You believe that you have finally met the woman of your dreams, but just before you make your move towards entering into a steady relationship, you learn that she is in fact a single mother. Part of you wants to run and part of you wants to make it work. So what can you do? The thought of dating a woman with kids can seem intimidating, or you just may not be able to see how it could work at all. The most important thing that you need to remember is that her kids will always come first, you will have to accept that your needs will not be her top priority and that her children may need some time to come to terms with having you in their lives.
You need to be aware that how you act and react during the very important adjustment period, when you all get to know each other, will affect the length and depth of your relationship in the long run. There are some issues involved with having a relationship with a single parent that do not occur in other relationships, and it can be a hard but ultimately rewarding journey in the end. In order to get the relationship started on the right foot there are some things that you need to always be aware of.
You are going to have to remember that any dates and romantic evenings will need to be planned in advance. This is not the type of relationship where a spur of the moment dinner reservation in a romantic restaurant is going to win you any favors. You can of course still arrange the evening out, but with enough notice that childcare can be arranged and any other eventualities accounted for. This doesn’t have to mean that you will be in a boring relationship; it just means that a little extra creativity may be required. In some respects it adds to the excitement of the date, as you both have to wait until the big night, adding a little suspense to the proceedings.
Don’t Forget the Spontaneity
The kind of spontaneity that you are used to will not work here but that doesn’t mean that you have to lose it all together, you really just need to appreciate that for the last however many years of her life she has been running to a schedule totally centered around the well being of her child or children. You can make this schedule work in your favor, if you know where she will be at a certain time, send her flowers, if you know when she has an hour to herself join her for a coffee and some quality time. Make her schedule work in favor of the relationship instead of against it.
Include the Children in Your Plans
Make sure that as well as making plans where the two of you can spend time together, you make other plans that involve the children too. Trips to parks, the cinema or the aquarium for example will allow you to still spend time together and will eliminate the need for an expensive babysitter or a schedule adjustment. She can still be in mom mode and enjoy her time with you. It will also reassure her that you are willing to make the relationship work for all of you and that you are not just in this for her. She needs to know that you understand that these days she comes as a package deal and that you are prepared for that.
Build up a Relationship With Her Child/Children
You need to take the building of your relationship with her children at a pace that she is comfortable with. Even though you want to do what you can to progress the relationship with her, you must not rush the process of building the relationship with the child. There are trust issues that need to be addressed, comfort zones that need to be adjusted. She needs to be sure that your relationship with her is solid before she allows you to build a real relationship with her children.
Look at it this way, the children have been hurt by the breakup of their parents relationship, they have had their emotional foundations severely rocked. As a mom she will be very wary of placing them in the position where they may end up getting hurt again, and rather than berate her for it, you should give her credit for being a good mother, looking out for the emotional welfare of her children.
Don’t Rush the Pace
Don’t expect to walk into the family and immediately assume the role of the father figure, it simply doesn’t happen that way. This type of relationship requires a delicate approach, you need to learn how to be patient, how to be accommodating without limiting your own happiness, and you need to respect her decision to take things slowly and show understanding at all times. This way you get your relationship off to the right start the right way, and can look forward to a long and happy future together.