I Dated A Man With Kids & Don’t Think I Could Do It Again

I Dated A Man With Kids & Don’t Think I Could Do It Again ©iStock/svetikd

I thought there was something charming about the fact that the guy I’d started dating had three kids. Friends would joke I had an instant family, and there were good times for sure. But honestly, I don’t think I could date a man who’s already a dad again. Here’s why:

  1. I got attached to the kids. I opened my heart to his kids and really bonded with them throughout the three years that I knew them. That was awesome, but not so great when it came to the breakup I had with their dad — I was not only losing one person but four! I don’t want to get attached to kids that I might lose. It sucks.
  2. I needed four people’s approval. When my ex and I started dating, I soon realized this was going to be quite different from when I’d wanted previous guys to like me. I had to try to impress him AND three kids! It was quite overwhelming. They did like me, but we had to ease into getting to know each other and spending time together. It’s a whole process that isn’t always easy. I still got lucky that they liked me, but imagine if they hadn’t? It would’ve been even more stressful. I don’t want to risk getting into that situation in future.
  3. The past would come up a lot. In the early stages of the relationship, I thought it was no biggie that my ex had an ex-wife and his kids had a biological mom. But it started to become an issue when the kids would reminisce about times when their dad and mom were still married, and I could clearly see the pain of the divorce on their faces. This family had a past that I would never fully understand or be a part of. Ever.
  4. The guy had emotional baggage. After going through a difficult marriage and divorce, with three kids along for the ride, my ex had loads of emotional baggage. He was a committed guy, but also quite jaded about the idea of getting married again, which put a damper on things for me. I think that dating a guy who’s been married and brutally divorced can be problematic because our relationship goals will be different.
  5. We missed out on important “firsts.” The crappy thing about dating a man who had three kids was that he didn’t want to have more children. We were clearly never going to experience some things for the first time together, like getting engaged, getting married, and deciding to raise a family. He’d already crossed all those things on his list, and being with him meant that I probably wouldn’t get to experience them for myself.
  6. It’s rare to find a man who doesn’t have issues with his kids’ mom. There were times when my ex and his ex-wife would fight, which would sometimes drag the kids into it. To his ex-wife, I was perhaps a threat — she refused to meet me and acted like I didn’t exist. It made me feel strange. I didn’t really know how to deal with the issues between him and his ex-wife. They weren’t my battles, and yet they were a sign of his past life that would always be hovering around in my life. Not cool.
  7. Our dates got disrupted — a lot. I was always ready to help out with his kids, but sometimes this wasn’t easy. I remember many of our dates getting disrupted because the kids needed help with homework or needed to be given lifts to places. Sometimes I felt frustrated because time with my ex was never really about us.
  8. Loving another woman’s children has some downsides. Yes, I loved his kids, but I could never love them as much as their mother did. I couldn’t be a motherly figure because they had a mom. I couldn’t discipline them because it wasn’t my place. I could just give them love like an aunty or much older sister. It was sad because they’d never be mine, and I felt like I was just renting out some time as a wannabe mom but never the real thing.
  9. We had no freedom. Since my ex and I couldn’t do much of what we wanted because of the kids, it really limited how much freedom we had in our relationship. We couldn’t, for example, go on a spontaneous holiday for the weekend. We’d have to check where the kids were that weekend and even if they weren’t staying with my ex, he’d still have to be around in case they needed him.
  10. I was locked down. I only met his kids after two months of dating him when we both knew we were serious about each other. The pressure was on — I had to be committed, to him and his kids. I had to consider the kids throughout the relationship. This was even more traumatic when their dad and I broke up. I was torn up about it a lot, worrying about what they’d feel and think. Ugh. I want the freedom of being in and leaving a relationship without having so many strings, baggage and little people’s feelings haunting me. It’s just too much!
  11. I missed them more than him. In spite of the tough times, I really loved those kids and felt myself missing them more than my ex after the breakup. It sucked that I couldn’t be a part of their lives because things didn’t work out with my ex, but that’s the way it goes. They were his and had never belonged to me.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.