17 Things You Need To Know Before Dating Someone With Kids

You might be skeptical about dating someone with kids and are unsure how to go about it. Well, it might not be easy to date a single parent, but children should not be a deterring factor for your relationship to continue. Also, you should understand that children will be their priority, and you might need to adjust accordingly.

Keep reading our post to understand more about essential things you need to know when dating a person with children. It may help you avoid hiccups and have a healthy relationship.

In This Article

Is It Okay To Date Someone With Kids?

Dating is an entirely personal choice. If you are single, and you like someone who is also single and interested in dating you, why not give it a try? This applies to dating someone with kids too — although the dynamics of dating might change drastically.

Being a stepparent to a child or children is not an easy task. You probably are only interested in being with the one you like and may not have factored in the kids. So, before you start dating someone with kids, you need to consider every aspect attached to such a relationship.

After considering the relationship from every possible angle, if you think you are ready to commit, not only to a partner but also to their kids, then nothing should stop you from going ahead with it.

17 Things You Need To Know When Dating Someone With Kids

You must be prepared and excited about the new person in your life. But before you get into a relationship with someone who already has kids, here are a few things you need to know.

1. Dating a parent is different

You should also trust your partner and be accommodative

Image: IStock

The first thing you need to understand is that dating a parent of kids is different from dating an individual who is single. For them, their kids are their priority, and you must be willing to accept it. They will also likely be in touch with their ex or spouse to coordinate their kids’ lives, and you must be secure enough to handle it. You should also trust your partner and be accommodative.

2. Learn about their availability

If your partner is co-parenting, there will be days when they have to look after their kids and days when the kids are with the other parent. Learn about their custody dating life and free days and plan your dates and meetings accordingly. On days they are busy, you may also have to help pick their kids up from school or offer to look after them till they finish their work and return home.

protip_icon Point to consider
It is crucial to leave space for them to have some personal time with themselves or their friends while planning for dates. Be aware of their priorities and ensure that there isn’t pressure to choose your meetings over other activities.

3. Consider your compatibility

An essential factor you need to consider is how compatible you are with them and how much your lives are in sync. You need to know if your plans align with theirs, as this could make a great difference to your partner and their children. Your lifestyle needs to match theirs so that it is easy for the children to accept you as a part of their lives.

4. Don’t expect to meet their kids soon

It is natural, and rightfully so, for parents to keep their children out of their dating life. You never know how long your relationship will last. No parent would want their child to get attached to a partner who would not be around for long. Hence, they might prefer you to meet them only after they are fully sure about the relationship. In the end, it is their choice.

5. Offer to help

You can find them a good nanny or babysitter.

Image: IStock

If you want your partner to spend time with you, make provisions to have their children cared for. You can find them a good nanny or offer to bear the cost of a good babysitter. Once your date knows their children are taken care of, they will be at ease and more willing to see you. You could also offer to pick them up from work and drive them home. Remember, you may have to do things that will make it convenient for them to meet you. But be careful with this one because you don’t want to give the impression that you are trying to ‘get rid’ of the kids so you two can have time together.

6. Know your role in their children’s lives

You need to ask your partner the kind of role they would want you to play in their children’s lives. Should you be actively involved, or do they want you to meet their kids only during holidays and special occasions? It’s important for your partner and the children to know that you are not replacing the other parent or guardian and that you fully respect the other parent and their role.

7. Have patience with kids

Are you worried about whether you will get along with the kids or whether they will like you? Don’t put any pressure on yourself or the kids with unrealistic expectations. Don’t expect things to go smoothly at first. The kids may take some time to ‘size you up’ and may expect you to prove yourself worthy of their time and attention; they may need to see how you treat their parent and if you talk poorly about their other parent.

Genuinely take the time to get to know them and discover what they love to do. Guide them through your relationship with the parent and tell them how you feel about them. Kids are no different than adults, and they, too, appreciate it when a person shows an authentic interest in them and tries to interact without any hidden agendas.

A word of caution: be careful not to give the appearance that you are buying their affection. It’s quite natural to want to buy them things they desire but often kids will misconstrue this as a way of buying their affection.

8. Exercise caution around kids

Watch your words and actions in front of the kids.

Image: IStock

Kids are impressionable, and you need to watch your words and actions in front of them. Be at your best behavior around them no matter what age. You cannot bad mouth your partner’s ex in front of them. They will only resent you and never accept you in their life.

9. Always have a backup plan

With children involved, you can never predict how your date plan might go. There will be times when your partner will have to choose between you and their children and you should expect them to choose the children. To try and mitigate this possibility, help your partner devise a backup plan and plan your dates well in advance so they can ensure their children will be taken care of.

10. Try to be understanding

There will be times when your partner may cancel on you at the last minute or may not show up at all. You may have to sacrifice some fun moments you planned for the both of you. They may even forget to meet you. Try to be more understanding as managing kids and their personal life is not easy. In such a situation, you need to understand that your partner is not doing it on purpose and that some situations may be beyond their control.

protip_icon Quick tip
Offer emotional support when they are feeling low. Understand that there may be times when all they need is to kick back and relax at home with someone to comfort them after a tiring day at home and work.

11. Accept that you will have to share your partner’s time and attention.

Accept your partner’s attention will be divided.

Image: IStock

When in love, you might want your partner to shower you with lots of love, devotion, and attention. But this may be a tad bit difficult in this case as your partner’s love and attention will be divided between you and their kids. You have to be accommodative enough to accept that you are not their center of attention.

A blogger under the username Fresy shares her experience dating a single father. She says, “I dated a guy with three kids for about over a year. He is a fantastic father. And this is one of the things that attracted me in the beginning… He introduced me to his children after several months, and they liked me a lot.

“As our relationship progressed, I started noticing that he was using kids as an excuse whenever there was an issue between the two of us. He wasn’t just a father. They were a source of validation and inspiration for him… And one day, I realized there was no space for me in that setup (i).”

12. Be ready to make compromises

Impromptu dates or surprise weekend getaways may not be an option when dating someone with kids. Additionally, you may also have to learn to make compromises for the sake of your date and their children. For instance, you may want to spend the night at their place or may want them to stay back with you at your place, but leaving kids alone at home may not be a feasible idea for them

13. Try to be comfortable with kids’ talk

For most parents, their favorite topic of discussion is their children. When talking to your partner, they might likely mention their kids in their conversation a couple of times. Since they think so much about their kids, it is only natural for them to talk about them. So be prepared to listen to stories about their children. One of the best ways to get to know the children is to ask your partner about them. Find out what they were like when they were little, what their favorite memories are,, favorite activities, fears, and more. If they ask you for some advice for their children, feel free to instruct them and help them. A person’s children are typically the most important people in their lives and if you want to be a part of that life, it’s important you genuinely take an interest and learn to care about their children.

14. Get accustomed to ex talk

They might mention their ex too. This will be more frequent if they are co-parenting their kids. From coordination of parenting duties to complaints about the ex, you may have to listen to it all. Their ex, with whom they have had their children, is an integral part of their life, and you will have to accept it. Listen but try not to stoke the fire by adding your complaints about their ex. Just like you don’t want to ever make your partner choose between you or their children, you also don’t want to put them in the middle, between you and their ex. It may be tempting to give them advice on how to handle their ex but it’s best to keep it to yourself until your ex asks for your advice. Be present for them in every way you can.

15. Understand the ex’s place in their life

Your partner’s previous relationship may or may not have ended amicably, but there is no denying that when children are involved, their ex will be involved in their life too. You need to understand their co-parenting responsibilities and arrangement. If the ex is not too friendly, it is best you stay away from them as they might not appreciate your interference, especially in their children’s lives.

16. Ensure you both are on the same page

Assess if you are ready for a long-term commitment.

Image: IStock

You may be at a stage where you wish to see how the relationship shapes as time goes by, but it may not be the same for your date. Your date has many things to take care of and might be looking for some serious commitment. So, assess if you are ready for a long-term commitment. Educate yourself on how to handle the relationship if the other partner is on a different page. Learn how to work through it.

An anonymous writer says it is vital to have a prior discussion about what you are looking for. She says, “After a conversation, Ronnie (date) and I decided that we’ll take it as it goes, and pretty much we are on the same page… for now. As long as we are on the same page, we might as well stick to it – whether this lasts a week or a month. As long as we are both having fun then there is nothing more to question right now (ii).”

17. Remember that sex could be challenging

With children around, there will be times when the little ones will need their parent’s attention right when you are getting some action in the bedroom. You may feel frustrated, but do not give up easily. If you make the children follow a regular schedule and know their sleeping time, you surely can make your intimate moments a lot more exciting even in the allotted time.

Dating someone with kids can be different but not wrong morally or socially. Just because someone has kids does not mean they are no longer eligible for dating or relationships. However, one must understand the dynamics and responsibilities of dating someone with kids. Unlike dating someone single, this person will have their time divided between you and their kids. Their kids are an irreplaceable part of their lives, and they will expect you to understand and accept that. If you are dating someone with kids, you may need to be patient until they feel comfortable enough for letting you meet their kids. You may also want to consider that the dating person may still be in touch with their ex-wife or girlfriend if they are co-parenting. They may even be sharing a good bond. Talk to your partner about the arrangement they have, things they expect from you, and things you are not comfortable with before getting into a relationship with them.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why shouldn’t you date someone with kids?

Dating someone with kids brings with it a fair share of responsibilities. You should think twice before dating someone with kids because the children’s biological parent will be involved somehow, and you may not be comfortable with it. You may have to give much more than what you receive, you may have to take care of their children, you may not get the attention you desire, and the plans may keep changing since their children would be their priority.

2. How long should you date someone before they meet your child?

A person should wait about six months before introducing his/her potential partner to their children. You should ensure that you have found someone whom you can trust around your children before introducing them to your children.

3. Is it hard dating someone with a child?

Dating someone with a child may be challenging due to time management, establishing boundaries with the other, having to cross paths with the parent, and other emotional considerations. But as long as you have open communication and are willing to make mutual compromises, you can have a pleasant relationship.

4. Do guys mind dating single mothers?

People may have different preferences when it comes to dating. Some people may feel that dating a single mother is too much responsibility, while others may think it is a good opportunity to be with an experienced partner. Ultimately, it is essential to find someone who understands you and is kind to your children. It’s also important to be honest about your parenting responsibilities with your partner.

Infographic: Important Questions To Ask Yourself

Dating someone with children can be tricky. Sometimes, you may get so carried away with love that you may fail to realize that dating someone with children can be a different experience. This infographic presents some essential questions to ask yourself before dating someone with children so you can decide better.

questions to ask yourself before dating someone (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Dating someone with kids isn’t easy as it brings additional responsibilities.
  • Readiness to compromise and understand your role in their children’s lives are things to consider before making a decision.
  • Understanding their role as a parent and staying committed could help have a lasting relationship.

Personal Experience: Source

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Trish Guise

Trish GuiseMBA, PMDC

Trish is a divorce and pre-mediation coach with certification in New Ways for Families. She primarily deals with clients’ post-separation abuse, coercive control, and high conflict ex-spouses. Having experienced her high-conflict divorce, Trish helps clients with her personal experience coupled with a professional qualification. She is an associate with Supporting Wellness Psychological and Family Services and a Canadian Ambassador for...read full bio