5 tips for dating someone with children

Top tips for dating someone with children

5 tips for dating someone with children

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There are more and more single parents as divorce becomes less of a taboo. Follow these tips if you start dating someone with children.

There are high chances that you’ll find single parents on dating sites or out in the world. Divorce is less of a taboo subject than it used to be. More people (women especially) are finding their voice and figuring out a way to escape abusive and toxic relationships.

Then there are those who are widowed, leaving behind children. It’s harder dating someone with children when they’ve been widowed than divorced in a lot of cases. After all, the children are also grieving, and they may not think it appropriate that their alive parent is moving on.

So, when it comes to dating someone with children, it’s best to follow these tips.

Remember that the children have to come first when dating someone with children

A good parent is going to put their children first. This doesn’t mean that it’s only about the child. A parent’s happiness is also important, but a parent also needs to make sacrifices when it comes to their lives until their children are grown and out of the house.

If a single parent tells you that their child is sick and needs them, don’t start berating them. Of course, if it becomes a habit, then this needs to be discussed as it could suggest that something is going on with the child or with the person you’re dating.

However, a parent’s priority is going to be their children*—happiness, safety, future, everything. If you can’t respect that, don’t date someone with children.

MORE: 5 online dating red flags to look out for

Don’t step on the co-parenting boundaries

You’re not there to be another parent. At least, not at first. Your part in the dynamic is not to step on co-parenting boundaries.

It’s important to keep the parenting to the parents. This is especially the case when the two parents are co-parenting and figuring things out together. Not all divorces are toxic.

Let’s say the co-parent and the person you’re dating are working on an appropriate punishment for something the child did wrong. You don’t get a say in the outcome, especially if you’re only dating. It’s a little different if you’re living with the parent. It’s up to the co-parents. Let them figure things out.

The only time you’ll want to step in when dating someone with children is when things get abusive or dangerous. Let’s say the person you’re dating has a physically abusive ex. If that ex comes for the person you’re dating, you can step in if you feel it safe to do so. Or just call the cops and be a witness to it.

As you get to know the children better and the relationship becomes more serious, you may then start to get a say. Just remember that you’re not the parent.

Don’t do child exchanges without the parents’ permission

You don’t need to be involved in the child handovers. Not when you’re just dating someone. That could change as things get more serious, especially when it comes to marriage*. But when you’re dating, you can stay out of everything that involves the children.

The children may not even want you involved. If they do want you involved, that’s a discussion to have.

Never step in to do the child exchanges without the permission of the parents. You especially need the permission of the parent you’re dating, but it’s best to have the other parent sign off on it as well. They could refuse to hand over the child when there hasn’t been permission.

You can attend with the parent, though, if the parent wants you to. If there is abuse going on, you may want to attend so that you can help document anything. Listen to the person you’re dating, though. Respect their wishes.

MORE: When should you bring up exes when dating?

Be flexible with your dates when dating someone with children

Dates aren’t going to go all that smoothly when it comes to dating someone who has a child or two. Emergencies can come up. Children get sick. There may be a need to stay in a certain location due to transportation needs.

It’s important to be flexible when you’re dating a parent. They need to stick to their schedule with their co-parent, and if they don’t have a co-parent, they need a babysitter and that can call through.

Let’s say they have a week-on-week-off schedule. If you’re asking them to go on a date when they have their children, the answer is likely a no. They want to spend their time with their children, and they may not have childcare. So, be flexible and suggest something for the week after. Getting angry that they can’t fit to your schedule is a serious red flag.

Don’t trash talk the other parent at all

You do not need to get involved in anything that is going on between the two parents. There is no need to trash talk the ex at all. That even includes to the parent that you’re dating. They may say something, but it doesn’t mean that you need to pile on. All it takes is the children to overhear one thing or read one message and they’re going to hate you for trash talking their other parent.

I was on the receiving end of trash talk. My ex’s now ex commented on my weight and my mental health. Whenever my ex went to her with problems between us (which he didn’t need to talk to her about), she would join in the fun. His mom did it to, and the children overheard, leading to them disliking his family because of what they said about me. Children remember these things, and the parent who you’ve trash talked is the one who has to deal with that most of the time.

So, stay out of it. If your partner needs to vent, allow them to vent but don’t join in. They are the ones who need the release, but they don’t need someone joining in.

The only time that you want to discuss the other parent is if it comes to abuse—whether toward you, the parent you’re dating, or the children. You can stand up for yourself, and you can stand up for the people in your life. That’s not trash talking; that’s taking care of the situation.

MORE: 7 top tips for dating as a single mom

Are you dating someone with kids? What are you struggling with right now? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Alexandria Ingham is a professional writer. She predominately ghost-writes in various niches, including fitness, finance and technology Everything is fully researched and well-written. Under her own name, she writes in the technology, business, history and weight loss niches

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