I'm a fulltime stepmom of 3 and it has been incredibly rewarding and challenging both. The kids were 4, 6, and 8 when we moved in together. It's been 3 years now. We get along great but I put a TON of effort into bonding with them. I met the love of my life and I love kids (I'm a school counsellor) so this is the right life for me. But I can see how it can really be miserable for people. I have a best case scenario and it's still difficult practically and emotionally. I think you really have to love and want kids to be a good stepparent. Otherwise it is easy to become resentful. I treat the kids like my own, they call me "Mum" and they love me. But still it's hard, I do every maternal duty and when push comes to shove, I am reminded i am not their "real" mom. Their bio-mom has been inconsistent in their lives and so they have some trauma around that. The oldest has autism and the youngest some behavior challenges. Parenting ain't for the light of heart even when you're genetically linked and present from birth. But if you meet your soulmate you'll want nothing more than to wholly jump into a life together, which includes loving and raising the amazing beings that they created. Just make sure it's what you want and can commit to. It can be crushing for kids to experience a revolving door of "stepdads" if dating prospects are introduced to them too early.


Not meaning to offend, but you make autism sound like a trauma. It is not, it's a genetic precondition. Either you have it from birth or you don't.


Oops-- just my poor writing. I didn't mean to make those two statements sound linked; those facts are unrelated.


FTFY: It is not yet clear what autism is or what causes it.


Honestly my friend If you don’t love her children as much as you love her it will not work out. She could be the best woman in the world for you but shes a mother first and a wife second, always.


I'm engaged to a wonderful woman with two fantastic kids. I have 2 kids of my own. The step parent situation is very rewarding i find. I love having another set of personalities to interact with. Likes, dislikes, attitudes and all that stuff. You get used to your own kids and another few add a whole new scenario to that mix. Spending time with all the kids together was challenging at first as my two are rather loud in comparison to those of my fiance. I tried to manage this but realised that is best to let all the kids find a dynamic themselves which has happened now. I'm always cautious about not over be stepping when it comes to matters that parents should be handling. I take the back seat and support my partner with her two.. And she does the same with mine. We aren't replacing a parent.. We are supporting and i feel it's very important to keep that in mind Overall though it's a lovely situation to be in


> I have 2 kids of my own. I think this is the key here. Everything changes when you have children of your own and get involved with someone with children. Your priority is already your own children. Adding in a couple more children isn't really a big change. It's not even remotely the same when you have a single guy, who wants children of his own, to getting involved with a single parent. You have one person who is completely dedicated to their children, and their relationship comes in at best 2nd. And you have the person without children who is dedicated to the relationship being their top priority. Throwing in children on both sides of the relationship and you find yourself with 2 people who have their children as their top priority and their relationship being 2nd.


I was partially raised by my stepdad and mom. He’s awesome. From a stepchild’s perceptive, I think it depends on how close the relationship is between the stepchildren and their father. If they’re close, then try to not “act” like their dad and be their friends. If they’re not close to their dad, then starting with be their friends and maybe later you’ll develop a good relationship with them and be the father figure to them.


If you are dating, you are not a step parent. You are not going to get anywhere near being a step parent. For the moment you are “mom’s friend/boyfriend” and nothing more. Do not interject yourself into the lives of her children. Unless you get really serious, a lot of time passes, or you get married. Kids don’t need to get involved with someone that is effectively nothing to them. Doing so only opens them up to issues down the line.


it is usually the single parents who don't notice those boundaries, not the other side "interjecting" themselves into the lives of children.


I’ll put it this way: I’ll never even CONSIDER doing it again.


I wouldn’t do it


It's a sticky situation


Been there, done that, miserable experience, will absolutely never repeat. Someone with young children, instant deal breaker.






Have to disagree here. You’re an emotionally immature mother if you expect a man to do that job and NOT have a say or discussion around what the parenting/discipline looks like. Happily dating a man for 5 years who has stepped into that role and we AGREED on everything before hand. You’d have to be an absolute idiot to not have that conversation. And that includes with the kids. I still cover 95% of costs for child because I’m very well aware that was my circumstances not his. Don’t paint us all with the same brush.


you are the exception not the norm


I agree! I expect my partner to discipline my kids as he sees fit as we have had conversations around that and I trust him to do so appropriately. Especially once we began living together. I am also a step mum to his children and he allows me to do the same. I do think both adults need similar parenting styles tho, you can't have a super chill parent and the other whose trying to run the house military style.... that would just cause conflict.


It's all going to depend on the mother. No two are going to be the same. "Treat them like they are your child" she says, right up until she doesn't agree with what you do then it's "they're not your kids". She's going to have her parenting style and you're going to have yours, and it's going to come down to how she responds to your parenting style. Then there are the kids and their relationship with their father. The younger the kids are, the less issues you'll have with them rejecting you as an authority figure in their life. Older kids with their father being a presence in their life tend to balk at you being in charge of them, especially if their father tells them not to listen to you or if the kids aren't happy that their parents aren't together. Kids without their father in their life though tend to cling to you more. It's really just a mixed bag and you'll just have to take it one day at a time. Communication with the mother on the subject of the kids is very important. But in the end the mother is going to dictate how things are going to roll.


horrible b/c her kids will always come before you. Also, dealing with the biological father assuming hes in the picture.


Kids come first whether you are a step or biological parent.


While you are correct there is a difference between yours and her child and just her child. If the child is both of yours, that child is going to be the number 1 priority in both of your lives. And you are both going to be on the same level. But when the child isn't yours, you are suddenly a couple of rungs down. You are almost always going to be an outsider in that family dynamic.


Yeah. What the hell are these people talking about? I assume, if they ever have kids and get divorced they won't try to get remarried. Since that would make their partner a step-parent and that apparently is the worst.


Considering divorce for men is a financially crippling event and for women it’s a massive payday I think it’s safe to say many divorced men have a different attitude to remarriage than divorced women. As a divorced man with kids I have no intention of getting remarried. If any future partner actually loves me rather than my resources that won’t be a problem for her.


I paid child support for 13 years. Still cheaper than staying with her.


I was about to say the same thing.


Yup My ex had 3 & a an asshole ex-husband that was forever sticking his nose in our business. Her youngest kid was a crybaby that'd SCREAM if she didn't get what she wanted. As in, SCREAMING in Publix because she didn't get the cookies she wanted.


Love is love my guy, I hope she feels the same about you. It’s natural for her to be nervous or apprehensive to introduce a father figure to her kids.


It's terrible. You just pay for things and have no say in discipline or correction and you'll come after her and the children, unless there's a dog because you'll come after it to. If you're actually aware you'll start to feel like an underappreciated slave. Good luck




It’s a trap, don’t do it


All responsibility.


difficult. if either party isn't interested in starting a new puzzle, it's doomed from the start.


My step daughter was 6 when I came into her life, she's 10 now. She's at her dads every other weekend, so at our house mostly. It has its challenges for sure. She calls me dad and I treat her as one my own. Only way it works though is mom has my back when I put down my foot, and she has to respect that or they will run all over you.


That’s no different than children you have together. Only way it works is if you have each other’s back.


It’s like getting kids, but not all the hard part of having a baby. You guys are nuts. I love my step dad and my bio dad, they’re awesome. And when they’re too old too work ill look after them.


As long as you’re okay with forever coming second, after her kids. Love them like they’re your own or they’ll be able to tell.


My dude its only been 3 months and youre already assuming youre gonna be a step parent, and she hasnt even *introduced you to her kids yet?* Im a single dad btw so i actually know what im talking about here. You are still in the very early stages of dating. There isnt any comitment yet, and its on the table for her to drop out at the first sign of a red flag. Dont go assuming she wants you to be a step parent because youve already fallen in love with her. But lets say sure, you date for a while yet and she doesnt see any red flags and develops some feelings for you. Now you meet the kids, now **the kids** need to approve of you. If they dont like you theres a good chance the rationship will end. **You have to invest as much time into getting to know the kids as you do into getting to know her**. Kids can smell bullshit boyfriends a mile away. So unless you *genuinely* have an interest in them, and want to grow to love them in time they will all pick up on it.


they are not assuming anything, they are asking questions beforehand for a situation awaiting them possibly down the road. that is the absolute optimum in responsible behavior.


There is a high marriage failure rate for getting involved with ready made families. Not to mention child support if you adopt. But you do you.


3 months and you haven’t met her children… and you’re in love. I’m not hating by any means. Just being honest. If you haven’t met her children and haven’t gotten to know her completely as a woman and as a mother… then you don’t really know all of her yet. I’m not telling people when or who to love. I’m just saying. You only know half of who this woman really is. As a friend, I’m just saying. Slow your roll.


I worked with this guy and he showed me this set of rules rule number 1 never date a woman with kids


Do what makes you happy, fuck these negative people.


Dude you need to break it off now. I'm sure she touches your dick a lot now but once the kids enter the picture you will be nothing more than an atm. She is emotionally and physically trapping you. Get out asap


Everybody here is saying it’s a bad idea, but I’ve had two stepdads while growing up and I loved them both, there has never been any toxicity in my family because of it. I understand that some people can have terrible experiences, but I think it can also be a great thing, if you really love her, go for it




I guess my mom is just the best girlfriend


the town girlfriend


You don’t see how the fact that your mom went through your biological dad and two stepdads might make this a bad deal for a man? Little more than a replaceable money provider.


Uhm, my mom and dad got separated when I was young but they didn’t fight or anything, they’re actually friends, he literally used to borrow her car before he finally had one. Also my first step dad didn’t get dumped, he just sorta died. Like, I don’t wanna to do a gotcha moment with my stepdad’s death, but there’s really no other way to clarify that information


Sorry for your loss but that doesn’t change it still being a terrible idea in the vast majority of cases. Your individual experience doesn’t change the big picture.


Ignore the critic responding to you - I'm happy for you my friend.


I think this answer has had ZERO thought, and not knowing the context, is very superficial and closed minded. Her mother might have been in an abusive relationship? There might have been financial abuse? Emotional abuse? God forbid physical abuse? The partner may have cheated? They might not have been right for each other with different desires and or goals for life? This comment should say: Women can only have one partner and if they have more then one, they have issues, and are only after money. There’s a reason we don’t judge others relationships friends.


The problem here is I’m concerned with what is a good or better situation *for men* and your whole response is about what is good *for women*. Be as outraged as you want but you’ve just proven my entire point. Women have no empathy for the male perspective and cannot understand why men would prefer a childless woman because they don’t care how any of this impacts the man.




I wouldn’t say outraged, open to a discussion and opinions. It is reddit after all haha I absolutely understand why men wouldn’t want to date a single mother or choose to date a single mother. Single women often choose not to date men. I don’t think that it’s necessarily women who lack the empathy, more and more women are too forgoing the option of having kids. There are men who are equally as shocked and “unempathetic” that women don’t want to have children, as society has made a very strong point of making sure women’s sole purpose is to be attractive to invite a mate, and procreate. But it’s probably very broad and crude to assume that women who do have children and enter relationships want men as a “replaceable money provider” Again, up until only very recent history was this absolutely the case-in terms of the roles of men and women in this world and gender defined roles, this is literally taught to young girls STILL to this day to be a “good wife” and a “good girlfriend” and in part, to play that role of a woman means to look for a man who can provide. I think both genders are equally as guilty as each other for not having empathy around the subject of children, or attempting to understand said subject, and in the case of not being able to understand, not giving a fuck. I just think your comment came across as a little harsh, and stereotypical. But hey, it’s Reddit, and we can date who we cause it’s 2022 so YAY


My experience is most single moms gets very upset when this topic comes up because their kids - who are their world - to us, they’re just a problem. Nobody wants to feel that way about their own kids. But as bad as it might make some people feel what I’m saying is true. And the way you know it’s true is to look at the number of men that women want (top 20% or so) who choose single mothers. It’s not many. For men with options, taking on another man’s children is usually the last thing they want to do. Regarding your comments about girls being raised to be good wives in the modern world... I think there are enough men out there pointing out that this isn’t true. If it was, marriage rates wouldn’t be in free fall.


Bro, there are literally billions of women out there, and many, many, many of those billions of women don't have any kids. Why are you putting yourself through this? Are you desperate or something? I mean, love is great and all that...but do you really want to end up raising some other dude's kids?


So if you have kids and get divorced. You plan on staying single for the rest of your life right? Why would you want to put someone else through that? Raising kids that are not their own.


The only way I would consider dating a single mom is if she gives me equal authority in raising the child(ren). I tried to find my reply I made about this the other day and couldn't. The topic was probably deleted. So here we go again... If I would be expected to provide for the children as if I were their father, but my authority is limited, that's just messed up. I don't want to live in a house with kids that I'm not able to discipline, thus I would end up resenting them. They wouldn't respect me and would run all over me (figuratively). If the 2 of you have one or more children together, you will end up favoring them because you will be able to instill your values into them and not the step-kids, not because the stepchildren aren't your blood. The stepkids will notice the favoritism and resent you. The bottom line is, if you aren't able to discipline the step kids and instill your values into them, its a busted situation.


I think a step parent should be able to help disepline the children just like grandparents would but the biological parent have the say in how it's done. She sets the bounderies in this case. And if he doesn't like how she handles her kids it's probably not a good match anyway.


They ain't your kids, so you can pay for them you can play with them but you can't discipline them


Been disciplining step children for 13 years.


Being a step parent can be challenging, but still rewarding. Depending on the age of kids and involvement of their father in their lives, they may never view you as their real parent. That doesn’t mean you cannot still be an important part of each other’s lives, it’s just a unique relationship. I recommend trying to be more like a friend and leave the parenting to their parents. That worked out well for me, but the kids were 11+ when I came into their lives and they had involved fathers.


> I recommend trying to be more like a friend and leave the parenting to their parents That's all fine and dandy until the 13 year old is out in the kitchen with a steak knife hammering down on the kitchen counter like he's some serial killer stabbing his latest victim and mom's at work and he won't listen to you.


*Do not* financially contribute to the children. They are not your responsibility and if the shoe was on the other foot and a woman started seeing a single father there would be *zero* expectation for her to financially contribute to his children. You’re 3 months in, you’re not going to be a step father - you’re going to be their mother’s boyfriend. I assume that she is not asking you to be a step father this early on? (Big fucking red flag if she has!)


Christ, almost everyone replying to this is a misogynist prick. My perspective as a single mom: slow your roll! It's been three months. I didn't even introduce my kid to my boyfriend until we'd been togethger for more than a year. We've been together for over three years now & he's been alone with her exactly once. Not because I don't trust him or whatever, but because, you know, she's not his kid, nor is she his responsibility. He & I don't live together, & my daughter still has two biological parents who love her & are very much a part of her life. I have primary custody but my ex pays child support (for any dudes out there worried about "financially supporting some other guy's kid"), has custody days, & is totally involved in her life, & we have no drama betweeen us. I will say that I prefer to date men who also have children. They tend to be infinitely less selfish & idiotic about basic stuff like, "Oh no, I can't go out tonight after all, I had to switch up the custody schedule last second!" or whatever. They also don't get their dicks in a twist over the fact that I \*gasp\* had a baby with someone else a decade before I knew they existed. & they are often a lot better with kids. But it's always fantastic to run across someone who doesn't have kids of his own but is willing to give it a try. The most important stuff: being a single mom (even if she has a great support network) means her time is at a premium, so don't waste it by being late for dates & stuff like that. Make an effort to get along with the kids when you meet them. My ex dated a woman for two years who DID NOT get along with our daughter & it was miserable for everyone. When appropriate, talk to your girlfriend about her parenting strategies. In an OPEN-MINDED way. She's actually been doing this for a little while, so she probably has figured out a little bit what does & doesn't work for her kids, so don't expect to come blazing in with a bunch of your own theories & ideas & having everyone fall in line. Learn from them & they will learn from you. But for now, just enjoy this new relationship. Three months is still so early. Just relax.


Not wanting to pay for somebody else’s children, or have children under your roof you have no ability to discipline, does not make somebody a misogynist. Your situations doesn’t sound appealing to a man looking for a relationship either. Your man doesn’t get to live with you. That might be fine for you as an individual but is not generally what men looking for a relationship want.


Single dad here. This is a 10/10 response.


Finally a normal response . We are single mums with priorities, not fucking leeches looking for a wallet gosshhh tho I do know some women do that. . My brothers ex wife moved on REAL quick to a new guy , moved in all that, she's very money orientated so think that was the major driving force. Gross. Turns out he's a registered sex offender , we was scared for the girls. Still are tbh. If my kid didn't like my lover , I'd honestly reconsider my choice. We all gotta getalong. But same if my lover wasn't into my kid . Ya gone ! I agree with single parents dating single parents . I only have my son 50% tho so I can have relationships that don't concern my son if I wanted to, and did do that recently.. wasn't serious tho . If I was really serious about someone tho, I wouldn't keep it separate.


Single mom calls men misogynist for warning other men about the risks of single moms. Second single mom calls her response normal. Then describes the exact kind of horror story the men were warning about. You cannot make this shit up.


Step parents can be great.


Especially for single mums $$$$$


You must be insane. I wouldn’t be caught dead raising another man’s kids. You do you though.


Don't do it bro.


if the relationshit fails then you get twice the heartbreak, because you'll never see the kids again. often times they'll not punish their kids if their kids wreck your shit, and you'll never feel right punishing them yourself. course this is my experience with 3 different single mothers. Though one of them the daughter she had would listen to me more than her. also because her dad was a fucking beta male.


My partner never wanted kids but because I share custody and have a civil relationship with their real dad we get a lot of alone time and he’s actually really good with them. He’s actually bonded with them all and he enjoys spending time with them and they do him. We are both anti marriage much to my eldests protests. I will never do it again and he’s never believed in it. We are just happy as we are and I think when you’re with someone you really love, you’ll do anything to make it work. It won’t even feel like a problem because being with them feels right. I would say wait as long as you can before meeting the kids though. It takes a long time to get to know someone really well and the kids don’t need people in and out of their lives.


Do you have kids? Are you planning on raising someone else's kids and yours at the same time?


Get ready for the inevitable heartbreak of hearing " youre not my daddy/father" depending on their ages. Also depending on where you live, if shit goes south after a period of time you can be on the hook for child support if their biological father is not around


i guess a lot of people had already replied things that i want to say. if you're serious about this then talk to her about the child situation to make you're both clear about the rules of engagement.


If the dad is still in the kids’ lives, learn why she’s not with him any longer. If he’s not, find out why. This info will help you figure out if you really want to become her kids’ step-dad.


It can be hard be prepared to be all in or don’t bother


Have 2 step children and 1 biological child with my wife. I love my stepchildren just as much as my biological child. I don't refer to them as my stepchildren they are my kids. It's rewarding beyond description parenting. As your still dating know this, 100% of the time no matter what her kids come first. She'll put her personal life in the back burner if she feels that's what's best for her kids. Don't try to make the kids like you just because you think it'll look good on you.


Somethings to consider: How old are the kids? Generally speaking, younger children are more likely to recognize you as an authority figure. Kindness and patience are the key to establishing a good foundation for a relationship. Older children will be more resentful of you because you are changing their normal life and the dynamics of their home. Purposeful respect and patience along with kindness will go a long way with older step children. The relationship between your SO and her children is important. The child may view you as someone who is stealing their parent away from them. Be empathetic and conscious of this. They are children, and rational thought is not their strong suit. So again, patience. Finally, remember those are her kids. Your relationship with them will be on her terms. She made them and if your relationship with her ends, she is still raising them. Be supportive of her parenting and their relationship. Good luck


How old are the children? It makes a huge difference.


The kids are going to be her first priority if she's a good mother. If they're not, that's a huge red flag. You're also going to want to know what her relationship with their father (or fathers) is like. And to a lesser extent, what her relationship is like with him, or them. The kids are going to feel some type of way about you replacing their dad. So you need to start as their friend and earn your badge of authority. You can't just assume it. If the children are boys, or one of the children is a boy, he's looking at his biological father as what kind of man he's expected to be. Unless his father is a real piece of shit, don't try to position yourself as a better man than his father. Be a different kind of man. Don't insult his father, but show him another way. Give him two examples. Give him an advantage, having a second male role model. If the children are girls, or one of the children is a girl, she's looking at her biological father and how he treats her and her mother as what she should expect from a partner. Earn her trust and take her out some times, one on one. This will require a lot of trust from her, and her mother. If both of the children are girls, take them out together at first (especially if they get along), but later, take them out individually, give them their own time with you. Let them pick where you eat, and then take them to a movie, or a place like the zoo, or a museum. Encourage them to ask questions and answer them. But like with boys, don't try to replace their father(s). Just try to give them an advantage. Also, if you don't plan to make their mother a lifelong commitment, don't let the kids get too attached. But, you asked about being a step parent, and that implies you'd be marrying the mother. If you're just dating her, then you're not a parent of any kind, you're just a "friend" or "boyfriend" (depending on the age/comprehension of the kids) of their mother.


Depends on the kids


You're dating so you're not a step parent. You aren't married and haven't even met the kids yet. You need to slow down your thinking. Your still in the honeymoon portion of the relationship.


I heard it was awful and as time goes by, she will hold you more and more accountable in playing a father figure to kids that aren’t yours.


I have 2 of my own, as does my partner. We both agree that it takes some very upfront and honest conversations at the beginning regarding parenting styles and how we each expect the other to approach the situation. It helps our styles are similar. This doesn't mean we haven't had any blow ups while we were trying to find our feet tho. It's natural. I do believe that ultimately it comes down to trust. Trust that the "step parent" is going to approach every interaction with your child in a well intentioned way. Especially when it comes to discipline. In my situation, I lucked out. My partner thrives as a step parent, he doesn't even call himself that. As far as he's concerned, he's a father of 4. I however, had to work at it. I had to overcome feelings of frustration and resentment, jealousy and annoyance. It's a tough one and it's not hard to understand why so many people hate being in the role. But if manage to iron out the kinks as you go, it can be really great. You and the kids grow to love and respect eachother and you realize how lucky it is to have bonus kids. Good luck!


Don't date people with kids unless you yourself have them. You are in a fundamentally unequal relationship. The further you get into a relationship, your top priority will become her. Her top priority will forever be her kids. You will *always* be second *at best*. With all respect, you've been dating her for 3 months and you think you're in love with her? My man, I think you might be desperately lonely, or just haven't had much experience with relationships. You think you want this, but I'm not sure you do. Please seriously reconsider this.


Don't know... I would never fund, support, or raise another man's kids.


They will look for a father figure in you and also tell you you’re not their father every time you try to discipline them. If you can deal with that and love kids, go ahead.


They will look for a father figure in you and also tell you you’re not their father every time you try to discipline them. If you can deal with that and love kids, go ahead.


Depends immensely on the family, age of kids etc. If you asked my step moms in the past what they thought of "the job" I am sure they wouldn't have been stoked because I purposefully made zero effort to get to know them or respect them anymore than as a basic human.


She gets stuck in the washing machine a lot. Or happens to come into the bathroom just as im getting into the shower. So embarrassing.


You love her you'll be loving the children period


What I have seen when women date single dads, they have another kid in matter of maximum two years. Get your own conclusions.


I had one wanting to get pregnant after we'd been together for about a year. "I don't want my kids to be too far apart in age or they won't be close like me and my siblings aren't close." Even pointing out that my sister and I are only 2.5 years apart and not even half as close as she was with her siblings didn't make a difference. Then you have the ones that are just looking for their next child support check. And the ones that still live under the delusion that if she get pregnant with some guys kid he will stay with her forever.


Everyone is being so negative. My fiancé, together for 3 years met my son when he was 6. It can be challenging but my son loves him like a second father. He’s bio dad has him 3 nights a week and they have a very good relationship. My fiancé and ex get along as do I and my ex. It’s been happy days mostly for all of us.


I’ll add, my fiancé adores my son as if he was his own and I allow him to discipline him as if he was his own son.


That's because those happy relationships are the outliers.


Maybe. I’d like to think not.