For someone without kids, the idea of dating a parent can seem pretty intimidating. Dating anyone new is hard. And we won’t sugar coat it — dating someone with kids can definitely come with its own set of complications. Having said all that, and obviously the reason you’re reading this, here are ten things you should know before taking the leap to date a single parent.
1. You’re Not Going to Be No. 1
Cue sad trombone. We all want to feel like we’re someone’s top priority, but for a parent, their kids have to be at the top of the list. It can be hard to take a backseat when you’re trying to get to know your new partner, but it’s a position you need to accept.
2. Put Your Jealousy Aside
Unless your new partner’s ex is no longer in their kids’ life, you’re going to have to accept them being in the picture. If you want to get out of town for a romantic trip, childcare plans will have to be made. And yep, that likely means the ex will get a say, at least in the timing. Realizing your partner has to deal with their ex for years to come is something you have to come to terms with. Remember, it’s just about the kids.
3. Plans Will Change
Being a parent is unpredictable. From kids coming down with colds to accidents to everything in between, be prepared for last-minute changes to date plans (and learn to roll with the punches). You’re probably used to taking these cancellations personally, but we promise your partner would rather be having fun with you than rushing their kid off to a dentist for a chipped tooth.
4. Be Prepared to Take It Slow
Getting involved with someone new is a big step for parents to take. They have to carefully consider the right time to introduce you to their kids and the possible risks of what can happen if things go wrong after you’ve met them, which usually means taking things slower than you might hope. Be patient and understanding, and consider it a good sign that they can see a future with you if they’re willing to invest so much time in your relationship.
5. Your Time Together May Be Limited
If your potential partner shares custody with their ex, time with their kids is already somewhat limited. So any time they can spend with them is precious. This may cut into couple-time, especially when it comes to nights out. Learning to involve the kids in your plans will mean spending more time together, even if it’s not exactly the alone time you’re craving.
6. Don’t Feel Pressure to Act Like a Parent
When it comes to new relationships, the last thing your new partner wants is someone stepping in and acting like a parent. Eventually, if things end up getting serious, you may take on some parental duties. For now though, just focus on being a partner and respect parental boundaries, especially if the ex is still involved. If you’re still unsure, it never hurts to ask your mate what they expect or hope from you.
7. They’re More Than a Parent
Just because someone has kids doesn’t mean they’ve lost themselves. While their kids are huge parts of their lives and will affect your relationship, treat them like you would anyone else you just started dating, and not just as a mother or father. Everyone wants to be wooed, even parents!
8. Be Prepared for More Serious Conversations Early
While you shouldn’t feel pressured to jump into a committed relationship just because your partner is a parent, expect the “where is this going” talk to come up sooner rather than later. When kids are involved, it’s perfectly normal for a parent to want to know whether you’re in this just for some fun or if you’re looking for someone serious.
9. You’re Going to Have to Care About the Kids
We’re not talking about taking on a parental role right away, but for any mom or dad, it’s going to be a priority that a partner cares about their kids and treats them well. If you’re uncomfortable around them or sigh heavily every time your partner brings up spending time together with their kids, it’s probably a sign for both of you that the relationship isn’t meant to be.
10. Breaking Up Is Even Harder to Do
We’re not going to pretend breakups are ever easy, but when kids are involved, things can get messy and even more emotional. Even when things end on good terms, if you’ve gotten to know their kids, there’s a good chance you’ve developed a bond with their children or they’ve grown attached to you. In many ways, it can feel like you’re going through two separate breakups. Even though the end can be painful, it’s no reason not to put yourself out there and give dating a single parent a chance.
So after all that, if you’re ready to open yourself up to dating single parents, heybaby can help. heybaby is a different kind of dating app, because everyone who joins either wants kids in their life or already has them. So if you’re hoping for a family in your future, give heybaby dating a try.