The Single Life: 6 Things Every Woman Should Know When Dating a Man With Children

BY: - 19 Jul '13 | Single

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I “met” Deesha Phillywaw through her book Co-parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households After Divorce. I wish I read her work before I became a co-parent. While dating men with children, I didn’t take into account certain things thoroughly discussed in the chapters of the book. For instance, I wasn’t used to being someone’s second priority and having to schedule dates around a custodial calendar. I also thought paying child support meant your child’s needs were met. I didn’t realize bills stretch far beyond a daycare’s door. I also didn’t have to budget and sacrifice for others, so I could easily drop dollars on designer bags, shoes and clothes–if I opted to spend the day at the shopping mall.

Now, that I’m on the other side of the fence and co-parenting the most terrific toddler you’ll ever meet, I want my experiences to positively impact singles dating someone with children. So yesterday, Deesha and I sat down to lunch–we ate our favorite Thai food and discussed our not so favorite topic–co-parenting through problems and over obstacles. I asked her what six things should women know when dating men with children. Here’s what she told me.

1. Don’t Take Every Word as Gold

If a man says, my child’s mother won’t let me see my kids, dig deeper, because while the family court system is broken, sometimes men say they aren’t allowed see their children when they haven’t sought parenting time through a judge. You don’t need an attorney to obtain custodial rights. A father can represent himself pro se and file a motion if he cannot work out an agreement with his ex. Ask yourself, is this man in his child’s life for not only the first day of school and graduation but all the moments in between?

2. Don’t Let the Baby Mama be the Straw Man

If a man is unable to provide for a child financially, that’s not the child’s mother’s fault. If a man doesn’t try to visit his son/daughter, that’s not the child’s mother’s fault. It’s easy for someone to place blame on another person, especially if they are not getting along. Don’t date someone who isn’t providing financially for his children yet wines and dines you every night. I would have to ask if he is paying child support. Is there an unspoken agreement between the co-parents—don’t bother me about seeing your child, and I won’t bother you about paying child support? You must decide if you want to date someone who makes that kind of trade off. Is the man constantly speaking ill about his ex? That’s not who the baby’s mother is—that’s who he is. Even if he thinks negative those things, it’s not nessceary that he has to vocalize everything all the time, especially if his children are in earshot. It’s difficult to do in many cases, but he should be civil. I’m friends with my ex-husband, but not everyone has a good relationship. Just make sure he is respectful in his interactions. What is your man’s character?

3. Don’t Set a Timer on Meeting the Children.

Don’t use the time you’ve been in a relationship as a measuring stick against meeting someone’s children. Look at the timeline from the child’s perspective. Just because you are in love doesn’t mean the kids are. When you think you’re ready, the children are probably ready a year from that. Someone can be serious about you, but they may not be ready to introduce you to their kids. Before you meet the children, ask yourself, are you ready to commit to being in this child’s life. When you do meet them in the beginning, make sure the interactions are short and brief. Go for ice cream or to the park. Plan an activity with a finite amount of time and with no pressure. Children shouldn’t be pressured to like or love someone, but they should be respectful. Don’t make meeting his children be the validation of your relationship.  Don’t put the burden on the kids.

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About the author

Heather Hopson wrote 60 articles on this blog.

Not long ago, Heather Hopson was an award-winning television host in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's writing a different kind of story as a new mom. She gives readers the key to her diary and shares personal stories about single parenting, dating, transitioning to motherhood and her obsession with being what her family calls an "activity mom." The site features celebrity interviews, parent spotlights and confessional videos. Follow her journey through motherhood on Twitter @dearmomdiary.


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  3. Pingback: There Is No JUSTIFIABLE Reason Why A Man Shouldn’t Pay CHILD SUPPORT (Part 1) [PODCAST] | Up 4 Discussion

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Why Moving In Together Before Marriage May Hurt More Than it Helps!

BY: - 23 Jul '13 | Single

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Let me tell you a little about my at home habits.  Sometimes I don’t close the dresser drawers all the way when I get something out of them.  Sometimes…well most of the time… I step out of my clothes on the bathroom floor and I leave them there.  After the gym I forget to put my sweaty clothes in the hamper.  Hold up wait there is more…sometimes when I finish eating something upstairs I might let the dish hang out there over night (or for a few days) before I put it in the sink. Sometimes my wife moves my stuff from where I left it and it frustrates me.  There’s more but I think you can see where I’m going with this.   We have been married for a year and living together about 6 months and we are still learning how to live together.  So guess what….as this progress rolls on I am making changes slowly but surely and she is accepting certain things slowly but surely. The truth of the matter, though, is that even if we lived together before marriage and did these same things we still would have gotten married, which is why I believe the necessity to “shack up” before marriage is a cop out. Follow me and I will tell you my thoughts!

“We need to see what it’s like to live together first before we get married.” Survey says….FALSE!  In so many relationships you see this reasoning along with:

“we can save money”


“we are pretty much together anyway.”

 Wait what about this one…

 “well we have talked about marriage”

& finally this last one that goes like this…

“marriage isn’t anything but a piece of paper anyway!”

NEWS FLASH People: Shacking up isn’t a requirement before marriage, but being willing to commit and being selfless enough to LEARN to live together is. Saving money isn’t a reason to move in with someone who you don’t even know is serious about building a future with you. Spending the night with your boyfriend or girlfriend is totally different from living with your husband or wife. Talking about marriage isn’t what gets you married, getting engaged and getting married is what gets you married. Oh and finally marriage is far bigger than a piece of paper, it’s a next level commitment where you take vows in front to God, friends, family and loved ones and you ready yourselves to build a family.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way and some folks are a little offended, let me explain. There are so many people who desire to be married, but instead they take the consolation prize of living together. They become roommates and then begin to play house and 5 years later they look back and ask “what happened?” She ends up playing the role of wife and many times mother, but never got the next level commitment she really wanted. He ends up being cool with the situation and realizing he already has all the benefits of having a wife without ever having to officially make her one.  Not to mention if someone leaves it only involves packing a few boxes… no dividing up assets, no deciding visitation, no legal fees because you aren’t married.   He gets all he wants, but she never gets the security she desires and instead of cutting her losses she just holds on to hope.

They break up to make up, he comes and goes as he pleases, and always threatens to leave because he can! It’s 5 years in and she is still waiting on a ring and grows resentful because all of the “talking about marriage” never manifested into anything but being roommates. Not to mention the kids are starting to wonder how come Mommy and Daddy aren’t married. How come he comes and goes as he pleases? What do “Husband” and “Wife” really look like….and the cycle continues.

I GET IT….marriage isn’t for everyone, so if it isn’t for you then this blog isn’t for you. My point is that if two people truly desire the next level commitment and truly intend to be dedicated and committed for the long run then living together isn’t a prerequisite. If your desire is to move from  boyfriend or girlfriend to fiance don’t think that shacking up will get you closer because in reality it might just push you further away. Choose wisely my friends!

BMWK Fam get involved in the conversation: What do you think about cohabitation before marriage? 

About the author

Troy Spry wrote 225 articles on this blog.

Troy Spry a Certified Life, Dating, and Relationship Coach and the one and only "Reality Expert", resides in Charlotte, NC. He created his blog, Xklusive Thoughts, with the intent of putting out a very realistic perspective and using it as a vehicle for inspiration! He hopes to challenge people to think differently and inspire people to do and be better in relationships and in life!


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