You Get a Package Deal - Kids and Pets Included

When you date a single mom or a pet parent, expect some logistical challenges to building intimacy within your relationship. Those challenges are either calling "Mommy" frequently or meowing or barking when they need food or want to go outside. If you can't handle building a relationship with her children or pets, you might need to slowly back away and find a truly single girl.

Understanding Her Priorities
When your lady love has children, they come first. That's a given. You'll have to be willing to accept that to have a successful relationship with her. Expect the unexpected. Let's say you've got great seats to a concert and suddenly her son comes down with strep throat. If you insist on her going anyway, you'll lose in the long run. Let her make her own decision. Otherwise, she's going to feel guilty and resent your interference. Stay home with her and help her out if she wants. But if she doesn't, then find a friend and go on to the concert without her.

Planning Sleepovers
Likewise, you'll have to be patient and willing to compromise when she has pets. You can only hope that she's got a fenced in yard and a pet door so the critter can spend the night alone once in a while. If not, then you'll have to figure out if you're willing to make her pet welcome at your place for sleepovers. Pets, too, get sick once in a while and require dedicated attention. If she treats her pets like her children, you'll need to decide if you can handle her emotional commitment and respect it. If not, don't try to change her; look for a more compatible partner who's free to put you first.

Getting to Know Them
If you love her, you don't necessarily have to love her children or pets. But you'll have to do more than just tolerate them if you want to build a long-term relationship with her. Talk with her kids and help them get to know you. Try some low-key activities together that will encourage a bit of bonding. But don't push them to love you as much as she does too soon. Her kids will naturally have some resentment about this guy who takes up so much of their mom's attention and affection. Don't take it personally. Let things develop slowly.

Stuff happens when you're a parent. That's part of who she is. But you have to consider who you are as well. If those kinds of responsibilities definitely aren't in your plans, then you'll probably need to look for a single girl who comes with no strings attached.

Just remember though, all relationships get messy sometimes. Working through the challenges together can help you really get to know your partner's strengths and character. You'll appreciate having someone who cares enough to see you through your own tough times as well.

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