Dating can be a minefield at the best of times. However, what can make things more difficult is if you are dating a man with kids. His kids may be great and you may like him a whole lot, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your partnership will come easily to you. Here, we look at 17 ideas to keep in mind when dating a man with children so that you can think about everything before you get serious about your life together.
What To Consider When Dating A Man With Kids
Here are the 17 things that would be helpful for you to consider before starting up a meaningful relationship with a man you like, but has kids. Without a doubt, kids can be a wonderful blessing in life, but they do need to come into consideration when thinking about becoming a big part of a father’s life.
1. How it affects you
Without a doubt, you must take the time to think about what you want from this partnership and how a man with kids may or may not be able to address your wants and needs. He will have demands on his time that may mean what you want doesn’t always get addressed, which can make life difficult for you. Resentment can build up out of this scenario, so it is essential to consider how kids will affect you and your life, particularly if you previously had thought you don’t want kids.
2. How it affects them
The kids themselves must be taken into consideration when you start to date someone you like, but he is a man with kids. How the formative years in their life are can have serious repercussions on every aspect of their life for the rest of their lives. You may want things that are different from what the kids need, but they should come first as a priority. Their mental health as well as their emotional and physical health must be at the forefront of your mind if you want to take things further with the kids’ father.
3. Their relationship with their mother
You need to think about how the kids are with their mother. If they have a good relationship with her, they may find it difficult to accept another woman into their life that may take a big role. Additionally, if they don’t have a good relationship with their mother, they may be crying out for another mother figure and naturally look to you to address the needs that often a mother only can. You need to think about whether you have the mental capacity with this first, before starting up a serious relationship with their father.
4. Your relationship with their mother
What can make life a lot easier for both the kids, the father and you, is if you get on with the kids’ mother? This can be a very difficult thing to manage however and often, the mother and the new girlfriend’s relationship can be very strained. You need to ask yourself therefore if you are up to having that type of relationship in your life. If it is fraught, it can seriously affect your mental health as well as have an impact on the kids and their father also.
5. Your relationship with their father
Of course, one of the major considerations for dating a man with children is how you feel about that man in the first place. It could be that you have lukewarm feelings for him and that you are not viewing this partnership as a long time thing. If that is the case, you may want to think about whether or not it is a good idea to start up with him if it has the potential to affect his kids. Kids are far more sensitive and perceptive than we give them credit for, so you need to be mindful that your actions can have big impacts on them.
6. If you have the time for them
If you don’t have kids yourself, or even if you do, you need to ensure that before you get serious with a child’s father, that you have time for that child also. They are a big part of a good father’s life, and while you may like him very much (and the child also), it could be that you don’t have enough spare time to dedicate your energy to them.
7. If their father has time for a relationship with you
Another consideration is to take on board what you feel the father’s intentions are towards you – and whether he has the ability to have a serious relationship in the first place. Kids are a big drain on parents’ time and, even though he may like you a lot, he may always find that his time is taken up with his children. This is rightfully so, given how essential a father figure is to a child, but it may not have the best outcome for your relationship with him as a consequence.
8. The long term future of your relationship
If you are both getting together for a fling, then you may need to reconsider what dating each other will do on the happiness of his children. Additionally, however, you may like to consider whether you see each other in each other’s future for a long time. If you do, it may well be worthwhile seeing where the partnership does end up. However, if you think that it will just be little more than casual dating, it may not be worth it even trying – even if you do like him at that moment in time.
9. Your kids
If you have kids, they must absolutely be at the forefront of your mind when starting up a partnership with another man with children. They will also have the same fragility when it comes to their emotional and mental health and may struggle to have the emotional maturity to cope with a new father figure in their life. Think for a long time how this romance could affect them – for the good and bad.
10. Your career
As children can be a big drain on your energy resources, as well as simply time-consuming in many practical ways, you need to consider whether you have the ability to have them in your life. In particular, you need to consider whether they will affect your career or not by you having another priority in your life that needs addressing – particularly when your career and his kids may have conflicting needs.
11. You won’t be the number one priority
One of the nicest things about being in a partnership with someone is that you are their number one priority – particularly at the beginning of dating. When it comes to dating a man with kids, you have to be ok with the fact that he could get called away at the last minute and cancel plans with you as he children have to be picked up from somewhere, or looked after.
12. Kids are tiring
Kids are tiring, however wonderful they can be in every other respect. Regardless of age, they will tire out even the youngest of parents. Consider this before dating a man with children therefore as when you are tired, you are more likely to have arguments with the father. Even the happiest of married couples with children will often find themselves in arguments about the kids, which are only exacerbated by tiredness and sleep deprivation.
13. Issues his children may have
It is not uncommon for children from a broken home to have emotional issues that can mean they are very hard work. You have to be aware of these from the outset as it can materially affect your relations with both them and their father. You have to be prepared for the fact that those issues could cause a rift between the father and you.
14. Will you be able to discipline them?
Disciplining someone else’s children is always a very grey area that can quickly descend into a heated debate between parents. Additionally, kids could very well playoff this fact and refuse to listen to you as a mature adult figure in their life. Consider how you will handle situations like this, and whether you could turn to your boyfriend for help, or whether he will always support his child’s point of view.
15. How often will you see them
Of course, sometimes, dating a man with kids is not always the time-consuming activity that it can be if he doesn’t see them very often. This could be by his or their design, but he also could want to see them a lot. However, despite the best intentions he still doesn’t get to see them as much as he’d like. Both of these factors can materially affect your partnership.
16. Will you be expected to be a stepmom
Depending on the balance and type of partnership you have with the father, as well as with the kids themselves, you might not even be expected to play a stepmom type role in the kids’ lives. If that is the case, ask yourself if that is actually what you want. You could become very close to the kids, but find that your opinion is not asked for as you are not a blood relative. Or it might be that you don’t want to be a stepmom but are consistently asked to take a mother figure role.
17. Financial responsibility
Regardless of how close the father is to his kids, your boyfriend will have financial responsibility for them. This could mean that you have less money in your own household or pocket because he has monetary ties elsewhere. Money can sometimes become a source of resentment in a couple, so consider his financial situation before entering into a partnership with him.
Dating someone with kids does make your relationship a little more difficult from the start. In the initial stages of a relationship, you are usually supposed to be dedicating all your energy to one another. However, if you are dating someone with kids, you need to be aware that you won’t be their no.1 priority.
It is absolutely worth dating a guy with kids or a woman with kids. Just because they have a huge pull on their time, doesn’t mean that they are incapable of having a happy and meaningful relationship. In fact, because of their children, they could be more determined to make something of a relationship.
If you don’t think you can take being second in line with a person’s main priorities, then it is probably best not to date a person with kids. Kids are a huge pull on a person’s time and they will always come first. If you don’t want that, then you would be best not to waste your time on this.
It is up to you, your boyfriend and the children in question how long you should wait until you meet them. There is no set time as it will depend on all the different personalities involved as well as the circumstances surrounding your relationship and the relationship your boyfriend has with his children.
While dating a single dad can have its huge benefits – especially if you like him – dating a guy with a kid can be hard as he will always want to put his children first. It means that things with you and your relationship may be pushed further down his list of priorities.
Dating a man with children is hard. There is no denying that. It can take years for a family to become a successful blended family, even if there are no serious emotional issues on anyone’s part. Things can be tough as you all struggle to find a new balance and form new bonds with one another, that can come harder than you may have hoped.
The first things you can all do to make the situation easier and get things as good as they can be, as quickly as they can be, is to ensure that you, your man, and his kids are always talking to each other. Open up the lines of communication with him and his kids and you should find that things take less time to get to a good place.
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé