Dating Advice for Single Moms: How to Find a Boyfriend that Loves You and Your Kids
Just because you’re a single mama doesn’t mean you want to be single forever.
If you’re ready to date, here are some tips from single moms to help you find a boyfriend that will love you AND your kids. This article was written by a single mom especially for other women that are struggling to find or believe that there are good men out there that won’t just love you but will also love your kids.
Dating with Kids is a Unique Challenge
We all know this, don’t we?
Before we had kids we thought it was hard to find the right man for us alone. After kids? Good luck! The challenge often seems too difficult. We know the reward of finding someone you love and building a lasting relationship with them is great, but the risk is real and the stakes are high. There are so many factors to consider that the process of finding love can feel impossible for single women with kids.
You Need More than Romantic Chemistry, You Need Family Chemistry
You have to find a boyfriend that loves ALL OF YOU. In conversations with friends I’ve called this ‘family chemistry.’ Yes, you and your boyfriend have to have an extremely strong interest in each other. Yes, you and your boyfriend need chemistry. BUT, what a lot of women (and men!) don’t realize, is that once your boyfriend is introduced to your kids, your entire family unit needs to also have ‘chemistry’ to work. Your family unit DOESN’T NEED ROMANTIC CHEMISTRY, it needs chemistry of a different making.
Your Boyfriend Must LOVE Your Kids
While every relationship is different and has gives and takes, Make no bones about this: your boyfriend must love your kids (or eventually be able to). If your boyfriend doesn’t love your kids, no one in your home will be happy. No matter how cute or successful or charming he is.
To build a relationship that will last, your boyfriend absolutely must love your kids. A divorce attorney once told me something that turned my world upside down regarding dating with children, ‘It starts with the kids. If a man doesn’t love the kids, he will never really be able to love their mother fully.’
I’ve always heard this same saying the other way around. Something to the effect of, ‘if a man really loves you he will love your kids.’ But the truth is, your kids are not an extension of you. They are separate people that will need to be loved and accepted for who they are.
The more I marinated on this attorney’s words, the more truth I found in them. In fact, I mentioned what he said to my boyfriend who was also surprised by the statement but willing to digest it. The truth is, the more we both thought about it, the more we found evidence the attorney’s words to be true in our own relationship.
6 Signs that You Have Great ‘Family Chemistry’ in the Making
The signs that you have great family unit chemistry in the making likely very a little by family, but here are some of the basic characteristics that no family-to-be, should be willing to live without. You as the mom are ultimately in charge of assessing the long-term potential for your relationship with your boyfriend, but as you evaluate keep your entire family’s feelings and responses in mind.
1. Interest in the Children
Your boyfriend absolutely must enjoy spending time with your kids. If he doesn’t find them special and interesting and worthy of love now, he never will. If the relationship is new, your boyfriend should express an appropriate level of interest in getting to know your kids based on where you are at in your own relationship as a man and woman. If your boyfriend finds all of the things the kids like to do ‘boring,’ he likely will not enjoy your homelife. Day to day life with children involves a lot of things that adults don’t necessarily enjoy. The adults—their moms and dads-do these things because they love them. And they enjoy things that they wouldn’t otherwise like because they truly enjoy their kids.
2. Respect for Roles
Your boyfriend must show respect for your kids, their home and what is important to them. Your kids should respect your boyfriend as both an adult and an individual. If your kids deliberately annoy or defy your boyfriend and you do not take action to discipline them, he will feel disrespected and out of place in your home and life.
3. Potential for Growth
You must be able to see potential for growth in your private relationship with your boyfriend and also in your familial relationship. If you truly don’t see potential for growth among all of you, something is broken that you cannot fix. If you don’t have fun together and enjoy each other’s company as a family, there is no potential for a positive long-term relationship.
4. Open Communication
Your kids need to be able to openly express their feelings about your boyfriend to you. If they don’t like him, find out why. Don’t shut them down. Kids often have very valuable insights and their feelings in your home matter the most. If your kids are uncomfortable with your boyfriend there might be a very good reason. Additionally, your boyfriend needs to be able to share his concerns or feelings about family interactions, parenting and your kids without feeling threatened. IF he cannot do this, it will be difficult to grow and deepen your relationship as a couple and also as a family.
5. Expressions of Love
Does your boyfriend express affection toward your children in a healthy way that matches/corresponds with his level of involvement in your home? Does he celebrate with them on their birthday, make them feel special and genuinely connect? Quality time, words of affirmation and/or special ‘gifts’ at appropriate times are great ways for a boyfriend that truly cares to express love.
6. Efforts to Connect
Does your boyfriend really enjoy your kids or does he just ‘accept’ that they are a part of dating you. A man that is taking a serious interest in a woman with kids will also be interested in family friendly activities. If your boyfriend is willing to plan or participate in time with the whole family that gives him the opportunity to build a healthy connection with your kids and show them that he doesn’t just enjoy your time, he also enjoys theirs.
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