Michele O'Mara

My Girlfriend's Kid

Filed By Michele O'Mara | February 17, 2009 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: gay parents, partners with children

How much should I spend when dealing with my new girlfriend and her 6-year-old child? She is putting unrealistic demands on me. I never wanted children and don't really want to change my entire life around because now there is one around.

~ Kid-less

Dear Kid-less,

My short answer is this, if you don't like children RUN now before you get yourself in too deep. If you are considering a long-term relationship with this woman you better prepare yourself to share every day of the next 13 years (until the child is 18) with a developing young person who will require, and possibly demand, a whole lot of time, energy and resources.

Partnering with an already-parent is difficult. I have worked with many couples in your shoes. Some new partners in your shoes struggle with "Who am I to this child?" and "What are my rights and responsibilities when it comes to parenting?" Or "How am I supposed to deal with this weekly contact between my partner and her ex/co-parent?"

I encourage you to have very frank conversations with your girlfriend, letting her know your expectations around the parenting issues and stay grounded in what is real, not what you'd like to be real.

The fact that you don't want children is something I suggest you pay attention to. When you partner with someone who has children, it is a package deal.

It sounds like you are not comfortable with the reality of your situation. No matter how disinterested you are in parenting, when you choose to partner with someone who has a child, you are choosing to involve yourself with a child - even if the agreement is that you have no parental responsibility for him or her. Are you prepared to be in this child's life for the next 13 years?

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

Spectacular advice, Michele. As the non-parental partner who came into the relationship, it was a huge adjustment. Becoming a ready-made-parent is a huge responsibility and even when you like kids, it's a big shift in your life. If you don't like kids, it's time to take off.

Thanks, Michele, for pointing out that kids are part of the package. Even after kids are adults and leave the house, a parent doesn't stop being a parent. I can understand not wanting kids but the writer isn't being honest with herself or her partner by sticking around. She should leave now so her partner can find someone who does like kids to share her life with.