The Stepmother

Hi Dr. Darcy: My question is all about dating Lesbian women with children. I am currently casually dating someone who is about four (4) years older than me, 31. She has two children ages 9 and 12. I always pictured having my own family, starting fresh with someone who has never been married and no children. Propose, get married and work on building a family biologically…

However, I understand that life's situations are not always ideal.  I really like [this woman] and [I] can grow to love [her]. She has great qualities that can lead to a committed long-term relationship [or perhaps] marriage. Yet, I understand the importance of being in a child's life, taking on a parental role and the huge responsibilities, decisions, commitment one has to make when parenting, especially parenting children that are her children's age and not mine.

I am at the point in my life where I have a great career, stability and would like to settle down, but do not want to settle. How do you advise I evaluate the situation to figure out if I should pursue going further with her or if this is a deal breaker?

ANSWER

Dating someone who has children is not a universal deal breaker.  Having said that, your roll in these children’s lives will be far different than if you played a parental role in their lives from the beginning.   So if you’ve got the baby bug, I’m not sure this is the fix.

You have to ask yourself why you want children.  What are you looking for from the experience?  If you’re not invested in parenting / disciplining them, this could be ideal.  I have worked with countless parents over the years who would have been far better suited as step parents because they preferred being ‘friends’ with their children as opposed to doing the heavy lifting required in disciplining them.

You also have to ask yourself how important it is for you to be viewed (by the kids and by the world) as a co-parent. It’s possible that your girlfriend would never want you to play that role. Furthermore, even if she were open to it, given the age of her children, it’s unlikely that they’ll ever see you as an equal parent.  The bonding that goes occurs between the ages of 0-5 is virtually impossible for a stepparent to compete with.

In the final analysis, there is no easy answer to your question.  Dating someone who already has children is fine for parents who have no real interest in having children, but it’s more complicated for people like you.  If it were me, I’d opt for a simpler scenario.  I think marriage is tough enough without the complications of blending families.  But hey, The Brady Bunch did it, so I guess it's possible.

Writer's Stats: Female, lesbian.