Should You Date Someone with Kids?
Should you date someone with kids? In today’s world, the personal backstories of men and women we might be interested in dating are often complicated.
Sometimes, the person we’re interested isn’t as free to commit to a relationship as we were expecting or hoping for. Especially if you’re beyond the just-out-of-college age, a lot of times the person you’re interested in dating might happen to divorced, or be raising kids as a single parent.
Dating someone with kids might not be possible for a number of reasons. At the end of the day, there’s no cut and dry, one-size-fits-all answer to the question of whether or not it’s a good idea for you to date someone with children.
But if you’re discerning whether or not you should start dating someone with kids, here are three questions to ask yourself to help you decide if that romantic relationship is a good idea for you or not.
1. Is this man or woman truly available?
None of us have the right to be judgmental toward someone who has ended up in a single-parenting situation. But it is a good idea to have an understanding of why the person your’e interested in is in this situation, especially when you are discerning whether you should date them.
Did their spouse pass away? Did they have a child outside of marriage? Are they divorced?
If you are dealing with a single dad or a single mom who is also a widower or widow, there should be some discernment on whether they are emotionally available for a dating relationship. Dating a man with kids or a woman with kids who are also dealing with the death of a spouse can be extremely tricky and difficult to navigate.
Did they have a child out of wedlock? That means there’s no past marriage at all for you to worry about. As long as they’re not still romantically involved with their child’s other parent, you can date them with no worries along these lines.
However, the divorce situation can be a little trickier to navigate. There are a lot of Catholics in our modern society who unfortunately end up divorced.
But as Catholics, we believe that the bond of marriage lasts until death. So if the person is divorced but has not been granted an annulment (a declaration by the Church that there was no valid marriage to begin with), then they wouldn’t actually be able to get married in the Church again.
Even if you’re not looking to get married in the real immediate future, it’s still typically a good idea to think of dating as a quest to find someone to marry eventually. Right now you could be discerning whether this person would be a good boyfriend or girlfriend, but later you could be discerning whether they’d be a good husband or wife. It’s not prudent to start dating someone who isn’t actually able to marry you.
The gray area here is if the divorced person has not been granted annulment but is in the process of seeking one. If this is the case, tread carefully. Consider waiting until the matter is resolved if you want to make sure you’re dating someone who is truly available.
2. What is their faith story?
If the man or woman you’re interested in was never married in the past, it’s a lot more important to look at where they’re at in the faith life right now than it is to focus on their past.
Someone who has had a child out of wedlock might be stronger in their faith right now than a lot of people who haven’t been in such a situation.
Sometimes, people make mistakes and repent. Sometimes people have conversions and completely change their lifestyle. This could easily be the case with someone who had a child out of wedlock.
For faithful single Catholics who have had children outside of wedlock, they may have experienced feelings of judgement and may be cautious about opening up. While we can say that a past sexual encounter outside of wedlock is a sin and a mistake, you should be careful to never imply that their child is a mistake. The child is a blessing, and the parent and their child is a package deal!
On the other hand, it’s also possible that the person had a kid but doesn’t really see a moral problem with sex outside of marriage. Even some people who consider themselves Catholic might fall into this category.
If this happens to be the case with the person you’re thinking of dating, consider carefully whether you’ll be able to maintain your commitment to chastity and Church teachings on sexuality if you date them.
But definitely don’t assume that someone with kids isn’t currently a strong, chaste Catholic. Because sometimes, by the grace of God, people in this situation end up stronger in their faith and morals than ever.
3. Is dating a parent a good idea for you?
No matter how available and faithful the person you’re thinking dating may be, a relationship with them will still be more complicated by the fact that there are kids in the equation.
A parent will always have to think about their child’s life while they’re dating. If the child’s other parent is still in the picture, it might be difficult to find exactly where you fit into the picture of the family life if your dating relationship turned into a long-term relationship.
For some, complications like this won’t be a big deal. Some of us can adapt easily without feelings of jealousy or insufficiency. But others might find these things a lot more difficult, to the point of it hindering a healthy relationship.
It’s best to take a good look at yourself to try and figure out whether you’re strong enough before embarking on a relationship with a single parent, or if a child-free relationship would be better for you.
It’s definitely possible to have a great relationship with someone who has kids already. But if you aren’t aware of the possible difficulties you may run into, you could be setting yourself up for heartache.
Many single parents turn to online dating as a way to meet people. After all, for a single mother or a single father, they probably don’t have as much time to go out and meet people at traditional meetup events.
Dating a single Catholic who has a child can be a great experience, especially if you’ve spent years dating singles who lack maturity. Having kids has the ability to change a person’s priorities very quickly. While dating a single mother or dating a man with a child does come with its difficulties, you shouldn’t consider children to be a dealbreaker.
Adrienne Thorne is a Catholic wife, mother, screenwriter, and blogger, as well as author of the Catholic YA romance novel SYDNEY AND CALVIN HAVE A BABY. She blogs about TV and Movies from Catholic perspective at Thorne in the Flesh: A Faithful Catholic's Guide to Netflix, Hulu, and More.