If you're anything like me, you've got a list of all the things you want in a man. Maybe it's that he is tall, ambitious, and spiritual. Or that he's romantic and treats his mom well. But I'd venture to say that nowhere on that list did you pencil in "must have kid from prior relationship." In fact, it's probably quite the opposite.
Yet, realistically, adding the "no kid" requirement to your list of must-haves could have a huge impact on your dating pool. A recent study by John Hopkins indicates that 63% of men who reported a birth had at least one child outside of marriage…and that's A LOT of men.
Based on this information, there is a high possibility that you will bump into a cutie you vibe with, only to find out that he has a kid.
Rather than immediately throwing the whole man away, there are four considerations that women should evaluate on a case by case basis.
What kind of father is he?
Someone once told me that the best way to determine whether or not I should become serious with a man was to imagine him being the father of my child. She encouraged me to ask myself whether his personality traits, work ethic, and character embodied the type of man I would choose to forever influence a little life I loved.
Ironically, that thought process helped me scratch off lots of guys from my dating list. And even more ironic was that seeing the love my husband had for our son confirmed that he was someone I could trust to lead my family.
Watching him do things like drive a total of 16 hours to make it to his son's birthday party and back home in time for work the next day, showed me the lengths he'd go to for someone he loved. Pay close attention to the type of Dad your guy is to his child. It says a lot about how he values important relationships.
What is the dynamic between your guy and the mother of the child?
The world stereotypes blended families as full of drama. However, I've also witnessed peaceful situations where people make it work. Like anything, there will be growing pains and tough times.
The standard is not perfection, but you should be on the lookout for mutual respect between parents. Take note of whether the situation is fairly fresh and how they communicate with each other.
There is no one size fits all solution for the dynamic that works best. The key is to pay attention to the interactions and determine whether you can live with them if they stayed the same forever.
How do you fit in?
As I got more serious with my husband, I loved that he made sure I never felt second. In every situation, he's got my back and values my emotions.
Sure, kids demand a ton of attention. But that doesn't mean that you should be sidelined as a result.
Reconsider moving forward if you always feel like a second-class citizen who comes after the demands of the child, or if the mother of the child dictates how the guy interacts with you. However, be sure that you are being realistic and reasonable in your expectations. An accountability partner can often be helpful for a self-check.
Who are you, really?
It takes a special woman to step in as a bonus mom. Check the content of your heart. Under the right circumstances, could you be selfless enough to love a child you did not birth as if he or she is your own?
Thinking through these questions will help you determine if your issue is with having an extra life to love, or largely centered on avoiding drama. If it is the latter, love could be right around the corner with an open mind and the proper amount of vetting.
Want more stories like this? Check out these xoNecole articles: