Dating with Kids: To Tell or Not to Tell

Dating with KidsAs a dating coach in Los Angeles where the divorce rate dwarfs the national average at a whopping 75%, many of my clients come to me with complicated relationship histories.

Dating after divorce is one thing. Dating with kids after a divorce is a whole other story.

When and how should you tell your new squeeze that there’s someone else in the picture…your kids?

Here are the top 4 questions that arise when you’re dating with kids:

1. Should You Put Your Kids in Your Profile?

Pro: It’s honest.
Con: It can be a turnoff.

Your kids are your number 1 priority, but should you share that in your profile? Yes and no. You definitely want to say that you have kids in the short answers but photos and essays about your kids do not belong in a profile. The other members are trying to see you as a romantic partner so if you’re only talking about how all you do is chauffeur them around to lessons and practices, you won’t sound very sexy.

You need to be the star of your profile. It’s a given that you love your children but this is your time to shine.

2. Do You Talk About Your Kids on Your First Date?

Pro: What else do you have to talk about?
Con: Are they dating you or your kid?

Mention your kids on a first date? Definitely. Talk about them the entire time? Definitely not. If you have no other hobbies aside from being with your children, you’re not going to have a lot to offer in a relationship. Make sure you practice before your date. If you’ve been off the market for a while, your flirting and communication skills could be a little rusty.

The more you prepare, the less likely you will fall into the trap of talking about your ex or your kids the entire time.

3. Can You Keep Your Kids a Secret Until You’re Engaged?

Pro: You can focus on each other.
Con: You might get left at the altar.

If you’re dating with kids who do not live with you, it can be tempting to pretend that they don’t exist—especially if it means attracting someone who would not want to be a stepparent. However, it’s bound to backfire on you, your kids, or the relationship with your new lover.

4. Is it a Good Idea to Have a “Play-Date” Date?

Pro: You can see if your kids get along.
Con: It’s too much too soon.

Some parents wouldn’t dream of introducing their child to a potential partner on a first or second date, but I’ve heard from many clients who are busy parents that sometimes it’s easier to just get the kids together for a casual gathering and see how it all goes. This not only starts the romance off on a casual note but it also makes the kids the focus of your relationship rather than getting to know each other first.

You don’t want to introduce your children to a date until you know that date’s going to be around for a while —possibly even forever. Kids get attached to people very quickly, especially after a breakup or loss of a parent. It’s not advisable to intentionally put them in a situation where they may have to experience loss again.

You don’t have to put your dating life on hold until your children turn 18. Dating with kids is completely possible if you put yourself first in your relationship and put your kids first in your life.

On online dating success story herself, Dating Expert Damona Hoffman has helped singles find love nearly 10 years. You may have seen her on NBC, CBS, Fox, or Animal Planet and now you can see her live in Los Angeles at her one-day dating boot camp on September 28th.

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