There was a time in the not so long ago past, where being a gay parent was something of a novelty. Usually it was a result of a late coming-out, a remnant of a past straight marriage. These days, more and more single gay men happen to have kids, and it’s a bit of a culture shock for those of us who haven’t been in the dating pool lately. The culture has changed (for the better), and as a result there are more gay dads than ever.
While it might be a bit overwhelming to be dating a gay dad, it can also be especially rewarding, so don’t dismiss an otherwise promising prospect out of hand. There are some things you should know going in though.
The children should come first.
While it’s all fine and good to expect to come first in your partner’s life when they are childless, once one becomes a parent it is right and correct to put the kids first. You need to understand and accept this. It might mean dates broken because of a babysitter cancellation or illness, and it will almost certainly mean less time and energy for things outside of their family life. While love is not a zero sum game, it’s unreasonable to expect that your wishes will come before a parent’s responsibilities.
Respect your partner’s boundaries.
Most single parents, both gay and straight, will wait until they are ready to introduce you to the kids. Don’t push. Some gay dads might not be out to their children, while others might not want their kids to get the impression that there’s a revolving door of men coming in and out of their lives. Gay dads might be uncomfortable with displays of affection in front of the kids. Try to be understanding, within reason.
More likely than not, there’s going to be an ex.
Excluding those who are widowed, there’s going to be an ex. And as there are offspring involved, the ex is likely going to be a part of your lives. While sometimes this isn’t a bad thing, it certainly can make things a bit more complicated. You need to have patience with their ex and understand that regardless of how annoying, bitchy, and/or uncomfortable that person might be, they are bound to your partner through their joint parentage.
Try not to be an evil stepmother.
Straight or gay, stepping into the role of a step-parent isn’t easy. It can be difficult to assert authority. If you overstep, it’s very hard to recover with the little ones. Better you should try to bond with them instead, from talking Star Wars to baking cakes, being fun and engaging and interacting with them at their own level will score you points with the kids as well as with dad.
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