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Dating a man with a child

(15 Posts)
genericusernamemeh Sat 18-Jun-16 22:18:23

I've recently started dating a man who I've known for a while socially but we started to get close a few months ago. We're both in our early 30s and he is divorced with a 6 year old child.

We are obviously going to wait for a while and see how things go before I meet his daughter, and are in no rush to do so, but I'd be really interested in hearing other people's experiences of similar situations - both from the point of view of meeting a partner's child and from the point of view of the child's mother (i.e. what her concerns about me might be).

Bit of background - they have been divorced for 5 years. She ended it and he was very hurt. They don't have anything other than necessary contact but are now amicable. His child lives with him around 30-40% of the time and they seem to have a fantastic relationship.

I don't have any DC so this is all new to me! If you've had a similar situation, how did you go about introducing the new partner to the DC? Are there other things I need to be aware of (like making sure they don't feel like I'm taking away time with dad etc)?

NeeNahh Sat 18-Jun-16 23:42:07

My boyfriend has 2 children. I would never have considered dating someone with kids before I met him. It can be hard - they have less time to spend with you, the ex is ever present, the relationship with his parents can be tricky, etc.

I actually met my boyfriend's children before we started dating at a mutual friends bbq and they loved me which made the whole meeting the kids thing easier.

I think it helps that his ex isn't weird about me spending time with the kids and I've even baby sat them in the family home on on my on a couple of occasions. I think that if she had an issue with our relationship or if I didn't get on with the children it wouldn't work. I do worry about when they become teenagers though.

jillyarmeen16 Sun 19-Jun-16 08:54:12

Have a look on the step parenting board, lots of experienced posters there.

genericusernamemeh Mon 20-Jun-16 11:26:07

Thanks for the replies. neenahh it sounds like I might have a similar situation to you. In what way did you find the relationship with his parents tricky?

DontDead0penlnside Mon 20-Jun-16 13:11:55

My boyfriend has a child, but they are mid-late teens. A young child would have been an absolute dealbreaker for me, it just isn't in my genes to have such a person in my life, and I'd be happier single if that were the case. Just the way it is.

Even so, despite his child almost being adult and his relationship with the mother ending when the child was small, it causes issues (which are mine and I accept they would seem pretty odd to anyone who is a parent or even wants to be a parent). Even the smallest thing causes me huge anxiety, which I have tried to explain in a kind way to boyfriend, but it's so hard because (obviously) he just doesn't fully understand why I feel the way I do.

I don't think I am adding much to this thread, apart from to say that you feel how you feel (and nobody can tell you it is wrong); and all you can do is keep communications open whenever there are issues or concerns.

genericusernamemeh Mon 20-Jun-16 13:56:05

Thanks dont. That really is helpful - I know there will be lots of issues that I can't even anticipate right now. I'm not a particularly anxious or jealous person, but the fact that he loved someone enough to marry them and have a child with them (and I guess he would still be with her now if she hadn't left) does bother me a little already.

NeeNahh Mon 20-Jun-16 19:11:51

The parents thing is weird as they disapproved of them breaking up and feel my boyfriend should have worked harder in order to keep the family together (despite the fact that she had an affair and was the one who ended the relationship). I think they also feel that bring too friendly with me is in some way being disloyal to her and could lead to her blocking access to their grandchildren.

HermioneJeanGranger Mon 20-Jun-16 19:30:26

I dated someone with children and I wouldn't do it again. It was very difficult.

He didn't have a good relationship with his ex though and that definitely made it harder. Whenever they spoke, they argued. And I mean every single time. Via text, in person, on the phone, private message, you name it, they argued over it. It was horrible. He was just as bad as her and in hindsight it was a massive red flag.

I think you have to be prepared to never come first. His child will ALWAYS come first, and it's normally the case that she'll come above any subsequent children you/he might have together. We had dates cut short because his DC was sick/rushed to hospital, plans cancelled because she offered him contact and he obviously wanted to take it.

It was really hard never being number one, and you can't get all jealous because it's a CHILD at the end of the day.

It's up to you, but I wouldn't do it. Good luck with whatever you decide!

DontDead0penlnside Tue 21-Jun-16 07:24:50

genericusernamemeh glad my random brain dump helped wink

I don't have issues with the previous relationship thing, my problems are generally around having a "stranger" in my life and in "safe places" like my house. Its not just her, I guess I'm just not a very hospitable person to anyone and I find house guests extremely stressful.

But as I said, you feel what you feel and your new relationship has to be viewed through that lens in order for you to work out whether it will be ok or not. Sometimes life is a shitter and it's the right person at the wrong time.

Good luck! x

2old2beamumandpastit Tue 21-Jun-16 11:59:04

Speaking as "the child" I lived with my DF very happily for 5 years until the woman moved in with her precious DD. She hated me and made my life hell.
I really feel if you can't love his child be brave and walk away. Its hard but the poor little boy has suffered enough.
BTW my DD had this dilemma and found a book on step parenting very helpful, the lad now lives with them,
Good luck whatever you decide!

TrixieBernadette Tue 21-Jun-16 17:56:14

One thing I would say, is don't overtake all their time together.

My DPs ex did that. DP never got any alone time with his son, she had to be involved in everything. And it wasn't healthy for them.

DP and I have been together three years now. DPs son comes EOW. I always do something with them, but every time give them at least one night and/or day, to do stuff without me. I have children myself as well, and we try and make sure although the kids do stuff together, some things they do get to do without the other. Big things like holidays and theme parks we try and involve all three kids, but sometimes events happen and we only have one, or two.

TrixieBernadette Tue 21-Jun-16 17:57:13

Sorry, DPs ex as in DSS's step mother. I'm the second partner in his life (he's a teenager now)

NeeNahh Tue 21-Jun-16 20:20:00

Trixiebernadette I'm concious of giving them alone time together but they always ask for me when I'm not there. I think it's better that way round than them wishing I wasn't when I was.

MarkRuffaloCrumble Tue 21-Jun-16 20:42:01

Like Jilly, I was about to say check out the step-parenting board - there are some general threads on there, where people say what works well and what doesn't, as well as lots of specific problem ones. I'd say it should be required reading for anyone who is embarking on a relationship with a parent!

From my point of view, my DP has 2 DCs and while they are lovely kids, it is difficult knowing you will never come first to your partner, which can cause some resentment. He does his best to spend as much time with me as possible, but it is tricky when he goes away on business and I have missed him so much, but then he has to rush off to see his DCs who have also missed him, so his visit to me is usually first --as he leaves his car here- but fleeting!

There have been times where he was with me but wouldn't say so when he spoke to them as they'd be jealous, which made me feel a bit like an OW!

Their mum is very nice, not really my sort of person, but she's never given me any trouble. However, she is a constant factor in his life, calling and texting at inappropriate times, which can cause friction. In the early days she did get a bit jealous about her DCs staying here with us, but DP put her straight and told her that she didn't have any say in what happened when they were with him.

On that note, any problems with the ex are up to your DP to sort out, you need to take a step back from it all, don't get involved in any of their issues and make sure she knows you're not trying to tread on her toes. As long as you and your DP are on the same page you will be fine.

I would also say, be careful to allow him and his DD time on their own together as she will no doubt love you, but also be jealous that you get to spend time with her dad when she doesn't. Even more so if you have DCs of your own. Giving her time with her dad will help her to feel special to him.

My DCs' dad has a GF and they all really like her. It is strange knowing that they all have this loving relationship with someone I don't know at all, but I'm unusual in that I don't feel jealous at all when DD says she loves her dad's GF or writes letters to her etc. I see her like a lovely aunty, she won't ever be mum, she's just someone else that DD loves.

NeeNahh Wed 22-Jun-16 19:42:09

It can be hard to get the balance between being loving and caring and not stepping on the mother's toes.

For example, I wouldn't tell them off unless they were endangering themselves. I buy them presents but wouldn't buy them day to day stuff (obviously food when we're out and stuff but I wouldn't, for example get them day to day clothing).

If they hurt themselves I will comfort them if I'm on my own with them but will always leave it to the parent if they are there.

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