Musings: Dating Someone with a Child

2:25 PM

In the past I would run...

...literally and figuratively. Let's just say I was quasi dating someone who had a child and at one point I saw him (and his friend) downtown and I ran. I grabbed my best friend and we ran the opposite way. That was a huge indicator that I probably wasn't ready to date anyone with a child. I knew I wasn't, but I felt bad that being the reason I didn't want to date said person. I was open and honest about how I felt, prior to my escape route, but I kept at it to be nice.

Fast forward to last year. I knew J had a daughter, but I barely saw her at our soccer games. I think I did meet her once, but that was the extent of what I knew. So, when he asked me out, oddly...knowing he had a daughter did not bug me one bit. I'm not sure if I've matured over the years or if it was possibly dating (when I say dating, I truly mean going out on one or more dates) a few more guys in that situation.

There are so many thoughts and things I'd love to write in this space, but in respect to J, his daughter, and other parties, I will keep most details out of the post. I'm sure you've noticed that I never post pictures of L's face, that is due to J's request and I wholeheartedly respect his decision. There are creepy and nosy people out there, so I understand why he wouldn't want to have her plastered all over my blog. However, if I were to ever have my own child, you can bet I'll probably over-gram/post/blog about said child! We each get to make our own parenting decisions and I respect that one hundred percent.

I've been around this situation firsthand with a few good friends, all women though. I've come to cultivate a few perspectives in regards to dating someone with a child and co-parenting. I've seen the good and the bad (which breaks my heart). I have first hand knowledge into what the mother sees, as well as what a step-mom could see. Each situation is different, but each of their experiences have left me with some key learning's about how I should be when it comes to J and L. I've never truly seen it from the father's perspective, until now.

The first 'thing,' because I don't see it as an obstacle, is the first meeting. Ours went smoothly and it wasn't forced at all. J had said he wanted to wait and see if we lasted past six months, he put it much nicer than that (but that's the gist). However, it happened much faster than that. He chose to have us meet after a few months. His reasons will remain his, but it happened organically and it worked out (for us).

I've always loved kids. It's never been an issue for me to be around any aged child. I will try to hold any baby I can get my hands on. I love getting down to their height and engaging with them. Something about their innocence, complete honesty, and free spirit encourages me and makes me smile. I wasn't nervous to meet L, but I was nervous as how she would react to me.

Once she was comfortable with me, then came the random comparison or old story that would include J's ex (who is not the biological mother). I was never mad at these stories, although at times they stung a bit. I'm grateful to her for helping J raise her from when she was born until, basically, when J and I started dating (obviously no overlap, gross). She forever will hold a special place in both of their hearts, a place that I won't ever disrespect or talk bad about. But to hear her compare her to me or mention stories was a little disheartening. I'm sure if I was an emotional being, I would have cried. I think a lot of the sting had to do more with my insecurities with J and our relationship at the time. I am (always) evolving and have done so and I can happily hear a story about her/her name mentioned and not bat an eye. She was there for over five years, those memories and good times shouldn't ever go away and I will encourage L to remember those times as well.

Navigating shared time with J has also evolved over the length of our relationship. From my perspective, I didn't want to intrude on 'their time together.' Although I'm not sure J understood this for a long time. I never wanted L to see me as someone who was taking her Daddy away from her or making him share his time with her, with me (sorry kinda confusing). If anything, I pulled back when it was shared time together, together being all three of us. When we didn't live together it took awhile for me to incorporate myself with their week day routine. Somewhere between six and eight months I started to try to be involved in one of the two week days they had together. And his weekends with her I'd try to be around as much as possible. Obviously, it progressed as we decided to move in together. I think we've found a great balance and L knows that I will never take her Daddy away from her, she will always come first and I admire that about him! He truly is an amazing father!

No one says you have to like the child's other parent, but you better well damn respect them. I would say this even if I weren't involved in a co-parenting situation. We all parent differently and when a child shares time between two homes, there will be differences and hurdles to overcome. I'm very new to being a part of this 'co-parenting' thing and I don't have any answers. I am not intimidated by L's biological mother, nor should I ever have to be (nor should anyone in this situation). I look to work with her and keep the line of communication open, completely and honestly. I will never talk bad about L's mother or step-father to her, I will never inquire about what they do at their house, and I will never ever let her feel that there is a competition or animosity between any of us. What her mother decides to say and do is her business, I will do what I know is honest and true for my situation. Our common goal (should be) is to make sure L has every opportunity to thrive and become a wonderful woman and I no doubt, believe that she will.

I do have some strong opinions to our situation, but out of respect I will keep it out of this part of the Intranets. All I will say is that it is my hope that when two people co-parent, both parents interests' are solely for the betterment of the child. Past and previous things should be let go of and the focus should be on the well being of the child, a business-like style of operating with one another. Sounds harsh, but I think it's the best (in most situations, not all).

I know I am not her mother and I would never act or say such a thing. I just want to be something good in her life. I want to give her direction, support, and love. I want her to feel as if she can come to me with anything and that I hope she knows although we are not related by blood, I would do anything for that little girl. My family loves her like she's one of theirs, the whole dang clan loves having her around. Our weekends with her are my favorite, the weekends we don't have her feel a little off. The good definitely outweigh the tough times...

I'm not exactly sure what J and I's future holds, but they both have been a blessing I didn't know I needed.

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4 comments

  1. I typically like your blog, but you don't have any idea what it's like to have children, or what what its like to have to deal with an ex as a co-parent?As you've written it, you're someone else's second choice. Thank you for being so insightful, wise yet to be caught in this kind of situation. Your whining is hilarious.

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    1. At first my blood was boiling when I read your comment. But your last few sentences were telling and a reminder to be grateful. So thank you, thank you for your readership and response to what I've written. Your anonymity makes me smile. xoxo, ganeeban

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  2. Your reply is kind of confusing. I will say that I have enjoyed reading your blog, particularly since I too have fond, and nostalgic, college, memories of SLO and the surrounding areas, especially Pismo. I also like that you are so active, because it has the potential to be motivating. With regards to this subject, however, I defer to your disclaimer - you don't know shit about shit. Yes these are your opinions, and you have freedom of speech. However, it disappoints me to see that you, or anyone, who has NO experience co-parenting would think it appropriate to pass judgement. And yes you don’t have experience, you are new to this scene, I don’t care how many friends you have with this kind of situation. You don’t know until you’ve lived it. You can't imagine how hard it is for a parent to co-parent with someone it didn't work out with in a relationship. ESPECIALLY when there is an outside partner judging it all. You, as a third party don't actually know the intricacies of the relationship between these parents. The girl that came before you, the one that L mentions that "stings", is the one that probably truly understands because of her participation in "raising" L from when she was born until you came on the scene. As a co-parent it took years for me and my ex to develop an even working relationship because he was extremely abusive in many ways. It’s still hard, but at the end of the day it should always be about the child. In my case it was hard for his new partners to understand that because he got to tell them whatever he wanted. Lesson: there are always two sides to the story. But after this post, I am not sure I would expect you to understand that because you are immature enough to literally run away from someone you were "dating" because they have a child. Also, you haven't been on the scene for that long, so to insert yourself and act like you have the answers when you don't have children and aren't really co-parenting is just ridiculous. If you really got it, you would stop spouting off at the mouth, and probably be smart enough to find out if the mother of this child was comfortable with you posting any kind of information or pictures about her child online. As a teacher, with experience and understanding of posting anything about a child, you are treading on very thin ice, unless you have spoken to the mother and have her consent. In addition, not that I should care, but I have read your blog, and it also worries me that you are so disconnected from your emotions. Everyone is emotional and repressing or denying that is kind of scary because how can you truly be self-aware, and thus a good role-model/"co-parent" for this or any child. I am referring to that weird part when you said "if I were an emotional being"...wow...so crazy. You seem like you are hiding from some major self-esteem and worth issues. And it doesn’t help that there is a child involved if you are insecure about your relationship with your boyfriend. As for being Anonymous, yes I made that decision consciously because after reading this post I don't need a social media stalker. Good luck. I hope that kid is ok. Ciao

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    1. Thanks for the laugh and psychoanalysis of me via my blog! I will stand by my view that we all have our own opinion. If you'd like to project your situation onto me, I'm okay with that. I don't know everything and I don't pretend to. I'm not perfect and I am still learning. Again, thank you for colorful and lively response, you keep making my day(s)! xoxo, ganeeban

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