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honest and possibly sensitive question, but, if you knew then what you know now, would you have got involved with someone who had kids?

(62 Posts)
wannaBe Fri 05-Apr-13 17:57:42

was going to namechange for this but ...

Before I was married and had my ds I was adament that I would never get involved with someone who had kids. It just seemed like a complete nightmare to me, although obviously at that point I had no dc of my own so didn't have that maternal thing iyswim.

Now I have a ds who is ten, and me and h separated in July last year. I am by no means even in the market for dating let alone getting into any kind of relationship, but sometimes I see posts on here from step parents and the issues they have being a blended/step/(whatever the correct term is) family and I think that maybe my resolve to never get involved with someone with kids hasn't actually changed.

But then the alternative is to only get involved with someone who doesn't have kids, who in turn wouldn't have a clue, and wouldn't that make me a hipocrit?

I'm not even sure this is the right place for this, but perhaps I am less likely to get a pasting here than on say ibu or chat...

So - did you ever think about it? and if you knew then what you know now, would you have thought differently?

And just to clarify, I'm not suggesting for a minute that anyone regrets the situation they're in at the moment, just whether or not with hindsight they may have made different decisions...

SoWhatIfImWorkingClass Fri 05-Apr-13 18:12:35

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I don't regret being with my DP, as I love him and we wouldn't have our children if I hadn't have met him. But if I knew then what I know now, I would have been able to prepare myself. But nobody knows what the future holds.

I had no idea; I was young. I was naive.

Xalla Fri 05-Apr-13 18:13:30

I think about this quite a bit. Step-parenting / living with a blended family has been much harder that I ever imagined it would be. I went into it with rose-tinted glasses and a totally naive attitude, blinded by love.

Regardless, I adore my DH and we're happy. We have two precious kids together and another on the way. I always tell my girlfriends never to do what I did but it's hypocritical of me, coz I'd do it all over again!

I do worry about my DSD constantly going back and forth between two totally different homes but it's all she's ever known and the alternative (her not seeing my DH much / at all) would probably be worse for her ultimately. And anyway, at the end of the day, that's not really my business. It's her parents' choice.

I think the hardest thing for me about step-parenting is that nothing ever seems to be black or white - there are so many grey areas. I frequently have no idea what is 'the best' for my DSD or how I should respond to various situations. I can't parent her by instinct in the same way I do my own kids. It doesn't come naturally and I'm always trying to second guess what my DH / her Mum would do in their absence.

I've gone off track. Yes, I'd do it all again!

vitaminC Fri 05-Apr-13 18:23:12

I felt like you after leaving my (EA) ex. In fact there were times I even stupidly told myself I'd have to get back with him if I ever wanted another relationship before my kids were all grown up (currently 14, 10 and 8)!

Eventually, after I'd settled into a new, happy life with my 3 girls and my studies/career plans and decided a man was the last thing I needed, my male best friend called to tell me he was separating from his (EA) partner and a few weeks later, it all just sort of fell into place and we ended up dating.

We've now been living together for 8 months and have decided to get married in a few weeks. I love his kids and he loves mine, and even better: when we have all 6 together, they all get along great - it's as if they've always known each other. The big, happy family I'd always dreamed of smile

I honestly never in a million years imagined things would turn out this way, but I certainly have no regrets. I've never been happier, and neither have any of our kids, who are all thrilled about the wedding.

flurp Fri 05-Apr-13 18:29:22

No. But I would still do it all again for my DP. I know it makes no sense but I love him enough to put up with it all. If (god forbid) things went wrong between me and him, hell would freeze before I even looked at a man with kids!!!
If I could do anything differently I would have taken more time before 'blending' our families. I rushed in head first and regretted it and we had to work hard to set new rules for everyone which would have been easier if done slower.

likesnowflakesinanocean Fri 05-Apr-13 18:32:37

for dp yes, because I know when its good its really good but if we were to split up I don't know. I cherish the relationship with my sc so I would hope I could do it again but it doesn't come without its problems being in a blended family

balia Fri 05-Apr-13 20:04:25

I wonder if my answer would have been different if asked at different times over the years. Certainly my life would have been calmer, not as stressful. I've certainly learned a lot. But DH and I, and all our kids are in a good place now, so it has all been worth it. And I think both having a child meant we could find common ground even when things were very difficult. I'm not sure I'd have coped so well if one of us didn't have a child.

olibeansmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 20:27:15

No chance. I wouldn't change being with dh, but if we split up, I wouldn't start a relationship with a man with children. Obviously, this would make me a total hypocrite as I have ds, so I'd just choose to remain single.

DeadWomanWalking Fri 05-Apr-13 22:56:43

For me, I would have still gotten involved with him, but I would have reacted to a lot of stuff differently. And probably made better decisions than the ones I did make.

NotaDisneyMum Fri 05-Apr-13 23:13:41

I wouldn't have gone beyond the dating stage with DP if I'd known how screwed up his kids would be by our relationship sad

I would have stayed well away from his family life and only spent time with him when the DCs were with their Mum.

Their opinion of their Dad has been irreparably damaged because I'm a part of his life. If he'd continued to do as his ex wife said, and if he had kept his time with me apart from his time with his DCs, then his DCs would be a lot less conflicted and have positive relationships with both their parents.

It's not just the DCs I'm thinking of; I live with the guilt every day, and while I couldn't be happier with my DP, the cost hasn't been to me, it's been to his DCs sad

iluvsummer Sat 06-Apr-13 00:25:31

Never in a million years, if I had truly known what a screwed up situation it is I would have run like the wind in the opposite direction!! I love my dh and wouldn't have my ds if I hadn't met him but oh my god I have never come across such a quite frankly fucked up family in my life!

dignifiedsilence Sat 06-Apr-13 10:08:15

I never dated a man with children and when I did it seemed so short lived I never suffered the wrath of a bitter ex so it didn't affect me. I thought I'd got to an age where I'd seen and done everything and nothing could shock me......how wrong was I? I love my OH as much as you can love someone but being honest I am not sure if I would do this again....

NADM you always seem balanced and fair with opinions you give on here and no way should you feel guilty for how his kids behave. Its not you who is to blame here (and maybe I don't know enough about your situation) its your OH and his ex. I'm tipping he just put up with her demands for a quiet life until you came along then things got changed and IMHO probably for the good. The chains of control were removed from the ex as your OH probably had to grow a backbone and establish a good routine for his DC with you as part of his life. If your OH is dealing with a toxic ex like mine is then you can't win no matter what you do. There is no possible way of sheltering the dc for the utter carnage that ensues when the ex doesn't get her own way. However if you offer a stable home with a good routine and a bit of love thrown in my hope is they will grow up to see the truth for themselves.

NADM you defo should not feel guilty IMO you are doing more than your bit. x x

Pinkshaman Sat 06-Apr-13 10:16:42

I have a dd and dsd both with xh. I knew before I met xh that the likelihood of meeting someone without dc was slim because of my age, and again when I left him that anyone I met would have a family.

I don't think I would have been attracted to someone without one this time round. My bf just gets that I have to put dd and dsd first sometimes, he was also highly aware of how dd was being when he was around, he noticed little nuances in her behaviour more than me. It meant we could make sure she wasn't feeling left out. And when her Dad got a gf and did leave her out, he was right behind me doing more one to one things with her. He's been brilliant with dsd too.

From my point of view it wasn't always easy being childless and with someone who had a child. It meant holidays in school holidays, holidays were very different, our freedom to be able to go out at weekends was curtailed. It took getting used to. Then there was the aggro we got from her mum, messing around with contact, abusive phone calls, and all the Saturday mornings spent combing out headlice. And as dsd got older the fact that she had no boundaries set or enforced by either parent became really hard. She had me in tears many times and we had huge rows.

Dsd has been an utter blessing though. I learnt to look beyond the behaviour. She was just a kid who was hurting and wanting her mum to care. She lives with me now, and while its been rocky at times, I love her dearly and she seems to have responded to me setting some boundaries. She is an amazing big sister and fun to have around. She really does not deserve how her parents have treated her.

And my bf in turn has two adult children and two grandchildren. They don't live close but we see them fairly often and it's great fun when we are all together. It works.

So overall, yes definitely without a shadow of a doubt.

NippyDrips Sat 06-Apr-13 10:35:53

No, I wouldn't do it again. We are generally all getting along well and dsd spends a lot of time with me and my children but it has been hard work getting to where we are.

It's not necessarily the child that would put me off but all the other people that come with. The ex - I hate another women having so much control over our lives. We get along well at the moment but its a balancing act and she refuses contact as and when it suits. Usually when she gets a new boyfriend. The inlaws - even though we are painstakingly careful to treat all the children equally when they are with us, Mil was detirmined that dsd wouldn't be pushed out. To the extent that she expected her to have special treatment over and above my children. Time has shown her that dsd is never pushed put and enjoys being with us but the early days were a nightmare. Dsd could do no wrong, my children were evil and dsd wasn't allowed to be told off, even if she was doing the exact same thing as the rest.

I think its a testament to us being fair that dsd chooses to spend her time in our home even when her dad is at work the majority of the time so she is here with me and my lot. The fact that her mum is happy with that too shows how far we have come too but its been hard work.

WeAreEternal Sat 06-Apr-13 10:42:56

I have another question for those in this situation.

If there was no ex/other parent, either the father of your DC or the ex of your DP (in other words they were a completely single parent)
Do you think that would make a difference?

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Sat 06-Apr-13 10:47:12

Ive wrote 3 different replies and deleted them all because the truth is I just dont know.

I love my dp and my dsc and when we are all together life is good so I have no regrets.

When dsc are with their mum and dp is missing them so is snappy and grouchy I sometimes wish he either didnt have children or that they lived with us permanently because he can be unbearable at times, usually the first few days after dropping them back to their mums house. If you asked me then id say
No I absolutely wouldnt get involved with a man with children again.

Im very lucky that the disney dad stage didnt really last long and my dsc have accepted me, ive worked hard to forge a relationship with them that has nothing to do with dp so as a family unit we are happy and secure.

If I could go back in time I wouldnt change a thing but I would have liked some warning on how much hard work it would be to get to the stage we are now, dp's ex is a nightmare and at times ive wanted to walk away from the drama and stress she creates.

If dp and I ever split then I wouldnt get involved with another man who has children purely because I couldnt cope with the ex again.

ElenorRigby Sat 06-Apr-13 10:48:52

Without doubt no.

The last few years have been the hardest of my life. I entered into this wide eyed and naive. I have been left bruised and battered.

I openly tell anyone who wants to hear, DO NOT get involved with someone who has kids, especially if the DSC's mother is still around.

If DP and I ever split I'd never want to be involved with anyone else.
Being on my own would be far far preferable to the stress another blended family.

balia Sat 06-Apr-13 11:02:16

^If there was no ex/other parent, either the father of your DC or the ex of your DP (in other words they were a completely single parent)
Do you think that would make a difference?^

Without question. The actions of DSS's mother made things very hard - denying access, false accusations, the effect these things had on DH, depression etc. And then when he did start to get contact, he was so overwhelmed and terrified that DSS wouldn't want to come he Disney parented, causing a lot of strife.

NADM, I really feel for you. I guess I'm lucky because I know that DSS's mum would have behaved badly regardless of me (I was a convenient excuse for a bit). I genuinely think that if people are abusive enough to damage their children for their own ends then they will do so whatever happens - it just may have been slower and more insidious.

dignifiedsilence Sat 06-Apr-13 11:10:13

Yeah balia I feel the same I was a convenient excuse and false accusations made against me so know exactly how you feel.

I don't think I would of got involved if my OH was a widower though. Thats not being single by choice so that would be a whole different ball game.

purpleroses Sat 06-Apr-13 13:08:40

We've been living together less than a year, but so far no regrets. Before I met DP I'd been single (with two DC) for several years, and dated a few men without kids. It never really worked out, and on meeting DP one of the things that really worked between us is that we both do understand the relationship each of us have with our DCs. Even though I don't love the DSC they way I love my own, I do completely understand that DP does. I'm not sure I'd have "got" that really if I didn't have my own - and so I don't think a man without DCs will really get your relationship with your own.

That said, a large complicated stepfamily, which I'm now in, is a very different thing indeed from a simple nuclear family - which was what I wanted when I first had children. I've had to come to terms with never ever going to get that, and try to embrace what I have instead. We need to juggle our plans for everything between three households (ours, my ex's and DP's ex's), which isn't easy. I do sometimes long for the simple, self-contained feel of the family I grew up in and see many friends in. If I had found a man without DCs, I'd have something a bit closer to that I guess.

Unlike many who post on this board, we don't have any major difficulties with DP's ex though - who is generally reasonable - I think that does make the whole thing a lot easier.

Lilypad34 Sat 06-Apr-13 17:56:57

If I knew then what I know now, I would have kept well away to ensure I didn't get to know dh and fall in love with him! Not having or wanting children of my own to becoming a 'step mum' has been a huge learning curve. In the main life is peachy but there are some times (very very few) when I could walk and keep walking!!

DoctorAnge Sat 06-Apr-13 18:34:35


Thing33 Sat 06-Apr-13 22:22:24

No, definitely not.
I wouldn't change anything now though, obviously I love DH and am glad I married him; but if I had to embark on another relationship then I would not do so with a man who had children, even though I have them now and did not when I met DH.
The reasons are not really to do with any DC as such, more that I just find it all so hard to deal with.

allnewtaketwo Sat 06-Apr-13 22:44:44

NADM, if your DP had continued to do as his ex had said, then all the children would have learned was that subservience to a bully is the answer, well ahead of ever fulfilling their own needs or developing any kind of self respect or self esteem

willyoulistentome Sat 06-Apr-13 22:52:42

I have been married 13 years, have 3 now grown up SKIDS and 2 primary aged of my own. I would never ever do it again. I so often wish I could turn back the clock and say no thanks to that first date.

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