Dating a man with kids can be intimidating to say the least. Depending on the child and the circumstances, ie: divorced, separated or a widower, children can be less than welcoming of a new woman in their father’s life—downright nasty in some cases!
There are some women who simply won’t go there and avoid men with children like the plague, but sometimes the heart wants what it wants and women find themselves falling for a man with kids, whether they wanted to or not.
So what’s a girl to do? You can start with these how to’s for dating a man with kids to help you navigate your way through this very special type of relationship.
Know the golden rule: His kids come first…
This really is the most important tip for dating a man with kids. This holds true for a divorcee, a man who is separated, and widower. No matter how much women love the idea of being his number one, the truth is that his kids will always come first and you should want them to. Seriously, what kind of a man would he be if his children weren’t his first priority? Putting his kids first shows that he is loving, committed, and has his priorities straight. This doesn’t stop him from being able to care for you and make you an important part of his life if he wants to. So, let him have the time he needs with his children and don’t ever try to come between them or make him choose because you will be the one left out in the cold.
Let him introduce you to his kids at his own pace…
You aren’t equipped to decide what’s best for his kids and whether or not they’re ready to meet you. As the dad, he should be given the space to decide when he’s ready to introduce you to his kids. It’s not just about making sure they’re ready to meet the new woman in his life, but also about him being sure that what you have is real before he risks letting his children get attached. Take it slow and let him take the lead on this one.
Bite your tongue when it comes to his ex…
Regardless of how or why they broke up, she will forever be a part of his life—and yours if things get serious. They are bonded by their children and even if his nickname for her is ‘The Dragon Lady’, you need to bite your tongue, because saying otherwise can only hurt your relationship with him and his kids. Be especially mindful of what you say about her in front of the kids, keeping in mind how you would feel if someone badmouthed your mother.
Be okay with being discreet about your relationship at first…
He’ll want to tread carefully if he’s worried about how his children will take the news that he’s involved with someone other than their mom, so don’t be offended if he wants to keep your relationship hush-hush for a while. Now, if this goes on too long it could mean that he’s got something to hide, but give him the benefit of the doubt at first while he figures out how to handle things with his kids.
Be prepared to be flexible…
Single dads have commitments that other single guys don’t and you’ll need to be flexible if you want to date a man with kids. A fever, a forgotten PTA meeting, or even just a change in his ex’s schedule can throw a wrench in your plans as a couple. It can get a little frustrating, but some patience and learning to be flexible when something comes up with his kids can help. You may not always get to enjoy the spontaneous fun that a child-free guy can offer, but at least you get to know that your guy is a great one.
Having your own life and interests is a must…
A single dad doesn’t have time for a needy girlfriend and the drama that comes with one. Having your own interests is important for you and him. It will help keep you from resenting the one-on-one time he spends with his children and keep you from trying to monopolize all of his free time. Having your own life also makes and keeps you interesting because it gives you things to talk about and makes you interesting and appealing to him and even to his kids. The time will come when you can all do things together, but even then, having your own life and things to do can help you keep your sanity.
Get ready to be treated like the bad guy…
You’re not their mom; you’re the tramp/b*tch/wicked one who is trying to steal their daddy away and the reason why he won’t go back to mommy—or at least that’s how his kid might perceive you. Whether his children are actual children or well into adulthood, you should be prepared for some pushback and rough times and do your best not to take it personally. It can be pretty rough being treated like the enemy, especially by the flesh and blood of the man you love, but be patient because it will get better eventually. Don’t get visibly upset in front of them and don’t even think of retaliating with punishment of any kind. Just remember that they’re hurting and want what every kid wants, which is for their parents to be together. It’s not their fault that they’ve been dealt a crappy hand and it will take some time for them to accept you. It’s not personal, even if it feels like it is.
To sum it up…
Dating a man with kids might not always be easy, but it can be an eye-opener; opening your eyes to a warm and loving type of man that you might not have ever known before. Learning how to find a good man means that you must look at guys who have kids as an option. What’s a few Saturday’s alone while he’s at little league or Cheerios strewn all over his car when you have a man who knows how to be selfless and nurturing anyway? It’s a fair trade-off, I’d say!
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