I wrote this a couple years ago, and it continues to be one of my most-trafficked and commented-on posts. When it comes to relationships, I’m fond of saying, But there are a few couples in my life who I look to as models of the kind of marriage I’d like one day. They are the dynamic centriforce around which the family’s life orbits. There is lots of research to suggest that a happy marriage is the cornerstone of well-adjusted kids. D., writes in her relationship guide, The Book of Love: “No matter how sacrilegious it sounds, you need to put your relationship before your children. If you’re not in a committed relationship, it is very easy to make your kids the prominent one in your life.I stand by it 100% — as well as the followup I wrote here — and am bemused by the angry comments around my blog from people who think children should be the center of single moms’ lives. A strong relationship provides security for your children and demonstrates how a loving, respectful partnership should be. After all, they can be so demanding — not to mention fulfilling.Read between the lines on some of these screeds — they’re really saying mothers should deny their sexualities. Of course that is all hogwash, and you know know that, but I’m republishing this as an enthusiastic reminder to get out there, date, enjoy and stop feeling guilty you’re destroying your family in the process. It’s very common for guys with kids to write in their OKCupid profiles: “My kids come first,” or “My daughter is the center of my world! You want a potential mate to know that your life includes the giant presence of a kid or four. Plus, if you’ve gone through divorce or another crisis that landed you as a single parent, you are no doubt concerned about giving your kids extra care and sense of security. But it is even trickier if one or both of the parents put the kids before their partner.
And in these families, the parents put their relationship before the kids.
Another’s girlfriend eventually broke up with him after several years because he rarely made time to spend alone with her, instead expecting constant family time with his son.
Ultimately, failure to put their partner first was a sign these guys were not ready for a serious relationship, or at least not with those particular women, and that is totally normal.
But it’s not cool to pay lip service to intentions of growing a serious, long-term relationship and from the onset demote your lover to second-rank — even before you message her on
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Women are certainly guilty of putting their kids ahead of their partner — maybe even more so than men, especially since they are nearly always the primary care giver in the event of divorce.
But in this moment when men are struggling to claim their place as equal parents while society expects divorced dads to be the lackadaisical weekend father, I get why you are compelled to go overboard with your expressed devotion. If you are indeed ready for a real love, create a space for her.
Imagine a relationship that centers on the two of you, and all the stability and care your kids will take from that.