General Question

pigpen's avatar

Have you had any experience dating someone who already has kids from a previous relationship?

Asked by pigpen (154points) February 17th, 2009

I recently started dating someone that has two kids (ages 4 & 6) from two different relationships and I have only dated nonparents. What should I keep in mind?

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20 Answers

BONZO's avatar

Yes, and he had a wife too.

basp's avatar

If you become serious with the person, remember they all come together as a packaged deal. Ya gotta love em all.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Yes, it’s a package deal. I agree w/ @basp. Just remember to hire a good babysitter once in a while.. give him/her the chance to get away. But also have “dates” with the whole family.. by loving the kids you are indirectly loving her/him.

Jack79's avatar

first of all, we need more info. Is it a he or a she? And does he/she have the children full time? What issues are there with the other parent?

I am the father of a 4-year-old girl and my current girlfriend also has a little girl a few months younger. I don’t have much of a problem with her, because she has sole custody of the child and the father doesn’t bother her much, except for the odd sms. The only issue perhaps is that her daughter has come to be too attached to me and sometimes calls me “dad”, which I don’t want her to. I keep reminding her that she already has a father and try to make him look good. We’re not exactly friends with the guy, but it’s not all that bad.

The problem however comes from my side. The situation with my ex and her whole family is very messy, and we are currently not only in a custody battle (which is no big deal in most cases), but also in criminal accusations, particularly against some other members of her family. She in turn has accused my gf of having “kidnapped” me and my daughter, which has caused her significant inconvenience and frustration (she even had to spend a night in police custody, which is not nice). Ok, I’ve never heard of any break-up as bad as mine, but you might for example have to deal with a jealous ex (and in this case women can be even more vindictive than men) who will make your life a living hell.

As far as the child goes, it all depends on your own sex and whether you have children yourself, and what ages they are. Generally, there seems to be some basis to the Freudian Oedipus Complex theory. My own daughter has always been jealous of my girlfriend, and as for the other kid, she never even gets a chance. When we are all together, I am the centre of attention and all 3 compete with each other (and of course my daughter always has to win). But I somehow try (and manage) to keep the balance. The problems have been mainly external.

Having said that, my gf has never managed to connect to my daughter the way I have to hers. It’s all relative, of course, but if you give us some more details, I could be more specific.

You will certainly find huge differences in your relationship between the boy and the girl.

MrItty's avatar

My last g/f has a 10 year old son.

They come first. You will never come first. You SHOULD never come first. If you can’t deal with being second (or in your case, third) priority, get out now.

hearkat's avatar

I am a single mother and have dated others with kids from previous relationships.

First of all, I strongly recommend that you don’t get involved with the kids early on, because kids get attached very easily, and then if the relationship becomes troubled, you feel inclined to stay ‘for the kids’, which usually is worst for them in the long run. So be SURE that you really love this person and want to build a future before becoming part of the family. And like @MrItty said—you should expect to come second!

I also have to agree with @Jack79‘s comments about the other parents of the kids. You will have 2 exes to deal with, and that is very complicated. I also suggest that you consider how this person came to have 2 children by two different people and is single again in such a short time. The whole thing reeks of drama to me, so I strongly suggest that you protect yourself to prevent another pregnancy, as well as to protect your finances and you heart.

kevbo's avatar

@hearkat said it. Don’t fall in love with the kids and not the mom/dad.

seekingwolf's avatar

As someone who likes to date people older than myself, I’ve had opportunities to date men with kids. I’ve always passed it up…always.

I mean, I’m not being mean toward the guy, I just don’t want children. I would like to have a relationship/marriage without the distraction/expense of them. Also, I see children as “baggage”, and they/the previous relationship may cause problems in the relationship later.

No matter how much I loved someone, if I find out he has children, I’m out of there!

mzgator's avatar

You have to remember two things. His children are number one. You may become a close second, but their needs will always be first. Their ex will always always be a part of their lives. If it was a bad break up you will inevitably be drawn into the drama at some point. Exes can be really jealous and hateful to you when all you are trying to do is love and be kind to their children.

I have been a stepmom for over sixteen years. I love the kids. They are nineteen and eighteen. We raised them. Ex wife was jealous, mean and hateful. It was not an easy road.

Judi's avatar

Know that they’re a package deal.

susanc's avatar

MrItty said the core thing. You may be very important to the parent of kids, but you
can never be as important as they are. So be prepared to feel unloved, even if you aren’t, because you’ll never be central. You’ll always be peripheral.

It’s fair, but it feels awful.

Judi's avatar

My kids are now more loyal to their stepfather (we never called him that) than they are to me! They will fiercley defend him if anyone trys to say something bad about him. He raised them from the ages of 4,6, and 8. There were some very rocky times and it was by no means easy, but now that the are adults my husband is finally seeing that hanging in there was worth it.

MrItty's avatar

Judi, more or less the same thing happened with me, from the opposite perspective. My step-father (who I’ve never called that – he’s always just Dad or “my father”) married my mother when I was 5. He became “Dad” immediately thereafter. I’ve never considered him any less my parent than my mother. He’s my father, simply put.

And as for a “package deal”, I agree with that one too – in fact, at the wedding (during which I served as Ring Bearer), the priest told everyone “This is an extra special wedding, because it’s a marriage of three.”

If that kind of devotion and loyality comes from your relationship with a single parent, that’s great and wonderful. But I don’t think you should go into it expecting everything to come out roses. You should be prepared for a lot of drama, a lot of testing of loyalities, and a lot of uncomfortableness. Definitely harder than any other “normal” relationship. pigpen, I do wish you the best of luck.

Judi's avatar

Yes, my husband hear more than one angry, “YOU“RE NOT MY DAD!!” over the years, and even a few “I HATE YOU”‘s. You would never believe it now. I am so happy he stuck it out.

punkrockworld's avatar

Yes, I have dated a 23 year old, who had a little baby girl. You should always remember that you are not their parent, however you should set good examples etc.
You should behave as a responsible parent, wthout being the parent, if you get what I mean. I really bonded with his daughter, however things between him and me did not work out.
You shouldn’t take the mom’s place, because kids do not like that, just be a really close friend to them. They’ll love you for that!

MrItty's avatar

punkrockworld, you cannot say that with any absolute certainty. The decision of how much authority the step-parent has is a family decision. It needs to be worked out with each individual family. What works for one does not necessarily work for another. Like I said earlier, my step father IS my father. In every possible way excluding genetic.

Judi's avatar

I also did not introduce my children to my now husband until I knew that we were heading in the direction of marriage. When I became a widow at 28 I made the decision that I didn’t want a bunch of “uncles” trapesing in and out of my children’s lives.

fireinthepriory's avatar

Something that will figure a lot into how to act in this situation is whether the kids’ fathers are in the picture. If they’re regularly seeing their own fathers, you can likely be a little more flippant about seeing them early on and not worry as much about the damage a rapid departure might do to them. However, if they’re out of the picture forever you should be more careful – wait till things get serious until you start spending a lot of time with them. My mother got remarried after the death of my father, and while she did introduce us pretty early on (I think!), she waited to tell us that they were in a relationship until it was very serious. It would have been hard to loose more than one parent figure, especially for my younger siblings.

Of course it all really depends on your girlfriend – she knows her kids. Talk to her about it.

Jack79's avatar

it all depends on the other parent obviously. If they have died or disappeared (for whatever reason) then things are very different from a situation where the kids live with one parent and see the other every weekend and spend Xmas together or something.

I have a friend whose mother remarried soon after the husband left her. The new guy has been with my friend and her sister since they were 10 and 8, and had one more child (a son) with the mother. They are a normal family and have always considered this guy to be their “dad”. My friend hates her biological father, and even though she’s met him a few times since, she still refers to her stepdad as “dad” and her father as “my biological father”. But this is already taking it too far. I think the original question has to do with the dating in the first place. And I think we need more info on that, though hearkat seems to have a point with “the whole thing reeks of drama to me”. I’m not saying “don’t do it”. Just keep your eyes open.

nebule's avatar

@pigpen I’m in a similar relationship…and I don’t know how to deal with this either yet… I have my own son and my SO has two kids aged 2 and 6 (mine is also 2). It’s weird and tough and perplexing and complicated….

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