Dating someone who has kids can be a rewarding experience, but it can also come with its own set of challenges. If you’re thinking about dating someone with kids, here are four tips to help make the process easier for both of you.
1. Always Remember That Your Date Has Priorities Other Than You
The priorities in life of a single parent are different from your own priorities. It is a big deal to be responsible for the life of another person other than yourself. Thus, it is only natural if the welfare and needs of the children come on top of everything else in the list of priorities of your significant other.
Of course, you might find it a bit difficult to understand if you like to be their one and only priority. There will always be issues if you will compete with the kids for affection, attention, and love. In fact, even those couples with biological children are often jealous of the amount of attention and time that the kids receive from their spouse.
This means that it is just normal to be jealous every now and then. However, what matters here is how you handle your jealousy. It will only backfire to you big time if you complain or nag just to get more attention. Instead, it would be better if you encourage and support your partner with their parenthood. This will make them see you as a big help in their lives and not an additional role they need to fulfill just when their hands are already full with responsibilities and obligations.
2. Understand That You Don’t Own Their Time
Once you find that person you really connect well with, you would want to spend as much time with them as possible. Time, however, is a limited resource for single parents and any amount of free time is like a precious gift to them.
When the two of you are still in the getting to know stage, you might want to schedule lunch dates if possible when the children are still at school. Dates can also be arranged during the weekends while the kids are staying with the grandparents or the other parent.
Once again, remember that time is a premium for single parents so your partner might find it a bit hard to see or visit. If you understand and accept this fact right from the get-go, everything will be easier for both of you. Use other means of communication such as phone calls, video calls, text messages, email, or instant messages for those times when you cannot be physically together.
3. Don’t Rush to Meet and Greet the Kids
If your relationship already reached the point where you are comfortable enough to ask if you can be introduced to the kids, it is important to avoid being disappointed if your partner feels the opposite. Don’t forget that their topmost concern here is to protect the children and their feelings. This is not, in any way, a personal attack on you or your relationship with each other.
Letting another person into the lives of kids is a really big deal so your significant other might have a long list of reasons for not being ready just yet. The best and easiest way to help your partner feel more prepared for the introduction is to respect his or her decision.
So when your partner informs you that he is not ready for it for now after you ask them to schedule a meeting, let them know that you understand how they are protecting the kids. Just make sure you also inform them that you are ready when they are and that you also don’t want to hurt the kids.
4. Be Realistic with Your Expectations
Finally, set your expectations and ensure that they are realistic enough. Just because you and your partner have a great relationship doesn’t instantly mean that it will also be the same with the kids. And sadly, for most parents, this can be a real deal-breaker.
Aside from that, there is also the possibility that the kids will be jealous of you and the relationship you have with their mom or dad. The worse thing that can happen is the kids trying to sabotage the situation. Obviously, this is not always the case but this can happen so you have to remember this before you decide to take things to the next level.
Also, while it might be too easy to find yourself caught up in the middle of a ready-made family, at the end of the day, you also need to be realistic about what you really want for yourself. Do you plan to have your own kids in the future? Is your partner even open to the idea of having more children? These are some questions you need to consider with extra care.
Wrapping It Up
It is not a secret that being in a relationship with a nonparent like yourself is different from dating a single parent. Overnight getaways, late dates, and spur of the moment decisions have no place in the relationship.
However, it doesn’t mean you should stop your heart from loving them. With these 4 tips for dating someone who has kids, you can ensure a positive experience for you, your partner, and your partner’s children.