Problems with dating men with kids

For now, I’m just available, playful in my own way, and practicing patience. Affairs chronicles the current dating scene in and around Los Angeles. The author lives in Encino and is a lecturer with UCLA Writing Programs. If you have comments or a true story to tell, email us at [email protected] It was a long wait — we are both in our mid-40s — but well worth it. I had never dated anyone with children, and I never wanted my own. She’d called when we were driving to the Mark Taper Forum in downtown Los Angeles, and we put her on speakerphone while I remained silent because she didn’t yet know her dad was dating.

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The first time I attended a school play, David’s daughter came out after the show.

I wanted to run over and hug her, give her the flowers we brought, congratulate her on a good performance — until I saw her mom and realized that my desires were tertiary.

As part of an entrepreneurial project, David’s elder was selling homemade lip gloss, and when I offered to buy some, her sister said, “Well, it’s kinda like you’re family, so you should get the family discount! I knew I’d fall for David from the moment we met, but I had no idea I’d fall in love like this: utterly openhearted to his two beautiful girls. I’m a little bit jealous, because mothers and fathers have a clear role.

Mine is special but unclear, constantly negotiated. I don’t want to be Mom, but maybe someday I’ll be more than “Dad’s girlfriend” to them.

Her sister, silent, looked at me, and tilted her head, as if to say, “Hmmm…

we’ll see about you.”We have tried to do all the “right” things: plenty of father-daughter time without me, consistent respect for their mom, a slow pace and patient approach.

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But it’s still hard sometimes, and I think about Jennifer’s advice quite a bit. Instead, I find hundreds of articles about how to advance and evolve, take steps forward.

For me, however, progress has come only with a practice of restraint: Relax like a cat and take a step back.

We figured flashing lights and photo booths, prizes and pinball, loud noises and lots of other kids would be a good distraction from “Dad has a girlfriend,” which also means: “Mom and Dad are not getting back together.”David’s daughters are sweet and smart, loving and funny and generous and affectionate … I tried to relax, think of the stretch of time ahead of us, remind myself there’s no rush.

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