When you date a single dad, you get to glance into a possible future and see for yourself if he will make a good father for your children, should you two decide to have any. Dating a single dad is not for every woman. Single dads may be looking for a woman to replace their ex, or they could be looking for a good time to fill the weekends when they don’t have their children. Other single dads are looking for a relationship, and a woman who can accept the fact that he is a father first. Women with a child or children of their own will have the additional questions and challenges of discovering how well the children will get along.
Know that the kids will come first. This may mean sharing him on weekends if the mother has full-time custody. For full-time custodial dads, it could mean that you will become an instant family, as the kids will almost always be around, unless they have gone off to visit their mom or grandparents. It’s important to note the increased likelihood that you will date a single dad, as between 1995 and 1998, the number of single fathers increased 25 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Plan to meet the kids when he’s ready, not when you are. Even when he is ready, the kids may not be ready. Single dads may not be ready to introduce you to his kids, as he may want your relationship to progress further before he takes that leap. He is trying to protect the kids, and will need to be confident in the strength of your relationship before he lets you meet his children. The months following the divorce is not the time to meet his kids, according to child psychologist Kenneth N. Condrell. Dr. Condrell advises introducing a significant other only after the child or children feel secure and loved after a divorce.
Get used to the idea of the ex as a permanent fixture in your life. She will call when the kids are not with her, and even more when they are with him and you. She may want to meet you, if you will be spending time with the kids, and you need to be OK with that. Accept that the single dad’s parents may also still be in touch with his ex, the mother of their grandchildren. They may invite her and the children to family events, including holiday dinners. According to Psychology Today, it’s moms who control and supervise access to their children. (See Resources)
Let him address issues between you and the kids. Schedule conflicts will arise, disagreements over small things from laundry to language will occur. Conflicts may arise and feelings may get hurt. It’s up to him to set the rules with the kids, and he needs to be firm about how they should treat you. Dr. Condrell recommends that if you step in to discipline the children that are not yours, that you need to be on the same page as the single dad and treat the children in a loving and considerate manner.
Proceed with caution and two open eyes if you are looking to go beyond dating and have a serious relationship or marriage with the single dad. Love will only take things so far, and when a single dad has child support to pay, that can put a dent in lifestyle choice. For some single dads with equal incomes to the mothers of their children, the amount of court-ordered child support sometimes turns to two homes with equal income into two households with disparate standards of living, according to public-health consultant and physician Dr. Ned Holstein.
It is a reality that women need to face when dating a man with children. If you move in together, a portion of his paycheck is already spoken for.
- No matter how hard you try, you may one day hear the phrase, “but you’re not my mom.”
- He may be done having babies, which is something to consider if you want a child, or a child with the single dad.