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How to Date Men With Kids

by Christie Hartman

Dating men with children is very different from dating childless men. When you get involved with a single dad, he not only comes with children that require his time and energy, he probably comes with an ex-wife or partner with whom he has a co-parenting relationship. If you’re dating a man with kids and want things to go well, it’s important to follow a few guidelines.

Get The Facts

No single dad is alike. When you meet a man with kids, finding out his situation will make it easier to know what to expect when dating him. How many kids does he have? More children are more work for the single dad. How old are they? Younger children require more care than older ones, but they’re often more accepting of a new partner. How often do they live with him? A single dad with 50-50 parenting time will have free time for you when the kids are at Mom’s.

Adjust Your Expectations

A single dad has important responsibilities he must attend to. He must feed his kids, drop them at school, help with homework, take them to baseball or dance practice, and meet all the other responsibilities that come with parenting. As a result, he will have less free time when he has his kids, and some of your time together may involve doing stuff with the kids. Holidays and weekends away must be scheduled around his parenting time. Likewise, kids get sick or have problems from time to time, which can occasionally interfere with plans you made.

Take Things Slowly

When dating a man with kids, avoid meeting the kids too soon. Wait until your relationship becomes serious; kids often become attached to new partners, so it’s better to wait until you believe the relationship will last. When you do meet his kids, take your time getting to know them. Sometimes kids warm up to a new partner quickly, other times, it can take a while for children to grow accustomed to a parent’s new partner. Letting them move at their own pace works better than trying too hard to get them to like you.

Be Nice to Mom

Kids come with a mom. If you’ve met his kids, at some point their mother will probably want to meet you. This can be a little intimidating. It helps to consider things from her perspective: if you were a mother, you would wish for your ex’s new girlfriend to be nice to your kids and respectful to you. As such, be good to the kids and speak to them about their mother in a positive way. When you meet her, be cordial. Compliment her on how her children turned out. Defer to her regarding the kids. Such actions can put her at ease and make her easier to deal with in the future. In those unfortunate cases where Mom isn’t nice, let Dad deal with her.

About the Author

Christie Hartman is a psychologist and author of five dating and relationship books. She has written for several online publications and has been published in numerous scientific journals in the areas of mental health and addiction. Christie earned her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Colorado.

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