You like someone who has a child or children from their previous relationship. You have questions about what to expect from this relationship. Since you are reading this article, you probably are currently in this situation or expect to be in one. Here are scenarios that you may like to consider and decide if you wish to take this relationship ahead.
- You should be aware a child’s needs is likely to take priority till they are adults. Who does the child live with and their age should be important factors. Is the child aged under 12, or a teenager or an adult may matter. Does the child live with your partner or enjoys shared custody? You need to know beforehand what is comfortable and acceptable for you. If the child/children live with the partner, it may mean co-parenting. The extent of your involvement depends on the comfort level by being a role-model vs being a parent.
- The nature of the break-up of the partner is also an important aspect to consider. Was it difficult or amicable? If it was a spiteful split and continues to be so, the partner may be under continued stress until the child is an adult. In such a situation you would be expected to be extremely patient and supportive. If the breakup was amicable, you may have insecurities because your partner and their ex will have on-going discussions around well-being of the child. You may or may not be included in these conversations, you should be accepting either way.
- You may or may not be invited to participate, celebrating the child’s life events and achievements. Be prepared for this and gracefully accept the situation. This happens if the child and/or the partner’s ex are not comfortable including your participation.
- Be prepared to accept that the partner may be responsible to financially support the child and the ex until the child is independent.
- There will be vacations or trips that will be exclusive between the partner and their child. If the child is young, these trips may also include the partner’s ex.
- Being accepted by your partner’s child will be important to you. The acceptance will depend on the age of the child, the nature of their parent’s break-up and the child’s relationship with your partner. For younger children it is difficult to make sense of a new person in their parent’s life, those older could or not show signs of jealousy. Be prepared to be patient and calm when faced with rude or emotional outbursts by the child.
Although it is widely believed that a single parent should find companionship with another single parent, we don’t think so. There are no rules when it comes to matters of heart. Having said this, it does require immense maturity to be in such a relationship because it is not as straight forward as a relationship without children.
It is important you get into this relationship knowing that the partner’s past will always be a part of your relationship and future. Especially until the children are financially and emotionally independent. It is best to have an open and honest discussion with your partner about your position and role at the beginning of the relationship to avoid friction later.