Dating a man with a kid
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.
I could never understand what a recent college grad would have in common with someone I considered to be a parental figure.I have a friend -- let’s call her Jane -- who only dates older men.The span of time between their respective ages never seems to really matter, as long as they are older.Usually, her limit tips at the 10-year mark, but sometimes, she will make a concession for 15 or 20.If his hair is aptly salt and peppered, she will even dip down to a solid five years older.“I know it’s against your nature,” she said,”but when it comes to his kids, be a cat, not a dog.
You’re going to want to hug them and bond with them, but it’ll be better if you relax and hang back. I had already fallen in love with their father, so what would I do if they didn’t like me? David and I both grew up in Northridge, both completed graduate and undergraduate degrees at UCLA, had friends in common from college and recently discovered that my cousin was his childhood music teacher.
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.
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.