In this day and age, dating someone with kids is not that uncommon. We all want to find our perfect match and sometimes that means our perfect match had a life, spouse, and children before meeting us. Many times when clients hire me as a dating coach they have doubts and anxieties about getting involved with someone with kids (even if they have kids of their own!). This blog post will lay out some of the most common areas I address with clients on this subject.
Single parent dating a non-parent
Your free, flexible, mobile and loving life. That’s how many adult professionals who don’t have kids are seen by single parents. As a non-parent, it’s true that you likely don’t have certain demands on your time. Other than work and commitments you choose to dedicate your time to, your time is likely your own. Now if you have a caregiver role or something else that’s a major responsibility in your life, then you understand
Questions to ask when dating someone with kids
Communication is key in any relationship, but especially when there are other major factors that will impact that relationship. In this case, I’m talking about the time commitment of the partner who has kids. When I’m hired as a dating coach, one thing my clients come to understand is the need to get important questions answered early. Some of those questions include:
- Who is the custodial parent?
- What is the relationship dynamic with the other parent?
- How does your child (or children) feel about you dating?
- Are you looking for a serious or casual relationship at this point?
- Do you have open and honest lines of communication between you and your child (or children)?
- How do you plan to effectively manage spending quality time with me when you have important childcare responsibilities?
These questions may seem forward but guess what, asking them early on in dating will allow you to make a better decision about whether to continue dating the person with kids or not. Truth is most single or parents who share custody really don’t think about these things.
Asking these questions will allow them to better understand where you’re coming from and what the expectations are. Face the reality that the welfare of the children will come first. This means a very real possibility of missed dates due to events/illnesses/surprises that may arise with the kids. If this is something that you’re not ready for, then dating someone with kids is probably not for you.
Being in a relationship with a woman who has a child
There is no “one size fits all” answer to this question, especially since in the scenario where a person is dating someone with kids, they will likely be a bit more impacted if the woman is the one who has a child or children. The reason for this is simple. In my experience as a professional life coach, I’ve noticed that women are usually the primary caregiver in single-parent scenarios. If you are a person who likes a woman who has the responsibilities of a child or children, be prepared to have certain limits on time and location for dating. What I mean is there will be times when she is simply not available. Especially if she is the custodial parent. Also, recognize there will probably need to be extensive planning for any quick getaways or romantic vacations. She likely just can’t leave work on Friday and catch a flight somewhere with you. She has responsibilities that are far more important than you and that’s something you need to understand upfront.
Often when clients are trying to find a life coach, they want a person who agrees with what they say. That’s why professional life coaches have Discovery Sessions. The purpose is to clearly lay out what a life coach does as well as ensure the potential client understands that questions will be asked that might challenge their way of thinking. This means if you believe when you’re dating someone with kids that their priorities need to shift, a professional life coach will dig deeper into this area to see what you actually want.
- What is the end result that you’re actually seeking in the relationship?
- What makes you think that a woman with children should shift her priorities?
- How would you feel if those were your kids and your ex was dating and decided to shift her priorities to someone she was dating?
As a professional life coach, I ask that you put the shoe on the other foot and broaden your perspective.
When to introduce kids to boyfriend
If you’re the non-parent in the scenario of dating someone with kids, and the relationship is going very well over several months (at least), you’re going to be faced with meeting the child or children of your sweetie. While dating someone with kids can be awesome, this is something that many of my clients have come to me with tons of anxiety! If the relationship has been going well, you should have a fairly clear idea about some of the following characteristics of your girlfriend’s kid or kids:
- extracurricular activities
- any (major) health issues
- relationship with their other parent
- how they feel about their mom dating
With these key facts in mind, you can have a very open and honest conversation about when and where to meet her kids for the first time. For example, if she has younger children, an amusement park or a ball game where you, your girlfriend and her kids all go out together might be fitting. If she has a teenager who likes a certain genre of music or has a specific hobby, something music-related or geared to their hobby that you, your girlfriend and her child can all do together may work.
Whatever you chose, in my experience as a professional life coach, neutral territory is usually the best. Come in separate cars and leave in separate cars from a location that is not their home with their mom. This isn’t an absolute rule but what I’ve seen is this approach gives the kids some space and comfort as well. After whatever activity you all decided to do together, the kid or kids can talk to their mom on the ride home about their thoughts about you. On the same token, whether the ‘meet and greet’ went good or bad, you riding home in your own car gives you time to process as well before the next time you talk to your girlfriend. Some feelings you want to be very aware of include:
- How do you feel about her kid or kids overall?
- What was the kid(s) energy and attitude towards you?
- What was your energy and attitude toward the kid(s)?
- Are there any dynamics between mother and child(ren) that stood out to you?
- Would you want to have another outing with your girlfriend and her child(ren)?
Be honest here. The answers to these questions will clearly determine if there is a future in dating this woman.
Is dating a man with a child worth it
Similar to dating a woman who has kids, there is no “one size fits all” answer to this question. When clients contact me to hire a dating coach, their situations can run the gambit of the guy sounds like he is totally worth it to dump his ass yesterday! But seriously, the dynamics of the man and his child (or children) are very important when it comes to the right choice for you. You also must consider how big or small of a role you want to play in the lives of the children if the relationship gets serious. Dating someone with kids is hard but only you can weigh the pros and cons of your particular situation.
For example, if the man that you’re dating seems to be a very attentive father with appropriate boundaries with his ex and you have a positive rapport with the kid(s), then this seems like it would be a relationship that’s worth your time and energy to see where it goes. On the other hand, if you’re dating a great guy who has an ex who causes drama and/or kid(s) with whom you don’t have a good vibe, you may want to really think hard about the personal cost of continuing in the relationship.
This may sound harsh but the reality is the guy you’re dating decided to marry and have kids or just have kids with the person he did. If he calls her “crazy”, that’s a cop-out. She is the same person she has always been, he’s just now willingly seeing the characteristics of her personality that the people around him were probably trying to tell him about far before he had kids with her. So if she’s “crazy” and the kids are a mess, that’s his problem, not yours. Save your time, heart and sanity and get out of any situation like this asap!
Tips for dating someone with kids
I want to recap some of the major takeaways that you need to keep in mind if you decide that dating someone with kids is for you:
- Ask critical questions upfront when dating someone with kids
- Meet the person you are dating’s kids for the first time in neutral territory
- Drive your own car when meeting the person your dating’s kids for the first time
- Be honest about your own level of comfort and flexibility in this type of dating situation
- Understand the cost of staying in a relationship when dating someone with kids who has drama with their ex or their kids
- Limitations on time, availability, and mobility come into play when you’re dating someone with kids — spontaneity is usually not an option at all or very limited
Dating someone with kids can be fabulous or it can be a total waste of time. It all depends on the attitude you go into the relationship with as well as the person (and their situation) you’re dating. Either way, you need to be very honest with yourself before even considering getting involved in this type of dating. Parents have responsibilities and obligations that, if you’re a non-parent, you may not understand.
If you meet a fabulous man or woman and you two have a great connection, and they tell you they have kids, understand what that means in terms of them having romantic relationships. Know what you’re getting into and know that it’s ok if it’s not for you.
Are you currently dating someone with kids? Are you struggling with your feelings in such a relationship but know that this person is for you? Interested in learning more about how to approach and date in this type of situation? Then book a session today!
Other blog posts of interest:
♦ Are You A Hot Mess At Dating?!
♦ Importance of Sex in A Relationship
♦ How To Be Successful After A Break-up
♦ Cool Posts – Volume 1 (Dating After Divorce)
♦ Bold First Date Questions That NEED To Be Asked