I will be perfectly honest; sometimes the hardest part of my relationship with The Carpenter is that he has children. Not the children themselves; they are absolutely wonderful and I love spending time with them. But being in a relationship with someone who has children can be very difficult.
I knew what I was getting into day one. The Carpenter was extremely upfront with me. In fact, his very first message to me on the dating site where we met was simply “would you date a guy with kids?”. After I said yes, his subsequent messages made it very clear that his children were an active part of his life and that they were his number one priority.
After a not-so-great previous experience, The Carpenter had established a “6 month rule”. Meaning, no woman met the kids until he had been dating her for 6 months and thought that things were moving in the right direction. I thought (and still do) this was a great idea; it gave me the opportunity to get to know The Carpenter as a person, and not as a parent. It also helped me figure out if I was invested enough in the relationship to want to meet the kids and spend time with them, and eventually, be a large(r) part of their lives.
I am certainly not an expert in dating a guy with kids. After all, The Carpenter is the only parent I’ve ever dated. This is going to sound bad, but I’m not sure I’d do it again if I knew what I know now. I got extremely lucky that The Carpenter is awesome and has terrific children that I have a good relationship with. But given everything that has happened, and everything that could happen. It would take a really special man and just the right circumstances to make me want to pursue this again.
Not that I see that ever happening. I don’t think I will ever need to be in that position again. 🙂
So, my point (you knew there had to be one somewhere, right?) is that dating someone with children is hard. It can be amazing and totally worth it, but for reasons that will be elaborated on next week, it can also make you want to run screaming in the opposite direction. If you ever find yourself in the position to go out on a date with someone with children, I absolutely encourage you to do so. You could get ever so lucky like me! 😉
If you are ever in that situation, I do have a few pieces of advice for you:
1. Immediately find out about his relationship with his children. Does he have custody? How often does he see them? Try to ascertain how close he is to them. While there may be some extenuating circumstances, if you get the vibe that he’s not the best parent now, it’s a safe bet that he might not be the best parent down the road.
2. Find out his relationship with the mother. Were they married? Dating? Someone random? Are they on good terms or can they not be in the same room together? Bad relationships with exes or baby mamas can mean hardship down the road for you.
3. Date without the children. Obviously, your first date shouldn’t include the children, but if you decide you want to see him again, consider waiting a while. Get to know each other as people first, before you start bringing others into the relationship.
4. Ask questions. About the above things, yes, but also about the kids. Ask to see pictures, where they go to school, what they like to do. If you are interested in the children from the beginning, it will go a long way in being interested and engaging with them when you do meet them.
5. Be respectful of his position as a father. You will not be the first priority. Dates get cut short or don’t happen at all. Money may be tighter. Realize that he has issues and people in his life besides you and try to be understanding of that. If you start out a relationship that way, you’ll save yourself a lot of fights and heartaches in the future.
Let’s discuss! Have you ever dating someone with children? Would you? Do agree with my advice?