7 Tips About Dating Guys Who Have Kids | Thought Catalog
I never imagined myself dating someone who had a child from a previous relationship—not that I was against it but it just didn't cross my mind. I definitely felt this with the guy I'm dating but with kids in the picture, being together 24/7 isn't an option. Once that clicked, I actually found it sexy that he could. "I know it's against your nature," she said,"but when it comes to his kids, be a cat, not a dog. You're going to want to hug them and bond with.
He gave me tennis lessons and I dragged him to yoga class. We went to Club 33 at Disneyland and he treated me to couples massages and pool time at the Four Seasons spa.
But my favorite thing was always cuddling on the couch and talking. I was starting to wonder what our relationship would look like when it became a story for four, instead of two. We decided to wait six months before my first meeting with his girls: We figured flashing lights and photo booths, prizes and pinball, loud noises and lots of other kids would be a good distraction from "Dad has a girlfriend," which also means: I could hardly stand keeping my distance.
Like a puppy dog, I wanted to cuddle up to them and play, but I remembered her advice not to overwhelm them, so I pretended like this was all no big deal, and tried to find the feline inside. I tried to relax, think of the stretch of time ahead of us, remind myself there's no rush. Because my own parents are divorced, I know what it's like when Dad has a girlfriend.
Months later, in a quiet moment, I told the girls as much, and let them know it's OK to have any range of feelings about all this. Affairs columns "It's not weird," said his older daughter. Her sister, silent, looked at me, and tilted her head, as if to say, "Hmmm… we'll see about you. But it's still hard sometimes, and I think about Jennifer's advice quite a bit. There's nothing like it online. Instead, I find hundreds of articles about how to advance and evolve, take steps forward.
For me, however, progress has come only with a practice of restraint: Relax like a cat and take a step back. The first time I attended a school play, David's daughter came out after the show. I wanted to run over and hug her, give her the flowers we brought, congratulate her on a good performance — until I saw her mom and realized that my desires were tertiary. The girls come first, their parents second, and I'm a distant third. I took a physical step back and let their mom have the moment.
It happens all the time.
Even now, out of respect for the girls' privacy, I self-limit sharing stories. I usually sit on the other side of the couch so the girls can cuddle up with their dad when we watch movies.
They bicker and I remain silent, allowing him to parent as he sees fit. This is not to say I'm invisible, merely respectful. It's a conscious choice. I resist my own nature and slow down, try to remain responsive to the girls' needs, subordinate my own. As part of an entrepreneurial project, David's elder was selling homemade lip gloss, and when I offered to buy some, her sister said, "Well, it's kinda like you're family, so you should get the family discount!
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Explore these questions early in the relationship. BTW, if he's separated versus divorced, consider that a red flag.
There's a reason for the expression, "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Find out what his relationship is to his ex. If he has a hostile relationship with his ex, you can expect a lot more complications than what will already naturally exist when dating or living with a guy who has kids.
Hostile ex-wives tend to extend their bitterness to the new woman in her ex's life. Some will try to alienate their children from their father as well as his new partner.
Best advice I ever got for dating a guy with kids: Be like a cat, not a dog - Los Angeles Times
Privacy in the home becomes difficult because angry mothers tend to interrogate their children when they return home from Dad's house. Some love to file court hearings at the drop of a hat and there is the potential for you, if you are living or ultimately married to him, to be pulled into these post-marital dramas.
If he has a friendly relationship with his ex, how friendly is it? Some men feel pulled between their ex and their new partner. Find out where you stand in this picture.
Find out what his boundaries are with his ex. Many of you may have found out the hard way that your new love had lousy boundaries with his ex. The ex dropped by, came into the home and maybe even had a key! There were texts, emails and phone calls on a constant basis. Your new guy may be constantly complaining to you about his ex and before you know it, you are both caught up in the drama of continually talking about her latest antics. This is not a topic that you want to be the thing that binds you.
Healthy boundaries must be established to preserve the privacy and sanity of you both as the new couple. This is not to suggest that friendship between exes isn't a good thing. It's great for them to get along but things have to change when another person enters the picture. Boundaries must be created to prevent unwanted intrusions. Your guy must make it clear to his ex about how much communication is needed and to emphasize that it needs to be focused on the kids.
Find out what his expectations are when it comes to your role with his children. It's not uncommon for divorced men, especially if they think their ex is a less-than-adequate mother, to want you to come in and fill a "mommy hole" for his children. Men may not consciously realize this, but most divorced men I work with will admit to wanting their new partner to be a bit like Mother Teresa and Mary Poppins combined.
Your guy loves you, thinks your terrific, and may want you to sprinkle your magic fairy dust around and help him clean up any mess left over from his previous marriage and divorce.
This is a big time set up! There is no such thing as a "bonus mom" unless the kids themselves decide to see you that way and the majority of them won't. You would be wise to make it clear that you have no intentions of trying to buck nature blood is thicker than water and are more than willing to treat his children in kind and loving ways and support him in his role as a parent.
Find out how his children feel.
7 Tips About Dating Guys Who Have Kids
Know that his children will most likely take a long time to accept you. Fantasies of "The Brady Brunch" and a "blended" family are attached to, despite the fact that neither one of these are realistic for most. It's not uncommon for children to love their father's girlfriend but as soon as Dad and girlfriend say, "I do", their feelings change drastically, often times confusing even them. Soon, couples come into my office saying, "We never knew it would be this hard.
This number can be reduced by getting rid of unrealistic expectations and being prepared for the difficulties that will naturally present themselves. Those of us who specialize in working with stepfamilies advise a role more like an Aunt or an adult ally not a friend. The truth is a large number of young adult stepchildren who've had a stepmother for years report not feeling close to them.