My youngest is almost 19 so I am done with my child-rearing. I just need to get him through college and still guide the 21 year old lost one toward her future.

When I started dating, I was really hoping to meet and date others in the same boat as I am. For the most part, I have been lucky and met and dated men without young children. There have been a couple though. The first couple of guys I dated had fairly young children. One lived six hours away so when we were dating, we would meet in the middle. I never met his children and knew from the beginning that it was just a short term relationship. Neither of us would have considered moving due to out kids (mine was still a Sophomore in high school). This made the fact that his kids were young a non-issue. The other guy was great and I was crazy about him but it was too soon for him as he was still going through his divorce. I didn’t meet his kids until after we quit dating. We have managed to stay friends and I do not know his kids well. Is was a non-issue for him, too, though his time with the kids definitely affected when we could be together. I realized then how much I would prefer to date someone with the freedoms of no young children.

That changed with R. His son is 10. He actually introduced us pretty early in our dating. That is one of the reasons that I thought he was more serious about me than he is. I have had the opportunity to really get to know this kid and grow to love him. This has become a real problem for me and probably the kid. He loves me. He is always so happy to see me. The other night, I was up at the house for a barbecue and the kiddo started talking to me about if I married his dad. His dad does not love me. We do not have a long term future together. This breaks my heart. I am not in love with his dad either but without the kid being involved, I could definitely continue the way we are for now. With the kid involved though, I am quite worried. If I continue dating R, will his son be more hurt when it does end? Are we being selfish. I believe so. I truly feel that I should stop dating R completely for his kids sake. The three of us do have so much fun together. I did NOT want to fall for a kid.

I am so glad that I never had to be a single mom with young kids. My son was 15 when we got divorced. He was very involved in school and got his driver’s license shortly after. He was independent and was never home his last two years of high school. My kids did grow to love the guy I dated for a while but they also can still have him in their lives without us dating. He still spends time with us. They understand that we are only friends now and are not confused or heart broken that we are not together anymore. They want both of us to be happy and understand that together that won’t happen. Being a singe parent brings so many challenges but when you start dating and you have young kids, there are definitely different ones. I know now, that I do prefer to date men without young kids. I love kids and falling for a kid that I will possibly lose is too painful. It is bad enough to lose a relationship but a kid, too. I don;t know if I am strong enough for that.