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Does anyone have any advice on dating a divorced man with 2 young children?

Tagged as: Dating, Family<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (9 April 2019) 9 Answers - (Newest, 18 April 2019)
A female United States age 30-35, anonymous writes:

Does anyone have any advice on dating a divorced man with 2 young boys (2 and 3 years old)? He's 6 years older than I am and from the moment we met, there was an instant connection. He treats me much better than I've ever been before and I believe his intentions are genuine.

I've never known anyone that has dated someone with kids and I'm a little worried about what our relationship looks like going forward. Mostly, what if I always feel they are "his kids"? We've been together for about 4 months now but agreed to wait a few more months before I'm introduced to them to make sure it's something I want to move forward with.

He knows my concerns with becoming an instant mom if things progress. He has been beyond amazing at talking through all my thoughts and really listening to me. I can't help but be disappointed at times that there's no real sense of spontaneity and rightfully so, the boys will always come before me.

Would love to hear thoughts/hear from anyone who has been in my shoes before. Thank you!!

View related questions: divorce

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (18 April 2019):

Why could he not stay with the original mother of his children? Was it really that bad? Did he get bored with her? My experience has been This and then he got bored with me (One: because I wasn't so keen on caring for his children when I needed to care for mine and myself. The other reasons are because of cruelty)!

You are single and you have a man with 2 children with an ex. That's 4 extra chains on your life. Be careful, they are heavy.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (14 April 2019):

Ok well there’s a big difference here to if he is a man who happened to be a dad and see his kids on weekends to a full time dad who’s kids live with him

If he just had the kids on weekends that seems pretty straight forward . Dont try an dbe their mother , realise you need to respect the mother and always will regardless of your personal opinion of her and recognise that weekends when he has the kids your activities will be limited to kid friendly things

If he had full time custody then that’s a whole differnt kettle of fish . Yoh could easily find yourself being expected to take on motherly duties and personally this is something that I would find very hard

Sure lots of men become step dads but let’s face it , the average mum does a hell of a lot more hands on child rearing than the average dad. Is that something you are ready for and want

Also you need to consider if you split you will not only lose him but also kids you may have come to love

Lots to think about

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A female reader, GO AHEAD ASK SUE Canada +, writes (13 April 2019):

I did it when was 27yrs old never been married no kids I lost myself to a family man came last on the list it depends on where u are in your life If u have no children u wont understand what the parental responsibilities are He will always have control over your life with his children coming first and u will be an instant mom with no parental rights If u are single find single There are variables to How old ru Do u have children Have u been married?

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A male reader, Pepi let pew Australia +, writes (11 April 2019):

Pepi let pew agony auntTaking it slowly is the best option. If you help raise the kids and become close to them you need to know that if the relationship fails you will be heart broken for the kids as well as your partner.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (9 April 2019):

My advice, don't do it.

You will put him first, and you will always be put on the backburner after his ex and kids.

It will not be an equal relationship, and it will be unfair to you. You will be expected to help him with his baggage from his previous family, when you bring none of your own to the relationship. You are making sacrifices for him and his that are never appreciated or reciprocated.

Sorry, but this has been my experience.


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A female reader, janniepeg Canada +, writes (9 April 2019):

janniepeg agony auntI think one of the greatest blessings in the world is to have people care about you besides your parents, so don't undermine your potential position as a step mom. In a world where everybody is isolated in a little bubble between walls (even more so for broken families), there is a dire need of connection and it's never too late to instil in our children the tools for emotional maturity and connection.

In your case, the boys are very young so the divorce hasn't happened long ago. Which means they are still very attached to mom and still adjusting to new life without two parents being there together. I would really tread carefully and figure out why they divorced. The reason for their divorce could be the same reason you break up in the future. Any man can sweet talk you and make you feel good initially. I don't care how much a man prioritises his children even if he's being a good dad. If he can't regularly treat you to dates, then he is not ready for a relationship.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (9 April 2019):

Honeypie agony auntI think waiting 3-5 more months before introducing you to the kids is a good thing. And then DO it gradually.

Have the first couple of meet up be at a park/playground and be short (30/45 minutes) and LET them come to you, not you TRYING the become their FAVORITE person in the world in 25 seconds. KIDS are smart and don't buy fake behavior. Hopefully their dad will ALSO let the KIDS know before hand that they will be meeting you that day. That way it's not this HUGE surprise.

Also, the mom of the kids are SUPER important in all this. If she doesn't know about you until AFTER you are introduced there can be some drama the kinds don't need. IF he and his ex are CIVIL - maybe give her the option to meet you BEFORE meeting the kids.

The kids are young. They will adapt FAIRLY quickly and they don't consider you a "threat" like older kids would.

YOU are not their mom. So no "instant mom" thing should be expected. They shouldn't CALL you mom either, they HAVE a mom.

Ask him about his and his ex's RULES for discipline, house rules, bed times, food, snacks and all around BEHAVIORAL rules. YOU FOLLOW those rules too, but GENERALLY LEAVE HIM to do the discipline.

Don't become the "live in nanny or babysitter" for him either. NO. He NEEDS to have his shit in order.

Things can still be spontaneous they will just INCLUDE the kids.

Just go slow. Slower than perhaps you would "normally" because the LAST thing those kids need is someone to come into their lives only to leave. Mom and/or dad already "left" in a sense.

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (9 April 2019):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntYou will never be their mother. They already have a mother and, regardless of their father's relationship with her or with you, she will remain their mother. You will be dad's girlfriend, or even their step mother, but not their mother (and be prepared for them to tell you exactly that).

Being in a relationship with someone who already has children with someone else is seldom easy, requires maturity, understanding and sacrifice (because you are the adult and they are children and will often play up), but can ultimately be very rewarding. You are already learning that spontaneity suffers when children need to be the top priority. However, they will not be children for ever.

You are doing the right thing in not meeting them until the relationship with their father is better established. Even then you need to take things slowly and allow them to move at a pace with which they feel comfortable. Once you have met them and established some sort of a relationship with them, you should be in a better position to work out whether you can cope with having a relationship with their father.

Stay strong. There will be ups and very deep downs but they will always be your partner's children and, if he DIDN'T put their needs first, he would not be the man you have fallen for.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (9 April 2019):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntI haven’t been in your shoes, but it’s relatively simple. You’re on the right track; you’re taking things slowly and communicating well. You’ll never be an “instant mum” because you have to slowly become like a step-mother figure, not instantly or quickly. I understand your concerns, but just keep taking things slowly and as they come :)

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