What you must know: Dating a Single Parent

Did you meet your soulmate then discovered that they are a single parent?

There is a lot to consider before dating a single parent. First, there will be a child in the mix. Is that a deal breaker? Should it be? Think about it. Do you like children or could you tolerate them? Second, can you accept the fact that you will never get a “fresh start” with your soulmate because their child and/or their child’s other parent will always be in the picture one way or another? Does that make you uncomfortable? If the child’s other parent bullies your soulmate, you will probably be targeted and bullied too. Can you handle the drama? If you’re dating a single parent or considering it, you must proceed with caution. Make sure you know what you are getting yourself into before things get serious.

This is what you must know before dating a single parent:

The Child Comes First.

You will not be the number one priority to a single parent. Your spot should always be second to the child. If you’re prioritized over that child: this should be a red flag that your soulmate might not be a very good parent. A good parent will not put their child second to a romantic relationship. It doesn’t matter how special you think that you are, how much planning you put into your special plans or how much money you paid. If the child becomes sick or a babysitter cancels, your soulmate will probably bail.

Parenting Styles Matter.

If you do not like the way your soulmate parents his or her child then your relationship is doomed to fail. You must be on the same page about parenting styles or your relationship will run into issues. For example, if you believe it “takes a village to raise a child” and your soulmate believes only the biological parents should discipline the child, this will lead to issues if you ever try and punish the child in the future. Also, if your soulmate doesn’t discipline their child in the same way you’d want your own children disciplined, this is another red flag. If you believe in time-outs and your soulmate believes in spankings, there will be conflict when the child is hit. You will probably run into even bigger issues if you ever have your own biological child together.

Your Role Matters.

Children deserve as many loving and supportive adults in their life as possible. Are you prepared to be a good role model? If you are not prepared to step in and support your soulmate’s role in parenting his or her child then you should run like hell. A relationship with a single parent should be avoided if the role you want does not align with the role your soulmate may want from you. Any support you give to your soulmate or the child could be continued (legally) if the relationship fails.

What should you take from this?

It doesn’t matter how much you love your soulmate or how much you do for your soulmate and their child. If you are not on the same page about your priorities, parenting styles and roles then the relationship is doomed to fail. If you’re considering dating someone with a child, you might want to speak to a lawyer to find out about any legal consequences you might face by entering that relationship. For example, it’s possible to be stuck paying child support for non-biological children. There might be ways to avoid surprises with a formal Agreement created at the start of the relationship that sets out expectations during the relationship or at the end of the relationship if things don’t work out.

Edmonton Family Network has connections to legal professionals and community support services. 

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