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How to Make a Relationship Work When Both Partners Have Kids

by Parker Janney, studioD

You and your partner have plenty in common, including the fact that you both come with kids of your own. You may have even initially bonded over the fact that you are both loving and devoted parents. But children are very demanding and parenting is a full-time job. While you can certainly relate to each other's need to devote time and energy to your children, you may also be curious how you're supposed to nurture your relationship.

Emphasize quality over quantity. Even if it's a few minutes over coffee in the mornings, or half an hour before the lights go out each night, use this time to connect deeply with your partner. Hold hands, gaze into each other's eyes and verbalize what you most appreciate about each other. The quality of the time you spend together is what will ultimately deepen your bond and will create the potential for a lasting relationship.

Make time for each other during the week. While weekends may seem like your only option for spending time with your partner, given school schedules, doctor appointments, teacher meetings and sporting activities, carve out some time to catch up with your partner during the workweek. Establishing quality time even during the hectic workweek is a way of making your relationship a priority, even if it's just for half an hour at a local cafe. It shows that you value each other enough to put your work and your children on the back burner for a short time to focus on being together.

Bring your children together. A good excuse to hang out with your partner is to get all your children to interact. Plan a fun family outing that your children can enjoy regardless of their age, or have a low-key family evening at home with movies and fun cooking projects. While your children are interacting with each other, use this time to connect to your partner and to support each other not just as partners but as parents.

Have patience. Your children won't be young forever. If you need an added incentive to make it through the difficult years of sacrificing alone time with your partner, you can look forward to when all of the kids (his and yours) have successfully transitioned out of the household and on to independent living. You have eighteen years at most. Patience will make your present situation more tolerable.


  • Dating and the Single Parent; Ron L. Deal
  • Dating After Divorce: Preparing for a New Relationship; David and Lisa Frisbie
  • Back on Top: Fearless Dating After Divorce; Ginger Emas
  • Getting Naked Again: Dating, Romance, Sex, and Love When You've Been Divorced, Widowed, Dumped, or Distracted; Judith Sills

About the Author

Parker Janney is a web developer and writer based in Philadelphia. With a Master of Arts in international politics, she has been ghostwriting for several underground publications since the late 2000s, with works featured in "Virtuoso," the "Philadelphia Anthropology Journal" and "Clutter" magazine.

Photo Credits

  • Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images