View Full Version : Freaked Out! Dating a man with kids!

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08-14-2012, 03:29 AM
Eh, would you want someone to get in a relationship with you thinking, "She's not what I actually want, but it's more effort to find what I really do want, so I guess I'll just settle for her."?
To be fair, anyone who was THAT stubborn about their "wanted in a partner" list would best be avoided anyway. ;)

Could kids complicate a relationship? Sure. But it's never that cut and dry, is it? Stuff like that is always on a case-by-case basis.

I just had a friend who, after swearing he would never do long-distance relationships, fall hard for a woman who lives 1500 miles away. (They met when she was in his workplace on business.) So now he's doing the long-distance thing. :rofl:

08-14-2012, 03:33 AM
At the end of the day, you're ultimately responsible for any conscious and unconscious choices that you make.

With any real relationship there are pros and cons. You like him, but he has kids (who like you, it seems.)

I know it's a hard call and I am not suggesting you act on it. But, have you thought about how he'd react if you said that you would prefer to spend quality time with him alone instead of with his children tagging along?

They already have parents that make decisions on their behalf.

As some people have mentioned, finding a man who doesn't already have children or isn't damaged in some way by past experience, is a lot harder later in the game.

I would seriously think about the positives before breaking things off.

08-14-2012, 03:38 AM
To be fair, anyone who was THAT stubborn about their "wanted in a partner" list would best be avoided anyway. ;)

Yeah, I just can't understand why picky women have non-negotiables in dating, like "no death row inmates" and the like. :lol:

08-14-2012, 03:49 AM
Yeah, I just can't understand why picky women have non-negotiables in dating, like "no death row inmates" and the like. :lol:
Well, you'd meet a childless older man before you'd meet a death row inmate for dating, at least! :lol:

08-14-2012, 03:58 AM
It really sounds like you need to take more time for yourself and have fun as a single.

That's what I'm thinking.

Olivia, I think you need to put the brakes on the "hang out with my kiddies" aspect of this since it causes you such (understandable) anxiety. It sounds to me like he's trying to slowly integrate you into his life. He has kids so he probably wouldn't want to date a woman who wouldn't blend in well with the kids. You passed that test it seems. Just don't underestimate your dating market value. You are a woman without kids and you sound pretty level-headed and reasonable, therefore, you are a VERY attractive commodity in the dating market. You have a lot of power here. Don't blow it all on some situation that you're not comfortable with just because it's the first thing that's come your way since your divorce. It's harder for him as a man with kids to find a woman without kids than it would be for you to find a man without kids. Maybe he'd be a good fit for you at some other time, but you're not at that some other time right now. You're in right now. Is he working for you right now?

If you enjoy spending time with the guy then by all means enjoy yourself, but don't let him slowly wheedle you into a situation that you're really not comfortable with or even want. He may be a good rebound experience for you, but perhaps you need to experience a little more of life on your own terms and for yourself before getting tangled up with someone again. There is no shame in taking on the world on your own for a while. Or maybe even longer. ;)

Aussie Willy
08-14-2012, 04:02 AM
A friend of mine married someone with 3 kids who are now almost grown up. They were about the age of the girls of your boyfriend when they got married. She has never wanted kids herself but it was part and parcel of getting together with her husband.

She has always taken the attitude that she is not involved in the parenting side of things and has kept to that. When the kids have spent the weekend with him, she has gone and done her own thing so he can spend time with them.

I think it is a positive that his kids like you (says something about you too :)). It can be really horrid when the step kids are horrible to the new partner.

Maybe talk to him about your feelings and just be honest about it. There is no reason why it can't work out if it is managed in a way that suits you both and the kids.

08-14-2012, 06:28 AM
Olivia, does he have any idea how you feel? Seems like that might need to be the first thing brought to the table.

08-14-2012, 01:34 PM
Well, I have said that myself.....many times. He is from a different generation......Man works and brings home the $$$, woman keeps house and children. I didn't really have a problem with it.......that is how I was raised to. I was 24 to his 37...what did I know. I saved those kids, though.

I believe you. My husband's ex was manic-depressive, not on medication and impossible. (According to my stepdaughter she still is.) I was 25 and fiance 32 when we moved in together and got the kids. WHAT was I thinking?

But despite all my mistakes, and there were plenty, I knew how to keep a clean house, deal with a teacher, and eventually, cook a dinner. My husband shared chores equally but was annoyed that I insisted on my own bank account -- I couldn't stand the idea of the alimony checks coming from a joint account every month.

The kids were already a disaster, the older two dropped out of high school, when things got "bad" meaning some discipline they ran to their mom's. My stepson was on his way to an awful life, he actually was in jail as a teenager for stealing cars. But now he's a responsible fortysomething with an excellent second marriage and custody of his kids and a good job as a techie. My younger stepdaughter has three degrees and does something so esoteric and highly classified I barely understand it. They're not perfect but they made it, somehow, and since they give me some of the credit I'm grateful and pleased.

But I wouldn't do it again. And if my own daughter, at 24, was in that situation, I'd have a plain ole' fit.

08-14-2012, 03:06 PM
Olivia, does he have any idea how you feel? Seems like that might need to be the first thing brought to the table.

Ditto. Very important to be open about your feelings. He may be OK with you being uncertain, or he may decide that he needs to be with someone who feels more comfortable in the potential-stepmother position.

Alex Forrest
08-14-2012, 03:46 PM
Olivia, a new viewpoint. You are one and a half hours away. You aren't stepmom. You like the boyfriend. Find the good in this.

I inherited a 'son' when I was 27. It was a typical ugly divorce and I met my now ex the day the divorce was granted. The wife was an alcoholic pill popping drama queen and was convinced I was in the background the entire time. My ex would drive anyone to alcohol and pills he was so abusive. Then there was the 12 year old son.

Can you think of yourself as a big sister to these kids? Help them out, they know the score. I was never Uncle Alex, Daddy Alex. I was big brother Alex. In the emotional tug of war between those two parents, I was the one who took my 'son' to trumpet practice, soccer games, spent hours on the basketball court. The parents were incapable of giving this kid love. Money? Sure. Attention? No way.

Anyway, you are an hour and a half away. You control this dance.

08-14-2012, 06:10 PM
Wow, thank you all so much for all of your responses. I am floored. I came to the right place with my concerns! :)

No, I haven't spoken to the guy about my thoughts and feelings on this subject. I guess, in part, because I am still trying to articulate those thoughts and feelings in my own head. I find that writing them out helps to some degree and reading others’ thoughts helps too. I do realize that the conversation needs to happen though .. and soon. We spent last night together. His ex has the kids for this week, then he'll have them next week before they head back to school. The subject of the kids came up. He suggested they all come to where I live next week for an overnight. He thought it would be fun for all of us to go out and then stay over at my place. I sort of fumbled around trying to respond, but I was taken off-guard a bit. I never really responded.

PRlady: Thanks for the sympathy. I’m just trying to be responsible and think about everyone concerned before taking the next step. It’s wonderful your stepkids are close to you. My stepdad was the most remarkable man in the world. I realize the positive difference a step parent can make in a child’s life. The thought of it and the responsibility of that is a bit overwhelming for me.

Anita18: The girls are balanced and well-adjusted and, from what I can tell so far, pretty good communicators. They seem mature and, at least from what they tell their dad, they’re very happy he has a girlfriend. Maybe I could learn something from them! I do know that they were hoping he wouldn’t date someone with kids, so I guess I fit the bill in that department at least. He also said that they think he's happier now.

Japanfan: I can’t even think about cohabitation. I am so far from that point in my life, it isn’t even an issue because it’s a solid NO. I do think I could be a friend to the kids, but not a parent.

kwanfan1818: Yes, the 1 ˝ hours helps. Nothing spontaneous. Plus, I work in a demanding profession. We both do, so we understand that there are commitments outside of the relationship that can easily take priority. We have to really try to see each other and plan. That gives me time to think about seeing him before I see him. I think I may have run before now if we lived closer.

AxelAnnie: I appreciate your warning! The situation is a bit different, but point well taken. The kids in my situation have a great mom, who is thoroughly involved with their lives. I don’t see that I would ever take on any parenting responsibility if the relationship progressed. And, frankly, I wouldn’t. Their dad does a great job with them. So there would be no need. Also, I work and my job is just as demanding as his. I would never negotiate any relationship where I wasn’t working in my profession and/or took over primary care of the children. I like my job and fully intend to keep it! The guy and I are nearly the same age. He respects my working life.

Leesaleesa and Hannahclear: I don’t ever intend to get remarried. I don’t ever want to share my financial well-being with another man. On the other hand, it’s not important for me to date a lot of men. I could be happy being single. I like your idea of just telling the guy that I’m satisfied with the situation we have now. That would be a way for me to deal with the current suggestion of having the kids come next week. The kids are pretty independent, which is a good thing.

heckles: Thanks for putting it out there that no one has to settle. It helps hearing that. I haven’t thought of this guy as a life partner, but the more time I spend with him, the more I like him.

essence_of_soy: I like the idea of talking to the guy and letting him know I’m happy with the situation we have now – and just spending time alone together when he doesn’t have his kids. Thanks.

Southpaw: Thank you for your frankness. He’s working for me right now, yes. I see him when he doesn't have the kids, and I don't see him when he does. Simple. I have a job, friends, and a life outside of him. That's the case for him too, but now he's trying to include me in more of his life. I think the difficulty comes in for me because I don’t want the kids to get attached. I’ve tried to take things day by day. With an adult (their dad), that’s all well and good. But I feel a different kind of responsibility where his kids are concerned. You’re right that it’s incumbent upon me to keep that boundary if that’s what make me comfortable now. He’ll just have to accept it … or not.

Aussie Willy: I do need to be honest about it. I think I’ve just been dreading this conversation. But the kids are great and I’m flattered that they want to spend time with me.

skateboy and LilJen: No, he doesn’t know how I feel, but he does know how “fresh” my divorce is, how scared I am of commitment, and what happened to me last year health-wise and my need to focus on myself. I haven’t had to address the kid situation until recently. They didn’t know about me for a long time, and that was fine with me.

Alex Forrest: It’s all been great! I haven’t had to look for the good in this dating situation. He’s a wonderful man, who really gets me and appreciates me. Thanks for reminding me that I control the dance. I think I just need to slow dance for a little longer. Or maybe a lot longer!


08-14-2012, 06:10 PM
To summarize the above ^^^: I need to talk to this guy!! :lol:


08-14-2012, 06:36 PM
I do know that they were hoping he wouldn’t date someone with kids, so I guess I fit the bill in that department at least.

Well, sure they were hoping for a girlfriend without kids. Because they don't want to compete for attention with some kids who they don't know and might not even like. They still get to be the center of attention. They get dad all to themselves, and they get you all to themselves. Don't get sucked into this vortex if you don't want to! And it sounds like you really REALLY don't want to.

As for the proposed sleepover next week, uh, yeah. You'd better talk to this guy and soon. :lol:

08-14-2012, 08:08 PM
To summarize the above ^^^: I need to talk to this guy!! :lol:

Yeah, pretty much. :lol: I think you're going about it the right way, being concerned that you don't want to take away too much "dad" time and making sure the girls are okay with it. At the same time, you certainly don't seem like wanting to be the drama queen that :drama: about him spending too much time with his kids and not enough time with you!

I think you'll be fine. :) You just some reassurance, and this is definitely uncharted waters.

08-14-2012, 09:15 PM
Anita18: You're right. I'm not a drama queen. Never been. I am also not a jealous or demanding person. If a man doesn't want to be with me, then I don't want to be with him. I would never choose to be in any kind of relationship that was one-sided. There are a lot of wonderful people in the world and great things to do. There aren't enough hours in the day for all of that as it is. When it works out and we can see each other and we choose to see each other, I'm happy. That's good enough for right now and probably forever. You're right. I think I need reassurance! And a kick in the butt so I talk to HIM. ;)