As you get older, dating is a lot different. You have more exes to deal with, jobs, education, other marriages, and of course kids. This isn’t the same ballgame as it was back in high school. Not only are you trying to impress your date and her family, but you are also trying to impress her little ones as well. This is something that can be hard to deal with for you and the children too. But no worries here are a few tips on how to make it easier.
Kids Come First
If you do not have kids and you are going after a single parent, it might be hard to imagine that you will not be your partner’s top priority. I am sure that in your past relationships, you and your partner both had a mutual feeling that you were each other’s number one priority. This is common, you have never had the responsibility of helping another little human grow.
Just don’t get upset if dates get canceled or postponed, conversations on the phone get interrupted, or it’s hard to find a good day to go out. They want to talk and hang out with you; their child will just always have their main focus.
It is very important that you realize that dates may not only consist of you and your date. When you are a single parent, it is very hard to find free time. Even when you do, you may have to find a babysitter just to go out (which costs money AND is inconvenient for the parent). Don’t be surprised if they ask if they can go somewhere where they can bring their kids along as well.
It is vital that you show them that you are okay with these kinds of dates. There is nothing more romantic than the parent knowing that you will willingly want to get to know their kids and that you are comfortable with their lifestyle. They also want to know that you understand that you have committed to a relationship with the two of them, not just the parent. Children can be a deal breaker if you act like you have no concern for the child.
On that note, is also important to remember that if you do not think you are ready for children in your life, do not get involved with someone who has kids! This brings hardship on the parent and the kids, that never needed to happen in the first place. It is okay to tell someone your feelings before the relationship gets too serious. That will show them that you respect not only their lives but their kids’ lives as well.
Parents are Protective
If someone has been a single parent to their child, they are going to be protective of them. Remember it has just been just the parent and their kids for a while; their kids are their whole life. They may not want you to meet them for several months until they are sure that the relationship is serious. Parents do not want to bring lovers into their child’s lives unless they are pretty sure that they won’t be leaving their lives any time soon. Do not take this personally, it is just for the child’s well -being.
Because you may not meet the child for a while, it is important to show that you are interested. Ask about their kids every time you talk to them. If the parent feels that you are not at all interested in their life, more than likely that will make them less interested in you. They also may need someone to rant about their kids to. Being a single parent is hard and a lot of work. Let you be the person they can go to when they need a little relief.
Ex May Always Be in the Picture
One hard concept about dating someone with kids is that the ex will always be in the picture. The kids will have to go and stay with the other parent which just so happens to be your partner’s ex. You need to be ready for your partner to talk about their ex frequently because they are the parents of a child together.
Their ex is the parent of the child that you may soon have a relationship with too. It is so important not to get mad, upset, or jealous of this person. If you are willing to be in this relationship, it means that you are going to have to be willing to see and hear about your partner’s ex. Show your lover that you are capable of dealing with this and that you know your relationship is strong enough that their ex doesn’t threaten it.
Also, because your lover may have been divorced, or for whatever the reason is that they are no longer with the other parent of the child, they may have trust issues. This is the perfect time for you to show them that not all relationships end the same and that they CAN trust someone other than just themselves to help them get through life. Single parents are strong, independent people. They are so used to doing everything themselves that they will be so relieved when they find someone like you who can take just a little bit off their chest.
It may be easy for you to make last minute, spontaneous plans, but your partner has many schedules to base their plans off of. It is important that you do not make this seem like a bother. Try to plan dates ahead of time, so that you and your partner can find a good time that fits in with them and their children’s schedules. Also, you do not have to go out every time. Sometimes it might be nice for your partner to just sit at home and watch a movie or have a homemade dinner. They are constantly running around busy with their kids, they may just need a relaxing day with you.
Make sure that you let them know that you appreciate you making time in their busy schedules. They may not have had someone appreciate them in a romantic way in a while. Tell them how much it means to you that they may have taken time away from their kids to spend with you. They are leading such busy lives and its nice for them to hear that once in a while.
Give Them Time to Respond
I am sure that you always have your phone on you. Whether it’s scrolling through social media, texting friends or watching videos, I am sure that at most points in the day you can easily access your phone. When you are a parent, sometimes you are lucky if you even know where your phone is. Make sure that if you are trying to contact your partner, you do not get suet if they do not answer your phone call or text right away. It honestly could even take them up to a few hours for them to see that you attempted to contact them. Give them time, they may not be as attached to their phone as you.
Form a Relationship
The most important thing to remember is that if you are going to be a part of these children’s lives, you need to form a relationship. This will not only help your partner and relieve some stress, but it will help the children cope with a new person coming into their lives as well. Once your partner says that is okay for you to be a part of their children’s lives, make sure you show effort. Show up to support them at their events, make them dinner, take them to the movies. You want to have a friendship with the kids.
At this point, you are not yet married into this family. You do not want to try to overstep boundaries with your partner by trying to parent their kids or try to dishonor their parental decisions. Overall, they are still the parent, and all decisions are up to them, not you.
If you are having trouble forming bonds with the children, start out slow and work your way up. It is hard for children to come to the realization that their parent is going to date other people. Give them time to cope and do your best to make them feel comfortable with the situation.
Single parents are strong people. They know what it is like to be on their own, and they’re good at it. They make great partners and will do anything for you. Just remember that it is vitally important not to come in between a parent and their and children. Children come to love new mentors in their life like you, you just have to have the patience and treat them right. You are lucky because not only did you find a new lover, you found new amazing children that may change your life for the better.