It's uncommon to find someone special, and as you grow older, the likelihood of encountering a package deal increases. Recently, I met an incredible man and quickly developed feelings for him. However, during a conversation where we were getting to know each other better, I discovered that he has children. While it was daunting, it wasn't a deal breaker for me. Nevertheless, I wish I had been aware of what it entails to date a single father before we began our relationship.
1. The kids will always come first
We scheduled dates, but occasionally he had to cancel due to his kids' needs, such as illness or support. Our plans were frequently disrupted, and spontaneity was scarce. Initially, it was challenging, but I reminded myself that a parent's responsibility to their children is paramount. Despite the interruptions, I adapted quickly because he was worth it, but I had to come to terms with the fact that I would never be his top priority. This is the most critical aspect to understand and acknowledge when dating a single father.
2. You need to share your time
In the early stages of a relationship, there's often a desire to spend every moment together. I experienced this with the man I'm currently dating, but due to his children, it's not feasible to be together all the time. Once I grasped this concept, I found it admirable that he could love someone, his kids, so deeply. It even became alluring to me.
3. It'll take some time to meet them but when you do, be interested
If you plan to be in a long-term relationship with a single father, it's necessary to be involved in his kids' lives. While you may not meet them immediately, that moment will arise. As the children have to cope with their parents' separation, meeting them was not an immediate option. However, I wanted my partner to know that I understood his parental responsibilities, so I asked questions about his children and their lives. It was delightful to hear him talk excitedly about their adorable actions. Just as having kids in my life was new to me, having another woman in his and his children's lives was new to him. I wanted to show my support for his little family.
4. There will be an ex and she deserves respect
When dating a single father, there will always be another woman involved, whether it's an ex-wife, ex-girlfriend, or ex-fling. I found this aspect extremely challenging and had to overcome my jealousy. There were constant reminders of her, such as memories and photographs, not just in the children. However, I had to be mature and remember that their relationship didn't work out for a reason. Although she calls and texts him frequently, I remind myself that it's for the kids. Interestingly, I have developed a positive relationship with her now because we both want what's best for the children.
5. Tough moments will happen and he'll need your support
During the early days of our relationship, we were having dinner when suddenly my partner's mood shifted from joyful to gloomy. He expressed how much he missed going out to dinner with his family. Once again, I had to control any jealous emotions and realize that I was dating a single father who was previously part of a family unit. There were times when he missed everyday activities, and all I could do was be there and listen. I had to be extremely patient and allow him to experience those emotions. He wasn't necessarily missing his ex-partner, but the moments they shared as a family.
More Things I Wish I Knew About Dating A Single Dad Before I Started
1. When you do meet the kids, it'll take some time to warm up… for all of you
When the time finally came for me to meet my partner's children, it was a gradual process. The children were not accustomed to having a new woman in their dad's life, and they had already been through a lot of changes. I decided to let them lead the way in terms of our time together. I allowed them to show me their toys, we played games together, and I didn't force anything. I let them determine how they wanted to get to know me, and our relationship developed naturally as we interacted more. I understood that I couldn't force them to accept me, and that it had to happen at their own pace.
2. Always remember: you're not their mom
It may seem like an obvious point, but I discovered that it was sometimes challenging to avoid falling into a parental role when spending time with children. To prevent this, I made sure that their father took on the primary parental responsibilities. While I didn't hesitate to say no when necessary, I allowed him to be the main caregiver. However, I still wanted to earn their respect, so if it was appropriate, I would answer their questions, but anything beyond that, I left to their parents.
3. It can show you a side of love that you may never have known existed
Observing him with his children revealed to me his remarkable ability to love and prioritize others. I was impressed by how well he managed everything, and my earlier concerns about not receiving enough attention or having to take a backseat to the kids disappeared. Witnessing the depth of his love made me feel fortunate to be a part of his life, and I still feel that way.
4. Chances are, you'll become attached
Spending time with my boyfriend and his kids made me develop a special bond with them and I would miss them when they were away. However, I also realized that if our relationship ended, I would not only lose him but the kids as well. This made me more committed to keeping our relationship strong. Dating a single dad had its perks for me as well.
5. You must be pretty special
In summary, I understood the importance of my role in my single dad boyfriend's life and how much it meant to him to bring me into his family dynamic. He had a lot of responsibility with his kids, so he wasn't going to introduce just anyone. Knowing this made me feel respected and loved, and helped alleviate my insecurities. I felt included and valued.
A Few Additional Tips For Dating A Single Dad
If you're fortunate enough to date a great guy with kids, here are a few additional tips to increase the chances of a successful relationship.
1. Give him time
When dating a single dad, it's crucial to take things slowly and not expect immediate commitment. Rushing into a serious relationship may not be possible or advisable. Allow your relationship to develop naturally and be patient, as he may need more time than usual to get serious.
2. Be willing to get involved in the kids' lives
It's important to strike a balance between not being too pushy and being willing to get involved with the kids and let them get to know you if you're dating a single dad. Remember that you'll eventually be part of their lives too, so it's crucial to be interested and engaged if you hope to eventually become part of their family.
3. Support him in his parenting decisions
In addition to acknowledging that you're not their mother, as previously mentioned, it's important to be a supportive partner for the single dad. While ideally the kids' mom would also be supportive, as they're no longer together and he's currently dating you, it's crucial to back him up and provide reassurance that he's doing a great job. This kind of support can make a significant difference.
4. Be flexible and patient
When dating a single dad, you need to be prepared for the fact that your lives are not entirely your own. There may be more bumps in the road than usual, but it's important to stay flexible and not get upset every time things don't go according to plan.
5. Dial up the romance as often as possible
When dating a single dad, don't forget that he still desires romance. He's with you because he wants to experience the joys of a mature romantic relationship. You can help bring out this side of him by reminding him of all the sweet and sexy aspects of dating that he may have forgotten about or hasn't had time for lately.