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The Red Flags When Dating A Parent

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Our relationship expert Dr Pam Spurr (On Twitter & Instagram @drpamspurr) tells us the 5 signs to look out for when dating someone with children.


Dating someone with children from a previous relationship can be as rewarding as much as it can bring up red flags. It’s rewarding, if you forge a relationship and you also create a relationship with their children. You have more love in your life!

However, it’s challenging and painful when you’ve started to become attached and the understandable powerful pull of their children mean they leave you and go back to their ex to try again.

This has happened to friends of mine and date coaching clients. I’ve been there, when, as a young separated mother with young children, I started dating only to leave that person behind when I decided to give my ex a second chance. That failed miserably but that’s another story!

Here are five top tips on what should be a red flag when dating a parent:

*They’ve only recently separated. This is most definitely a red flag. Ninety percent of couples who go through a breakup have a second go at it. Personally, I’d avoid dating a parent who has only just broken up with their partner. 

*They’re always changing plans with you because their partner has changed access arrangements with their children. This is a red flag about their ex. Their ex may well be playing games with them, trying to get them back. Or trying to make their life a misery and that’s not a fun place to be when you’re dating.

*Their children are incredibly unhappy with the breakup. Who can blame children for being unhappy? It’s part and parcel of separation and breakup/divorce. However, if they put their children’s needs first they may feel it’s not the right time to be dating someone when their children are struggling.

*They tell you that they never wanted the breakup. Their honesty is admirable but you need to take that as pretty much fact that if their ex wants them back, they will go running.