By Jackie Pilossoph, Divorced Girl Smiling Editor-in-Chief
A few years ago, a friend of mine who was dating a guy with kids said to me, “Today is my boyfriend’s daughter’s 16th birthday. I got her a dozen roses and a box of her favorite chocolates.” I replied, “That’s nice.” My friend responded, “What does it matter? She’ll still hate me.”
Dating someone with kids can be really difficult. The relationship of a girlfriend and her guy’s kids can be so complicated, with so many factors to consider.
1. The kids might feel like they are being disloyal to their mother if they are kind to the girlfriend.
2. They might be jealous that the girlfriend is taking their dad’s time.
3. They might have hope that the parents are getting back together and that this is the woman standing in the way of that.
4. They might really like the woman, but are just shy.
5. They might just want to be with their dad. Alone. Wouldn’t YOU want to spend as much time with your dad as you could if he wasn’t living in your house anymore?
This is what I’ve learned over the years. No one’s boyfriend’s kids hate them. IT’S NOT PERSONAL!!!!!!
I have a friend who is in her forties, who told me that her parents got divorced in high school, and that she was really mean to her dad’s girlfriend (who is now his wife) for years. She said she ended up apologizing to the woman years later, because she realized it wasn’t the woman she disliked, it was HER feeling resentful that her dad wasn’t with her mom.
Here are a few tips on dating a guy with kids.
1. Think this way. They are NOT your kids. Don’t try to play the role of their mom. They have a mom. What you are to them is a friend, a mentor, and another adult that they can lean on for support in life.
2. This isn’t for everyone, but you might want to talk to the kids. You might want to tell them you realize that they have a mom and you respect that. You aren’t trying to take her place. You are simply there as their friend, as a mentor, and as just another person who they can lean on in life if and when they need help and support.
3. Don’t whine to your boyfriend about it. It’s not his problem. Isn’t he dealing with enough?
4. Be kind to the kids no matter what. Even if you sense some attitude from them. Just be a nice person. Remember that you are the adult and they are just children.
5. Have confidence in yourself. Why WOULDN’T they like you?
6. Just be yourself. Don’t be sugary nice, don’t suck up to the kids, and don’t act in any other way than how you would normally act. In time, just like my friend did, they will come around.
Dating someone with kids is very different than dating someone who doesn’t have kids. Understand when your boyfriend wants to spend time with his kids without you. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you or want to be with you. Let him have space and enjoy his kids. If you do that, when he IS with you, he will love you so much more.