Dating a Man with Kids

Dear Edahn,

It's happened once before, and it's starting to happen again: I seem to be doing this thing when I date men with kids, where I admire and love that they are so committed to their kids. It makes me respect them and even like them more. I think I can deal with it. Then, a little into the relationship, I start resenting the kids and the attention the man gives them and the way they impact our relationship (logistics, attention, time distribution). It happened in my last relationship where eventually just couldn't stand the kids and even the fact that he had kids with another woman. The kids did nothing wrong, the man did nothing wrong, and I did nothing wrong in order to bring on these feelings in me. I just went from liking them and finding them wonderful, to resenting the heck out of them and feeling extremely insecure.

I'm starting to date a man with one older kid (in her early twenties), who should be on her way to becoming independent, but I'm noticing that he seems to coddle her. What are your thoughts on this, and is this something I should work through (by myself or with a professional), or should I end the relationship with him and forget about dating men with kids?

SO IT SOUND LIKE you're attracted to his sense of loyalty, but get disappointed when you realize that the loyalty primarily belongs to his children. The truth is, I don't think that's ever really going to change. He can be loyal to you, sure, but his primary loyalty will always be to his children. I think most parents are like that even when they stay married.

It seems like you want a guy to make you the primary target of his devotion and loyalty. Nothing wrong with that, but we it should be recognized and acknowledged so you can see the conflict you're having in plain view: you want something that most likely, you won't be able to get from this person.

I haven't had much luck changing my fundamental needs, nor do I think they should be changed in your case. Rather than injecting yourself into situations like these that are destined for conflict and disappointment, I think you'd be better off looking for that same quality of loyalty in other, single men. I assure you it's out there.

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