Dating Mechanic,
In the past I have always had a firm rule of not dating men with baby mammas because it carries way too much drama that I just don’t want to deal with but recently I began dating a man who has a six year old. I’m having second thoughts about creating a relationship with him. The mom seems to be fine with the fact that I am dating her ex and wants us to “be friends”. She’s never asked me out for coffee or anything but it makes me feel uncomfortable to think of her in that way. I’m not sure if she is being genuine or wants to start trouble in the relationship of her ex. How can I feel more at ease about the situation?

Deciding to date someone with kids can be a tricky situation. There are many dynamics to be considered, the more common being, how much “drama” the other parent will put you through and how much you are willing to go through in order to stay in the relationship. It seems you are concerned with how it all works and being that it is unfamiliar territory you should. Here are a few tips either sex can use to make things go more smoothly when dealing with a situation such as this.

BE POLITE– Because of the sensitivity of the matter keep your emotions out of it. How you feel about what you know or have heard about the other parent is no matter. Treat him/her with complete respect, after all the relationship between you, your current partner, and the child will have to continue and the child will resent you if you speak ill about their parent or have confrontations with them.

BE UNDERSTANDING– No matter how frequent or sporadic the other parent sees the child or is a part of the child’s life it is still their right as a parent to see them and spend time with them providing the relationship is healthy. It is very important for you to put yourself in the child’s shoes here. Encourage the bond they share with both of their parents, you will be amazed at how open the child will become with you over time.

AVOID CREATING UNNECESSARY STRIFE– Respectfully decline if you are uncomfortable with going on outings or to gatherings in the beginning of the relationship where the ex will be present and be sure to voice your concerns with your partner. As the relationship progresses know that you will have interaction with the ex at some point. Refrain from putting stress on everyone involved by learning to be more open to a harmonious relationship between you all.

LISTEN MORE and COMMENT LESS– Be attentive to the needs of your partner in wanting to share frustrations about the other parent but stay clear of making friction between them by offering unsolicited advice. In a new relationship, the decisions concerning the child should be between the parents. Be careful not to put yourself in the middle of a war you didn’t create and cannot fix. Offer an ear to listen and ask reflective questions that put any decision your partner asks back in their court. Ask questions like such as…

  • “So what would you like to do about the situation?”
  • “Is that going to be in the best interest of your child?”
  • “Have you expressed to your ex how you feel about that?”
  • “Is there a way you can resolve this issue where both parties agree?”

THE CHILD’S NEEDS COME BEFORE YOUR EGO– When you decided to date someone with kids you’ve made the conscious decision to accept the conditions of that relationship. If you are finding it hard to be flexible when it comes to the needs of the child that may be a sign you should be in a relationship with someone who does not have any kids. You may even find dating someone who has older kids serves as a better fit for you.

The Dating Mechanic

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