Dating a man with kids: All you need to know

by Lynn

Are you interested in dating a man with kids but you’re a bit skeptical? Dating is already hard enough so factoring in kids makes it more tricky. However, dating a man with kids does not need to be complicated. Before you start dating a man with kids here is everything you need to know.

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Do they have room for a primary partner?

When it comes to dating a man with kids, you should ask yourself if he has time to date in the first place. His plate might be full with his kids. His schedule might be tight as he probably has to work or has a business during the day and he might be spending several nights a week with the kids. You need to assess if the person you’re interested in dating will have time for you.

Type of breakup

Before you embark on the journey of dating a man with kids, you need to ask what kind of breakup he had with his baby mama. Worst case scenario is his wife or mother of his kids passes away. If this is the case you need to assess how long he’s had to grieve and how his kids handled it. If it was a divorce or a break up you need to know how long they’ve been apart and the type of divorce. How did both parties take it? This will help you manage your expectations when it comes to the ex.

Relationship with the ex

If you’re looking to dating a man with kids, you need to know that his kids have a mother. You need to know if they ended the relationship in good terms or hostile terms. You need to know the type of relationship they have with their ex and their kids. What responsibilities do they both have when it comes to the children and do they spend time as a family. These are all things you need to know.

Boundaries with his ex

Are there any boundaries between him and his ex? Does the ex drop by whenever she wants, does she have access to his house? Are there constant calls or texts? You need to know if they have a healthy relationship with their ex as this can determine your relationship. If they have unhealthy boundaries, chances are they’ll keep complaining about their baby mama and you don’t want to play therapist in your relationship.

Your responsibilities in the relationship

Since the person you’re dating has kids, what will your responsibilities be? Does he expect you to babysit his kids? Does he want you to play mom to his kids? You need to be clear about your expectations in the relationship. He might also not want you to overstep when it comes to his kids.

Are you being realistic?

Now that you know your expectations in the relationship, you should ask yourself the hard question, are you being realistic? You can’t be unrealistic in such a situation. If you love kids you can easily feel like being a mommy to his kids but are you willing to make the sacrifices that come with being a bonus mum? Before dating a man with kids, you may also want to talk about your long-term goals. There’s no point in meeting his kids if you don’t have any long-term plans.

You might not meet the kids straight away

Some parents are very conscious about who they introduce to their kids. So don’t take it personally when you’re not introduced to his kids right away. He just might be used to protecting his kids subconsciously. His kids might also not be ready to meet a new woman in his life. In some cases, you might wait for six months to a year before you officially meet them. For others, it might be quicker.

Long Term Goals

If you’re dating a man with kids, you have to be in it for the long haul. Meeting his kids should be a big deal. This could affect his kids as well, it’s no longer just about you. Breakups also affect his kids and once you break up with him you’re breaking up with his kids as well. The kids need consistency, they don’t need someone coming into their lives and leaving after a short while.

You’ll probably be introduced as “a friend”

Most parents can be cautious about letting their kids know too much about their personal lives. It doesn’t mean that they don’t love you. It just means they want to keep the relationship private for the time being. The first meeting might also be awkward for both you and the kids. So it might be best for everyone if you’re introduced as a friend. If you’re introduced as his girlfriend at first his kids might automatically turn their guard up and you don’t want that. Meeting the kids for the first time is very important but you should be prepared for it to go either way.

Find out how his children feel.

His kids will probably take a long time to accept you. Most of the time they will feel threatened you’re trying to take their space in their fathers’ life. The children will automatically be loyal to their mother, it’s natural. They may also really like you when you’re dating but as soon as you get married things change because the relationship is now more permanent. The children might get confused about your relationship and how that affects them. Take time to analyze how his kids feel about your relationship.

Limited Finances

Your partner might have limited finances because his kids might be in private school so he has to pay school fees while still maintaining their upkeep. If they’re divorced they could be stuck with paying alimony to their ex-wife. So if you like to wine and dine every night you might want to readjust your expectations. Your partner may not be able to take you out for weekend trips as often as you’d like.

Sex Life

Dating a man with kids may mean an affected sex life especially when he has custody of the kids. Depending on how old the kids are, they could jump in bed with you at 7 in the morning. There are ways around this though. You can sneak around while they’re sleeping, this might even keep things interesting.

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No more spontaneity

When your partner has kids, you can’t just wake up in the morning and decide to go on vacation. Your partner has a commitment to his kids, he can’t just drop everything just to be spontaneous with you. This is another thing you have to learn how to live with.

Are you comfortable dating his whole family?

The thing about dating a man with kids is that you get to date his entire family as well. You may end up falling in love with the whole family. You might compromise a lot of things but you may end up with a more rewarding relationship.

Do you even like kids?

This is one of the most important questions you should ask yourself when it comes to dating a man with kids. Do you like kids? Because his kids will always be there. Will you be comfortable taking your partner to PTA meetings? You need to come to terms with the fact that your weekends will include his kids. Make sure you like kids, especially his kids. Make sure you can see yourself spending time with them.

Red flags

When dating a guy with no kids there are red flags you can overlook. however, you can’t do this while dating a man with kids. You should not accept any disrespect or excuses for bad behavior.

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Stigma

Dating a man with kids comes with a certain stigma around it. People assume that you’re trying to take over from the mothers’ kids. If you take a step back from his kids, there’s the assumption you are not taking your role seriously. It’s unfortunate that society sees stepdads as heroes and stepmoms as home wreckers. This is something you will have to get used to. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

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