4 Things to Consider When Dating a Single Parent

4 Things to Consider When Dating a Single Parent

Today’s post is courtesy of La Donna Lewis.

4 Things to Consider When Dating a Single Parent

by La Donna L. Lewis

Dating can sometimes become complicated because I don’t always encounter men with the same stats as mine. I’m single, over the age of 35 and I don’t have any children. Once upon a time, I was pretty much opposed to dating men with children. I had that luxury way back when—when I was younger. Now, the older I get, there’s less of a chance for me to encounter men who don’t already have children.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t have anything against children. In fact I absolutely love them and still look forward to raising children one day. However, I am a realist when it comes to the fact that dating a man who already has a child/children can make things a little more complicated.  These days, I’m a whole lot more open to the possibilities of getting involved with a man and the other people that may come as a package deal with him. I’ve grown, and I’ve had some experiences that taught me a lot.

Whether you’re dating a man or woman with children, here are some things I’ve learned over the years that can hopefully help you alleviate some of the possible complications of dating a single parent.

Determine Whether You Both Want the Same for the Future

She already has children and you don’t. She doesn’t want more children and you do. This should be a no-brainer but I’ve seen so many people enter into relationships like this and wonder why it fails. Some start dating and never even have the conversation, whereas others have had the talk and still continue even though they know they don’t have the same desires. Communicate and don’t expect to change another person now nor in the future. It’s a recipe for constant conflict and hurt feelings—yours and theirs.

Know Yourself and What You Can Handle

Do you like children? Are you selfish? Are you mature enough to accept children? These are all important questions you should know the answer to before getting involved with someone who has children. If you don’t like children or you’re selfish, then don’t even entertain the thought of dating someone who has children. Just because the children are not living with the parent full time, doesn’t mean the children don’t exist. They are ever present, and circumstances can always change.

I was in my late 20’s and met a guy who was really interested in dating me. When I found out his 3 children were in another state it slowed me in my tracks. It wasn’t just the number of children that played a factor. I was nervous because I couldn’t really get to know what kind of father he was since his children were in another state. He also had a contentious relationship with his ex-wife and it affected the interaction he had with his children. My biggest concern was falling in love with him and then having 3 instant stepchildren I had to consider and take part in raising. I decided not to date him. Fast-forward about 9 months, and the mother of those children unexpectedly passed away. I was glad I had not pursued the relationship because at that time, I knew I was not ready, nor mature enough for it.

Establish Relationship Potential Before Involving Children

One of the biggest difficulties of dating a single parent is the fact that there are more feelings involved other than just your own and the person whom you are dating. Children have feelings that can become much more attached and hurt more deeply when they become involved in the relationship. Know before you go there. Spend enough time with the person to determine if this is even a relationship that has potential before you go any further. Trust your instincts and cut it off if you feel it isn’t something you see as a possibility before bringing the children into the mix.

Decide TOGETHER How You Will Introduce Children Into the Relationship

I was communicating with a guy who had a 10-year-old daughter with whom he had joint custody. I met her early on and had no problem with that. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time with her though because I know how attached I become to children. So we decided to date for a bit and once we entered into a committed relationship we’d share that with his daughter. Well, one day while taking his daughter to school she asked if I was his girlfriend. Children are curious and they always have questions. It’s okay to answer them, and we should do so honestly. Unfortunately, he did not do so. He told her yes, I was his girlfriend. What!!?? As a result, I felt pressured to move into a relationship sooner than planned simply because I didn’t want him to have to go back and tell his daughter he lied. Needless to say, I was not happy about it because he disregarded my feelings and he set our relationship up for division early on. It should have been a flag to me that communication might be a problem. The relationship didn’t last. To this day, my biggest regret is the fact that once my romantic relationship with him ended I lost the relationship I developed with his daughter.

Everyone doesn’t have the same experience when it comes to relating to children. Parents also tend to have different thoughts concerning timing and methods. Some feel it is important for children to meet and get to know you from the start regardless of whether you’ll be around in the future. Others are very protective and don’t want you anywhere near their children until they know for sure what role you’ll be playing. All of it must be discussed and decided upon together, ahead of time. Once you communicate and have the conversation to determine how you will move forward, just be sure to stick to it!

As an experienced educator and counselor, La Donna is passionate about positive relationships of all kinds. She enjoys helping people by providing an objective perspective to highlight the stumbling blocks, obstacles and barriers that may be hindering successful relationships. La Donna is a  hopeFULL romantic with a beautifully creative mind and she is the creator of DearHubby.com

The Ups and Downs of Single Parenting.

The Ups and Downs of Single Parenting.

Greetings, I hope these words find you doing well and being Super Mom to your little and big gifts aka children. To say single parenting is a challenge would be an understatement. It is like drinking water from a fire hydrant at times. And we know that is not a good idea. Don’t get me wrong, it’s also the most rewarding work I do all day. I love my babies. Sometimes, my babies don’t cooperate with me and the plan I’ve set for the day. Are yours like that? Yeah, I know you just said YES!

Well, I’ve learned that even messing up the plan can be okay. I mean, I can’t be a control freak (even when I want to be) all the time. Life happens, and you and I, my friend, must be able to change with it. Life sure will move on without us. Won’t it? But, all cliches aside, the ups and downs of single parenting are real. We can’t escape them. But, we can live through them. Here, I list 5 Ups and 5 Downs. May they encourage you on the journey.

5 Downs
1. It’s just you.
No one has to tell you how hard it is because you handle a job, family, etc. every day by yourself.

2. It’s really hard.
This is by far the toughest job there is. Getting little and big humans to be obedient, respectful to you and others, keep them alive (because little and small make not so wise decisions), feed them, and keep them safe EVERY DAY is no small feat. But you do it for the sheer fact that your heart and theirs are knit for eternity. Hard becomes a casualty of war where you always win because you never stop providing for your babies. Amen!

3. A community would be nice.
Gosh! Wouldn’t it be great if you had some help? May we all find our village that supports us and our kids. Until then,

4. Discipline is not fun.
It sucks, but someone has to do it. It’s unfortunately you. Do it because they need it.
Hey, I have no trouble passing out discipline. I’m a professional extra fun “take a-wayer”. Ask my boys.

5. They only have me.
Being the only parent bites. YOU DO ALL the work. When I say all, I mean all the work. But, take joy. You are making a world of difference.

5 Ups
1. You love them. You’re here for good.
Permanence in a child’s life is so important. They are blessed to have you. You are the blessing. I know it’s hard, but be proud of that.

2. You are a family.
My two boys and I are what it is. I didn’t plan to do it alone, but alone is what’s best for us. Sometimes, other folks aren’t meant to stay, or they are best not being a part of your union. Let them go. Their loss.

3. You’re raising good kids.
I know I gripe, at times. But, I am blessed to have good boys. (I also discipline them. That helps.) But, it is important to pat yourself on the back because alone, your kids are stellar. Some martied folks din’t have parenting figured out. You rock!

4. You affect them positively.
As the parent with the sole responsibility of raising my boys, I have the privilege of influencing them. That means good values and respect for self, women, others, and the world get taught minus the stuff they could have learned. Hey, count your blessings. Raising them alone has its perks.

5. You have a support system.
I praise God for the few folks I can count on to help me raise my boys with vision. Having and being a support to others is imperative in the single parent family. Don’t despair if you have no system. You can still create one. Start thinking about mentors for your boys- good men you tryst, and for your daughters- good women you trust. Create your village from friends, people at church, etc, and be open to new relationships. God will send you who you need.

I pray some of these have made you chuckle, given you hope, and/or shown you that you are not alone. We may have some negatives, but the positive I’m is your kids have YOU.

Be blessed and remember, Do It Anyway!