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What you wish you knew Before you met his kids(42 Posts)
I’ve been in a relationship for almost 5 months and both of us have kids. Up until now neither of us have met each other’s children - he has 3 aged 7-12, I have 1 5yo. It is a long distance relationship so it’s just not been practical and of course you Don’t want to introduce anyone too soon.
Next week he is coming to visit me and my son. At some point we will make the trip to visit him and his kids. It is early days but both of us feel like this could go the distance and love each other. I’m wondering if anyone has advice or tips for meeting his kids and introducing him to mine. Thanks
It worked every well for me to be introduced as dps friend before so sc got used to me in that capacity and then supported dp and me having a relationship. So no touchy feely stuff or lovely dovey stuff just do fun things together. I definitely wouldn't make any comment in a parenting capacity. And just be friendly kind of like a teacher and a friend. Wait for them to come to you and play it cool. I made the mistake of trying very very hard too soon and it freaked dsd out a little bit as she wasn't used to it. Now we're just mates and that's how it should be.
Honestly... how difficult mentally and emotionally it is to fit into a stepmother role. It’s so awful and thankless most of the time. 5 months is too soon to be meeting them too. If you have any chance of this working you need to be 100% sure of your relationship with your partner because at times you’ll have to sit and remind yourself why you’re sticking it out.
Don’t rush into trying to hang out with each other’s kids, they’ll end up resenting you. You need a strong foundation to slowly build from which you can’t possibly have so early in a relationship. Dating a man with kids is nothing like dating a single man... just go into it with your eyes wide open.
Good luck xx
The kids know we’re boyfriend/girlfriend I hate the term but think it’s easier for them to relate to and get the full picture. We’ve spoken on skype - not planned but we were chatting and kids came into the room and took over the conversation! Which was great. His kids even invited me and son on their summer holiday with their dad.
One point I will offer that is important, and obviously some way off in the future, is to just be known as you, not stepmum, unless his dc ask to call you that. Just be Ukelelady, that's one piece of advice I wish someone had given me.
Good tip ohlelly, and Elchan too!
ukelele I just wanted to be honest with you xx
It’s so incredibly hard at times but if your love is strong you can make it work (I’m 3 years in and it is getting easier!)
It is hard, being a SM.
If I were you I’d pay a lot of attention to how he parents, how his kids are, any Ex issues. A very close eye. Write down a list of compatibility and problems - it’s really worth being realistic.
Make the effort to play with them/chat to them but after that let them take the lead a bit. When I met my DSD I asked if I could join her playing play dough but when she’d tired of it I didn’t follow her to the next toy so that she had a bit of space then later on I joined in with what she was doing again.
I wish I’d known that the initial meeting was the easy bit. It’s just like hanging out with a friend’s kids.
Longer term, you need to know how he sees your role with his kids (and vice versa). Are you allowed to say anything about behaviour? Will you co-parent? Are you more the fun auntie? How will he deal with issues with his ex? How will he handle the ex changing the schedule if it impacts you? Where will you live? Will you spend the same on both sets of kids?I’d say you need to know all of this before getting the kids involved.
As said up thread, it is the hardest thing. I was so worried about the kids liking me, that I just didn’t think about other potential issues. You need to consider everything.
1. Is he a Disney dad? Will you end up fostering resentment because he won’t discipline his kids?
2. Will you be able to discipline them (if/when the time comes that it’s appropriate).
3. This is most important: what’s his ex like? It’s all very well thinking you have your eyes open about embarking on a relationship with a man who has kids. But what no one seems to give much thought to us that by entering into a relationship with a man who has kids, you are by default agreeing to bring his ex into your orbit to the extent that, if she’s vindictive or neglectful, it will directly impact your life.
That last point is the single reason that if I found myself single, I would never have a relationship with a man with kids again.
It's shitty being a step mum or even dad's gf. They disrespect you and push buttons. Try to upset you on purpose and cause arguments. I have every second of it. I love my dh so much and it's not his fault but seriously considering divorce to get well rid. That's one of them. The other sc is lovely and enjoys being part of out funny little family type unit.
Totally agree with what glasshalf says, very good advice, take heed.
Glasshalf we have had a chat about discipline. And it’s ywt to come but we parent in same way and agree on important stuff - your right to say it needs addressed before any issues arise when kids are around.
And he’s not a Disney dad. Although I’ve not seen him with his kids yet, Things like I’ve messaged him and he’s said he can’t speak until kids bedtime cos he’s doing stuff with them or other times we’ve been on phone and he’s had to go to make sure they’re all in bed at proper times etc.
It’s point number 3 I’m worried about. Of course she can affect me, she’s the mother of his kids. What should but might not make things easier is it’s been 2 years since they split up - on her terms. She very quickly moved on and has been in a relationship for a while now - also her new man has a child.
I’m not my boyfriends first relationship, although I’m his first serious one. His Ex girlf didn’t get to meet his family.
There's nothing I wish I knew, because obviously we all knew what we were getting into when dating a man with kids
But seriously, I fully agree with altwoo and glasshalf. Personally, my DH is truly one of the loveliest men on the planet but should we break up (and I consider it daily) I have vowed never ever to date a man with kids again. Not because of the kids themselves, but because of having to live my life around suiting the dynamics of a family he had with someone else (that someone else having a massive sense of entitlement beyond anything I've encountered previously).
Sorry about my rant having a bad time with one of the dsd but I find it comforting that I'm not the only one who struggles from time to time
I feel like I’ve found my people :-). Completely agree that I’m in the relationship now and I want it to work, but I definitely wouldn’t get involved with anyone with kids if it didn’t work out, and I do tell my single friends to avoid it if they can.
having to live my life around suiting the dynamics of a family he had with someone else
This is such an excellent way of putting it.
Yeah, no-one tells you this! To be fair even if they had I'd still have been in the "love conquers all" phase and not ready to hear it, after all if I do my best by the kids and am friendly and loving to them blah blah, what could possibly go wrong?!
not at all wishing I had a rewind button for my life
I agree with all of this!! @TempusEejit that is it!! I've never thought about it like that before.
Can I ask if you have kids yourselves @cabininthewoods, @elchan, @tempuseejit and @glasshalffull?
I have only been in one relationship since my sons dad died and he was free and single so to speak (although had to phone his Mum all the time - even after visiting her, I’m talking every day for at least half an hour! But I digress) he found it very difficult not being my number one priority and was very quick to judge my parenting decisions which is a big reason it didn’t last. I told myself someone who had kids would at least be able to understand what it’s like to be a parent, and be less selfish. So far so good I’m pleased to say.
I’m a childless stepmum and my guess is that makes it much harder. I can definitely be judgemental on how I would have done things, but also you don’t have a family of your own to cling onto - so I really do feel the outsider. It’s a huge culture shock.
I'm reading this all with great interest as I'm over a year into officially blending! As PP have said, it's very very difficult on so many levels. DP and I have 6 children between us (ranging from 13 to 4), mine are the younger 3 and are with us full time and he has his 70% of the time so life is busy/chaotic/loud but generally good. Is it a life I would have chosen? Absolutely not but you can't help who you fall in love with and I have committed to him and our family. Occasionally though, as mentioned above I stop and wonder at the amount of time I invest in children that were created with another woman and who love their mum dearly and who struggle to bond with me, but it's early days and I keep going because I see the bigger picture, so to speak, however...Tempus's comment resonates because a few months ago I cried every day and considered leaving. It was really bloody hard for a while! Since then I've made huge steps in actually verbalising how I'm feeling rather that bottling it up for fear of upsetting the Apple cart! Issues can range from different parenting styles, DP and his family finding my kids annoying/loud, money issues (how we spend money on the kids), discipline, showing affection, boundaries the list could go on.
DP and I have a great and relationship and are now able to talk most things out which I think is vital in this situation, we are always able to let an argument/issue settle then assess where we went wrong, why we felt the way we did and most importantly how we can improve things and we always check in with each other to give reassurance and positive feedback.
Is your DP good at communication, does he listen to your fears and share your enthusiasm for the future? Really watch how he parents and also quiz him on the relationship with his ex, because she will be a part of your life!!
Regarding meeting the kids, just be yourself! Play, engage and show interest in their lives but don't overdo it. A little gift can help break the ice - something you could do together like a game?
Good luck!! I hope it works out for you!