You like a guy and he tells you he has a child. Don’t get up and run from the table just yet. These tips will help you navigate dating a man with kids.
I know you don’t want to believe it, but this guy that you’re interested in, he had a life before you. Including past relationships and sometimes that includes children. If you really like a guy, here’s what you need to know, to help you navigate the waters of dating a man with kids.
Dating a man with kids
A past means he comes with baggage. I don’t want to call children baggage, but let’s face it, you’re not looking at him telling you he has a kid with pleasant surprise. You may be freaking out right now, but before you start hyperventilating, just chill out. Here are some tips to help get you through this situation.
#1 Are you ready? Dating a guy with a child isn’t the same as dating a guy without one. They have different obligations and aren’t looking for women to walk in and out of their life. They need stability. If you’re still in the phase of getting drunk every weekend and spending your Sundays in bed sobering up, then you’re not ready.
#2 The children come first. If you have possession issues and are highly jealous, this isn’t going to work out for you. The children always come first. For example, if a boat is sinking, they usually get the women and children off of the boat first. But if there’s one life jacket left, and it’s between you and little Tommy, well, you better know how to swim. Don’t even take it personally.
You don’t have kids, so I understand that this isn’t easy to grasp, but, that child is literally a part of him. So, no matter what, no matter how much your man loves you, he will put his kid first.
Honestly, if you’re reading this and thinking, “Well, he always puts me first over his kids,” then you should stop dating him. You would be with a man who neglects his own children? What if you have a child with him? Yeah, exactly.
#3 They’ll always have their ex in their life. Even if he cannot stand his ex, she’s still going to be in his and your life. It’s the mother of his child. You’ll see photos hanging of them on his walls, he’ll be making phone calls to her—that’s normal. It’s called co-parenting. So, they will be in communication with each other regarding their child. Again, if you have a jealous streak in you, lose it.
#4 Get to know his ex. Since his ex is in his life, she’ll want to get to know you as well since you’re spending time with her child. You’ll need to be cordial and come to accept their relationship. Also, you need to show his ex that you’re responsible, respectful, and invested in taking on a parenting role. Because let’s face it, you’ll basically be their stepmom.
Now, don’t overstep your role, but you’ll have to show her you’re not going to negatively affect their child’s life. You’re going to have to accept this as being a part of a team. So, get over your jealous emotions and get involved in your share of the team work.
#5 Don’t meet his kids right away. If he wants to introduce you to his kids after the second date, say no. Listen, if he introduces you to his children, that means he’s serious about you. Also, this introduction is showing his kids that there’s a new woman in their lives. Which isn’t bad, however, it’s not fair for them to be introduced to you, and then you realize you’re not interested.
#6 Don’t be overly eager. Please don’t pull some overly excited, Mary Poppins-type role. First, think about how they see you. You’re not their mother. So, they may view you as an intruder to their family. That means, before you go all Sesame Street on them, just take it slow. It’s an adjustment for not only you, but them as well. They may be temperamental and opinionated around you because they’re hurt.
Before saying something you may regret, remember why they’re acting like this and take it easy. Don’t force anything, kids are highly emotionally and know when you’re being insincere. What I suggest, spend some time individually with them and let them ask you whatever they’d like. You can also sit down with them and let them know that you’re not trying to replace their mother. Essentially, you need to build the trust between you. [Read: Having heavy shoulders – the pitfalls of dating a widower]
#7 Your plans will always change. The minute you have children involved, your plans never completely turn out as planned. Why? Because things happen. Maybe their mother cannot take them to soccer practice or an emergency came up.
If you wanted to go to the movies on Friday night, but the kids unexpectedly come over, well, scrap that movie date. What I’m trying to say is, you’ll need to compromise and accept whatever happens, just go with the flow. If not, you’ll go insane. [Read: How to be the best girlfriend: 25 ways to leave him addicted]
#8 You won’t be sharing “firsts.” He’s a parent which means he’s gone through a lot of “firsts”. Mostly likely, he’s also been married. So for you, much of this will be completely new but for him, he’s been-there-done-that. Not saying he won’t be excited if he was to marry you or have a child with you. All I’m saying is he’s already had this milestone in his life. If completing “firsts” together is of great importance for you, reconsider what you want.
#9 Understand your boundaries. Since these kids aren’t yours, you’ll have to understand you have limits and boundaries that you can’t cross. If you’re angry at the kid and swear at him, well, that’s not appropriate. You don’t have to let the children walk all over you, do maintain your role when they’re challenging you.
#10 Be patient. Dealing with children is no easy task, especially when they’re not yours. If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed, talk to the guy you’re dating and express your feelings. He’ll understand what you’re going through. All in all, don’t be scared to take some time for yourself to de-stress and calm down.
Dating alone is no easy task, and if they have a child, that’s another level. But, you’re dating this guy for a reason, so, if you’re both invested in each other, he’ll support you through this experience.
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A serial dater, Natasha Ivanovic knows a thing or two about men and the dating scene. Much of her writing is inspired by her encounters with men - and for good ...