Dating someone with kids

Hi Meredith,

Long-time lurker, first-time writer. I'm a 31-year-old single guy and I've been dating an amazing woman for the past several months. She is beautiful, confident, independent, and happy. The only catch is that she already has two kids (who I haven't met yet).

Until now, I've never dated a woman with children. I really care for this woman a lot and feel as though we could have something serious, but the whole kids thing scares me a little. She is open to having more kids someday, which is something I hope to do, but I just don't know what it would be like to deal with someone else's. I don't plan to meet her kids until I'm confident that we are going to pursue something serious.

What is your perspective on dating/marrying a woman who already has children? It would be great to hear your readers' experiences as well. Everything I find online tells me to run as fast as possible.

– Kids, Brookline

Please don't run anywhere right now. As scary as all of this is, you continue to care about this woman. You're smitten and considering what it would be like to have a family with her. You need to see this through and keep an open mind.

My opinion is that it's time to meet the kids. The decision is hers, of course, but perhaps there's a way to meet them without it being a serious introduction. Maybe you can get to know them in a larger group. You certainly don't have to be introduced to them as a potential step-dad. I just want you to get a sense of what this woman is like when she's being a mom. Because ... how long can you date her without finding out about the rest of her life?

I'm happy that you're asking people to share their experiences, but please keep in mind that every couple/family/kid is different. It's clear that you're into this woman and that a step forward is inevitable. Maybe instead of asking people whether you should run, you should get advice about how to take that next step.

Readers? Should he run? What should happen next? Is he already serious about her? Will you share your experiences? Advice about dating someone who already has kids? Help.

– Meredith