Speaking from experience, it is possible to date with children. Let me emphasize that I said possible and not easy. With all the other challenges that come along with dating, your child doesn’t have to be one of them.
When I started dating again, it was difficult for me to believe that anyone would want to date a single mom with four kids.
I actually had people (more than one) tell me that no one would ever date a woman like me. Not because I am a bad person, but solely because I had “too many” children. I am so glad I didn’t listen to them.
I have dated people who were completely fine with me having children. And not just fine, they have gone as far as offering to take all of us on vacations. I never did it because I am super protective and very few people have met my children, but the fact of the matter is that people are accepting to the situation.
Everyone is different when it comes to what people will tolerate. Some people are against dating someone who has children. Some people will only date a person if they have kids. It’s all a personal preference and it can vary with each person.
Here are a few things I did to comfortably date without sacrificing my parental duties:
Don’t Hide It
One of the first things you should do upon meeting someone is to tell them you have children. I feel like this comes naturally for most. When you are a hands on parent, you can’t help but to talk about your absolutely, perfectly beautiful, children. Just make sure that you keep the majority of the conversations about you.
As time goes on, the person you are dating will inquire about your children and these conversations will be more organic. One thing you don’t want to do is overload them with your kid stories. I know it’s hard, but this is one of the few times when you get to be selfish, enjoy it.
Because one cannot date without having a date night. It is important that you find the time to leave the house and meet people. The easiest solution for this is to plan dates on nights that your child will be with the other parent. It allows you time to enjoy your date without having to rush back home.
I realize that this isn’t always an option. You can always ask a relative or close friend. It doesn’t have to be every weekend, but it is important to find time. This may be hard if you aren’t a fan of overnight stays away from home. That’s totally fine too. Having a sitter for a few hours works just as well.
If neither of those work well for you, or you just can’t seem to squeeze in enough dates, learn to improvise. Choose date days or date afternoons. Lunch dates are really fun and not a huge commitment.
If dating is actually an interest of yours, you will figure out a way to do it.
Preparing Your Child
Kids love surprises, but this shouldn’t be one of them. Children are very smart. They pick up on things even before you have an actual conversation about it.
Once things start getting serious, you should probably mention it to your child. Chances are they already know. Either because you are talking on the phone a little more or they hear you mentioning a name more frequently.
Reassure your child that your love for them will not change and how excited you are for them to meet your significant other. Use whatever love language you and your child share to express your feelings and allow them to do the same. You might be pleasantly surprised by their responses.
That big moment has finally arrived. It is time to introduce your child and your significant other. When we are drunk in love, our vision can become blurred. You want to make sure this person is going to be around for a while before making this jump.
Waiting a few months prior to an introduction is always a good idea. Of course this person should be a good role model for your child, but you’ve already checked that off your list right? Good!
When it comes to where you should meet, I have found that it is easier to do an introduction in a group setting such as a cookout, birthday party, or a similar setting. The situation is casual and allows conversation in a relaxed environment.
The next meet up should also be casual and maybe a group date. I would avoid long, sit down, formal dinners. This gives both parties a chance to get to know each other before having to sit at a table together in awkward silence.
You Did It
The hard part is over. Now you have more options for dates either as a couple or with your children as a group. Balancing between the two is the healthiest way to maintain your relationship with your significant other and your children.
Hopefully everything will be fairly smooth sailing from here on out. You can discuss ways to build this group relationship, because essentially that’s what it is.
Keep in mind that there are more than 2 heart involved in your dating. Take ease in each transition. Don’t be afraid to take things as slowly as necessary to protect your children and remember they fall in love too. There will be other challenges to tackle as the relationship progresses, but nothing worth having comes easy.