putting kids first in relationship woman with kids single mom

I meet most men that I date online. What do you look for when dating a man with kids?

It's very common for guys with kids to write in their dating profiles:

“My kids come first,”


“My daughter is the center of my world!”

I get where you're coming from.

You want a potential mate to know that your life includes the giant presence of a kid or four.

You also want women to know you're a devoted dad.

Got it. Roger!

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Should a man put his girlfriend first?

Quick answer:

At first, no.

But once the relationship becomes a serious, long-term commitment, the relationship should come before the kids' every whim. However, child wellbeing is first.

More details:

Dating with kids

When it comes to relationships, I'm fond of saying, “You never really know what goes on between people.” 

But there are a few couples in my life who I look to as models of the kind of marriage I'd like one day.

People who really enjoy each other. Respect and support one another.

In these families, the parents put their relationship before the kids. They are the dynamic centriforce around which the family's life orbits. And everyone thrives as a result.

There is lots of research to suggest that a happy marriage is the cornerstone of well-adjusted kids.

Celebrity sex therapist Laura Berman, Ph.D., writes in her relationship guide, The Book of Love:

“No matter how sacrilegious it sounds, you need to put your relationship before your children. A strong relationship provides security for your children and demonstrates how a loving, respectful partnership should be. What could be more important?”

That's a tricky proposition for single parents. If you're not in a committed relationship, it is very easy to make your kids the prominent focus of your life.

After all, they can be so demanding — not to mention fulfilling.

Plus, if you've gone through a divorce or another crisis that landed you as a single parent, you are no doubt concerned about giving your kids extra care and sense of security.

Challenges of dating a single parent

Do these statements ring true to you? …

“My boyfriend puts his child before me”

This is so common and can be a tricky situation. Especially early in the relationship, when you crave more time with your man, he prioritizes his children, and you feel left out.

“Dating a man with kids and feeling left out”

Perhaps he wants to mostly keep his kids separate from his romantic life, or his taking slower to blend his relationship with his home life. Or, maybe you expect more from the relationship than is healthy. Or, maybe you each want different things from the relationship.

Consider filling your own life with meaningful friendships, a career, hobbies and fitness. Perhaps your boyfriend will invite you into his homelife if you are less clingy. Or, you will each realize you want different things from the partnership and go your separate ways.

“Boyfriend not bonding with my child”

There are so many reasons why a boyfriend/girlfriend does not bond with the other partner's child. These include:

  • The child is jealous of the new partner
  • The partner is jealous of the child
  • Their personalities just don't jibe—just like two adults do not naturally get along, this can be true for a child-adult relationship, too.

Here are some tips:

  • Be patient. Once both the partner and child realize there is enough love to go around, everyone may calm down and connect
  • Find ways for your boyfriend or girlfriend to spend one-on-one time together. Focus on everyday tasks (rather than big special outings or treats), like a grocery store run, washing the car, or cooking together. Once you remove yourself, they have a chance to create their own bond
  • Keep in mind that children go through phases they quickly grow out of, as do adults. Likewise, relationships have ups and downs and seasons.
  • Seek outside perspectives. Ask friends with blended families for advice, and ask them to watch how your new brood interacts — and be open to feedback. Consider therapy.

Best online therapy sites for 2020— Costs, free therapy, pros, cons

“My boyfriend's daughter is ruining our relationship”

Or, his kids start to manipulate him and have an upper hand in the family — and he lets him.

Men, just like moms, can feel the pressure to prioritize children above all else. Maybe he feels guilty that he is not with his child's mom, or that he left the relationship, or he wants to be a better father than his own dad.

Or, maybe he is using his child as an excuse not to get close to you. This may be a conscious decision — or it could be percolating at an unconscious level. We all have ways we sabotage relationships out of fear of intimacy.

“Breaking up because of his child”

Therapy can help — including couples therapy. Online counseling is increasingly popular since it is so affordable, convenient and anonymous. BetterHelp offers unlimited text, video, email or phone sessions. Check out BetterHelp now >>

How do you date someone with a child?

Deeper information can be found to this question in these posts:

14 tips for men who want to date a single mom

Benefits of dating a single dad — and how to date a man with kids

Reasons not to date a man (or woman) with a kid

If you're considering being involved with a single parent, have a crush on one, or currently in a relationship with a single mom or single dad — but it's not working out, here is my message to you:

It's perfectly fine not to want to date a parent.

Some people prefer to date within their religion or people with certain physical attributes, or only people who own lime-green Lamborghinis. I'm not your therapist, and I'm not here to tell you how you are limiting your soul by adhering to a shortlist of dating must-haves.

If you are clear you don't want to date moms, then don't date them — and don't feel guilty about it.

If you thought you were open to that hot mom in your office, and genuinely tried to spend time with her and her baby, but learned that dynamic is not for you, then be kind and call it off sooner than later. As long as there was no malice, this is just the cost of the search for love — for both of you.

There are many reasons not to date someone with kids, and they don't really matter, though they can include:

  • You want someone who focuses on you first — always
  • You don't like kids
  • You don't like to spend a lot of time with other people's kids
  • Blended families are too hard
  • Your kids are grown and you're over the young-family phase of life
  • You're not sure why, but you just are not interested in dating someone with children from a previous relationship
  • The mom or dad is struggling with raising a teenager— who may hate your guts — and you're not emotionally invested enough to wait it out

What matters is that you seek and find what you want and need in romance, sex and love.

However, you may be totally open to dating a man or woman with children, but your boyfriend's (or girlfriend's) specific family situation prevents you from committing to your current relationship. These scenarios include:

“My kids come first”

If you want a serious, committed relationship, that relationship has to come first. If your partner makes clear that their children will always come before you, do not argue with them. Take that edict at face-value.

Do not tell yourself that being patient will change their mind, or that you can ingratiate yourself into their family in a way that will make you a priority. You will never be.

If you are the parent, and wear on your dating profiles, and proclaim to the world and potential dates that your children always come first, accept that that deep, meaningful, committed partnership that you crave will remain elusive.

No one suggests you should abandon your children for a partner.

But for a romantic relationship to thrive, that must be the nucleus around which your children orbit — and thrive.

Over-empowering children

It's no surprise that so many blended families struggle with adjusting all parties to a home where everyone is suddenly expected to revolve around the new relationship.

It can be so hard. Some find it impossible.

But it is even trickier if one or both of the parents put the kids before their partner.

One dad I went out with nearly boasted when telling me about a four-month relationship that went sour because his girlfriend did not understand why he'd abruptly leave in the middle of dinner because his tween son would call, upset about some matter with his hockey coach.

Another's girlfriend eventually broke up with him after several years because he rarely made time to spend alone with her, instead expecting constant family time with his son.

Ultimately, failure to put their partner first was a sign these guys were not ready for a serious relationship, or at least not with those particular women, and that is totally normal.

It's not cool to pay lip service to intentions of growing a serious, long-term relationship and from the onset demote your lover to second-rank — even before you message her on eHarmony's website.

Women are certainly guilty of making children the center of their whole lives — maybe even more so than men, especially since we are far more likely to be primary caregivers, and face cultural pressure to sacrifice for family.

But in this moment when men are struggling to claim their place as equal parents while society expects single dads to be the lackadaisical weekend father, I get why you are compelled to go overboard with your expressed devotion.

Dating with kids in the mix can be complicated. Messy.

Is it worth it to date a man or woman with kids?

It can be. It can also cause trouble in the relationship and lead to a breakup.

But that is up to you.

If you are indeed ready for a real love, create a space for her or him. If it is a serious, committed, long-term relationship, the couple needs to be each other's No. 1 priority.

Stop putting kids first. Imagine a relationship that centers on the two of you, and all the stability and care your kids will take from that.

Accept that a truly wonderful relationship only multiplies the love available to your kids — not robs them of some of yours.

Because in those families, there is all the more love to go around.

Looking for a serious relationship? Our No. 1 recommendation is eHarmony, which is consistently rated the most trusted dating site, and is designed specifically for those looking for meaningful, long-term connections. A+ Better Business Bureau rating, and claims “Every day, an average of 438 singles marry a match they found on eHarmony.” 3-month free guarantee with eHarmony.

Great examples of couples who put their kids second in dating 

A couple years ago, a guy I went out with, read my blog before we went out, and mulled my opinions on putting your kids behind your romantic partner.

 Over cajun food, he described what sounds like a remarkably happy suburban childhood headed by parents who enjoyed a 40-year marriage, five kids, and two successful careers.

My date has only the fondest memories of watching his dad court his mom on their weekly date nights and annual parent-only vacations — in addition to the family road-trip.

Staying home with the babysitter was tons of fun. “My dad made it clear that his relationship with my mom was the center of everything, while he was also the best dad ever,” he said.

What could be a better example of the benefits of putting your romantic partner first?

What if you don't have a romantic interest to start with?

This Modern Love column in the New York Times (which I read religiously and am only slightly bitter about the fact the editor Daniel Jones has rejected more than a dozen of my submissions over the years BUT NEVERMIND!) highlighted an essay by Aylete Waldman about the fact that she puts her husband and their fantastic sex life above their four kids.

The most interesting thing about the essay was the resulting shitstorm of controversy which landed Waldman on a much-viewed Oprah episode during which a hostile audience nearly attacked her.

Yes, that essay is a decade old, but it warrants a revisit because parents — mothers most especially — are still expected to make our children the center of our worlds, and always put kids first. Waldman wrote:

I do love [my daughter]. But I'm not in love with her. Nor with her two brothers or sister. Yes, I have four children. Four children with whom I spend a good part of every day: bathing them, combing their hair, sitting with them while they do their homework, holding them while they weep their tragic tears. But I'm not in love with any of them. I am in love with my husband.

It is his face that inspires in me paroxysms of infatuated devotion. If a good mother is one who loves her child more than anyone else in the world, I am not a good mother. I am in fact a bad mother. I love my husband more than I love my children.

I love that Waldman challenges the institution that admonishes women for anything other than full-time adoration of their kids.

Waldman's work includes many of the points I've made here on this blog:

Many of you lapped up my essay about the fact that I don't live for my kids — and that is my biggest gift to them.

Putting kids before all else makes them neurotic and robs me of my potential to live the biggest, fullest life that I can — and model for my children that such a life is possible.

Putting kids first makes them neurotic and robs me of my potential to live the biggest, fullest life that I can — and model for my children that such a life is possible.

I've urged parents — single moms in particular — to prioritize their health above all else, including family time.

After all, you can't be an energetic mom now if you are overweight, and you are even more likely than single moms overall to burden your children in your old age if you don't care for your wellbeing now.

That despite my attempts to live said full life, I've found myself hugging my kids too much because I'm lonely — and that is entirely unfair to my son and daughter. Alas, I am only human.

I plan to read Waldman's essay collection, Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace, which promises to dig into the societal pressure moms face to put their children into the laser-sharp focus of their universes.

Liberating music to my ears! 

But Waldman has a husband she is crazy about. I don't.

How do you start dating after divorce with kids?

How do you figure out how to put your man first if you don't have a man to start with?

In other words, how do you create space for a potential relationship when kids can be so all-consuming?

In the event you don't seek a romantic partner, where do you focus that energy if not on your children?

Cliche as it may sound: You gotta put yourself first.

That means taking care of your health. You must make it a top priority to hang out with other adults — girlfriends, dates, relatives, and friends.

It is not normal to spend all your time with children, nor make your offspring your primary emotional support.

And while you're at it, indulge in your instincts to have a fulfilling and profitable career — without any guilt whatsoever! — even though our culture tells you that stay-at-home mothers are better mothers.

Take a quick, free peek at some online dating sites to see what is out there.

Ready to start dating? Looking for a serious relationship? Our No. 1 recommendation is eHarmony, which is consistently rated the most trusted dating site, and is designed specifically for those looking for meaningful, long-term connections. A+ Better Business Bureau rating, and claims “Every day, an average of 438 singles marry a match they found on eHarmony.” 3-month free guarantee.

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Dating with kids … How do you know when you’re ready to start?

If you are getting over a big breakup or divorce, and you are a single mom or dad, you may have a lot of questions and confusion around dating. After all, you likely have never dated as a parent. That is totally normal.

My general rule of thumb is this: Date when you want to date. Society tells you that mothers are virgins and dating steals precious time from child-rearing.

In fact, a happy mom who is fulfilled romantically, sexually and with a great companion — whether a serious partner, friend with benefits, lots of fun dates. Whatever your dating journey looks like, is the right journey.

Some quick rules, though:

  • Don't sneak men in while the kids are asleep.
  • Don't lie to the kids about dating.
  • Don't like to men you meet about the fact you're a single mom.
  • Don't move in with anyone anytime soon — or get pregnant, loan him money or otherwise do dumb shit.
  • Keep an open mind and be positive and hopeful. This not only frees you to enjoy a healthy, post-divorce romantic life, you also model healthy dating and sexuality for your children.

You may need to do some work to get over your divorce and sit with your loneliness before you can find that great guy. Here is more about my journey.


Give yourself permission to stop feeling guilty. 

Focus on research that finds that kids don't need nearly as much time with their parents as we think they do. 

A University of Maryland meta study of 34 papers found that after age 2, it makes literally zero difference how much time parents spent with their kids. In fact, researchers found that the pressure to spend so much quality time with children stresses moms out so much that it may actually make us worse parents than if we just focused our time on our relationships, health and making more money, and less on frontal-lobe development and deep connection with our children. That is right: We are spending TOO MUCH time with our children.

U.S. moms of 3-to-11-year-olds spend an average of 11 to 30 hours each week either fully engaged in activities with their kids, or nearby and accessible when needed. And for kids in their early teens, moms are there between 11 and 20 hours each week. On average, in 1975 moms spent just over 7 hours per week with their kids. We are spending more time with our children, yet feeling more guilty and stressed.

Want to date? Go for it — AND DON’T FEEL GUILTY!

Schedule one date per week — with guys from Tinder, your boyfriend or your husband (or, if your relationship permits — all three!) Get started today and choose your online dating platform >>

Not into online dating apps? Consider a matchmaking service. Read: It's Just Lunch matchmaking service review

Need a sex life? NO GUILT FOR YOU – ONLY BOOTY!

Do what you have to do.

Need to hit the gym?


Looking forward to that business trip even though you have to leave the kids at home?


I’m not worried you'll neglect the kids. If you are like the professional moms I know, the pendulum swings way in the other direction — and you’re far more likely to neglect yourself.

Dating someone new? When should single moms introduce a boyfriend to the kids?

About Emma Johnson

Wealthysinglemommy.com founder  Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist and author. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Emma's Top Single Mom Resources.


  1. Stacey on December 6, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    My partners son and him are very close
    Life was about them two before we met
    I have a daughter same age as his son
    I’m scared he has built a wall up around him and his son
    His son acts up so bad when we are around but is a little gem if I’m looking after him
    When his dad is around he acts up and needs attention
    I’m not sure what I can do
    I feel I can lose this man if his kid threatens to never come back
    He is only 7 but my partner has built his life around work and his son
    Nothing else
    He wants to move in together in 6months time
    Will this make things worse on his son? And him?

  2. Tracy on September 20, 2019 at 11:03 pm

    I am in a 3.5 year relationship with a guy who has 2 kids and I have 2 as well. We live 35 minutes apart and kids go to different schools. He has his kids every weekend, I have mine some days during the week and every other weekend. We get maybe 1 night alone a week, weekends are usually food-related. We have never been on a weekend away alone or on vacation alone without kids, in 3.5 years. He refuses to change his kid schedule, basically the schedule revolves around what his ex wants or needs for work. Our relationship is last on the priority list. He says “our time will come” when all the kids are out of school, which will be 7 more years. The writing appears to be on the wall here, am I right?

    • Tanya on October 4, 2019 at 8:00 pm

      Sit down and have a serious heart to heart with him….show him this article! This article opened my eyes right up! sometimes we do feel guilt or selfish but he needs to realize if he loves you he will need to prioritize your relationship!

    • Viktoriya on October 11, 2019 at 4:18 pm

      Would love to know how did heart to heart conversation go for you? Thanks.

  3. Liza on September 16, 2019 at 8:18 am

    My current relationship is amazing, he has one child and I have 1 adult son and two teenagers. His daughter and mine are preparing to leave for college next year. He tells me that she wants him to move by her college in a few years. We have discussed moving in a few years to another state just not where she is located. I don’t think it’s fair for him to expect me to move where she is and not be considered that I have a daughter that is off in college as well and a son that will be in high school. I guess I am starting to feel like although she is going to be 18 and in college, she will always be his priority and the number one factor in most decisions. We love each other very much and I am wondering if this will change.

  4. Steve on September 13, 2019 at 6:41 am

    Ok so here is my problem, I have been in a serious and committed relationship for the last 4 years with my girlfriend, I love her dearly and try to be a good partner as does she. On the whole we have a great relationship, she is Truly my best friend. We spend our free time together but also have healthy personal time, she spends time with her friends and enjoys her hobbies. I don’t mind ‘alone’ time and whilst do have friends etc am happy to be around the house or go to the gym etc.
    We have holidays together, weekends away, date nights, enjoy the cinema, meals out, shows, day trips and everything else that couples do together, we own our own home together and are both named on the mortgage. We are financially secure ( we are not rich by any means but we live comfortably and have disposable income) we both won’t full time and both earn a decent wage. We both help around the house and pull our weight, I enjoy cooking for her so do pretty much all of the shopping and cooking, I also work shifts so have plenty of time at home so keep on top of the domestic chores. She keeps a clean and tidy home and tends to do the clothes washing and ironing, that part of our lives works well and we are happy, however………
    I have 2 children from my previous marriage, a 15 year old son and a 20 year old daughter. I (we) have my son every other weekend to stay with us, my partner is very good with him, they get on well, she will buy him thoughtful little gifts and make sure his favourite snacks are in good supply when he comes, she will have him even if I am working and they both get on well.
    The issue is with her and my daughter, to be fair at first my partner made the effort and was willing to have my daughter in our lives, my daughter was 16 at the time and things was still raw for her from me and her mother going separate ways, I admit my daughter acted hostile and unreceptive to my partner and was generally a pain, nothing huge happened (no violent outbursts or shouting etc) but over time the situation declined to a point where I saw my daughter on my own, this caused huge issues with my partner who got to the point of saying I could only see my daughter with her being present but she didn’t want to see my daughter so this didn’t happen, the next stage was that my partner said I could only talk to my daughter if she was there which progressed to she didn’t want me to talk to my daughter at all, she then said I wasn’t to message my daughter or communicate in any way. She became paranoid that I was going to be in contact with my daughter “behind her back” and started checking my phone and asking constantly where I had been, who I had I spoken with and telling me that she didn’t trust me. She made me fit a tracker to my phone so that she could see where I was at all times and made me leave all social media (she kept all her social media) eventually I received a message from my daughter and communicated with her, I then did the cowardly thing and tried to cover it up by deleting the messages (which my partner saw and read) there wasn’t anything bad in the messages just general conversation and my daughter trying to reach out to me. I know it was wrong to lie and try to cover this communication up, my rationale was that I knew it would end in a massive argument and possibly her leaving me which she has always said she would do if I was in contact with my daughter ever again ( my partner stated that I could speak to my daughter twice a year on her birthday and at Christmas which she thought was a compromise and reasonable, I obviously don’t agree)
    I was never asking for my daughter to live with us (she has her own life and lives in a flat on her own whilst she is at Uni) I just wanted to be able to have a normal relationship with both my partner and my daughter, My partner states that she doesn’t have kids so I should be grateful that she puts up with one of mine, my partner would love to have a baby but I had a vasectomy years ago so can not have another naturally. I did have an expensive and painful vasectomy reversal in order for us to try, this didn’t work so I then saved £9000 and started the I.V.F process with my partner in order to give her a family of her own, I would love to have a baby with her and spend our lives together but can not any longer tolerate the demand of “its me or her you can’t have both in your life” and cut all ties with my daughter for good.
    I have suggested counselling but she won’t do it, either on her own or as a couple (even though she made me go to counselling “to see what a selfish person I am” in her words. I don’t claim to be perfect, I am far from it. I have never raised my hand to my partner or anyone else, I don’t get drunk, take drugs, go out all hours, cheat or steal, I have no interest in other women and worship the one I have. She is a lovely person and a good human being but there is a side to her that I just can’t understand. I hope this doesn’t come off as pity full, I don’t feel sorry for myself, I accept that I am a coward and should never had allowed the situation to get this far but we are where we are.
    We are now at the point where after a week of tears, upset and arguments she has made the final ultimatum that she is moving out and we are over (unless I never speak to my daughter again) for the first time I have done what I consider to be the right thing and said I don’t want her to go, I love her very much and I do want to have a baby and a life together BUT will not agree to never seeing or speaking to my daughter again, all I want is a normal relationship where I can talk to my daughter, not have to worry about who it is if my phone rings or I get a message for fear of a huge argument, not talking for days, tears from her and being told what a horrible person I am for not putting her feelings first etc. So this time I am prepared for her to actually leave even though I don’t want to lose her.
    I do however feel guilty and no matter what happens someone ends up hurt, am I a terrible person? Is there anything else I could do try? I really am willing to do anything to salvage our relationship, well almost anything, I won’t sacrifice my children and I should have been stronger from the start but I have to live with that.

    • Sacher a l'orangerie on September 20, 2019 at 11:32 am

      I am sorry you are hurting. You have to do what feels right to you.

      Your story reminds me of what happened with my mom and her father. Her mom died and her father remarried. When my mother was having me in the hospital, she got very sick. Her stepmom and her father came to visit. The doctors said there was an emergency and my mom might not make it. The stepmom told her father, “Let’s go, we don’t want to miss the train.” And he went.

      Without even thinking about getting a hotel room to wait and see if his child was going to make it through the night.

      I know this episode cut my mother to the quick. Heck,it cut me to the quick. When my grandfather – my mom’s father — was dying, I thought about visiting him, but decided to visit my new boyfriend (now my husband) in Europe instead. My mom acquiesced. We cared for him, but only as much as he seemed to care for us. I never got to say goodbye to him. Do you think he minded? I don’t know if he did or not.

      In essence, when your girlfriend says to never speak to your daughter again, she is having you act as if your child were already dead. Why would she do that? I am curious.

      (My step-grandmother had a cordial relationship with my mother. She was okay with my grandfather maintaining contact with my mother.)

      I hope you’ll find reconciliation and happiness with all your loved ones. Maybe your girlfriend is just insecure and thinks that your daughter is a proxy for your ex-wife. Once that fear is cleared up she may be better able to see other points of view.

  5. Safura on September 2, 2019 at 11:24 pm

    Just don’t date someone with kids it’s too difficult
    Why give so much of yourself if someone cannot give them self to you
    On fortunately once you reach a certain age most women are man have kids
    So if you find someone that doesn’t have kids like you, you better grab to that man or that woman
    100% their kids should be a priority
    But also both parents should have equal responsibility with their kid a balance
    What really concerns me the financial situation you encounter with some that has kids
    What happen when you are trying to buy a house with your partner, he or she need a extra betroom for his kids
    So do you go 50/50 and payments?
    also does the house belong to his kids if you never have kids?
    So you work all your life to support someone else kids to not have a romantic life and to always come second?

  6. Danny on August 12, 2019 at 12:25 am

    This article has some healthy info, however in my current situation, my fiance of almost 2 years has just told me that she hates my daughter (3yo) and that I should give her back to her drug addict birth mother… I have to put my daughter first and end this two year relationship. I love my fiance, but I cannot trust her to care for my daughter. I fought tooth and nail to gain full custody of her, and I will not throw that away, I owe her the best life i can give her, after today i feel like I’ve let her down in a big way. My fiance does have a child of her own (7yo daughter) who is spoiled rotten, but I love her and treat her as my own. My work has me on the road constantly and, after what I’ve seen today, I would be concerned for my daughter’s safety. My fiance has been spanking her and screaming at her over the smallest of things. I feel I have to end this relationship, and am packing tonight while they sleep. At first everyone had a good relationship together. It was a house full of love, laughing children, and madly in love parents. It all came crashing down today… I keep telling myself “maybe it was just a bad day” but my daughter tells me different. My fiance tells me different, I feel stupid, but I still feel loyal to her, I mean our relationship was great, but my daughter’s life and quality of life has to come first.. Always.

    • Rae on August 17, 2019 at 8:54 pm

      This isn’t a very unfortunate circumstance. However I don’t think that this was the intention to relate in such extreme circumstance such as yours. I believe the overall message used to take care of oneself and not take care of your children to the extreme of avoiding your own health and avoiding your relationships. Hopefully everything turned out for you and your daughter.

    • Holly on August 29, 2019 at 1:39 pm

      If someone I’m dating hates my child and i have at least 50% custody of my kids… it’s probably not going to work out. ‍♀️

    • Shauntelle on October 3, 2019 at 8:51 pm

      I have been reading these comments and reading these comments to find something that hits “home” for me. I am in a relationship with my FIANCÉ for three years. Recently engaged in January. He has a six year old who NO ONE likes to even watch. He is rude, misbehaved, and has not one sympathetic bone in his body. Anytime my fiancé even approached me, there he is. He literally said to me the other day “my dad may like you but he loves me.” Knowing that his dad and I show nothing but love towards each other. He doesn’t allow his dad to rub my feet, he will stick his feet up and ready to be rubbed. He doesn’t even allow us to be alone on the couch together. My fiancé always says “he’s a kid he doesn’t understand.” But I don’t know how to stress that fact that YOU AS THE FATHER SHOULD MAKE HIM UNDERSTAND. My fiancé tells me that I’m the greatest thing to ever happen to him. Yes, we’ve actually had this conversation because his kid was not planned. He did not want kids by his baby momma and he damn sure didn’t want to marry the drug addict POS. I am at the end of my rope here. I have stepped back from even trying with the kid, it’s not worth it. I don’t really care if he’s only a child? A child needs boundaries and he isn’t getting it from anyone who is related to him. I love my fiancé, God do I love him. I love the way he makes me feel, the way he can hold me when his kid isn’t around. We are truly soulmates and I just hate the fact that something he did 6 years ago walks amongst our house. OURS. We built this life together, he’s building a life with me and this kid just can’t get over that. I plan on making beautiful babies with this man. I plan on growing old with him and traveling with him. I plan it with HIM and only him. He does the same. He plans things for us and us only. Im lucky because he knows to put me first, but man it’s almost like having a burden.

      • Elisha on December 6, 2019 at 7:13 am

        Oh GOSH you have the exact same situation I find myself in!!! Its driving me crazy, i have been very very patient with his son!!! The rude comments about my cooking, and how his moms is better (yet all she ever makes him is mac n cheese in the microwave, if that or nothing at all, “cause she passed out”). I say nothing! But do tell my spouse I feel very disrespected and believe its his place to teach his son manners and boundaries. On my birthday his son cried and asked why I am always around, so he asked me to come over after he was asleep. I felt horrible, like a booty call. Yet, I am allowing it by continuing to stay in this relationship (if I can even call it that, it feels like I’m just observing him and his children most of the time). We had a talk and he justify his actions by saying he focuses on his kids to allow me time to focus on my own children. Which only time we actually get is when we sleep, if I’m lucky to stay over as he promises his son to sleep with him, his son is 7. My youngest is 8 and doesn’t demand or cling like his son. I’m at the point of leaving to give him time with his 2 kids, but it does hurt when he doesn’t seem to miss me or even bothered by me not being around. I feel like a bad mother as I don’t cling to my children, I’ve encouraged their independence and self reliance since 2. My oldest is 18, so I feel like I kinda know a thing or two about raising children. His mom doesn’t have a relationship with his children as they are unkind, disrespectful, and ungrateful. However, she does enjoy spending time and conversing with my children daily. I don’t want this to be an ongoing issue, its very hard to find a responsible single father. At first it was the best quality of his I admired, now I feel like I’m at the bottom of his list of priorities.

  7. Day Light on August 6, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    I bet nobody here got married to divorce. The divorce is an accident, it wasn’t planned at the beginning. Now you have your child. He/she needs your protection. He/she needs your time. Time is not infinite, as life itself. You’ve got to choose your priorities. If the online boo is yours, go for that. I gladly prefer my child (#smileontheface)

  8. Kate McBride on July 24, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    What do you ladies think about dating a 55+ year old man with a 35 year old son who (metaphorically) still needs his shoelaces tied by his father? This 55+ year old man would do anything at a drop of a hat to tend to his 35 year old son who has a wife and 2 kids (11 and 7) . He would even drop everything to babysit the grandchildren every weekend even though he had just come home from a 10 hour shift work. I haven’t seen him for about 4 weeks and when I asked for an hour to meet up for coffee, he turns round and snaps at me saying that family always comes first. Maybe he’s unhealthy or toxic even… I am 50 but I don’t have children so I just want to know other people’s point of view. Thanks.

    • Holly on August 29, 2019 at 1:43 pm

      He’s enabling his son. I’m younger than the 35 year old man and only ask for my mom to babysit if needed and certainly not last- minute unless an emergency or a once in a lifetime opportunity. They lack boundaries and if a 55 year old man is still “parenting” like this his adult son, it’s only going to continue. I would say that you should have a heart to heart about how his son should be more self-reliant at that age and stage of his life. That you need to see someone you’re with at least once a week. That yes family is important, but not in the enabling and unhealthy way that he’s going about it. Be prepared to walk….

    • Sarah W on September 7, 2019 at 8:57 pm


      I’m 53 and my fiancé is doing the exact same thing with his 32 year old son. At the very minute I am sitting here alone on a Saturday night while he is out with his son at the casino. We all went shopping today but I was only asked to go after he asked his son to go with us.

  9. Grandma Wilde on July 15, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    “in 1975 mother’s spent an average of 7 hours a week with their children” . That equals one hour per day. In 1975 I was a single mother of three young children. I was both working and studying and yet spent at least 4 hours a day with my children, more at weekends and school holidays. Work was arranged around school hours, study and freelance work was done when they were asleep. I had a babysitter twice a week so I could go to yoga and choir practice. I had several male friends during that time, but they were just friends, nothing more. However I wasn’t chasing money, nor was I chasing sex. My family came first and I have never regretted it. All my children have their own families now, and they all arrange their lives like I did, on a family basis, though none of them follow the same path I did, and each of their lives is unique to them. We are all different and we are all happy.
    The research quoted in this seems dodgy to me. 1975 was not rife with career or sex and money driven mums. I personally don’t know anyone from then who only spent 1 hour a day with their children. Doing homework with them alone was more than that. And if the research is dodgy, then the conclusions drawn from it are dodgy too. I don’t see how chasing money or sex benefits anyone, mother or child. Surely good, unselfish and loving relationships are what is needed everything else stems from that.

  10. […] it or not, your relationship with your partner should come first, according to sex therapist Laura Berman Ph.D. and mom blogger Emma Johnson. That’s because a child’s life orbits around their family dynamics, so if you bring a partner […]

  11. John on July 2, 2019 at 11:30 am

    Single parents should put their kids second when dating; OK but the childless person in the relationship needs not to be selfish either or just never get involved in the first place.
    I’m a father to a son who I see every other weekend. I don’t even get him all the holidays as we alternate with his mom. I saw my now ex gf the rest of the time basically the entire week and every other weekend. We went on trips, dates, or just stayed home together to enjoy our time and bond, the whole enchilada that most single parents can’t even dream of especially when they have the children full time; and yet she was still not happy because of that one weekend out of 2 where she was not my priority and fell abandoned. I understand that it is hard to be the top priority on a schedule but there has to be understanding and compromise from the other person. Of course, it is not the childless person’s fault that there is a child in the picture but it is also not the child’s fault. There are always ways to come to an agreement if that selfishness is tone down to a reasonable level. A dad should never be made to feel guilty because he’s taking care of his responsibility i.e. raise a child who will hopefully become a decent and responsible parent as well in the future.

  12. Janice on June 29, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    My sister puts her kids first and always has. Both are well into their 20’s. The oldest is 26 and is still living at home. He is overweight, unemployed and lazy. He plays video games and eats junk food all day. He has the same whiney attitude he had when he was 6. His mother waits on him hand and foot still to this day. The youngest is an 23 and diagnosed as bipolar. She is living with her boyfriend who is a drug addicted loser. They have a child together (she became pregnant at 19) and they fight all the time. Neither one has been able to stay employed for more than 6 months at a time. Both of my sister’s kids always came first. She revolved her entire life around them which resulted in chasing off her husband (their father). Her kids are spoiled, whiney, unappreciative and rude. I remember growing up she attended all of their activities only to watch them quit every single one over the years due to their lack of work ethic. I remember having dinners at her house and her children were so rude. They were waited on hand and foot, got to decide what to eat every night, ordered their mom around without saying please or thank you as she got them whatever they wanted and cleaned up after them. I used to feel sorry for my sister but I do not anymore. There were red flags along the way, plenty of them, where she should have changed her parenting style drastically. She has been single for decade now and any semi-decent man that comes along does not stick around for longer than a few months. This is what happens when you always put your kids first, no matter what. Yes your kids should come first most of the time, but not always. You also have to teach them the world does not revolve around them and to respect others.

  13. MIchael240 on June 29, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    I have mixed feelings about this. Yes your kids needs should come first…..to an extent. You don’t need to attend every single one of little Timmy’s baseball games if you haven’t had a date night with your husband in over a week. Little Suzie shouldn’t be in your bed watching tv at night because she can’t sleep while when it’s one of the rare times you and your spouse get to be alone together. Kids should not be deciding what the entire family eats for dinner every night. I’ve seen way too many times when the mother will revolve the entire household around the kids. You also should not choose your kids poor behavior over your spouse, wether it’s their father or step father, it does not make a difference. If your child is behaving badly the parents need to be a team and not allow the child to control the dynamics of the family. These kids end up spoiled, poorly behaved and have emotional problems.

    • QueenofWolves on July 4, 2019 at 3:40 am

      As someone dating someone who has two kids and also grew up with a single mother who put her relationships first. What I notice is that parents forget who they were and who they are outside of being a parent. The main reason that people fail in relationships when they have kids is the fact that people use their kids as an excuse to not be fully present in their romantic life/relationships. Your partner is lonely because every free opportunity you have you put very little effort into your partner and almost all of it into your kids, sure you are amazing as a parent but you are a terrible boyfriend/girlfriend and you put minimum effort to sustain a relationship expecting your partner to accept and be satisfied with the leftovers, however, your partner is the selfish one. Your kids will always be there this is why if you really care about your romantic life as well you will work to build a strong foundation in that partnership. Ask yourself honestly what is sustainable in a relationship and what is fair to a potential partner, do you have time to be a full-time partner and full-time parent?

      If not don’t act like you are ready to be fully committed. Life doesn’t stop after being a parent, sex, love and romantic companionship is a natural human desire and we biologically crave these things, if you cannot be a parent without neglecting your partner and not being fully present while giving a fair amount of time for them as well, the reality is you are not ready for a relationship. You choose the amount of time you give and put forth in a relationship and if you are giving the bare minimum you are at fault (no one else) and fully responsible for being a part time lover. The main thing that some of these parents don’t get about having kids and maintaining a relationship is that you have to prioritize both in different ways. Just like any husband and wife that have kids together, you still go on date nights and do things as a couple because romantic love is also important like familial love, one does not have to be on top of the other, they both should be appreciated in their own separate ways.

      Also, for the parents out their getting defensive and angry that someone cares about you so much they want more time with you or they even care that you are present in their relationship I hope you understand that a relationship is not owed to you but earned, it’s a two way street, everyone has needs and wants in a relationship and you can be just as undeserving of a caring partner by your lack of care for your partner. Appreciate the fact that someone is willing to be with you despite you having kids and possibly being divorced too, they will never share those first moments with you but they are with you despite that.

      Theirs too many entitled parents believing that their partners lives are supposed to automatically adjust for you and your kids which is highly selfish, ask, consider your partner’s feelings to. If you cannot consider your partner in future plans and decisions then why are you with them. They are not their just for your convenience.

      Lastly I don’t agree with the article not because I don’t believe in self love but because familial love and romantic love should never compete with each other, you either have room for both equally or you don’t. Kids need a different type of love and support but when those kids grow up and marry their own spouse and have their own kids your romantic life should still be thriving with your husband or wife. Parents tend to forget their kids will create their own families while you are busy pushing away every potential life partner because your kids are all that exist in your world.

      • Quavardis Morrell on November 11, 2019 at 1:15 pm

        Thank you QueenofWolves

    • Brick on July 14, 2019 at 7:41 pm

      Here’s my dilemma. I live an hour away from my girl friend and i work shift work. My children live in the same town as me but with their mom. I have 2 weekends off per month. i want to spend it with my children and my gf only wants alone time. Is that fair? I want to spend time with everyone. How do I tell the kids no when I see them so little? I feel like i an abandoning them. That’s not right in my mind. I chose to have children. Taking care of them and being there for them is part of parenting. Why can’t she be open to spending time with all of us? I don’t get it.

      • Carla on August 17, 2019 at 3:22 pm

        I’m glad there are men who think like you. The father of my daughter is with someone who insist she should be first even though they barely know each other. She hates it when he spends time with her when is supposed to be my time. We have good relationships, he can see her whenever he wants to. She wants him to see her only on his weekends. I wouldn’t date a guy who didn’t put their children first. You’re a great dad.

    • Mandy on July 19, 2019 at 8:41 pm

      No. This is completely ridiculous. As a mother I can’t imagine how someone could possibly think this way. Your kids come first. Period. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t allow yourself to be selfish on occasion. A rested and happy you makes the best mother for your children. But there isn’t a man in the entire world who I would put above my child. You can always find another guy, they are expendable but your kids are your kids forever.

      • Quavardis Morrell on November 11, 2019 at 1:19 pm

        You put your kids first by finding a mate who would put Family First meaning, ensuring your kids needs are first! Meaning shelter providing all things that you and your family needs. Why would you put a man or a woman who do not care about your kids first that’s the wrong mate so that’s what this, cliche gets mixed up with! You find someone who cares about your kids just as much as you do and you give your kids to support and love they need as well as your spouse!

  14. Anna on May 28, 2019 at 10:52 am

    I would never date a guy who isn’t putting his children FIRST. Never. What it tells me is that he is not mature enough and too self-centered to be a reliable partner. I can’t trust a person who puts a stranger above his/her own kids. The weak and dependent always come first because they can’t survive otherwise, it’s that simple.

    • Carolyn on June 10, 2019 at 3:16 pm

      Totally agree! My last relationship fell apart because the guy I dated had his kids 50/50 with his ex. and I wouldn’t spend his ‘off weeks’ with him. I have full custody of a 13 yr old boy. I’m his family and the thought of having him sleep on a couch while his mom was ‘getting some’ just made me feel uncomfortable and selfish. Especially if the relationship went south (which it did). I’ll have time to date in a few years. My son needs a stable home with consistency. Not to be treated like a third wheel. I see many parents treat their kids like an accessory. They should be your focus. My son is thriving in so many ways. I may not be in a relationship but seeing my son happy and emotionally healthy is what gives me joy. I don’t agree with this article at all.

      • Jason on June 18, 2019 at 10:15 pm

        I don’t think putting your kids second is the same as saying that the parent is selfish. Dating somebody can show the kid what a healthy relationship is all about. Balancing your personal interests along with your kids interests as well as introducing them to real people instead of just having them sit in front of the tv watching youtube can lead to long term benefits. Showing kids what a quality personal human relationship is all about seems more important than just servicing their needs. After all kids aren’t kids forever.

        • Sacher a l'orangerie on September 20, 2019 at 11:55 am

          It’s interesting that many of the parents divorcing now and making their new romantic relationships their priority, over their own children, were children of parents who did the same thing to them. Now they are transferring those lessons to the next generation.

          They were shown quality relationships, yes, that took precedence over their own stable lives. And yes, they did not stay kids forever. They grew up, got married, and faithfully reproduced the same anguished family dynamics they were subjected to.

          There are ways out of that dilemma. But first we have to stop putting individual needs, “having my needs met,” on the pedestal. When parental and child needs are seen to compete, that narrows the definition of an individual in diminishing ways.

    • QueenofWolves on July 4, 2019 at 4:02 am

      If a man is putting his children first he shouldn’t be in a relationship. I don’t know why people like you believe children are competing with your partners which is part of the problem. If a married couple who has two kids together has one partner who neglect their spouse ie not going on date anymore and the neglected partner tells their spouse and that same spouse turns around and says “you are just being weak and dependent, I’m putting our kids first.” Does that sound sustainable to you. Sure you can be a parent but you can also be a loving partner who does not neglect their relationship. The idea of who is “first” is inherently toxic because from the beginning you tell your partner its acceptable for them to not matter and not have valuse because you have kids.

      Which is truly disgusting because people use their kids as an excuse for neglecting what is required for a relationship to thrive long term kids or not

    • Joseph Napurano on August 13, 2019 at 9:50 pm

      Another great answer…I am really annoyed by this article… Your Kids Come First… I understand that you have to keep your marriage strong to have a a healthy family dynamic, but this article isn’t even talking about that. It’s talking about after divorce. People actually think it’s healthy for the kids, to put a new partner before them? Haven’t they been through enough?

  15. Miranda on May 13, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    There is a saying in order to be in your child’s life tomorrow you must be there today! There is nothing wrong with dating, but you need to watch who you bring around your children, too many children are abused by “mom’s new boyfriend”. Putting your child first means watching the interaction, remember it isn’t just your life you plan to change it is that innocent little soul you decided to bring into this world! It is your child’s life too. If they grow up in an unhappy, unloving environment you will never hear the end of it. Yes kids grow up but doesn’t mean they don’t come back and visit sometimes weekly with the grandkids, and you babysit or have them over the summer. When you are old and your spouse is dead who do you need then? your kids but if you push them away for a new lover when they were growing up they will say good bye good riddance you may never have a relationship with them or see them ever again. Your time is limited with your babies enjoy them while they are young, new sexual partners can wait. Do not forget if you do have a good relationship with your children and get remarried your children from your pervious marriage do not inherit if you were to die first, your new step children along with their parent may claim everything as chances are the step parent will exclude your children leave everything to his/her own. Seen it happen. You have to protect your assets and children before stepping into a new marriage. its a lot of work though people think its easy.

    • Mary Beth on June 17, 2019 at 11:22 am

      It has to be healthy all around and non-toxic. This sounds great in theory but I have rarely seen it happen. Women are often jealous of the kids and guilt trip the dad into sacrificing their needs and that is wrong at every level and leads to massive emotional problems in the kids. The child you are raising is the priority, not your sex life. New relationships need to start very slow and if the kids are considered and don’t feel sacrificed and forced into something it will be far easier. And agree to every thing Miranda is saying. Plenty of time to put your relationship first after you raise your kids. If you already went through a divorce your kids need you more than ever. God gave you them to teach and mold and protect, not to watch you suck up to your new mate at their expense. I have also stayed single because my daughter has needed me and she is far more important than me having a partner right now. Plus I am independent and don’t need a relationship to define me. Also a good example to give my child so she doesn’t elbow her way into someone else’s life as an adult demanding to be first when most men would benefit more to be a great dad and raise a great human being, than have a romantic connection. The current system is FLAWED all around.

      • tammy009 on June 29, 2019 at 2:14 pm

        I’ve seen where the kids are jealous fo the step parent and try to control the household way too many times.

  16. hayla on May 10, 2019 at 10:49 am

    so back when me and my kids father were together, i was basically killing myself everyday being the best stay at home mother i could be, my kids father worked everyday and would leave work and go do what he wanted bc he knew i was home with the kids everyday and that they were being well taken care of, but he didnt realize he was neglecting me, i didnt get free time or i couldnt work. which dont get me wrong i loved being a stay at home mom but i didnt get to properly take care of myself which made me depressed and it was hard caring to my kids like i wanted when i was so depressed bc back then i believed my cares and needs can wait til they get older, and i wanted to be the mom that done everything right. well after 5 years of that it ended up ending me and their father which sucks bc i wanted my kids to have both of their parents together but i just couldnt do it anymore, no one was caring for me no one let me even let me care for myself so i ended up having to see someone for a year to help me get back to myself. so let me be the first to say that being that perfect “pintrest ” mom isnt all like you think. i now share 50/50 with my kids father and i work on my career in fitness and i take care of myself and give myself time to relax and also have fun and my life is 20 times better. my kids are still happy and healthy. i dont spend as much time with my kids like i use to but now they see momma smile and have fun and see me happy and which teaches them more than you think. my oldest tells me all the time “when you’re happy mom im happy and i love seeing you smile”. so as much as you moms out there say “i put my kids first” i bet you deep down wish you could put yourself first without feeling guilty about it, bc i did and i felt guilty for a while about it but it goes away when you realize that it isn’t hurting anyone, your kids will still be okay. I do put myself first bc if i didn’t and didn’t take care of my health, and something happened bc i didn’t then i died then my kids wouldn’t have a mom bc i was too stupid to take care of myself.. stop trying to make everyone see that you’re the best mom out there and stop caring what others think. i know im a good mom, even tho im not with my kids all the time and thats all that matters to me. wake up people.

    • joyha on May 13, 2019 at 3:22 pm

      How about don’t have children then? IF your baby is crying for food do you feed yourself first? and see if there is left over for your child? or do you feed your child? Selfish mothers like you are the reason why children grow up and resent you and never talk to talk to you again. I have seen young girls abused sexually by mom’s new boyfriend/stepdad…how many of these families work out blended families are not natural this is why so much conflict happens. It works out when both parents love equally their child and put that child needs first as they grow up get married or leave the home then do whatever that is your time. but to have a child to be in tramatic shock is cruel

      • Marisa on July 10, 2019 at 1:14 am

        Did you even read the article? If you cant take care of your own needs then you children won’t know how either. They’ll have the same awful job and love life as you.

      • Jay on August 6, 2019 at 10:55 pm

        In nature, the mother feeds herself first because who will feed the kid if she starves to death? A healthy mother/father means healthy kids. Health is not all physical, psychological is essential too.

        Please don’t listen to these morons. If you find a good partner, make him come first. You both will be healthier and happier and you will raise proper people, not little self centered pricks.

        • Kristen on September 21, 2019 at 8:02 am

          Kids in traditional families also get abused, should we forgo those as well, let’s jut allow the worst human beings define all of our choices from here on out…

  17. Me on May 3, 2019 at 9:57 am

    Your kids will hate you someday and that guy will leave you like you deserve. You rather have a COCK than your kids, Who were born after your selfish desire.

    • JJ on September 16, 2019 at 6:53 am

      Sounds like that’s what happened to you.
      Maybe you should’ve learned to focus on one thing or another, juggling doesn’t sound like your cup of tea. So don’t take out your situation on others, and if that’s not the case, then who tf are you to tell someone that? That was the rudest thing I’ve read on these comments, maybe you deserve to be alone.

  18. Georgina on April 22, 2019 at 1:12 am

    I read something a long time ago that said if you don’t look after your own happiness, your family won’t be happy either. It was ok to be selfish and put yourself first. Once I started doing that, I was a much happier person and probably better to be around. I found me a beau and we’ve been pretty happy for almost 5 years now. On top of making oneself happy, I think I’m teaching my son lessons about independence and responsibility. At 17, he’s got a decent maturity level. But then, at 12 he took care of me for 2 months after a major surgery. I couldn’t drive, cook, or clean the entire time. He didn’t complain once. So, go ahead and put yourself out there. Be upfront with your kids about what you want and what you’re doing. They’ll understand and can handle the real world.

    • Christy on May 2, 2019 at 3:25 pm

      I really appreciated this article. I also agree with you in recognizing when its time to leave a relationship or when you should work harder for it to last. I have been in a relationship for 2.5 years with a man in his mid 50’s that has 4 grown kids, none of whom live with him. We also do not live together and only see each other for a couple hours on our “date night” and then maybe once on the weekend. Every time we’ve been together ( I truly cannot remember a time when this did not happen), his kids will call or text. He takes the calls every single time without fail. There have also been times when we were on a rare vacation together and they will text him and call limitless times to the point where he becomes so upset that he gets up and tells me we need to go home! His kids behave like manipulative little children that always want their way. They still expect a birthday party/dinner every year, they expect him at all of their holiday events (and always invite the ex-wife to come), and even expect him to be there to drive them to and from work if they ask. They will hang up on him if he does not do what they ask. Every single event they have the ex wife is invited to attend, or she is hosting the party and is right there front and center. Often times she will plan the event and then hand my boyfriend the bill and tell him to pay for it. I let him know I will not be attending any more events while the ex is present because she has in the past and continues to screw my boyfriend every chance she gets, while giving me her fake hugs. I really can’t stand it.. There have been many many times when my bf and I have been out on our date night and his phone will start to go off and he just can’t seem to silence it or leave it alone. (He has now taken to hiding his phone when his kids call and then lies to me about who the call is from) I personally have chosen to silence my phone when we are together and will not even look at it. In my opinion, that is called respect. Anyhow, I have realized over time that there is an unhealthly attachment that my boyfriend has with his kids, especially when I see his entire demeanor change when he gets a call or text from his adult kids. He behaves like a child that is in trouble with his mommy. Last Christmas, his kids texted him continuously throughout our entire Christmas Eve celebration in a group text, telling him he was selfish and unloving because he would not do what they had asked him to do, which was invite the ex-wife to HIS family Christmas party. I have 3 daughters and they range in age from 20-30 and are very independent and respectful young women. They have lives of their own, that they thrive in and would never dream of calling or texting me repeatedly for any reason other than an emergency, and especially not when I am on vacation with my man. At this point we are in counseling and although it could help a little, I have come to the decision that it is probably time to cut my losses and call it quits. I live a very healthy existence with a good career and great friends and family members. We all of respect one another, spend a healthy amount of time together and very much treasure each relationship. My boyfriend has had every possible opportunity to change things up and make me a priority in his life but I’m afraid its too late now. He is the one that has allowed these behaviors to continue and has refused to stand by me and be a real partner. He does not seem to understand that some day all of his kids will go their own separate way and he will be alone. We could’ve had a very happy life together. I was hopeful by what started out to look like a sweet, respectful and fun relationship. It is very disappointing, and as much as it hurts to let him go, it’s time to take care of me. ;-)

      • Gina on June 22, 2019 at 8:39 am

        Sounds like he is insecure and emotionally attached to his children. It’s not healthy to be at every back and call of the adult children. Also sounds like the children have separation anxiety from their father. Looks like they all have issues of living their own lives as an adult. Many insecurities keep someone from seeing a clear picture. Unless you make your partner feel loved and a priority it will never work. There’s a point to which you need to let your children leave the nest. I couldn’t get out of my parents house fast enough. I wanted to be adult and have my own life. Now a days young adults don’t have to grow up. They get handed everything they want so why should they grow up. Parent is giving the child the love of a partner. It’s wrong and selfish not to let your kids grow up and push them out of the nest. Looks like a lot of emotional issues that wont change anytime soon and may never change. He’s in love with his kids. What came first….man and women meet…love each other, care for each other, have kids. Yes the kids depend on the adult but the love should never change. That’s the problem. Adults don’t take care of the first priority which was the man and women as a couple. You raise the children but need to continue on each other. You make time while still caring for the children. Should be no different if you are a single parent. As long as your meeting the necessary needs of the child you need to focus on the adult relationship. Weather you believe in God or not. The bible has meaning and good rules to follow. When you care about your partner. Everything else falls in place. Don’t get me wrong, there’s also toxic relationships. But I’m talking about balance and finding happiness.

    • lisa on May 13, 2019 at 3:19 pm

      Yeah my mother did exactly that she put her own happiness over me, and in return I have mental issues from being sexually abused by her 2 past boyfriends/stepfather. I was kicked in the head with his foot when she wasn’t home, he would pull down my pants and hit me with a pan. Its people like on this page that cause trauma. Today people wonder why their adult children don’t want to see them? simple family means nothing after my mother went on to have new children. I haven’t seen my mothers face in 20 years. I do not have children, I do not want to be in a relationship as I am terrified. I dislike all people. My mother abandoned me for a new man. You should be a mother first this was your given job by god first! raise your kids and wait until they are grown, and protect them in your wills if you have family heirlooms. Seen them end up in ponshops because the new lover thinks its funny.

      • Celeste on May 25, 2019 at 4:55 am

        My mom also chose a man over me. She left me with my dad when I was 8 and he raised me ever since. My dad put me first my mom put her bf first. Now Im 22 my moms bf eventually dumped her and now she has no one. My dad put me ahead of his gfs and now we are best friends. I talk to him everyday, we see each other a few times a week we do all sorts of things together. If I have a bad date with a guy daddy is the first call I make to come pick me up. I could care less whst happens to my mom. When shes old and grey and needs someone to take care of her I wont be there but you can bet Ill be there for my dad whenever he needs me.

        • Morg on June 11, 2019 at 5:48 pm

          Yea but what’s happens when YOU get your father and you’re in a romantic relationship and he gives all his attention to his child from another woman. I promise you will feel different.

        • Quavardis Morrell on November 11, 2019 at 1:30 pm

          I’m sorry that happened to you but this article is not saying to put your love over your child but if you love your child you need to facilitate be happy self-love as well. The parent chooses their loved partner. So if you want to put your kids first you should have your priorities in order me and you making sure that you pick someone who is family oriented if that’s what you want if you want to make sure your children are secure you should pick a mate that can provide! So in conclusion your mother had insecurities and she was never in control of her decision or lost control and she put herself last there for she put you all that. But to put you first is to get a healthy leader in your life! Don’t be afraid of showing your kids tough love or standing firm when they get jealous! Its not the same as when you saw you were neglected. Your mom may have done it the wrong way BUT MAKE SURE YOU DON’T! That wasn’t a man in your mother’s life make sure you put a real man in your life that will put his family first I hope this makes sense!

      • It's just life. on August 8, 2019 at 11:10 am

        You made me cry. I’m so sorry you have a terrible mother. I had one too. I am a mom to two sweet children. I love them the way I wish my mother would have love me. Open your heart to be loved. You deserve it. Hugs.

        • Kristen on September 21, 2019 at 8:46 am

          What you are describing is awful and it’s not the norm! My parents were alcoholics and fought every night of my childhood. I swore I would never get married because my view of marriage was awful. In turn, I ended up in a relationship with a very unresponsible awful guy who sort of helped me maintain my narrative, it wasn’t until I accepted that all of that was bad and not normal and accepted my role in perpetuating that story in my adult life that I was able to move on. I am really sorry that happened to you, it really sucks but you can be anyone you want to be moving forward and I hope that horrible stepfather doesn’t continue to define your life:-/.

    • sacher a l'orangerie on September 20, 2019 at 12:05 pm

      I can be wrong, but may I ask how those children got that way? It is very unfortunate behavior, of course. Where did they learn it?

      Children that were able to count on secure attachment from their parents and caretakers do not control or undermine. They do it because they are hurting and scared. Because their parents are hurting and scared and not thinking of them as much as they need.

      I feel a lot of empathy for the parents. The way forward is not to blame the children, but to heal them through compassion for both them and the parents themselves, IMHO.

  19. Nora on March 24, 2019 at 1:19 am

    After I briefly mentioned an example of this article to my boyfriend who has a pre-teen daughter (we’ve been dating for almost 3 years), he went off in a fit saying if I expect him to tell his kid that I’m more important than her (his daughter), this relationship is over, and he also told me I’m jealous of his daughter. That really hurts as I have put lots of time, energy and money on his daughter. I love my boyfriend but is it better to break up now? The reason I brought up this article to him is that I told him I feel depressed and lonely as we do not have date night anymore. I’m lucky if I can get a date night with him once a month. We say we love each other, but is love enough in this case? Thanks for your thoughts and advice on this.

    • James on March 25, 2019 at 12:33 pm

      Your massage is short but still have enough information to make some conclusions. First is obvious he is a stubborn man and the way he answered looks like he will never change his point of view, besides not being open minded or mature enough to listen and at least take into consideration before giving blunt answers. Second, a man that gives you one night a month is not worth even thinking of him. Run away from that the soonest. You already wasted plenty of time. Last, I’ve been in stuff like that lately and no matter how much you try the person stays on his stubbornness and point of view. Why waste more time. Clock is ticking. Find an open minded man or someone at least that listen and gives you more time than his leftovers. I was in a relationship with someone like that and she gave me one three days a week and that wasn’t enough for me. By the second year I realized by asking questions and hearing her views that the mess wasn’t you anywhere. For some reason the relationship kept going three more years to realize even deeper that the mess wasn’t definitely going anywhere. you put up with once a month. Love/emotions blinds us a bit and we be on stuff like that for ages to realize at the end when we are tired and angry, that we wasted too much time in something that we should have known wasn’t going anywhere. If after reading an article like that he doesn’t understand, he will never will. Most of the time when you realize the first two years that something looks like is not going anywhere, it won’t. The only way you could live with a selfish and little minded person like that is by sacrificing your own point of views and ego and being a slave of his ignorance, and I’m sure you wouldn’t do that. As I have seen, for some reason many ignorant people, like him for example, remain ignorant for the rest of their life. All you got to ask yourself is if you are willing to take his way and live with his breadcrumbs that fall from his miserable table for the rest of your life? I’ve known friends that be in runish like that for more than 15 years to then realize what they should have realized in the first two or three years. Well, at least you have a good start early in realizing what’s inside his brain. That’s how I realized everything, by asking questions. The only way you can dig into a person’s mind. You did your CSI early. I learned this: ask ask ask and you will get. Don’t ask, you will never know…. Learn to unleash what’s in people’s brain.

    • Christina on April 4, 2019 at 5:44 pm

      I am in a similar situation, but more complexed, no I would never want him to tell that to his kids that im more important because they are young kids and dont need to know that…My bf and me both work, I work two jobs and go to school , he gets his kids everyday and his ex has him wait around until she is off… she works at a vet clinic and there is a closing time but her time are never consistent. Im talking he gets off at 4 and she gets off at 530 when she has to come get them but 630,7 ,30 everyday ..He also gets his kids every other weekend so I get to see him basically to go to bed and two weekends a month …. I recently asked him if she can just come to the house to get the kids every other week so he is not just driving a round waisting time …while I’m at home cleaning, cooking for my two girls and him, and trying to complete school work and help girls… he did it for a couple weeks and now has continued back to the other way, when I asked him why is everything at our expense he states that he’s not doing it for her he’s doing cause he wants to… he also seems to have a problem with my daughter, mind you she does act up from time to time and maybe more than a usual 8 year old but due to domestics between her dad and I. He has been sent a way, likely prison soon she probably acts more out cause she is somewhat jealous where I can see why I would be to. When he watches her on thurs because I am working late he keeps his kids in my room and closes mine out.. I think he is afraid my 8 year old will hurt his 3 year old but the only violence that has happened is the 3 year kicking my 8 year in the back …He pays for half childcare, half medical and feeds them most of the time, but because his kids do not sleep at our house she refused him to claim any of the two… not only that she makes him feel guilty if he says he can’t get the kids, comments such as oh you dont want your kids. how much more could a father get his kids without them living with them.. Otherwise he is a great guy, I am thinking about starting to be done with this relationship its drivin me crazy for over a year , so I know I can’t live like this forever. So Nora if he is that upset about he’s never gonna change, and your always gonna be lonely, so find someone that finds time for you,

    • jenny on May 13, 2019 at 3:09 pm

      You are not more important than his daughter, he was probably there the minute she was born, and during her conception, he probably rocked her to sleep when she was a baby and changed her. You are a new girlfriend you came after the child. The daughter is blood family, she will give him grandchildren, look at all the old people they rely on their children’s help, spouse can be dead and gone, divorce is easier than divorce on a child.

      • L on June 17, 2019 at 12:44 am

        In my situation the daughter…16 has no idea what a healthy relationship is and doesn’t want children of her own aka grandkids. My bf needs to understand that being friends with his daughter is not being a father. He doesn’t know a healthy relationship from a hole in the wall and all of you are a simulating putting yourself first with not feeding a crying newborn should seek actual professional help because I am pretty sure that that is not what this thread was about.

      • Sam on August 4, 2019 at 7:50 pm

        Met the perfect man I’m madly in love with… but he doesn’t accept my child. He has yet to meet my child but feel as though it’s not an Ideal situation and he doesn’t want to be a step dad. Which led me to breaking up with him, i feel so disappointed and hurt broken but my child is my world and I guess my love life I will have sacrifice

        • Danny on August 12, 2019 at 12:39 am

          Sam, you made the right choice and dont doubt it for a second. The bright side is you found out early, before your child got attached. You will find someone that will be a perfect fit for your family.

  20. […] Why single parents should put their kids second when dating – I meet most men that I date online. What do you look for when dating a man with kids? It’s very common for guys with kids to write in their eharmony.com profiles: “My kids come first,” […]

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  22. Notspecialanymore on December 22, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    Obviously my ex husband believes in this policy. He has chosen to not see our children on Christmas Day nor to spend any school holiday time with younger child in order to be with new Ukrainian girlfriend, who will be introduced to his family and friends and taken on holiday. This is a perfect example of putting partner ahead of children. I guess he wants to establish his relationship with her first. I have no choice but to accept it and according to this article, it is normal. I see it as the selfish behaviour of a midlife crisis and nobody cares about what he does or how it impacts others, except me, the now single mother.

    • greatmomcauseisaidso on February 20, 2019 at 5:47 pm

      So interesting! Your comment is spot on… what a ridiculous article. Divorce, although not uncommon, still remains a most difficult situation and transition for children. Of course a loving respectful relationship can be the most solid of foundations for a family but, if there is divorce, there is no loving solid foundation, perhaps there never was. Putting yourself, dates, and current or future partners on a priority level higher than your children is most certainly not in the best interest of your children. If you cannot respect a father or mother’s need to run to the aid of their child, regardless of how petty you feel the issue might be, then you need to definitely move on to your next choice of dates, If your children live with you most of the time, count yourself lucky and enjoy it, they will be out of your house sooner than you think, you will then be free to do as you like. If your children live with your ex the majority of the time and you just can’t seem to prioritize their needs over your date’s, lover’s, new partner’s, etc., that’s plain pitiful and probably indicative of why you are divorced in the first place.

      • Isittimetomoveon on March 10, 2019 at 10:36 pm

        I am currently in a 5 year relationship. I have 2 kids that live with us full time. He has 3 kids, 2 of them are the same age as my youngest. Sometimes we are on opposite weekends When this happens we literally have kids every weekend. I am fine with it as I know what I signed up for, just like he knows what he signed up for with me.
        My kids went to spend a week with my family. His kids asked to come over for the week because they didn’t want to go to daycare. They do spend a lot of time at daycare, more then the average kid.
        This week i asked if they could come later in the week. I wanted some down time. As the female all cooking falls on me and his daughter needs help washing her hair.

        For the last month I have taken off a lot of time from work to be him during a family emergency.
        During this week I was hoping to get caught up at work.

        Am I being selfish? Did I make him choose between me and his kids?

  23. kathleen paquin on December 11, 2018 at 7:37 am

    I was a single parent working two jobs ,left my daughter father when she was 4 month as he would had killed me and most likely her.When she was nine I was going to get married when I told her she flipped out hitting me sreaming.We lived together for a year he asked her If he could be her dad she never answered him but did everything to destroy our relationship she could and it worked.He eventually left.I was 22 by the way .I put us both in counseling she refused to talk.She continued to break up any relationship I had.By the time she finished high school I had serious back problems from working 16 hour shifts all my adult life.Never got a cent child support,I was to scared of him he kidnapped me and beat me many times.I just wanted him to stay away.Plus he was in jail several times once he almost killed his father.My daughter wouldn’t go to college or trade school unless I paid 100 precent.I couldn’t work more then I already was as I was going to the pain clinic every month by now.She moved out after trying to hit me and telling me she didn’t have to f—— listen to me anymore.All because I asked her what time she was coming home.I furnished her apt.brought her food several times and always was there if she needed me.By the time she was 23 she got married called me on mothers day and disowned me.A year later she had a son I wasn’t allowed to see two years later she left her husband because she said she could do better.A year or two later not really sure she had another son by 2016 she had 5 children got married again and I haven’t seen her for around 13 years.Out of the blue she calls me says she sorry ,but she has told stranger so many lies about me.How my mother raised her and I never worked and was on drugs.I saw this on her facebook but never said nothing as it was the only way I could see what my grand children looked like.She doesn’t know I know this I’ve been disabled for 5 years now.I don’t trust her at all.I love her but I don’t like her.I did get married around 6 years after she disowned me.But I’m in pain everyday of my life.My spinal cord is enlarged,I have 4 pinched nerves and two disc compression my spinal cord.Partial feeling in my feet and nerve damage.All of this by the time I was 49 years old from working all the double shifts and 2nd jobs to raise her.She went to private school for 12 years.Was it worth it putting your child first.This is what you get back.You would think now that she is grown 34 years old.Her 2nd husband was accepted by her first son.That she would understand that her life would have been better if I wasn’t forced to be a single parent all her life as she got involved with someone real quick after leaving her husband,but she doesn’t.She says I tried to force people on her.I don’t know where we stand and I’m unsure what I even want with her,I gave this child everything her kids don’t have much at all and she seems fine with that.

  24. Death Lord on December 8, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Most normal think being a parent requires sacrfice. This belief involves putting the family first, as the family is already established, the foreginer is late to the party and needs to be compatible or else there will be nothing but fights.

    “I love my husband more than I love my children.” The defense of this statement doesn’t stand with me, in fact, now I just feel less interested in single mothers. That is not challanging the auidence with a new, striking way of thinking, as if she was a lone intellectual facing perscution.

    That is just a mother who is trying to justfy going out more.

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