Dating people with kids - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 09-15-2007, 05:03 PM
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I recently stopped talking to a guy I had been building a friendship with for about 6 months. He has a son whom he talked about quite a lot from the get go. He sent me pictures and told me about the cool smart things he does and says(just turned five and very into science and vegetarianism- my kind of kid). I went to the zoo with them once and he liked me (said I'm one of the few adults who aren't "boring".)



My friend starting having "lifestyle changes" which may not be in his son's best interests. It really bothered me, I was somewhat surprised at how sad it made me. This was a big part of why I decided to take a break from him (there are other factors I won't get into).



So now I am wondering, a lot of people I might date have kids, and I almost want to say I don't want to know much about them or meet them until it's serious. I don't want it to influence me or cause me distress if we stopped dating. It reminds me of when I had a boyfriend and when we broke up I was especially sad bc I really liked his family and their dog!



Anyone with experience in this area?
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#2 Old 09-16-2007, 07:22 AM
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I once dated a woman with a magnificent cat. I ended up liking the cat far more than the woman. It seems to me that you can't separate a person from their immediate dependents - they're a complete package. Either you swallow the whole enchilada or you back away from the dish.
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#3 Old 09-16-2007, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by RunsWithFoxes View Post

I once dated a woman with a magnificent cat. I ended up liking the cat far more than the woman. It seems to me that you can't separate a person from their immediate dependents - they're a complete package. Either you swallow the whole enchilada or you back away from the dish.

Ha, that's true. I would not like someone who did not like my cats! I hear about people who really don't like a person's kid and make no effort to get along or hide it, or act annoyed by that person's responsibilities for their child.



How long do you think before someone should meet a child? My friend started hanging out with her now husband's daughter within weeks. She played with her and bonded right away. Fortunately they stayed together. It's probably not good for a child to have a parade of short-term people coming and leaving in their lives all the time, not to mention bringing someone you may not know very well around them.
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#4 Old 09-16-2007, 12:28 PM
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I am put off people who have children already, I'm only 27, and still consider myself to be young. It seems to complicate things a lot, and I agree it wouldn't be fair on the children to meet someone until things got serious. If I really thought I had potential with a guy, I would want to meet and get to know his family, but I don't feel I'm in that place just yet.



My male friend started dated a woman who had 3 children (to 3 different fathers) and he met the children very early, I think it only lasted a day or two after he met them. It's probably pretty confusing for the children as seen as they saw them in bed together.



If I were you I'd put off meeting the children until you'd got to know the guy a bit more. But I wouldn't leave it too long, so you can get to know them as a package.
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#5 Old 09-16-2007, 06:12 PM
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How long do you think before someone should meet a child? <snip> It's probably not good for a child to have a parade of short-term people coming and leaving in their lives all the time, not to mention bringing someone you may not know very well around them.



I doubt that there's an easy answer to that one. In shared custody situations it's less of an issue, because you can see the parent while the child is with the ex until you both feel it's appropriate to bring the child into the picture. In other situations, it's trickier. You definitely don't want to traumatize the child by having them bond with someone who has high probability of disappearing in the near future.



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#6 Old 09-16-2007, 06:16 PM
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My guesstimate would be to introduce the SO to the child at roughly the same time in the dating process as you'd consider introducing the SO to the child's grandparents. Of course, this would need to be adjusted for particular situations.
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#7 Old 09-16-2007, 06:29 PM
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I'm only 23 and consider myself too young to date a guy with kids, perhaps because I don't like children very much and don't feel ready to have any in my life, even if it is someone else's. It really is a package deal. But if I had children of my own, I know I would not introduce a new lover to them unless it was turning into a serious and long-term relationship. I think it's important to think of the message it sends to the kid: "my mom/dad brings home a different man/lady every week!!" I don't know how much damage that would do to a child but a parent who introduces too many partners to the children is creating an unstable environment and is not being a good role model, IMO.

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#8 Old 09-16-2007, 07:07 PM
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Great responses, and interesting thread Thalia!



As a single Mom with three kids, I really DIDN'T "date" for a good while after my divorce. (Of course, I'm in that "old person" catagory, so take my opinion with a grain of salt...).



I was cautious for exactly the reasons many of you have listed: It would be hard on my kids having a parade of men through their life, it might be hard on one of my dates if he immediately "bonded" with my kids, and in view of my rather conservative standards, I didn't think it would set a good example at all. Plus, I'm hyper-over-protective anyway, AND two of my kids are teens and were ADAMANT that there were going to be "no men in our house" due to bad experiences we'd all just been through...



Well, we can fast forward about 5 years... I met "someone" online and I was very upfront about the fact that I had kids right from the start. (I'd have to be, my kids are my LIFE) and I talked about them and all, but didn't introduce him to them face-to-face for about a year. (Which was easier for us than for some relationships, since we're doing the whole long-distance thing...).



I told my kids about him about five-six months into the relationship however, so my kids knew about him and could ask questions and everything, long before they had to spend any time together - which worked well, timing-wise for my kids, I knew they'd be a REALLY hard-sell.



If I just had younger children, or was dating someone local that I saw every day, I might approach the whole thing differently, but I would still wait until we were definitely "serious" and committed to something long-term before I let them meet my kids.



All that said, my kids really like Froggy and he adores them and it's all worked out SOOO well.



Take it slow, and if you aren't sure of the commitment or permanancy of the relationship, do yourself and the kids (theirs or yours) a favor and DON'T MEET until you are fairly sure you'll be around for a while. It doesn't mean you have to stay around forever, obviously things don't always work... but take their hearts (and yours) into account!
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#9 Old 09-16-2007, 08:26 PM
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After I separated from my wife I started dating and went out with three women who had kids. One I met for coffee and I wasn't that interested in her, so that one date was the end of it. The second one I saw a few times, including one date where we went somewhere with her 9 year old son. The third one I dated because our sons (I have a son too) introduced us and she is now my wife.



I wasn't at all bothered by dating a woman with a kid. I had a son, so not dating women with kids would have been hypocritical. Fortunately I didn't have any big issues with dating. I also dated a woman for 6 months who met my son and spent time with him as well. He didn't seem overly bothered when she broke up with my.



Looking at it from my experience, I'd want my girlfriend to meet my child fairly early in the process. As a father I would have only introduced my son to someone I thought might have the potential for being my wife in the future. I'd rather know early on that there was a potential conflict than waiting until I was head over heals to find out my son and my girlfriend were incompatible.



I think that it is perfectly reasonable that you don't want to meet the child or children until things are more serious. However, you should really talk it out with the men you go out with to see where their heads are at.
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#10 Old 09-16-2007, 08:40 PM
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Good points asp3! I talked things over - and over - and over with Froggy before he met my kids. That's definitely important!!



I knew he liked kids in general, and by the time I decided to introduce them, I had a very good feeling he would get along with them and be compatible. I agree with you, I would only have introduced my children to someone I thought might have the potential for being my partner in the future.



I was actually mostly worried about how they (the older ones anyway) would treat him; they're over-protective of me, they're unfortunately and sadly a bit suspicious of men in general, and yet, regardless of the way they saw their Dad treat me, they were still quite loyal, and convinced for quite some time that I should be with him or with no-one... :sigh: but that's an issue for another thread, and we've worked well past those issues now anyway!
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#11 Old 09-16-2007, 09:14 PM
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I have dated a girl that has a kid and honestly it didnt bother me a bit. As matter of fact I wanted to get to know the kid, but in the process of dating she fumbled and that was it.
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#12 Old 09-17-2007, 08:36 PM
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I was reading this thread, thinking, "I don't want my own kid, but maybe I could date someone with a kid, because it wouldn't be mine, so I wouldn't have to actually love it or take care of it or anything."



Then I realized that this attitude means that I should probably never date anyone with children.
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#13 Old 09-17-2007, 08:45 PM
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My husband fell in love with both me and my daughter.

If he hadn't loved her, I wouldn't have been able to love him.



I couldn't get past a rotten brat even for the most wonderful guy.

But I could learn to love an awesome kid in a heartbeat.
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#14 Old 09-18-2007, 12:48 AM
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Since you're pretty young, Thalia, I guess you aren't talking about kids my age But I have to say, from the point of view of an older kid of a single parent, if/when my dad started dating again (which he has shown an interest in doing), I don't think I could stand awful 'get to know you' times to see if we got on. How embarrassing! Seeing her if she picked him up from the house and talking to her briefly is one thing, but it would have to be pretty serious before I was roped into some kind of 'tester' session so she could analyse me. Of course, I'm never really going to be a 'stepdaughter' REALLY since any time my dad got married would probably be when I had mosty/completely moved out, unless he went pretty fast so I guess the situation is entirely different.
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#15 Old 09-18-2007, 07:00 AM
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After my Mom divorced many years ago, she went berzerk in the dating department. Her ability to go out to local bars on a Saturday night and find a man to bring home for the evening was (to me) amazing. My Mom's ability to capture men reminded me of our cats' ability to capture small animals and leave their bloody carcasses strewn around the front porch every morning. Sunday morning was always interesting because I never knew what kind of guy would be at the breakfast table in a bathrobe. Nowadays (much later), she's thankful that she didn't catch a STD or bring home an axe murderer (she did bring home some real scumbags, though...)



Is this type of behavior damaging to the children? Well, it's certainly a different environment than (for example) being raised in a strict religious household where even the slightest mention of sex brings raised eyebrows and a shocked silence. On the positive side, the children are likely to be open-minded and tolerant of others, having met a wide variety of people. On the negative side, the instability of this arrangement might cause problems for some kids.



I suspect that most parents overestimate the role that they play in the development of their children. Children are subject to a wide variety of influences, many which are out of direct control of the parents. Parents are important, certainly, but not the sole determinants of how their children "turn out".



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#16 Old 09-18-2007, 09:35 AM
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I was 17 when my mom met her husband. I wasn't a "child" but I was/am still my mothers baby. She had only dated 2 other men after I was born. Both when I was under 10. He's an okay guy. I'm with isowish though, the thought of having a "sit-down-get-to-know-ya" session would have freaked me out. Meeting him for five minutes when I'm on my way to work was fine. When Igot home from work and found out he had moved in was another story. (He's Muslim so they had to be married before they could spend time alone so they did the Mosque wedding first. Then the bugger moved in.) But my mom had a very fast (4 or 6 month) whirlwind courting/marriage.



Just be cautious when you date someone with a child. You need to meet early enough to make sure you don't hate one another (so you can get out!) but late enough so you know you are going to stick around for a while!



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#17 Old 09-18-2007, 11:41 AM
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Oh, my goodness, RunswithFoxes, my mom acted the EXACT same way after she divorced my dad. It really messed me up as a teenager because I loved my dad and resented my mom bringing all these losers (most of them were, too) home. I was too young to realize the complex issues she was dealing with at the time, and just thought my mom was acting like a tramp. It was hard to sleep with the headboard banging against the wall all night long, and hard to explain to my little brother what was going on in there.



I still think she acted horribly in front of her kids, but I forgive her now as I realize that adults are not the paragons of wisdom and good judgment that kids sometimes expect us to be. Anyway, it screwed me up for a long time. I moved out soon after my 16th birthday to get away from her philandering ways. I was tired of raising my brother while she partied.
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#18 Old 09-18-2007, 06:31 PM
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Oh, my goodness, RunswithFoxes, my mom acted the EXACT same way after she divorced my dad.



My mom was just very insecure. Women were not raised to be independent in those days. Sexual availability was just her bait, and a practically endless procession of men were willing to be hooked. If she had to do it all over again, I sure that she'd behave differently.



I'm glad that you've managed to deal with your mother's behavior. I never really felt traumatized by my mother's antics - amused and amazed would be more like it. However, I was a teenager then. If I had been much younger, it would have been a different story.



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#19 Old 09-22-2007, 04:46 PM
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I was reading this thread, thinking, "I don't want my own kid, but maybe I could date someone with a kid, because it wouldn't be mine, so I wouldn't have to actually love it or take care of it or anything."



Then I realized that this attitude means that I should probably never date anyone with children.



LOL I dunno why but that made me laugh.

I sorta know what you mean though. My boyfriend has a son, I definately dont think of him as "my" kid..more like a little friend..hmm I dunno. It does cause problems and Im sure we will have issues in the future..being a step parent is hard. You dont have that natural "bond" the parents have and I always feel weird when I have to yell at him for something. I cant really discipline him either and my boyfriend wants me to. I feel he should be the main "discipline" person because its HIS son.



I dont really want my own kids, at least not for a long time, and I never thought Id date anyone with kids either, but I just fell in love with him, it just happened so Im going with it.
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#20 Old 09-23-2007, 01:56 PM
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I haven't dated really since I divorced four years ago for this very reason. It's complicated when you have a child. A child is only a child once, and particularly single parents who are totally responsible for raising their child....have to be careful about who they bring into their children's lives. That said, I'm ready to start dating again. My daughter is ten...and I feel like we've got through the roughest part of things...and she's on an even keel so that my dating moderately isn't going to make or break our relationship. I'd always be up front about her being part of my life...and it will always be understood that my being a responsible parent to her really has to come before anything else. I think we (as humans) are sometimes too quick to move through romantic relationships and to neglect other valuable relationships as the result of romantic involvements that often do not last. It seems really important to me to strike a balance.



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#21 Old 09-25-2007, 11:14 AM
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bethanie:



i think your perspective makes sense and is very refreshing.
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#22 Old 10-06-2007, 06:04 AM
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I dated an older woman who had two kids, one a teenager. I felt a little awkward as I was too old to be their dad. I wouldn't have really felt comfortable moving in with her.



Luckily I like children so a partner having kids wouldn't put me off.
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