It’s not the easiest thing in the world, but hope’s aplenty.
When I was younger, I dated a man who had a child. Now, I’m a single parent with a child. Admittedly, my partner’s situation now would be much harder than mine was back then, as that man’s child was two years of age, and mine’s 11.
Even so, some things never change. And it’s pivotal to know exactly how things will work.
Rule of Thumb #1: Children always come first, so that is simply something you will have to get used to. Having said that, single parents with children are not monsters, and if you don’t see it as a race between yourself and the children, you will find it much easier to be one big happy family.
Rule of Thumb #2: When I date someone, I don’t introduce them to my child until six to nine months have passed, and this is a something that all my single friends who are also parents do too. Why? It’s quite simple, really. For starters, I want to get to know you on my own terms, and secondly, I am neither ready to fight for you if my child doesn’t like you, nor am I going to put myself in a position of having my son liking you and breaking his heart when things don’t work out between us.
Rule of Thumb #3: It’s okay to ask me about my son, how he’s doing at school, what his hobbies are, how we spend our time together. In fact, it really helps me to warm to you. As a single parent, my child is my everything, so I appreciate it when the person I’m seeing takes the time to ask questions. However…
Rule of Thumb #4: That doesn’t mean I don’t have a life and hobbies of my own. Don’t treat me as just a mother. Treat me as a person with a child. I can’t always be like ‘yup, let’s go to dinner’ when you call me at 8pm, either. Give me some notice, and I’ll make it work, especially if it’s a floating dinner!
Rule of Thumb #5: Once you do meet that infamous child, be nice to them. Preferably, treat them as an adult. Shake their hand, ask them to explain things, and indulge their passions. So, when you meet my son and he tells you he enjoys playing FIFA on PS4 or reading Harry Potter novels, offer to do a game with him, or tell him a fact about the Harry Potter Universe. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, but you’ll be surprised how far it will go…
Honestly, you can learn to love these children. You simply need to understand the relationship between the parent and the child, and to always keep in mind what that child has been through, and that his or her parents are no longer together.
Children want to see their parents happy, too. And if you play your cards right, you won’t only gain a new lover, but also a child, who will grow to love and respect you.
Have you ever dated someone with children? What would your advice be?
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