A familiar question we ask when we book a holiday but not when we are sitting across from the possible man of our dreams. The scene is everything you have already imagined from your one conversation on the phone ( doesn’t he know that after a few texts you have already said your name and his surname out loud just to test the sound of it?!) sipping wine seductively , gazing into his eyes lit by candlelight… ”by the way, do you have children and an ex wife?” doesn’t seem quite an appropriate thing to say. Yet in today’s world its a probability that will happen in your next 3 dates (well for me anyway) . Today 1 in 2 marriages end in divorce , single parents have become the new “couple” and to top it off there are more females in the world than males ( sorry girls, perhaps we shouldn’t be so picky?) But before you consign to join a nunnery or perhaps adopt 89 cats and only have relationships with paperback heroes, we must stop and give these men with baggage a chance… I must admit , never in a million years did I think that I myself at 24 would consider become committed to a man who was single dad , I mean why should I ? The world is my oyster, the men are plentiful, oh wait they arn’t..crap! No actually it had nothing to do with any of that, in truth I fell in love with him for who he was (original huh?) Mind you he didn’t tell me about his little treasure otherwise known as a 3 year old daughter till after he had a firm grasp on my heart (that was the second date of course)! In all seriousness though, this was something totally and utterly new to me, especially since I had only had one serious relationship before that , I had gone from mild to complicated overdrive and had no idea what to do and felt like I was the only one in my situation. I knew that realistically I wasn’t the only one, but then why didn’t people ever talk about it? Is dating someone with a child Taboo, or were all the bitter exes out there just trying to keep it under wraps?
I must say when I found someone who was in a similar situation; it was a relief to be able to talk to her about it, to know I had someone that understood my struggles with finding a role, a voice and official position in this type of relationship. And after being with my partner for 3 years I still would say , that until you have experienced it , you can never actually know what sort of challenges and rewards this relationship can be for someone. Being part of a broken family unit is unique as it requires different stages at different times; it takes wisdom, emotional security and above all acceptance and patience. Coming from a family where my parents have been married for over 30 years, it was altogether an entirely different existence to what I had ever experienced. I found that boundaries, honesty, respect and trust were the major contenders that would be needed to go along side the obvious communication and patience keys.
Over the next week we’ll be looking at a few key elements to help you understand the best way to handle a relationship like this . I’ll be discussing: Boundaries, Trust, Establishing Roles, Respect , and staying Independent …. stay tuned!!