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Dating guys with kids: What you need to know

Deanna Sletten has been writing for nearly 20 years for magazines and websites. She owns the blog Write Moms that shares information about freelance writing. Deanna is also the author of two fiction novels.

Dating a single dad

Dating a man with children can be tricky. Scheduling time alone together, getting along with the kids and learning not to offer parenting advice can be difficult. As a couple, many times you will not be free to do as you wish and you have to be mature enough to understand this. Dating a guy with kids is not for the faint-of-heart, although if you truly love him and his kids, it can have a multitude of rewards. Here are a few things you should know about dating a guy with kids.

couple on date

Learn to ignore the naysayers

 

When you first start dating a guy with kids, you will probably hear a lot of negative comments from friends and family. They will discourage you from becoming involved with him and tell you things like the kids may not like you, you may have trouble with his ex, you'll never have fun again or you are flat-out ruining your life. Listen, but don't let their advice change your mind if you are truly committed to the relationship. If all works out, his kids can bring great joy to your life.

Suggest not meeting his kids for at least 6 months

When you get involved with a man with children, you are involved with him and the children. Waiting to meet the children until after your relationship together is strong is best. That way, if you both decide to call it quits, the children haven't already become attached to you and won't feel the pain of the breakup, too.

Be flexible about your time together

When kids are involved, you never know when an emergency will arise, so you can't always expect plans to go perfectly. Kids get sick, babysitters aren't always available or school projects are suddenly due tomorrow and dad has to help. If the mother is in the picture, there's always the chance she can't take the kids as planned. Try to be flexible about scheduling dates and understand that you won't always come first because your guy has other responsibilities, too.

Bite your tongue about parenting advice

You may have different ideas on parenting than your man but unless he asks for your advice, try to keep it to yourself. He and his ex are responsible for raising their children and you could cause friction between everyone if you tell him how to parent. Until you are involved in the day-to-day raising of his children, keep your advice to yourself unless asked.

Stay on friendly terms with his ex

If you interact at all with the children's mother, be cordial and try to stay on good terms with her. You don't have to become best friends, just be polite when you see her. If your relationship with him and the children continues to grow, you will have to deal with the ex often so staying on good terms will make life easier. If she dislikes you anyway, just ignore her. Never talk about her in a negative way to the children and just stay out of her way, if possible, to keep the peace.

Don't take it personally if his child dislikes you

You can be the nicest, coolest person on the planet, but if a child decides he isn't going to like you, there is little you can do. Your guy's child has probably experienced either the breakup of his parents or of one or more of his father's girlfriends, so he may not want to get close to you for a long time. Or he may see you as competition for his own mother. Whatever the problem is, it is something the child needs to resolve in his own time. Be polite to the child, don't get caught up in his anger and just wait it out. He will probably come around eventually.

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