Due to my last posting, on what I have learned in relationships, I have been asked to expand on the "dating someone with kids" issue. I will generalize here, to keep things as private as possible.
I would first like to acknowledge that my favorite blogger, one who writes career advice, consistently reveals all sorts of personal information, including her sex life. If you think I am bad, at least I don't think I do anything inappropriate like that.
Now, onwards to dating a dude with kids. Don't do it. The first problem is that there are no rules anywhere, as far as what is suitable, and what is not. For example, if you all go on a vacation together, do you tell the kids that you share a bed when you stay in a hotel room, or do you lie, and hide it from them? This is always a concern for single parents with children. Should you role model and lie, or should you be truthful? What if the kids find out you are lying?
I am not only speaking from experience as a person who dated a single parent, but I am an adult child of a divorced family. In a divorce, I think kids really start to question their parents' sincerity. I feel like parents do lose a little trust when there is a divorce, because everyone is looking for someone to blame.
So, you have the whole "no rules," trust issue.
Now, if you know me, and follow my blog, it is evident that I am opinionated. It is very hard to date someone raising children, when you can't agree with their parenting style. I can tell you that no two people are going to agree on their child rearing skills at all times. It becomes difficult, though, when they are not your own kids, and you really do not have a right to contribute any advice on how they should be parenting. You will end up just watching, and having to disagree, and this can be very hard. If your boyfriend allows their kids to watch tv before they have finished their homework, and you think the child should be focusing on their schoolwork, you really cannot say anything. It is a pretty helpless feeling. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
The "sharing" part is a pain, as well. I imagine it is very hard for the parent, too. Sometimes you want to just spend some quality time with your man, and not even tell anyone where you are, and what you are doing. Unfortunately, they are a parent, and they have to be there for their kid. They can't really "escape," and at times, they can't be there for you at all. On a positive note, that's a sign of them being a good parent.
There is always a chance that the kids will dislike you. Who knows what they hear from the other parent. This can make for a very uncomfortable situation. You can begin to dread being around them, and they can dread being around you.
As a single person with no children, you may assume "parental" responsibilities, such as getting up with the child during the night, coordinating their social schedule, or driving them to and from school. You end up "jumping" into parenthood. If you are young, and end up doing this, you may feel that you have grown up very fast - faster than your friends who are still living the "single life." You give up part of your youth.
You know that when you are in relationship, there are things you are going to disagree on, whether it is your taste in music, your religious beliefs, or whether or not you want to settle down, but this adds another issue that can be avoided by not dating someone with children.
Again, these examples are not personal nor specific. If you want to be spontaneous, and make things easier on yourself, make sure he doesn't have kids. Do paternity testing, if you have to! (Only joking).
This certainly has nothing to do with Janie in Madison, but I can reassure you that while in Madison, I intend to be without stepchildren.