Activities must be planned out in advance to have the best and most enjoyable outcome.
7. Awkward and Tense Moments Will Happen
How good are you at dealing with awkward moments and tense situations? This is something you should know about yourself. Dating a person with kids can be a bit stressful at times, especially if your partner is having problems. Can you be there in the good and bad times? Sometimes there are financial problems, there can be emotional issues or the other parent at have an issue moving in. Parents who date are looking for a stable person, not just someone who moves with the breeze.
8. Your Partner Will Worry Too
Dating a person with kids is not easy, but if you can make it past all the bumps in the road it’s well worth it. Not every situation is the same and you must understand that your partner will need your support and will expect you to understand. They’re also afraid; they don’t want to chase you off. They are just as unsure as you are because so many people say “Do not date a person with kids.” Allow them to be open with you about any concerns they have and reassure them that you are there, and voice your concerns too. This allows for open and honest communication, and nobody feels taken for granted.
Dating someone with kids could be the start to a whole new life but you have to be tough enough to handle it, and loving enough to accept it.
[image: via D Sharon Pruitt on flickr]