Rugrats and Dating

At my daughter’s request, I took my children to a matinee of “Rugrats In Paris” the other day. The writers threw in a few jokes in an attempt to amuse the parents. One of the first was Chaz Finster’s exploration of the online dating scene, which netted him an assortment emails from all the wrong women. The theater was relatively un-populated, and as the movie progressed (I wasn’t particularly engrossed), I noticed that I was the only adult female in the room. All of the children present were accompanied by their fathers. And I thought to myself, “WOW, what a great place to meet guys!”

On the heels of that thought came the kicker. “If you like kids”.

Even if you like kids in general, you have to think twice about dating someone with children. I adore my children, but not everyone else does. They have, over the last several years, gotten thrown out of every day care in town. My son is very intelligent, very creative, and very possessive of my attention. In seventh grade he hacked his middle school’s email system and cracked all the passwords. He has also fixed the printer network for the Media teacher. He can be the hilarious, charming, and incredibly helpful…. if he likes you. Unfortunately, he doesn’t like anyone who might get between him and his mommy. While I may think I have the most wonderful son in the world, other people who have made his acquaintance come away with a less than stellar impression. The first date I had after my divorce (when I did not know what the heck I was doing) was greeted at the door with the words, “So, are you guys going to do it tonight?” At that point I decided it would be best to meet my dates elsewhere.

I believe that it is best not to introduce your children to your dates. It makes them nervous. (The children, or the dates, you ask? Well, both!) If a relationship develops to the point of an emotional, potentially long term commitment, then it is time to include the kids. Before that, they don’t need to be subjected to all the frogs we meet on the road to prince charming. In fact, when I began my journey into online dating, as opposed to face-to-face introduction dating, I didn’t give my home address or telephone number to people I met online until I had thoroughly checked them out. I didn’t just have myself to watch out for; I had my little ones to protect as well.

Studies have shown that children of divorce show the effects for years afterward. Boys tend to have difficulty trusting and bonding after losing a parent. Girls tend to get overly eager for attention and affection. This can lead to delinquent or insensitive sons and pregnant or seductive daughters once they reach high school age. This is not carved in stone; it is a possible effect of divorce. Including children in an adults-only activity like dating is putting too much on their already burdened young shoulders. Regarding children, I recommend handling dating the same way you handle sex. Answer their questions honestly, but do not include them, and certainly don’t ask their advice.

Okay, so you’ve been dating one person exclusively at adultfrienedfinder app, you’ve made the decision to commit to each other, and you’ve decided to let the kids know that you are in a serious relationship. Your partner needs to know that he is not just making a commitment to you, he is also committing to your children. I can’t think of anything meaner to do to a child than to let them get attached to your SO, if there is a chance the SO will leave. The children relive all the same abandonment they felt when their parents split up. Would you give them a puppy to love, then take it away? The old saying goes, “Children are resilient”. Some of them can take whatever curve balls life throws at them. Not all of them are that tough, and a lot of those aren’t tough at all, they just put on a good front.

My daughter adores my SO. If he left, she would be devastated. I pre-warned him that she would do this, and he was willing to let her get close to him. He realizes that he can never leave, for he would not just break one heart, he would break a tender girl’s heart as well. Luckily for her, he made this decision intelligently, aware of the consequences. He is able to understand that my son is frightfully possessive of me. He not only has my daughter clinging to him like cellophane; he has my son making himself unbearably obnoxious in an effort to drive him away. They don’t dislike each other as individuals, but their relationship is a cool one. I believe my son would like him much better if he wasn’t dating mom, and as the years pass they will become good friends.

If your SO does not like your children, no matter how much he loves you, the disagreements will arise. You can tell you SO in advance “My kids come first.” He might think you love him so much that you’ll back him up if he confronts one of your children, especially if he is right. He might as well ask a grizzly bear to step aside and let him swat her cub.

You have to factor your little ones into every decision. If they hate your SO, no matter how much you love him; you don’t have a lot of choices, unless you are the non-custodial parent. You are asking for years of stress, disagreement, and strife if you proceed with the relationship hoping the kids will ‘come around’. It’s a lose-lose situation. Children in traditional nuclear families learn to play one parent against the other. When they learn to manipulate the mothers’ guilt about putting the children through a divorce, the SO’s resentment of the mother’s loyalty to the children, and throw in a healthy dose of telling the non-custodial parent how much they hate the SO, they can tear down even a solid relationship.

It’s easy to love you own kids. It’s very difficult to love someone else’s. The best of a set parent can hope for is to be liked, and to like in return. Blended families are another issue to which entire shelves at the self-help section of the bookstore have been dedicated. Step parenting problems have broken up thousands of second marriages. Dating couples need to discuss this far in advance of introducing the children into the relationship. If the couple doesn’t plan a long-term relationship, then they should keep the children out of it completely.

Chaz Finster almost married the wrong woman, but realized in the nick of time that his intended did not like his son, and the little guy reciprocated the feeling. Dating is a whole lot easier when you have no children. But if you do, they need to be protected, nurtured, and considered on every step of the relationship. Just as they need to be parented in all the other parts of life. If all goes well, witnessing a successful couple dating, even a parent, can teach them to be good partners to their SOs some day.

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