I had my daughter when I was 20, she left home when I was 38. When I found myself (or, more correctly, when I put myself) back on the dating scene at age 39 I originally didn’t want to date anyone with kids still at home. But I found that to be hard because most of the men close to my age had younger kids, and the few that I found that didn’t….well, it became pretty apparent pretty quickly why they were approaching 40 and still single and childless.
So I relaxed my rules a little and for about 6 months I dated a man who had three kids ranging in ages 11-15. I liked the kids, and the kids liked me. They were good kids – the older two were straight A students, respectful, all around good kids. The youngest was a little more spoiled, but still generally a good kid, and he made me laugh. So no problem there.
But the PP who said that it was important that her husband make her the top priority hit the nail on the head. Our problem was that the kids pretty much dictated everything. We didn’t live together so I would often just stay or go home, but when you’re trying to build a relationship, it’s hard if the kids can cause your plans to get canceled last minute at any time. The kids’ mom lived down the street from him, so they would bounce back and forth, and on the nights that they were supposed to be at the mom’s house we would plan a night out to eat, for example. But the oldest, a girl, would often decide at the last minute that she didn’t want to go to her mom’s, mostly because she was a 15 year old girl, and as we all know, mother-teenage daughter relationships can be complicated. So if she decided that she was going to stay with her dad that night, our dinner plans either got canceled, or got changed to include her, even to the point that we would change restaurants to whatever restaurant she wanted to eat at. At first I went along with it because I was the new girlfriend. But after 4 or 5 months? No, I was over it. We rarely got alone time, and no matter how much I liked the kids, every adult relationship needs alone time.
My Fiance has 2 kids, but they are the same age as my daughter – grown and out of the house. I get along great with his son, and until he graduated last semester, we were even grad students at the same school, in the same department (but diffferent concentrations). His daughter doesn’t like me, but not because of anything I’ve ever done — she is mad at him for leaving her mother, even though it’s been almost 5 years ago now (I did not know him when he left his ex-wife, and so I was not the “cause” of the divorce) — and so she doesn’t talk to him either, except to text Merry Christmas or happy birthday. So whatever – it’s her choice to behave as she wants to, and it really doesn’t affect us. My daughter likes my Fiance very much and she also gets along well with his son. So no problems there. I know that I am my FI’s priority, and he is mine, and that’s all that matters.