For YEARS I have taught, trained, and repeatedly told my adult children, “DO NOT date anyone with kids”. It simply adds too much unnecessary stress to your young adult life. You’ve never been married, you’ve never had kids, and you’ve worked very hard preparing yourself for adulthood and I just think it’s best if you avoid unnecessary trauma and stress and marry someone like minded who doesn’t bring so much extra, added baggage to the table. And by baggage I’m not talking about the kid(s). I’m referring to voluntarily adding a bitter, jealous, controlling, insecure ex spouse to your life. It’s just too much and I don’t want that for my kids. DISCLAIMER: I am aware that some people are amicably divorced, get along well, and won’t be controlling, manipulative or abusive post divorce. Some people will get divorced, get remarried and wear those cute shirts to little league games (you know like I’m the mom, stepmom, dad, stepdad, and they look so cute). I’d say it’s a very small minority group of divorced people who can all be mature enough to pull that off. And, in my opinion, it’s just too big of a risk to take.
So, guess what? Oh yes. It’s true and I cannot believe it. One of my kids is dating someone who has a young child. [Insert a gasp, face palm, and sweaty hands here]. There is not much I can do to change that, so I’ve edited my advice to include the following (and I’m aware many people will disagree with this advice and that’s okay because this blog is just one of many perspectives, but this is my perspective, my viewpoint and my advice so … here goes):
- Do NOT meet the child in a dating capacity (being introduced as a dating partner) for a very very very long time. Like, unless or until you are getting engaged and plan to marry this person. You have plenty of time to build your relationship with this person when the child is with their other parent. Enjoy the time you have with it being just the two of you without extra pressure.
- Do NOT meet the child’s other parent ever (ok, this is not realistic because if you DO get married and plan to attend the child’s events you will eventually meet the other parent at some point. But, if I had it my way I’d say- do not meet the other parent EVER – or at least not until you “have” to).
- If you do “have to” meet the child’s other parent, remain guarded. Of course, be polite. Use your manners. Say nice to meet you. But protect yourself at all times and remain guarded indefinitely. Remind yourself and understand that this person had a difficult relationship with your partner before you ever entered the picture. That was not your fault and you cannot fix it or change it. Being added to the mix of their already difficult relationship can make things harder and worse.
- Expect jealousy even though they are divorced. Hopefully that won’t be the case, but it could be and you need to be prepared for it. Often times, when the ex sees you living what was supposed to be their life (happiness, family time with the kids, the new house you get when you get married), the ex may very likely get jealous and jealous people will do some very crazy things directed at you, your partner and sometimes even the child (though I’d hope not).
- So many people will tell you that you knew what you were getting in for when you started dating (or married) someone with kids. That is a lie. Just like you WILL NOT know what you are getting into when you have kids of your own, you have NO IDEA what you’re getting into when joining an already existing family. You’re just riding the roller coaster of life along with everyone else. Make sure your seat belt is securely fastened because there are going to be tunnels, twists and turns that you NEVER expected. And that I can guarantee you.
I will continue to add to and update the list as things pop in my ADHD brain, but I think that covers it pretty well for now.
Iced tea cheers your way and enjoy your day.