Guide to Mature Dating
By: Laura Evans
Mature dating is not without its challenges. One of these challenges is getting along with your date’s children.
Your date’s children may have problems with you simply because you are dating their parent. This has nothing to do with you personally. It has to do with you replacing their other parent.
Don’t try to be a mom or dad. In fact, don’t expect to be friends at all, at least at first. If the children are resentful, it doesn’t matter how charming you try to be. They aren’t going to bite. Be respectful and polite. Perhaps their attitudes will change over time.
Try not to interfere in your date’s relationships with his or her children. Realize that their relationship has existed much longer than the two of yours has. You are not a parent. You are not a spouse. Therefore, you have no rights in this family. Unless their relationships are pathologically destructive, leave it alone. In addition, if their relationships really are a mess, are you sure you want to be involved at all?
This doesn’t mean that you have to turn into a doormat. If the children are disrespectful and rude, discuss this with your date. It is your date’s responsibility to talk with his or her children to establish parameters and acceptable behaviors. Your date also needs to understand that you have limits on how you will be treated.
Do You Fit?
If you are looking at this mature dating relationship in a serious manner, your long term goal is to present yourself as an addition to the family rather than a replacement for someone. In the process, you have to decide whether you are going to be able to fit within the dynamics of this family, in addition to developing a healthy relationship with your date.
If you are prepared to go the long haul, the children may soften over time as they get to know you. However, you may decide that this situation is not right for you. As painful as this may sound, it may be the best for both you and your date over the long run.