There are a lot of things to consider when dating someone who has children.  Your individual and relationship decisions don’t just affect you and your partner anymore, they affect you, the children, the children’s parents, grandparents, etc. and when children are involved the relationship becomes more under a microscope.  It’s important to consider the following things prior to engaging in a relationship with someone who has children or if you are in it already, it is never to late to consider the followings.

As a little note, I write this article mostly for the folks that is dating someone who has children when you don’t have children. If you’re dating someone with children and you have children, the issues to be considered may be the same or may be different, but will be a nice follow-up article.

1. Take Your Time
Take your time with everything. Take your time with getting to know the person that you’re dating, take your time with talking about their children, take your time with making the decision if you’re ready to date someone with children, take your time when meeting the children in building a that relationship with the children, and overall just TAKE YOUR TIME.  If this is truly the right relationship for you, you have a lifetime to build a strong foundation with your partners children. If you are unsure if this relationship is the right relationship for you, take your time with including the children in the relationship. It’s a lot easier to build a strong foundation with a child, then repair a rocky, cracked, and broken foundation due to past mistakes.

2. Figure Your Own Stuff Out First
Figure your own emotional stuff out first, otherwise you may project some of your own unresolved issues onto your partner’s children, the way your partner raises the children, and how you feel about it.   It’s very easy to take it personally if your partner repeats some patterns with the children that your own parents did with you.   This can be very activating and confusing and can be disguised as an issue within the relationship. But ultimately it is your responsibility to come to the relationship as whole and as healed as you possibly can. Your partners children do not need to take on your emotional baggage.

3.   Communicate
If your dating relationship progresses into a committed relationship, communicate with your partner about when you will meet the children, how frequently you will be involved with the children, and eventually what role you will take with the children as you’re dating their parent.  This includes what parenting role you may have, what disciplinarian role one might have, who is responsible for what, and the financial obligations of each partner in regards to the children.

4.  Communicate Some More
Have an open and honest talk with your partner about whether they want to have more children. If they are done making children and you haven’t even started, this can be a major source of conflict as the relationship progresses.   It’s okay if you’re unsure on whether you want children or not, but just be aware that this may be a hurdle the two of you would have to navigate in the future.

5. Communicate with Yourself
Have an open and honest talk with yourself about whether you are okay being in a parental role to children that are not biologically yours and whether you are okay with being with someone that already has children.  If you have doubts, remember, TAKE YOUR TIME.

6.   You Do NOT Live on a Deserted Island with Just You, Your Partner, and the Children
Understand that in almost all cases another parent and/or another family will be involved in your partner’s life, and potentially yours, forever. This is not for the weak or faint of heart. The best predictor of a child’s success post divorce is the relationship between their parents. And that will eventually include you.  Consider the relationship between your partner and the other parent.  Can you deal with that?

7.  For the Parent:
Avoid rushing, forcing, or pressuring a relationship between your new partner and your children. While it may be very difficult to be a single parent, don’t put a lot of parental responsibility on your new partner.   Remember, you had at least nine months to get used to the fact that you had a child;  Your partner didn’t have that. The attachment bond between your partner and your children will take time to build. Putting on a boatload of responsibility and pressure without the rewards of a relationship can lead to resentment and anger.  Don’t project your emotions onto your child when interacting with your new partner.  If your new partner hesitates with your children, avoid taking it personally.

8.  Date, Date, and More Dates
Remember, YOU ARE DATING.  Don’t lose sight of what an exciting time it is to be in a new relationship!  Go on dates, have alone time, explore each other.  Make the time, get babysitters, and develop your relationship.

Remember, kids CAN be fun and can completely enrich your life for the better.  Take the risk, you may learn something, share love, and be a positive energy in the life of a child.  What is better than that?

10.   If you are unsure about any of these things, go back to number 1 and 2: TAKE YOUR TIME and FIGURE YOUR OWN STUFF OUT FIRST.

Are you currently dating someone with children and struggling with these factors?  Do you and your partner need relationship or sexual help?  Is your sex life affected by the fact that your partner has children?  Contact Rhiannon at or 603.770.5099 or 512.765.4741 for more information about receiving therapy for these concerns.  Or just fill out the form below and Rhiannon will contact you directly.