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Dating someone with kids can be challenging, even if you aren’t new to the club. Parenting requires you to be flexible, grounded, selfless and present for your kids.
Add dating into the mix and you’ll likely feel like it’s a tight fit. Whether you both have kids or only one of you is a parent, you can conquer dating with kids with the right tips. Here is some advice for dating someone with kids.
1. Take Things Slow
When you date someone with kids, they will likely want to take things much slower than typical daters. Finding time to date can be challenging, especially if you have young kids. Learn to get creative and find time to see and speak to each other as much as possible. You can plan outings with the kids or if you aren’t there in your relationship yet, plan coffee dates or walks in the park.
Take what you can get in the beginning. You might have to be patient if you like someone with a child since they have much less time to hang out with you. That doesn’t mean they aren’t interested–you aren’t their main priority and you need to be OK with that.
2. Respect Their Boundaries
Single parents are hesitant to bring dates around their kids before they know it’s serious, which is in the kids’ best interest. Parents have boundaries you’ll have to respect if you want a successful relationship. It goes both ways–you might have different parenting styles.
As things progress, you’ll be able to work together to blend your styles with your children if you have them. Please respect each other’s boundaries and don’t try to overstep when it comes to children until you’ve been in their lives long enough. It’s a give-and-take relationship–effective communication is vital to dating with kids.
3. Expect Less Attention
Not only will you not be your date’s first priority, but you’ll likely get less attention than you wish. While this can seem fun at first–like the exciting challenge of playing hard to get–it can get to you after a while. If you need validation and constant attention in a relationship, you might not be happy dating someone with kids, but you could be with a bit of guidance.
It depends on the situation, of course. You might find someone with an extraordinary co-parenting situation with plenty of free time to devote to you. Don’t be intimidated by someone who has kids. Expect less attention face-to-face in the beginning stages of the relationship. If you meet online on a dating app, you could get to know each other slowly. After some time, you can grow together to fulfill each other’s needs without taking any time or attention away from the kids.
4. Flexibility Is Key
Being a parent is not for the faint of heart. Kids will have play dates, ball games, practices, homework and more. Something is bound to come up at the last minute, like a homework assignment or parent meeting. You must be flexible and understanding when these things happen. They are out of the parent’s control and will take first priority over your date or whatever you have going on.
The kids will always come first–you should want that as well. Learn to be flexible and reschedule for a time that works for you both. It can be frustrating to feel like you’re put on the back burner, but it’s going to happen and you have to learn to roll with the punches.
Dating Someone With Kids
When dating someone with kids long-term, having one foot out the door isn’t an option. You’re either all in or you’re out–it’s that simple. Take things slowly at first and then dive all the way in when you’re ready. Dating someone with kids can be the most rewarding experience if you’re up for it.