Single Mom dating a single Dad-Help!!

Leigh - posted on 03/13/2013 ( 10 moms have responded )

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I'm a young mother to an amazing little girl, turning 4 next month. I've been dating a young father with a sweet 2 year old little girl. We have been dating for over 4 months. Both have met each others families and children. We have only had two 'joined play-dates' and one or two occasions have been around the others child as a couple without the others' child.

Our situations are slightly different as my daughters biological father is not in any way involved in her life, she doesn't know who he is & has accepted that every family structure is different, with some children living with grand parents or aunties etc. She is very loved and has my father and brothers as male role models in her life.
My boyfriends shares custody with his ex (the mother of his daughter) who is currently studying quite a way away and comes home every 2 months, his daughter spends the days at his family home and the evenings at his ex's family home, this situation varies where his daughter might sleep over at his place from time to time.

This relationship is the first i have had since leaving my ex 3 years ago so it certainly is an experience. Although I have more permanent responsibilities than him, dating a single dad has made things very easy as we both have responsibilities, time restrictions and a simple understanding that our kids come first and we want the best for them. We haven't got around to planning more 'family play-dates' as we both lead busy lives and are still enjoying each others company alone without the children.

With all that said, here is my dilemma...the few occasions he's been around my daughter, his interaction has been strained, he doesn't talk to her or try initiate games or conversation. My interaction with his daughter comes naturally as we converse and interact on levels that are suitable and appropriate to her age. He's generally a quiet and reserved guy. My child is talkative, full of energy and loves conversing (the normal child!). I don't know if he is nervous or awkward when we all together or just doesn't have the maturity to handle the situation and in the least, approach my daughter in convo or a funny display of play etc. i really like this man, he really is a good guy. I just can't risk having someone not able to interact with my daughter the way she needs at her age. How will she feel love and affection from him if he in no way displays it.

I need help understanding this situation, what i can or should do, or what this all means??
If any of you have been in a similar situation, or if you simply have words of advice as an outsiders viewpoint-please don't hesitate...xx

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Marian - posted on 03/17/2013

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Could it be that there just hasn't been enough time for him to feel comfortable with you and your daughter? It sounds as if more time could easily be spent where he has opportunities to settle into the kind of relationship he would like to have with your daughter. Remember, it isn't always easy to walk into another situation when you are used to what you have at home. You may feel more comfortable with his child simple because you are more easy going, or more in tune with what a young child like his might need. He may not know how to approach connecting with your daughter.
I am a single Mom dating a single Dad. When we started dating my son was 5 years old, his daughter was 17 years. I had no idea how to connect with his daughter or even start conversations. I think she was feeling the same way. His ex is in the picture, so I knew that I didn't need to play any kind of Mommy role. I decided that another friendly, trusted adult in her life would be a great place for me to start. So far it has worked well for us. My son of course loved having a guy around. My son's father is in the picture, but only on weekends. So, it's nice to have time during the week with a grown up guy to do guy stuff with. My son looks forward to nights when my boyfriend comes for dinner.
My advice, give it time, don't over think it. This is the kind of situation where pushing anyone too fast could result in loss of the relationship. Give everyone the space and time they need to come around and develop the kind of relationship they want. 4 months isn't a very long time. I generally don't introduce anyone that I am dating to my son until we have dated for 3 months. I like to determine if the person is the kind of quality person I want in my life, and then evaluate if they are quality enough for my son. By 3 months I feel like I have a pretty good sense of that person and can make the judgement call. I never force interaction between my son and someone I am dating. I will let my son know that there is a friend that Mommy likes and when the time is right that he will get to meet him too.
Also, being that this is your first relationship in a while, I would take some time to practice your dating skills, without the pressure of your children. Date him, get him figured out and then reintroduce the kids to the scene. It can's hurt to just wait a little longer with regards to the children. If he is really into you, and into being a part of your life, he will take an interest in trying to make a relationship with your daughter, but maybe it's too soon for him. Time, and patience and he'll show you his intentions, I promise!

Xiaoli - posted on 03/14/2013

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if i were you, i would not thinking him as your future husband or your daughter's step father because he don't have the desire to make your daughter. if you really like the man, i would keep him as boyfriend, or a close friend, that's it. that's only i would do

i have a guy, he is a very successful, handsome, and mature man, he loves me very much, i like him a lot. but i do not feel his desire to make my son happy. it kills me to move the relationship forward.
opposite is, some of my friends treat my son very well, try their best to make my son happy, play with my son very well, respect my son as respect me, this kind of little things makes me feel love and happiness... feel they can be one of my choice...

i think you are doing very well with her daughter. all of kids desire love, especially from parents girl friends or boy friends.

good luck

Jessie - posted on 08/26/2015

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It's so new. It could very well just take time for him to warm up. If it's a new situation for him, interacting with another's child, he may have no idea how to act.

Just spend time together having fun and see if it changes organically. I think you're absolutely right that your daughter eventually deserves someone who can develop a loving relationship with her.

Is good indication to if that's possible, is to watch how he is with his own daughter. If he has a good close relationship with her then you know he's capable of it.

Just be forewarned, blended families are hard! Very hard, but also worth it. As a single mom, I personally had dated men without kids which I found even more difficult. My long term bf, who I live with now, also has a son. I was able to see that he had many qualities of a dad I admired and wanted in our lives.

I've accepted that parents never feel the same way about their step children as they do their own. If both parties learn to accept that and take active steps to mitigate the effects that can have of their kids, then blended families can be awesome for everyone.

Just take it slow, very slow, keep it as strictly a friendship for your daughter until you are certain he is able and willing to be a loving, active step dad. If it continues to get more serious, then start reading more about blended families and how to make them work.

Gwen - posted on 03/17/2013

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I have this problem too, it's a catch-22 for me though because when I date men that tell me about their "love of kids" and stuff I automatically assume one of two things:

*Child Molester
or
*Trying to impress me to get in my pants

I've pretty much come to the conclusion that I'm going to be single and..."sleezy" until my sons are old enough to stay home alone, then I'll find my husband. (:

10 Comments

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Lamy - posted on 10/02/2015

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Have you tried asking him about it? He could tell you a lot better why he's like that then us.

Talk to him and tell him exactly what you told us. You're wondering why he maybe isn't interacting with her so much and maybe ask him why and what you could do to help?

I would assume he doesn't want to say anything wrong to her and is probably nervous. Talk to him about it and tell him what you'd like to see and how maybe you guys can figure things out. Communication is always the key.

Honoree - posted on 03/19/2013

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I agree with the other ladies - give it time. Once you get to know him, he may not be husband/father material at all! Let the relationship progress and see what happens when everyone warms up to each other.

Leigh - posted on 03/18/2013

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Thank you so much Ladies, the different opinions and angles have certainly given me more to consider. I appreciate the advice so much... I will give it time xx :)

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