My husband and I were a little impatient to introduce me to his family, so I met his kids after only a couple of months of dating.Though things worked out, it was overwhelming to me at first, especially because I wasn't certain that our relationship would last. In retrospect, I think the smarter thing to do would be to wait until we were in a committed relationship for the sake of the children.
In so many respects, I feel lucky, blessed, though it hasn't always been easy.
Here's what I've learned about dating a man with kids: No relationship comes without risks or baggage for that matter.
I would have missed out on a life-changing relationship if I made his single dad status a deal-breaker before I got to know him. Being in a relationship with a man who has taken on raising kids makes my life that much richer and rewarding, mostly in unexpected ways.
When I was online dating, I filtered single dads out of my searches.
There was no way I'd ever get involved with a man who had that kind of baggage.
Who needed to date someone with an ex and children in the mix, since dating was already complicated enough?
Then at a party, I met a man who took me by surprise. I felt hopeful again that maybe this time (after more bad dates than I cared to count), things would work.
He was warm, kind, funny -- so different from the jerks I'd been dating. I wasn't opposed to having kids of my own -- in fact, I wanted them.
But taking care of someone else's kids who might not want me around?
Who were just old enough to form their own opinions about Dad's new girlfriend? That was a whole new level of stress I didn't know how to prepare for.
I trudged up the rest of that mountain, taking in this daunting new piece of information. We are married, and I can say that those first several months of being together and getting to know his children was a tough, but truly valuable learning experience.