Dating someone with kids: Is it worth it?

happy couple
Image credit: Shutterstock - By Peter Berni

Are you dating someone new with kids? If so, it might be a shock for you.

When you don’t have kids yourself, stepping into a relationship with a person with kids can be overwhelming. Kids are a big commitment, and when you date their parent, they’re going to be around a lot.

So, is dating someone with kids worth it?

At a certain age, most dating prospects will have kids. But what if you’re younger? Dating someone with kids in your 20s or 30s can definitely put a pause on things. You have to decide whether or not you can do it.

But, you don’t need to be scared. I’ll lay out all the pros and cons of dating someone with kids and whether or not you think you should do it.

Is dating a man with a child worth it?

First, let’s start off with the guys. If you’re dating a man with children, is it worth it?

Truthfully, that depends on you and what you’re ready for. Being a stepmom can be overwhelming and a little scary, so if you don’t feel comfortable assuming that role, it may be time to take a step back.

You have to realize that kids come with a lot. There is always something that a kid needs. Between school, after-school care, snacks, sports, bed times, and more, you can expect to be pretty busy.

But, kids don’t have to be a bad thing.

There’s nothing sexier than when a guy is a good dad. Seeing them melt and care for another person like they do their kids is something that tugs on your heartstrings like nothing else.

And the good thing is that guys with kids are often a lot more patient. They’re used to putting up with chaos, so they’ll be patient with you and your feelings as well.

However, that also means they don’t have time for crap. There’s no room for game-playing when you’re dating a dad. They’re busy balancing kids, work, and life, and a relationship needs to be mellow and easy.

If you’re adding more drama to their life, it’s not going to be worth it.

But know that only you can decide whether or not you should date a man with kids. 

Reasons not to date a man with a kid

Just because a guy has kids doesn’t mean you should end things. But, there are a few signs that you shouldn’t date a man with a kid.

Some reasons not to date a man with a kid are:

  • You’re not ready to coparent
  • You don’t want kids at all
  • You’re in a different life stage than they are, and you don’t want to be in their stage
  • They’re not honest with you about their kid
  • They aren’t involved in their kid’s life, and they don’t care to be

Is dating a girl with a kid a bad idea?

Now, let’s talk about dating a girl with a kid. A lot of people ask if dating a girl with a kid is a bad idea…but is it?

No, it’s not.

Just because someone has a kid doesn’t mean you should count them out. Relationships end. People have lives before they met you. And if they have kids, so be it.

But, you have to decide whether that matters to you. Because it’s going to be a lot of time and energy invested into the relationship and kids.

A good majority of the time, the woman is going to have custody of her kids. That means that the kids will spend most of their time at her house. So if you get serious with her, you’re going to be around the kids a lot.

That’s a big commitment. For some, it’s going to scare them off. Because dating a girl with kids is going to be hard—really hard sometimes.

If you are the type of person who needs a lot of time and praise sent your way, dating a girl with kids probably won’t be the best fit for you. Her kids are going to come first, rightfully so, and it’s something you’ll have to be aware of and okay with.

Being in a relationship with a woman who has a child

Being in a relationship with a girl who has a child is going to be incredibly different than any other relationship you’ve been in.

Things are going to seem like they move slower. Many times, you won’t meet the children until you have spent a while with the woman.

This can be confusing and hard, but it’s something you have to keep in mind and be understanding of as well. 

Here are some tips to making a relationship with a woman with kids work:

  • You’re not first priority: Her kids will always come first, and they should. This is a good sign that she loves her kids and is passionate about their wellbeing.
  • Be flexible: There are going to be nights you have plans and a kid gets sick. There will be times that the kids need her and she cancels last minute. You have to be flexible with her.
  • Make her kids part of the relationship: She’s going to want to talk about her kids. Deep down, she’ll want you to love her kids just like you do. 
  • Know she’s more than her children: Before she had kids, she was a person, too. And sometimes, she just needs someone to help her remember that. 
  • Love her: Above all else, love every part of her. Love the parts that stretch a bit more from having kids. Love the parts that are hurt and broken. Just love her.

Dating someone with kids pros and cons

As with any relationship, there are going to be pros and cons. But with children, those pros and cons are obviously a lot bigger.

Like, research shows that couples are unhappiest when their children are in preschool. And while kids can add some satisfaction to life, on relationships, they take their toll

I don’t mean to scare you off, but you should know what you’re getting into. Because moms and dads are not going to wait around while you waste their time. They have too much to do, and they’re already spread too thin.

Know that there will be times you are frustrated and hurt because you feel like you’re last on their list. But also know that they will love you deeply and above everything else.

Someone having kids won’t make or break the relationship, but your perspective on it will. So before you commit to someone who has kids, know the pros and cons. Then choose to rise above them.

Pros of dating someone with kids

They’re not afraid of commitment

You know that if they have kids, they were in a committed relationship. And even if they weren’t committed to the children’s other parent, they are committed to their child. So, they know what they want and will work through the hard times.

They’re not looking to race through dating

When someone has a kid, that’s their first priority. So they aren’t going to be so eager to date, get engaged, get married, and have kids. They’ve probably already done some of those things, so they may want to take things slow. And this is a great thing when there are kids involved.

They love fiercely

There is no greater love than what a parent has for a child. They are going to love so deeply because they’ve experienced that love. And if they let you into their world, they’re going to be able to love you just as deeply.

They don’t waste time

If they don’t see a future between you and them, they’re not going to waste your time. They are there to make a relationship work. If it’s not working, they move on.

Cons of dating someone with kids

Their schedule is most important

You will have to learn to work around their schedule a lot. With kids, work, school, meal time, and bedtimes, there’s always something going on. You’ll have to be very flexible when dating them.

You’ll have the kids’ parent to deal with

For the most part, there will be two parents of the kid, and you’ll have to work with that. That means if you get serious with the person, you’ll see the ex a lot. This can be frustrating for the person you’re dating and for you.

You may have a hard time finding your role

Depending on the role with the other biological parent, you may have a tough time figuring everything out. You don’t want to start acting like the child’s parent, but you also don’t want to be viewed as a non-parent when you get serious. It can be hard to figure this out.

It’s loud, hectic, and chaotic

To go from being alone to dating someone with kids can be crazy. Kids are loud, chaotic, and often seem like they are running on extra-strength batteries. How do single parents do it all? You’re not going to be used to this, and it can be a little hard to work with.

How to decide if it’s worth it?

Reading all of this information can be a little anxiety inducing. I get it. 

But I can tell you this: If you’re looking up this information, you’re considering dating someone with kids—and that’s a pretty good sign. Because obviously, this person means a lot to you. If they didn’t, you’d cut your losses and go on your way.

Only you can decide what it is that you can handle. Maybe kids sound overwhelming, but you’re prepared and ready to try and give it a shot. Maybe kids are something you never wanted and you want to run the other direction.

Whatever it is, just know that kids don’t determine the health of your relationship. You can still have an amazing and fulfilling relationship with someone who has kids.

Look at the pros and cons, look at your own life, and then decide what it is you can handle. 

But don’t let a good thing get away just because you’re scared. Kids are cute—they grow on you.

Dating someone with kids quotes

“The most difficult part of dating as a single parent is deciding how much risk your own child’s heart is worth.” Dan Pearce

“Single parents and their children are a package deal. If you don’t like kids, it’s just not going to work.” Unknown

“They say never date a woman with kids, but nothing is more attractive than seeing a single mother who is in school full time, who has two or three jobs, and is doing whatever is possible so her kids can have the best.” Naquin Gray

“They will be tired. They will look at you and wonder how they will survive another day being a single parent. You will see them at their worst more often than you see them at their best. You will fall in love with the sound of a child laughing. You will look up at her and see the joy in their eyes. And you will know right then, you made the right choice. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.” Unknown

“Real magic in relationships means an absence of judgment of others.” Wayne Dyer

“It seems essential, in relationships and all tasks, that we concentrate only on what is most significant and important.” Soren Kierkegaard

In conclusion

Still wondering if you should date someone with kids? You know the answer deep down, you just have to decide whether or not you can handle it. Kids aren’t something that you want to play around with.

If you are serious about the person, consider moving forward. But take your time meeting the kids. That’s not something you’ll want to rush.

And if you’re not ready to meet them, tell your significant other that too. They’ll understand. Above all else, remember that dating someone with kids will be different, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible or doomed to fail.

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Jess Carpenter

Written by Jess Carpenter

I studied at The University of Utah where I earned both my B.S. and M.S. and am a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES certified). My favorite spot to write is wherever I can see my toddlers to ensure they aren’t jumping from the second story or coloring on the walls.

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