There is no manual to a happy relationship, just like there’s no manual to raising children. I wish I read some books on the subject before I fell in love with a single parent in order to better understand it.
I admit I was scared. Terrified, actually. I became responsible for someone other than myself and my life changed in an instant.
I never expected to be in this situation, or that I would fall so deeply in love with a single parent, someone who has already given life to a human. You expect life to go as planned, you know, like we all do. The plan that was dreamt up at age 12, when we were still hopelessly confused about life and love. Heck, most of us still are hopelessly confused.
The plan was to fall madly in love with someone, and then have children together. To grow, to learn together, and to bond with your significant other and your baby.
Some believe you are robbed of these experiences with your partner when you enter into a relationship where you love a single parent. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it’s simply not true.
I still get to experience every one of those wonderful feelings, I was never robbed.
I’ve learned that you are simply gifted in a different way. This child chooses to love you and I believe that unconditional love is a beautiful and indescribable feeling.
They have ten tiny toes, ten tiny fingers, your partner’s eyes and none of your DNA.
Love is not about genetics. Love is a choice. As you get to know this child, everything that you love about your partner you see in them. After all, they are an extension of them. Just because they don’t share your genetics doesn’t mean they deserve less love than you would show your own biological child.
I choose to believe that I was given a heart big enough not only to love my partner, but to also love their child. I’ve never regretted my decision to take on this relationship.
Alone time is something to be cherished.
In a relationship without a child involved there is an unlimited amount of time for cuddling, intimacy, and time together. It’s not that it’s taken away when a child is involved, it’s just limited.
This time together can take on a different form. It’s trips to the grocery store, the park, or spending dinner together at the table with the child who may be crying at the top of his lungs or giggling so loud you can’t think straight. But when they aren’t with you, you start to miss the chaos.
Sacrifice is a part of love.
Never expect to finish your candy bar, ice cream, or cookie alone. What’s yours is theirs. Not only treats, but date nights can be put on hold due to a sick child. “Netflix and chill” actually means your partner is cuddling with their child as Finding Dory plays in the background.
You make every conscious decision to give that child the life they deserve.
Respect is a two-way street.
A good parent will never let their child disrespect you. Just as a good parent will never involve themselves with someone who disrespects their child.
This child deserves to see a healthy relationship between the two of you. They also deserve to see you treat their parent with respect. You are both modeling a healthy relationship to this child.
There’s an adjustment period.
Your life changes completely. You form your own little world when you’re single, one where you don’t have to take care of or report to anyone other than yourself. Before you met your partner, your nights were silent and peaceful. Now, they are loud and chaotic. Your afternoons are spent picking up Cheerios and tying shoes.
Just as your life changes drastically, and you need to navigate your way through it, so does this child. It will take time for them to understand what’s going on.
Why is daddy with you and not mommy? Or vice versa. You’ll talk to the child and help them understand…this part is never easy.
Let them know who you are to them. Reassure them that you are in love with their parent and you are there for them. It may take them years from now for them to appreciate you or warm up to you but as long as you’re good to them, you’re doing it right.
You need to be more serious.
You need to really make sure that you want to be with this person. Because technically, you aren’t just dating them, you are also dating their child too.