One of the first things I worried about after I separated was finding a new partner, one who would love my kids as much as I did. I felt like I was at a huge disadvantage. It seemed like no matter whom I met, each of us would have our own kids, schedules and parenting styles, not to mention personal baggage.
But I’m starting to see things differently. Jennifer Garner said something recently that made me wonder if I’ve been approaching this backwards. When speaking of her relationship with her soon-to-be ex-husband, Ben Affleck, she told Yahoo! Parenting:
“You just go on a ride together because you don’t know who you’re going to be when you first have a baby and you don’t know who [your partner] is going to be. You have to just hang in there while you figure it out—and have a lot of patience for each other.”
I am lucky to have met someone really special. He has a daughter and I have two boys and now that we are hanging out together, I’m realizing that dating with kids means there is one less element of surprise in our relationship.
I already know that he will gently brush his daughter’s hair at night, cuddle in her Frozen bed and make up stories that are both captivating and meaningful.I already know he will play tag in the park with my kids in his dress shoes and hit baseballs to them in the rain. He will stand over my bbq and risk burning off all his arm hair to make ribs for my son on his birthday. I know he is patient and kind and selfless.
I’m hoping we won’t have to “just hang in there” while we figure out who we are. We already know.