Dating Someone With or Without Children: Applicant Need Not Apply?

Would you ever date someone who had kids if you don't have kids yourself? For a lot of people the answer is a flat out no. Dating a parent is...how shall we say, complicated. It's made even more complicated if that parent is a single parent or a single parent of a young child or children. There is a lot to consider and think about not only on your end, but for that parent who must also consider the needs of their children in relation to you.

Dating Someone With or Without Children: Applicant Need Not Apply?

For the Single Person Dating Someone with Kids...

1. You must consider that if you date this person long term, that even if you like or love them, you will need to eventually like or love their children because I think for the most part, a parent isn't going to date someone who clearly does not want or at least like kids, and more specifically their kids and vice versa. If the kids outright hate you, that may cause major problems for you or them.

2. Are you ready to take on that parental role? Having no kids yourself, you have basically no idea what it's like to be a parent (babysitting your cousins that one time doesn't actually count). We're talking all day everyday, kids are in your house, you're taking them to school, you're legally responsible for them. The person you're dating may have a certain way of raising them as is their right, and as is the right of the ex, that you may not believe in or agree to, or you may struggle with.

3. Your dates may have to involve the kids or may be cancelled because of the kids. That single/parent may struggle to find a babysitter or not have one at all, so a date may mean you're going to the park so the kids can play or they are crying in the movie theater as you try to hear the dialogue.

4. The ex-factor will always be something you need to contend with even if that person is no longer living. They may hate you and make your life hell. They may disapprove of you being around their kids without their blessing...which they may never give. If the other parent is deceased, the person you are dating may not be in a place mentally where they are ready to move on, add to that kids who will struggle with the death of their mother/father. You may never live up to the expectations of what the deceased left behind.

5. His or her family may not like or approve of you. You aren't the kids mother/father and never will be in some of their minds even if you clearly state that and believe yourself as not trying to replace the other person, but family can interfere, dislike or hate you and want you gone.

6. Financially you would have to take on the responsibility of the children. They need new clothes, they need to eat, they break a lamp, its fool hardy to believe that you won't need to share in the financial responsibilities of children living with you, and sometimes not even living with you in a long term situation as the adult present.

For the Parent Dating Someone Without Kids...

1. You need to consider if this person is first and foremost safe to be around your kids. Just because you like this person doesn't mean that makes them a good responsible person able to adequately parent your kids. You need to do your legal homework and ensure that if need be, they are able to safely stay with this person when you are not present. If they present a danger for ANY reason, the obligation is to your kids, not that person.

2. Are you actually interested in this person for you, and down the road for your kids, or having broken up or dealing with the loss of the other parent, are you more in love with the idea of having someone in house that can take care of your kids like your ex or former spouse did? You have to know that you love/like this person, not just that you want a new mommy or daddy for the kids happiness or worse for free childcare.

3. Are you willing to recognize that this person can't do everything like your ex could. This is more related to those who have lost a partner. You cannot hold up this person to the same lofty heights of your former partner and expect them to do everything "perfect" or the same like they could in relation to you or your kids. They are their own person and you have to give them room to be that.

4. Initially, you cannot expect someone without kids to just get that you have to cancel three dates in a row because of your kids. A single person is used to being the center of attention in dating and they are now having to effectively compete with your kids who's needs you as the parent are responsible for. There may be MAJOR growing pains in this department as both you and they have to adjust.

5. How much influence do your children's opinions have on your choice to date or even marry this person in the long term. If your children hate them or can't ever seem to accept this new person into their lives, are you okay knowing this for either your partner or the kids? Are you willing to deal with constant fighting and strife in your home because you love/like this person but your kids don't? Is your partner willing to accept this possibility?

6. Have you set ground rules with your ex in regards to this new person especially with a bitter ex whom you will of course still have to deal with because they are your child's parent. Have you discussed this new person in relation to your kids? Regardless if you hate your ex or not, they will be in your lives forever so the fantasy of having them never say anything about who gets to be around their kids, is just that. You have to be open and honest because if the situation were reversed and it may have well been now or at some point, you'd want the same respect in regards to your children. The same goes for your family, or the family of your ex who may still be in your children's lives. If its getting serious, have you made introductions, have you talked about the new person to them, and dealt with any issues with them head on instead of just trying to pretend that they will not be a part of your lives because they ultimately will in some capacity.

If after all these considerations, you as the single person and you, as the parent are willing to work through any of the problems, growing pains, kids needs, families needs, ex's, you CAN make it work, but you have to be willing to do the work. If you know you hate or don't want kids, is that going to change, probably not, but if you are willing to love both this new person and their kids, then go for it. As a parent are you putting your needs coupled with the kids needs first or are you just thinking about what you want, because in this situation, its not just about you. If you can do that and join this person with your family, you can make it work too. A lot to think about...


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What Guys Said 9

  • Ugh. We are literally at the highest point of childlessness for American women in recorded history.

    Meaning, there is literally no reason for a guy with any options to pursue a single mom. Literally none.

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  • Those are very good points. I have a daughter and I can say that some women actually bailed out when they found out I already had a kid.

    I also had to learn some of the things you mentioned in the second part of the take. ;)

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    • how up front were you about having kids? I think for a lot of people for a lot of reasons, its an automatic no and for good measure as some people really should not be around or be in charge of kids because they don't know how to "adult" yet.

    • I was always very transparent and straightforward about this. Obviously I'd try to approach the subject in a natural way instead of, at the end of the first date, saying something like "Oh... and I have a daughter. See you!".

      Since I was 22 when she was born, I was still learning how to "adult" too and made my fair share of mistakes, like introducing my daughter to girlfriends who weren't around anymore after a few months.

      She particularly liked one of them and asked when we would go to her place to play and draw again. It was heartbreaking.

    • Well I mean, I don't think you have to lead with hello, I have kids, but knowing how people can react, there really isn't much point to waiting until a second date or later if its going to turn out to be someone who is never going to date someone with kids or wants their own, or whatever reasons. I was the single person w/o kids dating someone with kids, and the guy was very open and honest about it and how fiercely protective he was of his son. I think what helped is I met him through a friend who spoke very highly of him as both a friend and a father though every single one of my friends was like, avoid this guy, simply because he had kids. I never really personally thought that was fair, but it is complicated to date someone with kids as the single person without and vice versa as a parent with kids dating someone without.

  • One girl and there will be none after.

    Hopefully she can handle her current situation in a respectable way in reasonable time...

    But i always preached against it.

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  • I'm a single dad ( I got rid of my lazy useless ex ) & knew I would remain permanently single as a result of my decision to put those little people in my picture 1st. Even if childless , I'm acutely aware that for a guy my age , dating would be a soul destroying nightmare , people of both genders will simply have too much baggage & have their guard up. One positive from being tired & stressed ( & getting older ) is it kills off my unwanted libido !!

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    • So did you even dismiss the idea of dating someone else with kids or at least that wanted some too?

    • Dating = time & money , 2 things in very short supply at the moment , plus unwanted stress & drama. I'm the type that prefers a lot of own space when I can get it , any more stress / drama will kill me off , so dating is not an option.

    • Gotcha!

  • I feel for people who have children and try dating. Though I am reluctant to date someone with children, I think as adults everyone realizes what it is like to be a child, and how difficult it can be raise one.

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  • Just reading this post reaffirmed my view of not wanting to date a woman who has kids.

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  • It is definitely an age issue, as you get older or your dating range becomes older, children become a factor on both sides. There will be some who will hold strong views on not doing it but to me anyone beyond there late 20s who has a no children clause is cutting off their nose to spite their face. It is a complication but you can't help who you fall for, they could be from far away, a different race, a different faith, speak a different language or they may or may not have children. If you like the person enough you will engage the obstacles to try and overcome them.
    Nice take - Good work and logic on the points raised.

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  • For the reasons enumerated I cannot date a woman with kids. All of these are del breakers and I don't need them. I want someone I can have a fresh start with. Not someone I view as damaged and used. Which is what most men w/o
    view single mothers as being, Hard but true.

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  • I have never had children of my own due to circumstances beyond my control. But I have had the honor of being a parent. Thou it was in a step parent roll I did have children in fact 4 of them. Should I ever find my self single and still of healt enough I would be willing to do it again with the right person.

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    • I doubt many people think about those who cannot have children of their own and still want them. There are also those for whatever reason don't want biological children as well, maybe they have a terrible genetic disorder. Despite all the things to think about, it's always a respectable thing when a good man or woman steps up and takes on the mantle of not only being loving to their SO, but to their children as well.

    • My issue was self inflicted unfortunately. I don't encourage the male gender to take up dare devil biking as a hobby. But it would have been nice to have had children of my own as I seem to have always been a kid magnet. I was never to old to get in the floor or in the yard and play cars with the little boys or have a tea with a little Lady. I seemed to alway have more fun seeing them happy.

What Girls Said 5

  • I will never date a guy who has kids.

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  • Most likely not. The ex-factor is huge for me, and I just couldn't see myself able to deal with another woman's former family. I love kids, don't get me wrong, but I just don't believe I could handle that. If the spouse died, then definitely not. It's not as if they broke up because they no longer loved each other- the wife died. The guy could still love her and is looking for someone to fill the void. Just... personally, nah. I'd rather start my own family with my spouse, not adapt to theirs.

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  • I would prefer not to date someone with kids, as it would mean you may barely get to see them if the kids are young. I wouldn't want my opportunity of having kids pushed aside because they don't want any more either.

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  • At this point in my life I would say no because I want kids myself and would someone who already has them want more? However if I were older I would probably have a different opinion and say yes.

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    • Yep, that's something else to think about... what if they don't want more kids, then you'd be out of luck.

  • Interesting article. As you get older and if you are still single or enver been married before you most likely to find partners who are eitehr already divorced or divorced with kids or single parents, so it is something to take into account for sure when you meet a guy you really really like but this guy has children even if it is just one. I was told once that when you date someone who has already kids you have to remember that the kids is the first priority of your date, you come in second. What can you tell about this? Agree or disagree?

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    • Well, you're pretty much a terrible parent for not putting your kids first as a parent... up until a point. That point is 1) your kids are grown and/or out of your care and can take care of themselves and 2) your kids have made it their mission to purposefully sabotage or dislike all of your dates without merit. If your kids are fed, you're at their baseball games, you remember their birthdays, you tuck them in at night, and you rush them to the hospital when they are sick, beyond those walls, if a parent's new SO has done nothing to the children, there is no need for hostility or for the children's in scenario two to take precident over your entire life to the point where you are now "allowed" to move on. There's a difference.

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    • I know you as the single person dating a guy with kids you also needs to be happy and have time with your SO, is understandable and the guy with the kids also need to know that, that even though he or she is a parent you both need time to yourself. The problem I guess could lie when the kids are small, they have more needs and the parent will have to be focus a little more of his or her time to his/her kids and his/her SO will have to either wait or accept the fact that the kids comes first, especially if they are still are small kids with needs.

    • Oh absolutely. Even though I have dated a guy with a kid, he was 7 at the time, so not as need intensive as a baby or young toddler. I know I probably wouldn't date someone with an infant or toddler because frankly I'd be wondering how they even had time to date in the first place and would feel a bit guilty taking away from that time.

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