Two year dating relationship
Knowing that I was moving back to a small town after years of living in cities, I looked at my therapist and said: "I can't date someone who has children. And while I was in love with both the man and the kid, I was totally lost. There is nothing wrong with single or divorced parents. But my friends back home in the small town I was moving back to? He had a son with his ex-girlfriend, who I also remember from my past. I was in a relationship with a man who had a 10-year-old son. I was 29 years old, and the majority of my friends in Chicago were childless or childfree, whichever term you prefer. I knew that by moving back here, I was inviting many children into my day-to-day life -- and probably my love life, too. Despite all of my fears, I reconnected with this man from my youth.(It's a small town, so we kind of knew each other, but not really.) I was extra, extra lucky because my boyfriend had a (mostly) good relationship with her.
If this were "my kid," we would have been doing something else. Set the boundary with the boyfriend first -- in private. When they first started having babies, they freaked out if I told their toddlers, "No! Go Ahead and Fall in Love Let that child or children into your heart. Other people's children are such a blessing in my life, and I'm honestly very sad that I don't get to spend time with my ex-boyfriend's son anymore. One of the coolest things my cousin has ever done happened at her wedding.
I scoured the Internet for advice about dating people with kids. I got the same advice from multiple people: "Be yourself." OK, what next? We were on and off, and it wasn't the healthiest relationship I've ever been in.
The only books I could find were about step-parenting. Considering the divorce rate in this country, I thought finding the advice would be easy. *crickets* My relationship with this man continued for... But I did learn a LOT about the kiddos and how to deal with them.
But I quickly learned that this wasn't my kid, and the rules were different at my boyfriend's house. So if I felt a Playstation attack coming on, I left. I invited them places and if they didn't want to go, I went with someone else or by myself. If he doesn't do anything about it if it happens again, go straight to the kid. (And I can hear the parents recoiling that the childless girl is suggesting it! She not only gave vows to her new husband, she also gave vows to her new stepson.
When you date someone who has a child, they can feel that their life has more "weight" than yours -- like you should do whatever they want to do based on their schedules and needs. Be gentle, but let them know that things are a-changin' in the house. If I ever find myself in that situation, I'll totally do it, too.