When should you tell your date that you have children? Will they reject you because of that? What if you have shared custody?
When to talk about your children
If you met your date online, then hopefully you stated that you had children. Most dating websites have a section or choice regarding marital status and children. It is wise to own up to having children from the beginning even though many feel it hurts their dating chances.
If your date does not know you have children, find the first appropriate time to tell them preferably on your first date. Understand that they may feel that grounds for stopping the date or at least not dating you any further. This is a positive thing because it weeds out any dates that cannot accept your children and stops you wasting your time and emotional energy on them. You do not need to get into lengthy descriptions or stories but simply work it into the conversation and let them bring it up again or ask questions if they want to.
Why some daters will not date those with children
Depending on how you met your date, they may or may not know that you have children. Some people refuse to date those with children. There are various reasons for this. Some may have had bad experiences with other dates kids. Others do not wish to be step-parents and take on the sometimes tricky relationships that come with it. Others again wish to have their own children and are looking for a partner that would be 100% invested in their children, not "distracted" by children by a previous marriage.
Interestingly some parents will not date other parents for various reasons. Often they do not want to face the challenge of a large blended family. You also need to come to terms with what your preferences are. Regardless of how you feel about the legitimacy of their reason, you have to accept it and move on.
What if I have joint custody of my kids or regular visitation?
Again let your date know that you have kids and let them bring up the subject again later. As you continue to date, you can discuss this more freely. Explain your custody situation and schedule. It is likely you will need to schedule dates on days you do not have your kids and it is a good sign if your date understands and supports this. If you both have custody schedules, then finding time to date may be more tricky. Finding baby sitters or childcare is important and you both need to be understanding and flexible.
What if I have children and do not have any visitation or custody?
You may feel awkward telling your date about this situation. You may be afraid they will judge you to be a bad parent and that is why you do not have custody. This may well be more embarrassing for mothers than for fathers because of how society still views parental roles. Mothers may be judged more harshly if they do not have custody. In this case, it may be possible to delay communicating this information a little longer. You are not asking your date to become a step-parent or have any contact with your children.
You do need to let them know about your divorce and children as the relationship develops though so they do not get any surprises at the later stages of a serious relationship. Tell them the situation in a simple straightforward way and let them ask questions as they need to. Do not play the victim as this does not give a good impression no matter what the situation. Communicate your intentions as to whether you are going to pursue custody in the future or if you will have limited or no contact at all.
What if I have full custody and have little time for dating?
Firstly you need to ask yourself if dating is really for you. What are your dating goals? Dating seriously requires time and commitment. If you are dating just for fun, then that is a different matter. Just make sure both of you are clear that you are not looking for a serious relationship. Look to family or trustworthy friends to help out babysitting for you. If necessary, hire a baby sitter but make sure to take precautions and get references.
Be careful what you tell your date about your children
Remember that initially the person you are dating is most likely a stranger. No matter how trustworthy they sound, you need to be careful not to give out too much personal information. This goes for information about your kids too. If you realize you are dating an unsavory character, you will probably regret telling them about your kids school, activities and so on. Take it slowly and share information only when you are sure of this person. This can mean running a background check or verifying some details they have told you.
I can't find a date because I am a parent
These days there are many divorced parents and singles around. Being a divorced parent is not the stigma it once was. Having said that, some singles do not want to take on the responsibilities of being a step-parent. However there are plenty of singles who do want to date other people with kids.
If you are having difficulty in your local area, then try Internet dating but don't use your kids as an excuse not to have an adult relationship with other people. It is not good for either you or them and you may end up resenting them if you see the world this way.