Single motherhood is a common and realistic part of today’s society but, as common as it is, you may face stereotypes when dating a woman with a child. You may be confused about your role or what to expect. The unsteadiness of being involved in a relationship with a single mother can be trying and cause undue stress in a relationship that would otherwise thrive. Preparing to date a girl with a child will help you understand where you fit in and make the situation more comfortable for everyone.
Don't rush in too quickly. Just because you are going on a date with a single mother doesn’t mean you have to meet her child right off the bat. This may also be better, as the woman will want to protect her child from getting hurt or attached to someone in a relationship that is not serious. Don’t push to meet the child when you are unsure of the future of the relationship.
Include planning in your agenda. When dating a single mother, even in the beginning stages, you will need to be flexible and organized. Offering to pay for a babysitter and letting her know of dates you have planned well in advance will show her you’re thoughtful and responsible. This will also give her a chance to get her affairs in order. Being patient is a must to take the pressure off of both of you. You should be understanding when plans change abruptly because the child is sick or visitation with the child's father falls through. When she sees your willingness to accommodate her, this will prove your seriousness to her.
Define your intentions when you are certain of them. Don’t waste a single mother’s time by being deceptive or being a player. Once you are sure of your seriousness, let her know through your actions and verbal communication. This will serve to reinforce your position with facts, and let both of you know when it is time to meet the child.
Incorporate the child into activities as much as possible after the relationship solidifies. Being serious about a mother means embracing her child into your life as well. Building a relationship with her child will take time, but you can do it if you put in the work. Plan activities or dates that will be inclusive for the entire family. Structuring some dates this way may also help the child accept you. Going to an arcade or theme park, for instance, can meet everyone’s interests. All in all, avoid being phony with the mother or the child.
Deal with the details of the situation. Find out about the biological father and why things didn’t work out. Do this with empathy and understanding, as it will also give you insight on the type of woman you are with. Don’t insult her with jealousy or misunderstanding. This is one situation in which you should be quick to listen and slow to speak.
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- Avoid treating a single mother as simply a mother. Romance and thoughtfulness will often be more appreciated in these situations.
- Let your girlfriend handle discipline. You should act like a friend until you become established as a family.
- Don't be discouraged if your girlfriend's child is resistant to your efforts to get closer to them. Divorce and dealing with new, unknown circumstances are scary for children.
- Mother image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com