The dynamics of dating have changed drastically over the last few decades. It has become quite likely that you will date a single parent at some point in your life.
If you find yourself dating a single dad, you may have some reservations. It’s okay to feel nervous about dating someone with children. Luckily, by setting a few simple boundaries in place, you can give the relationship the best chance at succeeding.
Avoid the Pressure of Meeting His Kids Too Quickly
One of the most important factors of the relationship to consider is, of course, the children. Don’t feel pressure to meet them more quickly than you feel ready for. You should get to know the person you’re dating before you meet his children.
If things don’t work out between you two, it will be confusing for the kids if they meet someone who is gone a week later. If you feel the relationship is going well, you and your partner should discuss when the best time to meet the children would be.
Be Wary of How Long He’s Been Single
This information is essential and knowing this can help identify red flags. How long has your new partner been separated from their old partner? Is their most recent ex also the mother of their children?
These questions are crucial to ask because you don’t want to start a relationship with someone who isn’t emotionally ready to be in another one. You owe it to yourself to protect your emotional well-being. If your partner is newly separated or divorced from his old partner, he may not be as ready for a relationship as you are. He may seem ready because he’s dating, but he may not be aware of his lack of emotional availability. It’s your job to practice good self-care and pay attention to what he’s showing you not the way you wish he would behave.
Consider How He Treats the Mother of His Children
You don’t need to be best friends with his ex. But be sure to note how he talks to or about his ex. If he is tense and angry at her all the time, this is a bad sign. It’s important to keep in mind how difficult breakups can be, but courtesy is necessary when there are children involved.
If he doesn’t seem to make an effort to be friendly or at least neutral towards his ex, it may not be a good time for a relationship or it could a red flag of issues to come. Pay attention to how he talks about his ex in front of the children. This is a sign that he is either still into her or is holding a grudge against her. Either way, this could be a lose-lose situation for you.
Take Note of How He Treats His Children
It’s safe to say that you don’t want to date a man who neglects or treats his children badly. It’s important to observe his relationship with them.
Different fathers have different parenting styles, but you likely don’t want someone completely clueless about raising kids. You also don’t want to be with someone who has very few expectations of his children and refuses to set limits with his children. You don’t want to end up feeling obligated to be responsible for his children. You can certainly offer them some guidance, but it’s not your job to raise them.
If you’re a single mom dating a man who also has children be mindful of how he treats your children as well. Follow your gut and move slowly when it comes to expecting there to be alone-time between your partner and the children.
Try to Keep Everyone’s Best Interest in Mind
Dating someone with children is tricky. The kids are going to be his top priority, as they should be. It may be hard for you to bond with his kids, especially considering the age of the children. Try to take everything in stride, be mindful of boundaries, and not to push anything that feels unnatural.Communication is always key! If you feel things aren’t working out, don’t feel guilty about stepping away. But if you set proper boundaries, your relationship will have a very good chance of succeeding. Check out this article to learn how to prioritize your relationship as a stepcouple.Stepmoms: 5 ways to prioritize your relationship as a stepcouple | Shelly Ware | The Counseling Clinic