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Thinking of Dating Someone with Kids? 8 Questions to Ask Yourself

A dad who is dating someone with kids, playing with their kid and laughing in a field.

One of the biggest questions in every relationship is, “Do you want kids?” There’s no wrong answer. Children are a huge, lifelong responsibility. Just think about your own relationship with your parents—it’s not like the second you turned 18, they vanished from your life. Kids can also be an absolute joy and bring you a level of happiness you never thought possible. Every situation is different.

But, what if you start developing a crush on someone who already has kids? If you’re not sure if it’s something you should pursue, here are eight questions to ask yourself before asking them out.

Do I get jealous easily?
Before even thinking about the kids, you need to think about yourself and analyze your behavior. Do you get jealous? Reason being, there’s a great chance that the ex will be in the picture if the two split custody. Even though they’re broken up for a reason, it’s another person who’ll always be a factor in your relationship. The two of them will be expected to co-parent together, and you might be on the sidelines for a while until things get more serious.

Will I be understanding if he or she needs to cancel last minute?
When someone has kids, their calendar gets a lot more confusing. Aside from possible practices and appointments, your date will likely cancel on you last minute if one of the kids gets sick. That, or they may be running 15 minutes behind if their child develops a bit of separation anxiety. It’s hard to manage sometimes, especially if you’re used to leaving the house whenever you want. You need to have a lot of patience when dating a parent.

Can I give good advice?
Kids look up to adults for answers—and, if you’re dating a guy with kids, for example, you’ll likely get a few life questions tossed your way. If their child comes to you for advice on an issue about school, will you be able to help and be a positive influence? You might not be a natural with kids, but you at least need to know right from wrong, and when it’s appropriate to give advice and when you should leave it to their parents.

Can I care for a child that’s not my own?
This sounds a little harsh, but it’s still important. If things get serious with the man or woman you’re dating, and it leads to the possibility of marriage, would you be able to love their child as you’re own, even if they’re not? You’re not necessarily replacing their biological mother or father, but you’ll still be a very important part of their family.

Do I like kids?
This is one of the biggest questions because if you’re not a fan of children, dating a parent can be especially tough. Honestly, if the answer is no, the relationship is not even worth pursuing. Reason being, the kids and parent are a package deal. The parent should never be in a situation where they have to choose a relationship over their child. It’s natural to take some time to warm up to kids, but if you feel anxious by their presence, scratch dating off the table.

Can I tone down my lifestyle?
If you’re in your 20s, you might be all about going out and grabbing drinks at the club. And that stuff is fun—but, if you’re dating a parent, they might already be over the loud noise and drunken antics. Even with a babysitter, parents will always be parents—and they’ll always be on call for an emergency. So, expect more low key dinners and fewer vodka shots.

Will I get too attached?
Here’s the extremely hard part about dating a parent—if it doesn’t work out, and you’ve formed quite a bond with their child, you have no legal rights to see them. So, it can put some additional pressure on a relationship. That said, you should be looking for someone to settle down with when dating a parent. If you’re just in the mood for a casual relationship, this might not be the best match.

Can I handle the criticism?
When you’re dating a parent, everyone will have something to say about it. But the worst critic might be the kids themselves, especially if they were holding on hope that mom and dad would get back together. For many months, you might not be the most popular person around if you’re dating someone with an older child. But if you’re able to take it all in stride until things normalize a little, you may end up being a very crucial person to that kid’s life.

If you’re interested in dating a parent, just know that you’ve chosen a strong and confident individual. Parenting is tough, and parenting solo is even more challenging. When you choose to date someone with kids, you’re picking someone who has no issues with putting others first, and is able to multitask like nobody’s business. But still, it’s not the right situation for everyone. If you’re honest with your own wants and needs, you’ll be able to figure out whether or not it’s something that you can handle.

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