Dating with Children

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Unfortunately, it’s become one of the “getting to know you” questions in today’s day and time. You know, first they ask how old you are, then possibly where you work or where you’re from, and then sooner or later, it slips–how many kids do you have?

Now there are a few of us out there, still childless, but not too many… and I’m not just speaking in terms of women. I think we tend to ask that question within the first hour as well. And even more surprising is the fact that we are completely shocked when the person responds with a “no”. It’s almost like we automatically put them into the ‘keeper’ box just because they don’t have any children and we think it’s so rare to find someone like that. I’ve got a number of single girlfriends with a kid or two and I’ve got male friends who are single with children, even though yes in most cases, the child still lives with the mother. They are still single fathers nonetheless. I understand that having kids before you’re married, hell in most cases, engaged seems normal. It’s not looked upon too highly still, but does that mean that they are not supposed to be happy with someone? Or maybe we’re saying they have to date someone else who has kids? We can’t be serious.

I believe it takes a special being to complete a family that has already began to grow. It’s no secret that people have children out-of-wedlock daily and on top of that, some people have children to trap their partner, some have kids just because there was nothing else to do, some have kids from previous relationships/marriages and, of course, there are plenty of other foolish reasons you can imagine a young mind would come up with. I have friends that fit each category–but that’s beside the point–like I was saying, it takes a special person to be able to enter a relationship with the thought process that they may want to be the missing puzzle piece to the single parent and their child(ren). I’m actually in this boat now. My beau was married prior to our relationship and helped make two beautiful baby boys over that time.This is not my first time being in a relationship with a man with kids, but it is the first time I felt so seriously about the relationship that I began to think further into the future than just what it would hold for me and him. I began to think about his kids. We split the holiday time this year (me and the kids), but by this time next year me and my beau will likely be married and one of these days [God's will] those kids will be a major part of my life as well.

It’s just something to think about. If you’re pursuing a relationship, I hope it goes without saying that you are considering a future with this individual. If they have children that’s an even bigger commitment to consider making. Dwyane Wade (even in his new-found infidelity) asked Gabrielle Union to marry not just him, but his two sons and his nephew that he takes care of, because it’s a package deal. It’s not just the man or woman who you’re seeing that you’re building a relationship with. I’m not saying it’s easy and I’m certainly not saying that everyone who is dating a person with kids will be the puzzle piece. I really meant it when I said it takes a special person. I will say this though, if you’re immature; if you don’t want children; if you’re selfish; if you are worried about what others think… I highly doubt you’ll ever be able to be in a successful relationship with someone with children.

If you’re immature, the relationship won’t likely last with or without kids. No sugar can coat that. More importantly though, the immaturity won’t allow for you to see that if you are serious about the person you’re pursuing a relationship with, you will eventually end up being a part of their child’s life. It should make you want to change certain things about yourself to accommodate the child. It will make you change some habits, watch your language, seek a better relationship with God and your partner, you know.. the little things you do when a little person is around.

I used to say constantly, “I don’t want to have kids.” Oh-em-gee. God really got me for saying that. In all my growing daily, not only am I crazy about my beau’s boys–I can’t wait to have my own. Yes, I said it (for those of you who know me). Shocker, right. But I realized that they are the greatest gift from God. And if I see the world as a problem, the least I can do is raise a few who will raise a few to do the right thing, like my mother did for me. So anyway, with that, if you don’t want kids… don’t be with someone with kids because you’ll never be able to be that missing puzzle piece no matter how many ways you turn it and they deserve that.

If you’re selfish, you’re absolutely not that puzzle piece. If you’re a selfish person, there is no way you’d understand when the holiday times come around that instead of being with you Christmas morning, he’ll be with his kids (at least until you guys are married). It’ll be hard to stomach the fact that you will NEVER come before those children. If you can’t understand that, then the relationship just simply couldn’t work. You have to be selfless to love not just a child, but especially a child that is not your own in no different way than if they were your’s. Selfishness is an internal disease and will hinder you from doing a whole lot more than just this. Also, if you’re with someone who doesn’t mind putting you before their children… that’s not okay either. Change what’s happening or set them free, for their children’s sake. The children should always come first.

If you’ve ever been with someone with kids, think of all the negative feedback you got about where your relationship would go if you pursued that person. I’m assuming–based on my experience–that it’s a little more than a little less. If you’re a person like me, you won’t need someone’s permission to love. However, not everyone is that strong. Some people choose to let others make decisions for them. If you’re worried about what people will think or say of you pursuing a committed relationship with someone with children, you’re poisoning the relationship yourself. Not even the one between you and the children, but the one between you and your partner. They need your unconditional love. I’m sure they’ve already been struggling with trying to find someone in the first place. I mean not too many are really lined up to be with the ‘singles with children’. Don’t jeopardize a good thing because some cares to share their two cents.

I know this entry was a little lengthy, but I know it’s something that I felt needed to be touched on here at TGC. I’m hoping I’ve striked a little feedback from someone out there somewhere. Be sure to let me know your thoughts. [To the single parents]: Keep your head up. Your puzzle piece is out there. Remember, that you can co-parent without continuing  on in a poisonous relationship. Don’t lose hope. [To the Puzzle Pieces]: Thank you for being strong enough to take on the job someone else failed to do. Like myself, please take pride in the fact that you were made just for someone out there… you’re so special that it’s not even one person alone. Stay committed. Work hard. Get the ring and live happily ever after.

Peace and love, dear reader.

-Isis. 

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