Adjusting to life with a girlfriend is often a difficult task, involving compromise, planning and taking the feelings of your girlfriend into consideration for every decision that you make. If your girlfriend has children, you also need to consider the thoughts and feelings of her children -- and your role in their lives.
One major difference between single-life and life with children is the amount of daily planning and preparation children involve. When dating someone without children, you may have spur of the moment dates, take impromptu trips out of town and stay up late at night. Depending on your girlfriend's custody arrangement and age of her children, you may have to plan out your dates days -- or even weeks -- in advance.
Meeting Her Kids
Consider meeting your girlfriend's children a major step in your relationship. While individual preferences will vary, many single mothers consider the feelings of their children an important component in their romantic endeavors. Some moms may prefer to wait until they are in committed relationships before introducing new loves to their children, while others may want to see how new prospects interact with their kids before committing.
Interacting With Her Children
If your girlfriend has young children, try meeting them in a comfortable place, such as a familiar playground. Take time to get down on the ground to play with and talk to them. Older children, including teens, will prefer interacting with you on a more adult level, such as at a coffee shop, cafe or other social gathering.
Know Your Role
Are your girlfriend's children young enough to need another father figure in their lives? How involved is their father? Are you ready to be a parent? These are all questions that you need to discuss with your girlfriend as your relationship progresses. Unlike dating someone without children, your relationship with your girlfriend will necessarily involve understanding the role you and she want you to play with her children and acting accordingly.
Relationships of all types require patience, including the one between you and your girlfriend's children. The amount of work that you put into your relationship with your girlfriend can be multiplied by each child that she has, as you are simultaneously forging relationships with both her and her children. Each child adds another set of preferences, another ego and another person who requires your time and attention.
Above all else, just be yourself around your girlfriend and her children. All of them deserve the chance to get to know you for you. If you open up and let down your guard, they, too, will let down theirs, enabling your relationship to evolve and flow naturally.