Dating a man with kids is harder than I thought

15 Nov

Confession – The man I’ve been dating since June has kids. Two to be exact.

When trolling for men on websites, I habitually checked the box labeled “no kids.” No job, no college education, no car, pack a day smoking habit, divorced, missing limbs – they all took a backseat to the notion of dating a man with kids.

Kids were my ultimate deal breaker. I’m simply not keen on other people’s children. They aren’t cute. They annoy me. The less association I have with other people’s children, the better. With babies, well, pretty much any child under the age of 8, all I see are these little screaming creatures swathed in various forms of crud. The younger ones release a lovely scent that can only be described as play-doh mixed with macaroni and cheese and feces. Forget trying to communicate with a child. A half hour of pretending to be interested in incoherent babbling regarding what I think is might be about Disney princess or maybe last night’s dinner? I’ll pass.

dating a guy with kids

The way he feels about his kids….

I almost didn’t say yes to the first date because he had kids. Then this little nagging voice in my head warned me that I was getting older and should accept the fact that more and more men will come with baggage. The fact that he was insanely hot didn’t hurt either. Why pass on something that could be incredible, right? Maybe I could learn to like, or at least not mind, the whole kid thing? He only had them like four days a month after all.

Turns out the whole dating a man with kids is much harder than I anticipated. But not in the way I imagined.

I want to like them. But I can’t stop wishing he didn’t have them.

I want to find them cute. But when he shows me their baby photos and expects me to be excited, I feel nothing but disinterest.

I don’t want to feel annoyed, resentful or angry at the fact that he’s already had the experience of having and raising kids. But I do.

effect of dating a man with children

The way his kids make me feel sometimes…..

Here’s the thing – I’m not a baby-crazy female. I’m on the fence about having kids. (Probably because I haven’t met a man I can envision myself settling down and having them with). However, I’m starting to feel he’s finished with the whole having children thing. Me? I haven’t ruled this out.

If I met a man without kids and we (together) decided to marry and forego the whole babies thing to travel and see the world, I’d be okay with that. No stretch marks, perky boobs and still fitting into a small pant size? I’m down.

My boyfriend has two kids. How will I feel watching them grow up and interact with the knowledge that I’ll never have that? Do I want to play “mom” to another woman’s children  without any of my own? Absolutely not.

I need to explicitly inquire about his future plans, but it’s a hard question to pose.  My gut tells me I know the answer –  it’s what quells any desire to spend time with his children. It’s fueling jealousy and resentment that I never expected. If  I honestly felt he was looking for marriage and a possible family, I would NOT feel this way…. At the beginning, I wanted to be a part of their life. I was willing to try, but now this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach cautions that my efforts might be futile.

This is not us.

He asked my thoughts on having children awhile back and I answered truthfully, “I’m not totally sure, but I may want to in the future.” Kids were never a big deal, but I WANT THE OPTION. So what if I don’t appreciate the company of other people’s children? That doesn’t mean I might not want one of my own eventually.

Here comes marriage?  I was met with sheer uncertainty when I questioned his thoughts on marriage in his future (not necessarily to me!). His answer? “I broke off an engagement only a year and a half ago, so I’m not even thinking about that right now.”

Not the answer I wanted. Maybe there is too much baggage?

This doesn’t bode well. We need to talk. I keep putting it off and putting it off…. I care for him and the last thing I want is a break-up. Still, it makes no sense to be with a man who doesn’t want the same out of life. It’s kind of a big deal.

For me, dating a man with kids was always a dating deal breaker. I understand why… Because this might be what breaks us.

*Note- this wasn’t the easiest post for me to write. Please feel free to comment or email me at singleinctown@gmail.com with any thoughts or advice.  I could use it.

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16 Responses to “Dating a man with kids is harder than I thought”

  1. SillyG November 15, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

    In the same club. I have yet to ask the guy I have been dating for six months the question because I don’t think I want to hear the answer. But then again, I don’t know if I care because even though I am looking for the long term one, I think it will come with time if it is supposed to be that.

    Does suck to have this little nagging thought that I am wasting my time, but I figure I enjoy him so what the heck. Hope it all works out….

    • Summer November 16, 2012 at 12:19 am #

      Yeah, I’d like to cancel my membership to this club. I wish I would’ve posed the question early on in the relationship. It surely would’ve saved potential heartache if the answer isn’t what I want.
      I wish I could believe the right one would arrive regardless and enjoy things as they are, but the pessimist in me only sees missed opportunities. I can’t escape the mindset.
      I wanted him be “the one.” Sadly, it seems to be going in the other direction. A woman’s intuition (should we choose to listen) is rarely wrong.

  2. Andy Shaw November 16, 2012 at 2:17 am #

    I tend to ask the hard questions in the beginning. It’s a bit aggressive, but it also prevents either of us from pursuing a dream with the wrong person. On the plus side, you are not living together (right?).

    In 2005 to 2007, I lived with my girlfriend at the time. She had a 7 year old daughter. That experience was probably the most difficult of my life. Her daughter didn’t like that her mom was dating a guy who was not her father. Try as I might, I could think of no good way for her to like me enough so that if her mother and I decided to get married, it had a chance of being successful. Truth is, I should have listened to my gut and never lived with her, and really, to never have dated her in the first place.

    My advice? Follow your gut. There is a really good book called ‘Blink’ by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s 200 pages of what you think in the first two seconds of someone and how that initial impression will play itself out over time, no matter how much you wish to ignore it.

    I’d wish you luck, but I don’t think you need it. Follow your gut, it knows the right thing to do. It’s far cheaper (physically, mentally, emotionally and physically) in the long run.

    All the best…

  3. kelly November 16, 2012 at 7:31 am #

    Follow your gut…a woman’s intuition (sometimes unfortunately) never lies.

    I’ve come to the realization that when things like this happen and come up in relationships, it is all explained very simply after all. When the man is “the one” there are no complications or negatives that are deal breakers anymore. If he is “the one” a former deal breaker just doesn’t hold as much power anymore. I’m not saying you don’t have hard times or disagreements with the one, but when it’s right…it’s right…no matter what obstacles stand in the way.

  4. daterofboys November 16, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    I’ve had 2 relationships with single fathers.

    The first, newly separated and heading for divorce, had a 1.5-year-old daughter. On the second date, I asked if he would marry again/have more kids. His answer was an unwavering YES to both. I WANT kids, so this was perfect. I grew very attached to his daughter…but we didn’t work out (he was bi-polar) and saying goodbye was excrutiating.

    After that, I didn’t want to date men with kids…but then I fell for another. Unfortunately, I had the SAME GUT FEELINGS you did. You get along and everything is spectacular…so you don’t want to bring it up. But I did. I didn’t want to be in limbo.
    “Would you have more kids?”
    “I’m not sure. Maybe…like not right now, but maybe I’ll feel differently in a few years.”
    Later I said to him:
    “When you said maybe, you meant no, right?”
    “Umm…well, yeah.”
    But we carried on for a while, because everything was great, and I wasn’t on a deadline. And then, I got pregnant (ON the pill). So, what a complete disaster for me, wanting kids…and basically getting what I want (what I’ve always wanted), by some cruel fluke, with the one person who wasn’t on-board.

    My advice: Ask. Know. Make your decisions from there. But realize, that if your futures are in line, you’re doing yourself a GREAT disservice by growing more and more attached.

    • Clevelander November 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

      Wow… I’m sorry for all that. That’s awful (one of my good friends got pregnant on the pill too.. it happens). You’re right though, I’m only hurting myself by becoming more attached and wasting my time. I can’t imagine how a man can date a woman with no kids, expect her to accept his kids into her life, but never be willing to consider having one or two with her if that’s what she desires. If that’s a man’s decision, he’d be better off finding a woman who already has a child of her own. I’ve never wanted someone else’s family, but I’d be willing to except it if I knew we had the potential to have one of our own. Without that, it’s pointless.

  5. snarkatussin November 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    I’m in a similar position but without the questioning piece.

    Like the many others, I’m going to say you have to trust your guy on this. I’ve learned from several failed relationships that following my gut checks early on would have prevented a lot of wasted time and unnecessary pain.

    Overall, if it’s right, it’s right. I’m, by no means, a “kid person” but after six months of dating, I met my boyfriend’s kids and have been building a relationship with them since. I love him and the kids are certainly an adjustment, but he and I spend time talking about the situation and having very open lines of communication: This makes a world of difference and helps to keep my anxiety in check. (He has them 50% of the time, so long-term commitment will lead to a pretty dramatic life-change on my part.) No nagging feelings or doubts about our relationship.

    Ask the questions and follow your gut. It sucks but if you’re both not on the same page, then why keep investing yourself?

    • Clevelander November 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

      50 percent of the time – now that takes some dedication on your part! I’m glad it’s working out for you, taking on someone’s children isn’t easy. However, if the relationship is going great and you are both on the same page for the future, it’s worth it.

      My gut is always right and I hate that. I always know. I think it’s time to move on and that totally sucks.

  6. Mae Linn November 18, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    That’s exactly why I am obsessed with looking as young as possible. In case I have to date younger to have a man without a ton of baggage. I have friends with kids always canceling going out bc of their kid. I couldn’t imagine dating a man with kids. I personally wouldnt do it, and there are still alot of single, good, 35ish men out there, without kids.

    • Clevelander November 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

      I don’t think I’ll ever do it again! Even when the man only has them four days per month, it’s still a ton of emotional baggage to take on. Certainly more than I was prepared for. There are plenty of child-free men in the sea, you are right about that.

  7. cherylgrantvacationrentals November 19, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

    So Honest!!!! Thank you for this post.

    • Clevelander November 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

      Thank you. By the way, can the two of us switch lives for awhile? Seriously.. I’m jealous.

      • cherylgrantvacationrentals November 24, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

        I can’t lie…It is a pretty good gig :) However, I’m sure I’m going to be single forever here lol I guess you can’t have everything … so for the time being….I’ll keep my warm weather!

  8. Nait December 30, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    I found it’s hard too. As a man in my 40’s it is not easy to find women without kids though. I am not interested in anyone’s kids but I may have to compromise if needed.

    • Summer January 2, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

      I don’t think I can ever compromise on that again. And that frightens me because it’s becoming more commonplace the older I become. It was worse than expected! So awful.

      • Nait January 5, 2013 at 9:40 am #

        A lot of people are not qualified to have kids, at least not early then divorce. That’s the source of all the problems in the world. Ha.

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