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But when deciding to date a woman with a child, you should be clear about your expectations for the relationship upfront with yourself and her.

In other words, if you’re still in the “dating just to date” phase of your life, involving a woman with a child is probably not the type of relationship you should engage in because your actions will more than likely impact the lives of two people — the woman and the child.

The kids are engaged, at least on some level, even when you don’t think they are.

And everyone has strong emotions and opinions about who is involved and what the outcome might be. Here are a number of dating “best practices” for single parents: 1.

In addition, children commonly feel some insecurity by mom or dad’s relationship with another person. ) and intervention as it prepares them for what might happen.

Wise singles recognize this important dynamic and don’t assume that becoming a couple necessarily means that they can become a family. Parents who begin dating quickly after the end of a relationship (whether by death or divorce) or who reach a quick decision to marry after a brief dating period often find their children more resistant to the marriage. Smart singles take a good long look in the mirror before dating. Smart single parents don’t let their children’s emotions dictate their dating progress, but they do listen and give serious consideration to how the children are feeling (becoming a couple is up to you; whether you become a family is up to them). Teens and adult children need to move toward your dating partner at their own pace.

Contrary to popular belief — and Lifetime movies — not every woman with a child is looking for a second parent if the biological parent is actively involved in the child’s life and doing a good, low-drama job of co-parenting.

But while the relationship with the father of the woman’s child should not dictate your relationship, their relationship –- whether good or bad –- will play a role in your lives.

It’s important to know what you are getting yourself into.

This is not a video game that you can turn off when you decide you do not like how the game is playing out.

That is a personal decision you should figure out long before you involve a woman and her child in your life.

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