So youíve found your perfect partner; sheís kind, caring, funny, smart. Just amazing. Annnnnd she has children. Eeep. It certainly adds another dimension to the relationship.
Are you sure you want to proceed? It is going to be a bumpy ride for a while. Here are a few tips for someone who doesnít having children of their own, and has met someone who does. Ok, letís go.
1. Donít rush into meeting the children Ė as amazing as your new partner is, itís not just her you will be having the relationship with, so you need to be sure they are worth upending your life for.
Everything is going to change, but this isnít a thing to be scared of - it just means you will access a new part of yourself you didnít know existed. Itís going to take a few months for everything to settle after first dating your new bae. If everything is still great after a few months, bring in the children. Hold on to your diapers everybody, we are going inÖ
2. Meet them for the first time at a park or somewhere that is neutral (somewhere other than their home), so they donít feel like you are invading their space.
Iíd recommend a relaxed area like a park or a beach for a walk. It really depends on the age of the children. They will be interested, but reticent at the same time, so be patient and let them come to you. They wonít be able to contain their curiosity.
3. Donít rush to be their friends Ė once you have met and spent some time together, they will naturally start to warm to you, but you canít rush them.
Donít go spoiling them with gifts and treats. Children arenít stupid, think of them as short adults and treat them accordingly. If they are teenagers, itís going to take a lot longer, but be yourself and donít act like someone you think they need. They younger the children are, the smoother it will be.
4. Get to know them Ė sound easy yeah? Not just what footy team they support, really get to know them. What makes them tick? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
This is going to take time, 4-5 months at least, with maybe another 3 months more per child. The better you get to know each little person, the easier the next stage will be.
5. Ease into being the step father Ė donít rush into trying to be the step-father, you will have no idea what you are doing and you donít want to cause any riffs that take a long time to heal.
Take cues from a father you admire, or if you were happy with your upbringing, use that as a base to work from - the next part is up to you. You will struggle, you will be frustrated, and you will smile.
Sell the jet-ski, pull down the girlie calendar, youíre a father now. Enjoy it, the entry price is worth it.