What needs to happen for the most important person in this relationship; the child?
It is likely that in your single life you’ve been approached or taken interest in dating someone with kids. The dating game is filled with single parents who are looking for love, just like anyone else.
If things are starting to heat up between yourself and a single parent, you might find that you’re needing to take a deeper look within and see if you’re ready to step up to the plate to be part of a family unit.
There are several questions you should be asking yourself before dating someone with kids; here are our top seven.
1. What are the realistic duties you’ll have to take on?
This would involve your partner to identify your roles and responsibilities. Do they need you to respect their boundaries and not push for family involvement? Or would they expect you to help with some parenting responsibilities, perhaps rides and coming to school events?
You may need to have a conversation on the role you will be taking, taking the cue from your partner, and following their direction carefully. This should be an open conversation where you can honestly say what you are willing to do and what makes you uncomfortable for the time being.
When you first start dating someone with kids you should not expect to become a parent overnight, especially if you are not one yourself.
2. Am I responsible enough?
Are you ready to be around a child? If you’re still not taking care of yourself it is unwise to take on the responsibility of a child, no matter the age.
You should ask yourself what you’re willing to give up. This could look like becoming more serious and committed, the end of major partying days, and cutting out risky friendships in your life.
Being involved in a child’s life is recognizing where exactly in your life you still have some growing up to do. If you’re not ready to step up to the plate, you need to be able to admit that to yourself and step out before things get serious.
3. Are you flexible?
Parents are never on time. Babysitters cancel, kids fight to get dressed and put on your shoes, things are forgotten at home. Dates can be seldom and in small windows of opportunity. You must be willing to bend at will, because nothing will ever go as planned, no matter how committed either of you are prepared to be.
This is non-negotiable. You have to adapt to go with the flow with single parents.
4. Are you patient? If not, can you learn to be?
Cancellations might make you upset. The truth is, kids are on their own time. This is a great lesson in patience and understanding that you can’t get everything you desire in the same instant gratification that dating someone without a family presents. This is something you may have to sacrifice but is so worth it to be part of a single parent’s life.
It’s okay if you’re not patient yet; this is something you can start practicing on through therapy and breathing exercises. Be prepared to take things slow with a single parent; you’ll have plenty of time to work on yourself and become the person that family needs you to be.
5. Can you be civil with the other parent?
It is likely that the child might have a tumultuous relationship with their other parent, or your partner may be at wit’s end with them. It is your job to be supportive, but not to put your opinions of the other parent above the needs of your potential partner or child.
It is for them to form their own opinions, boundaries, and relationships.
On the other hand, they may have a good relationship. It is up to you to not be jealous or to let your annoyances get the best of you. It is important for these blended families to work things out together for the best intentions of their children. You must allow for this to happen and be a support to your partner and their child.
6. How will you react if the child doesn’t like you?
No matter how charming you are, no matter how much their parent loves you, it is likely the child won’t warm up to you right away. You are an outside stranger and you have to gain their trust.
Don’t give up if your partner’s child isn’t too keen on you at first.
This is where all of your resources come into play; being patient, allowing flexibility. It can take years before a child accepts you as part of the family; are you willing to wait it out for their sake?