10 Ways Dating Someone With Kids Is A Whole Different Ball Game

As you get older, it becomes more and more common to date someone who may have a kid from a prior relationship. Even though single dads need love too, there’s a big difference you may notice when you date a father.

  1. Your dates may be earlier than normal. If you’re used to hanging out at the bar until closing time, that may change if you’re dating a single dad. For one, he’ll need to have his wits about him in case there’s an emergency back at home. Also, most babysitters aren’t really fond of the idea of driving home at 3 a.m.
  2. They also may be canceled at the last minute. It’s easy to be offended when a guy bails, but if he bails because his kid’s mom can’t pick them up from an extracurricular as promised, you can’t be too upset about it. The younger a kid is, the more demanding they can be as far as timing is concerned.
  3. The phone will probably be out on the table the whole time. Not to play games or Instagram his food while out, but to be available if the babysitter calls. It’s almost like he’ll never be 100% available, especially if his kids are in the toddler range. Hopefully, he’ll be able to pay attention to you, but a few glances at his cell will be completely normal.
  4. You might dress a little more conservatively. There’s nothing wrong with dressing up a little sexy for a date, but you may play it safe if you know you might end up running into his kid that night. But have no fear—you’ll still look amazing even if you have to tone it down a little.
  5. There won’t be the same amount of overnight visits at first. It makes sense that he’ll want to separate you from his child, especially if his child is of an impressionable age. Usually, single parents wait a bit before introducing kids to a date until they know it’s something very serious. Overnight visits may be reserved for weekends when the mom is in charge, at least for a while.
  6. There’s always another woman in the picture. Unless his kid is 18, his kid’s mother will always be around. It doesn’t matter if she’s a horrible witch—since they chose to start a family together, she’s not going anywhere. And depending on how things ended, there’s a good chance she won’t be too fond of you right off the bat.
  7. You will be put second, no matter what. You can’t compete with someone’s child, nor should you try to. So, any sort of maneuver to separate the two will just make you look like a villain. If you date a guy with a kid, you need to know that you probably won’t be seen as the priority if the kid needs their father more than you do.
  8. You’ll have to tone down your language. Know what’s great to say? The F-bomb. It really gets some of the steam out when you’re feeling upset. Even though kids are learning vocabulary faster than ever, you don’t want to be the person who introduces them to cursing. Your goal should be to keep your boyfriend’s kids as innocent as possible. So if you normally curse like a sailor, you might want to practice toning that down. Even if you don’t interact with his child for months, it’ll happen eventually if the relationship becomes serious.
  9. He might not be able to treat at fancier locations based on his financial situation. This all depends on two things: the amount of money he makes and how much child support he pays, if any. You shouldn’t start dating a guy just to grab free fancy grub, but if you’re used to being wined and dined by exes without children, just know that dynamic may change.
  10. He’ll have a firm opinion on whether or not he wants more kids. It’s hard to tell how you’ll handle kids until they’re actually in the picture. If he’s loving fatherhood, he’ll be able to tell you right off the bat if he’s open for more. But if things have gotten so complicated with his ex that he’d prefer to be one (or two) and done, he won’t be afraid to tell you. Just expect to have the kids and marriage talk a lot sooner if those are milestones he’s already achieved.
Karen Belz is a New Jersey native who is currently living in Maryland. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication with a focus in Broadcasting and Print Media Studies from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. Since graduating, she has written for sites like LittleThings, HelloGiggles, and Scary Mommy and is currently an e-commerce editor at Bustle.

When she's not writing, she enjoys making her phone run out of memory after taking too many photos of her dog. You can find her on Twitter @karenebelz or on Instagram @karenbelz.