What to consider if you are dating someone with kids
Dating Mums and Dads with kids can be challenging, but also fulfilling and rewarding says relationship and intimacy expert Dr Nikki Goldstein.
With nearly 50 per cent of marriages ending in divorce, chances are as you get older you’ll date someone who has children from a previous relationship, Dr Nikki says.
“Whilst this used to be seen as ‘baggage’, many people are now finding fulfilment and love in relationships where there are kids, but it seems the idea still isn’t the norm,” she says.
“There’s a real lack of encouragement for singles to date people with children and also a lack of information for both parties on what is the right thing to do.”
- Related: The new rules of modern dating
Dr Nikki says children can be challenging in a new relationship, particularly as you try to balance your role in the mix, but can also make you stronger as a couple if you can communicate and work together as a team.
“Singles need to be open to the idea,” she advises. “No one wants to be defined by their job or their looks and although the presence of kids can be a much bigger issue, you shouldn’t dismiss someone because of it.
“It’s a matter of changing your mind set. Get to know the person before you get to know the situation. Does it mean life has to change, you are not number one and you might not have as many kids as you wanted if you stay together?
“Or does it mean that you get more to love, you get an instant little part time family and already have siblings to help love any more children that you may have?”
Let go of the fairy tale
“Prince Charming didn’t have children,” Dr Nikki groans. “So many singles are still waiting for the modern day fairy-tale without exploring what happiness an unexpected situation can bring.”
She has this common sense advice for those considering committing to someone with kids:
Talk to people in a similar situation.
“If you have concerns about entering into a more serious relationship with someone who has children, reach out to friends that have been or are in a comparable situation,” she says.
Realise every situation is different.
“Children in a relationship can be challenging but they can also make you realise how much you love their parent. It can be a great way to work out if someone is really worth it. You wouldn’t stick around with someone who has kids if they just were ok.”
“You need to be able to discuss any fears with your partner but also respect their parenting skills. It can be difficult because the children might already have a Mum and Dad but eventually if you stay together long enough, you become a parent of the children too.”
Don’t see it as a pecking order.
“One of the biggest mistakes people make is fearing they’ll never come first. It’s about respect for each other. Your partner or date won’t necessarily ditch you when you need them just because you have kids but make sure when you ‘need’ them it’s real and not a play for attention,” she says.
Catch up on the full episode of The House of Wellness TV show to see more from Zoe, Ed, and the team.