Your boyfriend should talk with his child before the first meeting.

How Should I Expect to Be Treated When Dating a Divorced Man With Kids?

by Erica Loop

As if dating wasn't challenging enough on its own, adding kids to the situation can present its own issues and obstacles. That said, dating a divorced dad isn't a struggle for everyone, and it can enrich your life. Although every child and family is different, you can expect your beau's kids to treat you with some trepidation -- at first.

1. First Meeting

Don't expect your boyfriend's kids to run into your waiting arms at your first meeting. The American Academy of Pediatrics -- on its HealthyChildren.org website -- notes that children may experience anxiety during the first meeting with a parent's new romantic interest. You can expect your boyfriend's kids to act nervous or even shy around you, during the introduction. Although getting the cold shoulder or dealing with an anxious child isn't easy, your boyfriend's children are likely to warm up -- or at least get over their beginning shyness -- as the relationship continues.

2. Territorial Marking

According to the pediatric professionals at the KidsHealth website, children may feel territorial over their parent or home in the face of dad's new girlfriend. If your boyfriend's kids don't seem to want you to spend time with him, aren't overjoyed to have you in the house or act out, when he tells them that you are spending time with him, keep in mind that it's not necessarily you that they don't like. Instead, the children's unwelcome attitude may be more of a territory issue.

3. Time After Time

As time goes by and his children become better acquainted with you and are beginning to feel more comfortable with your presence, they will adjust more to your relationship. Although each child acts and reacts differently, expecting your beau's kids to treat you more warmly isn't out of the question, but it may not happen for some time. While this doesn't always mean that you'll become BFFs with his teen daughter or get an invite to his son's mother-son school dance, his children's comfort level will develop as they spend more time with you.

4. Dealing With Dad

Not only do you have to contend with how your boyfriend's kids treat you, but you'll also need to understand how -- and why -- your man acts towards you in the face of his job as a dad. While you might enjoy a little public display of affection -- or PDA -- your beau needs to consider how his kids will feel about their dad engaging in hand holding, kissing or hugging with someone other than their mother in front of them. He may act romantically distant in front of the kids, which is completely normal. Additionally, your boyfriend is likely to pay more attention to his kids than you during group activities. He needs to keep his children at the front and center, reassuring them that he is -- and will always be -- there for them.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

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