Dating a Guy with Kids, Part II

by Elizabeth on July 31, 2013 · 7 comments

in life, love

dating a guy with kidsAbout 6 weeks ago I wrote a post about dating a guy with kids.  It was intended to be a one time thing, but naturally I had more to say on the subject so I had to split the post in half.  I meant to post it a lot sooner, but some things happened, so that didn’t.  But things are better now, so I’m ready to talk about this again.

Last time I offered up some advice on handling things if you ever found yourself in a situation similar to mine.  This is post is going to be about the things that make dating someone with kids so freaking hard.  This could also be known as why these relationships can suck so bad.

Note: I’m not saying MY relationship with The Carpenter sucks, just that the situation can be really hard and can make your life extremely difficult and complicated.  It other words, sometimes it sucks.  But if you really love this person, you deal with it. 🙂


I’m starting with this because this is the number one thing I struggle with.  I will never be The Carpenter’s number 1 priority.  Ever.  When we first starting dating, I knew this but had a hard time adjusting.  For everyone around me, their spouse or significant other comes first in their lives.  I did not, and do not, come first in The Carpenter’s life.  Now that we’ve been together for over a year, I’m okay with this.  I’m okay with this because I know I’m an incredibly close second.  Maybe even a 1.5 priority level.  I know he will never choose me over the kids (I’d be a real bitch if I asked him to), but I know he will do everything he can to put me and my feelings above (almost) all else.

It takes some getting used to and I’ll be the first to admit that I hated it.  It almost led me to end the relationship more than once.  But I accepted it, learned to understand it and live with it, and now it works for us.  I don’t think we would still be together if he didn’t put the kids first; if he doesn’t now, how could I be sure he would with our own children?

The Ex

I had a minor meltdown (not all that unusual) last week about The Carpenter’s ex wife.  Without revealing too many personal details that I don’t have the right to, I’ll only say that she is probably my complete opposite.  However, I am constantly plagued with self-doubt.  That she will try to get him back, that he will leave me for her, that I can’t fulfill some need that she obviously did, etc.

I have been told that none of these are true and if he wanted to be with her, he would be.  I feel better about it now, but it’s still hard.  How many of your significant others talk to their exs on an almost daily basis?  Not many I would wager.  This is something I do not like and have expressed my opinion about on multiple occasions.  But it’s also an inevitability.  Life circumstances (including the kids) put them in contact regularly.  They might not have a good relationship, but they do have to be on speaking terms.  While I don’t have a relationship with her (and would prefer not to for the foreseeable future), she will always be part of our lives.  I just have to work on not letting her be part of our relationship (in my head) and remove that self-doubt.

You know…but you don’t

I started babysitting at 14 and nannied my way through high school summers.  I have a large family with lots of children.  I like babies and kids.  I’m good at dealing with tantrums and teaching manners.  But I know nothing about being a parent.  Being a parent is not like being a babysitter.  You don’t get to leave the kids at the end of the day.  And even if you do, the problems, concerns, and worrying never stops.  So as understanding as you can be about how kids act, learn, behave, etc, you’ll never know what your significant other is going through because you’re not a parent.  And until you are, you just don’t get it.

The criticism

Ack.  This is my least favorite of everything on this list.  When you don’t have children and/or have never been divorced, dating someone who is divorced and/or has children opens you up to a lot of criticism.  Just like with everything else, people seem to think they know better and they tell you that all the time.  I want to be like, “listen (rude person). You don’t know my life.  You don’t know my relationship.  I didn’t ask for your advice/opinion.  Back the f*ck off.  Please.”

Obviously, I’d get myself into some really big trouble if I said that, but it doesn’t mean I can’t think it. 🙂  People are always going to judge.  People are always going to offer opinions and advice despite not being asked for them.  When you do something that is the slightest bit out of the ordinary, you’re going to put a bee in someone’s bonnet.  It’s just another one of those things you have to accept and move on.

Being a parent…without actually being a parent

Just like knowing, but not knowing, being the significant other of someone with children does not make you a parent.  (Unless of course you are a step-parent, but that doesn’t apply to me, so I’m not talking about that.)  There is a fine line between being helpful and supportive, and trying to be a parent.  Since I’m a control freak and like to have things my way, this is hard for me.  I have a hard time not giving The Carpenter my opinion about all things parenting and telling him what he should be doing.  I fail at this a lot.  Luckily, he’s pretty good at ignoring me, but it has led to some disagreements.  It’s a tough balance and I’m not sure I’ll ever find it.

So those are the five things I think are most difficult about dating someone with kids.  Do you agree?  What do you think would be the hardest for you?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amber July 31, 2013 at 11:32 am

This is definitely not my area of expertise, so I have zero advice to give. I can, however, say that I love you and I think you’re doing the best you can under really hard circumstances. And, I’m always here if you need to vent (as long as my phone isn’t dead or floating around my purse).


2 Christine July 31, 2013 at 12:21 pm

I have nothing to say except that I LOVE this post! Oh wait, of course I have more to say. 😉 I think you’ve done an awesome job of trying to understand the situation and also making sure you’re not sacrificing too much of yourself. 🙂


3 Cynthia August 4, 2013 at 7:39 am

Thank you so much for writing about this issue. I stumbled upon your blog when I was doing some research about dating a man with kids. I just broke up with a man I considered to be the love of my life who has 2 wonderful children, ages 9 and 4. Although I did struggle with every single issue that you wrote about, I was willing to put up with all of it because I truly felt like he (and his kids) were worth it.

The biggest issue I struggled with, however, was him not knowing if he could ever have another baby. We discussed this for the last few months of our relationship and finally broke up last week. He said that he needs more time and space to know whether or not he ever could have another child. I told him that although I felt like I could envision a happy life for myself with or without my own children, I *at least* needed it to be an option for our future. He didn’t know if he could ever say that, so for now we have broken up.

So, now my perfect relationship is over, and I still can’t even believe it. I hope that you and your boyfriend have a happy future together, but also know that your struggles are completely normal and make sure you don’t end up sacrifice too much.


4 Elizabeth August 6, 2013 at 11:49 am

So glad that you found this post Cynthia, and I’m sorry to hear about the end of your relationship.

I’m lucky in that The Carpenter is willing to have more children. I refuse to deny myself the opportunity to at least attempt to conceive, give birth, and raise my own children. He’s a little unsure about how many (I would like at least 2 with the option for 3), but I made sure that he wanted more children on our first date. That definitely would have been a deal breaker for me so I understand what you’re going through.

I wish you all the best and I’m sure there is another great guy out there who would love to have a baby with you!


5 Amy August 6, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Stumbled across this post while searching for advice on dating a man with a child. My experience is similar, I just got out of an 8 year marriage with no children and started seeing a man who has a very hyperactive 4 year old every single weekend, and they are long weekends. I’m struggling with the adjustment, I’m so used to an “adult lifestyle”, being spontaneous, going out, weekend trips, sleeping in, etc. Now, with my new man (we are living together) when the weekend rolls around it’s all about sippy cups, cartoons, food only the child likes, playgrounds, naps, and tantrums. There isn’t much time for us on our days off. It’s also hard for me not to voice my opinion on how the kid acts. The father is doing the best he can but the child gets away with murder. I know if this man and myself were to have children of our own in the future, my idea of parenting and raising a child is a little bit different. Do any of these things sound like a deal breaker? Should I run for the hills?…


6 Elizabeth August 7, 2013 at 2:11 pm

I’m so glad you found this post and I totally understand your dilemma. I have some thoughts but they’re a bit long, so I’m going to email you. 🙂


7 Magnolia October 26, 2013 at 12:16 am

Im 29, and I’ve never been married or have had any children and I’ve fallen in love with a 39 yr old divorced man with 3 children. 6,8 & 11. I’ve decided to seek help because Im having a hard time with his past and deciding if I want to spend the rest of my life with him. I haven’t met his children am wondering if I should run for the hills before this happens- But the truth is I am completely in love with him and worry I will never meet someone like him again. The problem is I really don’t know what Im getting myself into. He rightfully puts his children first, and is in financial ruins, and I have no idea how to be a motherly figure or how to interact with an ex-wife that may or may not like me. (I haven’t met her either). Im terrified that my independence will disappear and that I will dedicate my life to raising someone else’s children – I don’t think I want this or constant contact with an ex. How do I make sense of this all? Can someone please help – I am so confused, sad, and lost. Thank you in advance.


Leave a Comment

Notify via Email Only if someone replies to My Comment

Previous post:

Next post: