Have you ever thought as a Single Parent ‘Am I ready to start dating?’
Or been dating someone with a child and thought ‘…Wait, am I ready to be a Stepparent?’
Good for you for thinking those thoughts.
It shows you’re at least considering the fact that you may not be ready.
Being ready for a Stepparent in your life, or to become a Stepparent, is not the same as being ready to casually date after your divorce, or to casually date someone with kids.
You’ll know when you’re ready for that.
What I’m talking about is being seriously involved and feeling ready to mesh those two parts of your world together – kids and love life.
Introducing your kids to a love interest is kind of like when you decide to draw for the first time in years…
The result won’t be the masterpiece you think it should, no matter how hard you try, or how much you plan.
(for the record that’s Byron Bay in Australia, and that was me really trying.)
Introducing your two worlds is not a step to take lightly.
Whether you’re thinking of being a Stepparent, or bringing one into your Child’s family, let’s start with some obvious “What’s Involved”’s.
HINT: Having the child involved is not the person you’re datings’ decision, or a decision that’s made simply because it’s easier to have them around each other.
It’s done when it is best for the child.
If you aren’t ready to deal with the following, you aren’t ready.*
3 Examples of what to consider while dating someone with a Child/Ex:
1. Understand that they are not single, they are a parent.
- Do not minimize that fact in your mind, ever.
- They will be a parent for the rest of their lives, with or without you in the picture. You are the only factor that isn’t necessarily permanent.
- You will not have the same freedoms you would have if they were single.
- From the loss of the ability to go out as much, your ability to relate to your childless friends as much, to eventually not being able to live where you would like to, because they want to remain close to their child.
- You will see much more than the “cool facade” you’re used to in the beginning stage of a relationship.
- You will call your partner Mom(my) or Dad(dy) when the child’s around.
You will see it all when you’re dating someone with a child, whether that is Daddy with makeup on or Mommy doing a super embarrassing version of karaoke to make her child laugh.
2. You’re going to have to deal with The Ex. You’ll at times be jealous of The Ex.You’re also going to be jealous of the child sometimes.
- It’s OK, but you have to learn how to deal with those situations and feelings, and decide if it’s something you’re okay with for the rest of your life.
- You have to embrace the fact that your partner has a past!
- Their past brought you your Stepchild, and both Parents will always be spoken of in the home, you cannot and should not expect anything else.
- Children love their parents and will talk about them.
3. Your daily life will be much different when the child is around Vs. when they aren’t, and you have to learn to love it all.
With Child (A typical Saturday):
Without Child (A typical Saturday):
(Okay slight exaggeration, but you get it.)
Both are amazing in their own ways, but you have to understand the life you’re getting into.
- You’ll have to deal with sharing your partner’s attention, appeasing a child/teen, as well as deal with the unpredictable resistance to you that is bound to come from the child/teen.
- You’ll quickly realize parenting traits passed on to you from your own parents, good and bad. It will be weird. Scary, but exciting.
- You will have to deal with the fact that the holidays are not just about you and your partner. There’s a schedule that is heavily planned.
- You will get to know yourself more.
Caring for a child is like holding a mirror up to yourself; they mimic you – the good and the bad. You’ll start to see how you love, teach, and share with the child, is what you get in return.
3 Things that should be explored before/when introducing a relationship into your child’s world:
1. Understand that you cannot bring someone into your child’s life to “test it out”, you must be sure about this relationship.
- Your children may ask to meet the person you’re dating, and the person you’re dating may ask to meet your children too, but you have to know in your heart when it’s right. You have to trust your instincts.
- There is a difference between your date and kids exchanging a “hi” at the door, and truly having them meet each other and have a group meal together, etc.
- Do not have people come in and out of your child’s life, make sure that it is someone you’re in a committed relationship with, and make sure that you’ve had DISCUSSIONS about the topic.
- It can be a step that you want to rush into, because it’s exciting or because you want to see how the person is around kids, but it is not a test.
- You are now making your child invested in your relationship, and that can be a dangerous thing if you are not in a committed long term relationship.
- The children will have to adjust to a HUGE shift when they realize you are serious about who you’re dating, make sure you keep an open dialogue with them about where your relationship is headed in terms of what it means for changes in their life.
2. If you’ve already introduced them, be aware that your new partner and your child will have times when they feel like they’re in competition for your attention and time.
- You will have to keep both your child’s and your partner’s feelings in mind as you navigate your newly formed family. It will be a balancing act.
- Make sure you keep the communication open with your partner, and talk to them about the transition from childless home to a home with children.
- Make sure that the new relationship and the child always feel included, understand that it is a difficult thing to achieve, but very important to the relationships success.
Keep a balance but don’t show favouritism.
3. Understand that It will be very challenging to have alone time with the new partner to establish the relationship.
- When you’re single and dating, that is the time you take road trips, go on vacations, go out, stay in and have a late night watching tv, etc. You have to make the effort with your new relationship.
- Even though you’re used to and love being a parent, they are new to it, and they still crave that new phase of a relationship, and it is important to build a solid base.
- It doesn’t have to be a big trip, but make sure you make an effort to schedule some 1 on 1 time with each other.
*Now if you read through these and you thought, well, I’m not there yet – but I want to be, or you have more questions, then please contact me here and we’ll get you to where you need to be.
Also, Email me Here if you’d like a questionnaire and follow up session for yourself and your partner to see if they’re ready to be in your child’s life, or ready to be dating someone with a child at all.
If you’d like to discuss something that I’ve covered, or if you have something to add, then comment below and let’s start a dialogue about it!
Thanks for reading, and have a happy day! 🙂