If Your Kids Hate the Man You're Dating, Should You Date Him Anyway?

Mom Moment 35

Dating, mom
She is NOT impressed.
You’ve got on a killer dress. You’ve coaxed your figure into hourglass-shaped perfection, thanks largely to a body shaper and no food or liquids since breakfast. You’ve slid into some gorgeous stilettos and fluffed your hair into the kind of full-on vampishness that would make Beyonce proud. You’re nervous about your date—the fifth or sixth with this particular gentleman—but it’s more of a butterflies-in-the-tummy excitement than tax-time jitters. You like him. A lot.

But as soon as you open the door to let your new beau inside, your kids bumrush you at the foyer. Please don’t go, they beg. They don’t like him. And though they don’t come out and say it, you can already tell: they’re going to make dating him a little slice of hell. 

I’ve never had the experience myself—thankfully The Girl has been a fan of the two men I’ve had relationships with in her lifetime. Anybody in between didn’t get close to the honor of meeting her. That’s actually how a dude could tell if he was in there for the long haul or not: if he met my child, he was probably going to get the boyfriend job.

I don’t believe in introducing kids to just any ol’ body, particularly because little (and sometimes bigger) ones have a tendency to get attached and a breakup, though it might be par for the course with their mama, could be confusing and hurtful to the children. That’s rough, so why put your kids through it unnecessarily? Besides that, it should be a privilege for a man to meet your kids, not part of a run-of-the-mill dating routine.

But I do have a friend who’s living this scenario. When she started seeing a new guy after breaking up with her youngest son’s father, her boys would frown up their faces every time dude would come to pick her up. Tantrums would fly, the silent treatment would be in full effect, and they weren’t above hiding her keys if they knew she was going out with him. She laughs telling stories about their love-blocking antics, even though it makes me frazzled just hearing about them. But it also makes her wonder if she’s missing something. Is it possible that they’re just picking up on a vibe that she isn’t getting?

Dating a man your children don’t approve of or flat out don’t like can make a mama feel like she’s straddling the peace and happiness she tries to maintain at home and the enjoyment she gets from adult time with her boo. It can be a knee jerk reaction to either drop new dude faster than a bag of bricks because her little ones don’t dig him or dismiss a child’s feelings because they’re young and don’t know any better (and because mommy deserves to be happy too, right?) But kids do need to be comfortable with the man their mother is serious about—which brings me back to my point about not introducing children if the relationship isn’t looking long-term.

Instead of arguing with them, I think a mother with one foot in the dating world should ask her tots why they don’t like The Mister. The whole brouhaha could come from a couple of different reasons. Maybe they just don’t like change. Maybe they’ve seen their mom get hurt and they don’t want her fall into another hot mess. Maybe they don’t have enough time with her as it is and they think a boyfriend is going to cut into it even more. Or maybe, just maybe, their intuition tells them that he’s actually not so hot.

My friend is still seeing her man and the kids eventually warmed up to him. I mean, they’re not cuddling in front of a fireplace reading bedtime stories with warm cocoa at nights, but at least her three-year-old doesn’t run through a whole box of Kleenex begging her to stay home anymore.

I guess after a heart-to-heart, a mama can decide whether it’s worth it to keep her guy or if she and the children can work through it, especially if she really likes him. Shoot, you can’t just be tossing good men away like carryout containers in this day and age. It’s rough out there in the dating world and if he’s got a job, all his teeth, his good sense, a clean criminal record, and a modicum of common sense, let’s work that out.

Would you continue to date a man if your kids didn’t like him? 


Image via BenedictFrancis/Flickr

dating, dating mom, commitment, divorce, online dating, single moms

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singl... singlemama74

My ex husband and I have been seperated since 2009 and the divorce finally became final this past July. I am no where near dating. My 5yr old boy is all need at this point in my life. For me personally it would be a deal breaker if my son didnt like the man I was dating. Of course I would give it some time (it would take a bit for James to get used too... Most of his life he never seen mama have a relationshp) but if it is obvious that my boy doesnt like him, how could I keep dating the guy?

cmjaz cmjaz

Trust your kids instincts. NEVER date a man they don't like. Typically, they feel something wrong about him, no matter how cool he is to you. He can end up being an abuser.

Mommi... MommietoJB

If at first impression they didnt like him , I wouldnt take it that far as to dump him. Children need time to warm up to a new person and get use to the fact that mom needs her own time. But if after awhile they did not like him, I would end things because my childrens happiness means everything to me. But I think moms need to keep high standards and keep there childrens safety a big priority. Single moms are often targeted by abusive men.

nonmember avatar Harold32001

Or how about finishing the commitment you made to your children. Raise 'em first. Date later. Then you don't have to explain anything. Worked for me.

NYCmo... NYCmommy100

I really don't know. My sister was dating someone and at first the kids were okay with them. But then they started to hate him. Turns out he was on heroin and the kids called 911 when he wanted them to have some.

the4m... the4mutts

If my kids hated someone, and I don't mean someone they only saw/heard of when they picked up up (aka, took me from my kids, HELLO! That's how kids see it) but someone they spent some time with, then sorry, Charlie, its a no-go. I wouldn't force my kids to spend more time with a guy, to "get used to him". They might pretend to like him, if they saw how much I liked him, then I'm not getting their honest opinion anymore.

butte... butterflyfreak

OMG NYCmommy! I think that would be a bigger red flag, if the kids start out liking the guy and then don't. I honestly don't know how I would feel if I was in a dating situation. My husband, and father to my child, and I have a pretty good relationship. I do think that I would take my time before making the introductions between my child and any man that I was dating, to make sure that it was going to be serious and long-term. I don't think I would drop a guy just because my kid didn't like him at first. I would ask why, and the answer would decide what I was going to do. If she flat out told me she thought he was creepy, I probably would re-consider fostering the relationship. Kids have instincts that we rarely give them credit for.

linzemae linzemae

When we were little we hated every single guy our mom dated. It's probably because we always wanted our parents to get back together. If my mom would have listened to us she wouldn't have her current husband, they have been together for almost 20years.

nonmember avatar CrystalMP

Guys come and go but my kids are forever, I'd never bargain or fight with my boys to date someone. If they don't like him there is obviously a reason. I don't see myself dating if me and my husband were ever to part ways anyway, I simply wouldn't have the time

nonmember avatar kaerae

@Harold - TOTALLY agree with you. Divorced when mine were 8&10 and didn't date until they went to college, which they both did. Best decision I ever made and we are very close and their childhood was very peaceful because of it. I was 45 when my youngest went and the men are more mature, there's less drama and there are still plenty of great men out there if you wait

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