In what seems like an ever shrinking pool of available gay men to date, there's of section of swimmers that often get overlooked. Men with kids. I'll admit I've had my reservations in the past about dating a man with kids. However, after actually being in a relationship with a guy who had children it changed my preceptions as well as better prepared me for dating someone with youngins. Here's a list of what you can expect when dating a man with kids.
1: His kids come first
And you should be happy about that. “If he doesn't make his kids a priority, that's a major red flag for me,” Marcus Lewis, a gay man who has dating men with children said to us. “If he says he would be willing to change his plans with them to be with me that’s a bad sign. You want someone who makes his children the most important aspect of his life.”
2: His EX will always be in the picture
Whether the other parent is another man or a woman, if they’re both involved in their kids’ lives, he or she is not going anywhere. “You’ve got to be prepared to deal with and interact with them regularly,” says Michael Dunss, a dating specialist. This could be as infrequent as answering the occasional phone call to regularly making plans for pick-ups or drop-offs and filling them in about anything that happened when the kids were at your place. You don’t have to be best friends, but you should be able to get along and be willing to communicate when it relates to the kids.
3: You May Be His Little Secret
At least for a little while. “Children shouldn’t be involved in parental dating until you’re really serious and it’s a committed relationship,” says Gilda Carle, Ph.D., relationship expert. “Children become easily attached, and you don’t want to disappoint or hurt them if things don’t work out.” A single dad who adheres to this really cares about his kids and isn’t just casually bringing dates in and out of his children’s lives.
4: He May Not Want More Kids
Since he’s already got a child (or two or three) that he’s busy with and responsible for, he may not want any more. This is a big deal if you’re longing for offspring of your own either now or someday. “Finding this out is easy, and you should do so sooner than later,” says Carle, who suggests asking him, “Would you consider having children again?”
5: Kids come with the package
Sounds obvious but if your guy’s close to his kids (which is a good thing), then his little ones will be part of your life, too. That means some dates may be more Chuck E. Cheese than wine and cheese and that sleeping at his place may turn into a slumber party. It also means his kids play a role in how he feels about you. “Though I’m not looking for a replacement, I do want someone who would want to be involved in my kids’ lives and will help me as I raise them,” says divorced dad Terell Jones, 33 of Chicago. “I don’t want to get too far down the relationship road without seeing how my partner interacts with my children and how they feel about him.”
6: Money may be tight
Parenthood does not come cheap, especially if your man’s paying child support. “You have to expect (and accept) that some of his resources are going to be geared toward the children which can mean less money to take you out and treat you,” says Jones. While not exactly a cause for celebration, the fact that he pays child support tells you that he’s responsible and committed—and that’s priceless.
7: You'll Have To Be Flexible
The only predictable thing about life with kids is that it’s unpredictable. Although your mate may have set times to be with his children, those plans can change at any minute if the kids are sick or his ex has an emergency or it’s a school vacation. “That means he may not always be available to you or as spontaneous as a kid-free guy,” says Jones.
8: You’ve got to have your own life
Though hopefully you’ll get along well enough with his children to be part of their life, most dads and their kids will still want some one-on-one time. “You’ve got to be independent enough that this doesn’t bother you and that you have other things to do,” says Terrell. Sitting around waiting for your turn with your guy will only breed resentment.
So go ahead, give a guy a chance. You might be surprised at the outcome.