Friday, November 16, 2012

Relationship Red Flags #1: Kids

Here we go, faithful readers... the first in our series about relationship red flags.  Let me re-iterate that these come from my personal experiences and aren't meant as an attack on my exes or to make judgement about people's choices.  Instead, they are things I wish I'd paid closer attention to in my previous relationships so I would have known when to get out.
For exes that might read this and know the situations pertains to our past, please forgive me and know that I'm not posting specifics that would "out" you to anyone unless they know that this is you... and that would come from your own telling, not mine. I bear no ill will towards these guys... they had their reasons and I can respect that.  However, I should have removed myself from the relationship when this red flag flew.

Okay... with the little disclaimer out of the way, here we go on this week's entry into red flags.

I love kids, I'm a teacher for crying out loud.  I've spent the last 15 years of my life dedicated to teaching and loving children so that they can make positive changes in the world.  I've done 7 years of education that centres around kids and anyone who knows me can't deny how passionate I am about kids and how much I love them.  With that said, I'm not much of a baby person and am not entirely sold on birthing my own children, ever.  But dating guys with kids is not an issue for me.  I have no problem being in that situation because I do love kids and I want to have them in my life in some capacity or other.  So with that said, when I start seeing a guy and he let's me know he has kids, I do my best to put his mind at ease and embrace the fact (truth is, it's the best situation for me... kids without giving birth!!).
However, there have been 3 specific dating incidents where kids were either not mentioned at all or I was not mentioned at all to the kids. Let's explore that:

1. I was just beginning a bizarre kind of long distance thing with one man and he failed to mention that he had children.  Things in the "reationship" fell apart for other reasons but we were able to maintain a friendship out of it all.  Flash forward to the present when (and this is several years later) I find out for the first time that he has children.  Imagine my surprise... it wasn't part of our this-is-everything-about-me conversations.  Being who I am, I questioned him and he said that he was scared to mention it because he thought it would drive a potential girlfriend away.  Fair enough, but what really drives us away is lies.  Men/Women... if you have kids, be PROUD!  Own up, tell the prospective daters... it doesn't mean they have to meet them tomorrow or be part of their lives while you figure out where things are, but it just let's that other person know that you have priorities that are more than a job etc.  So it's a red flag when a guy doesn't tell you he has kids at all.

2. The second situation was much simpler.  The man was honest and up front even before our first date that he had children and he talked about them all the time.  Perhaps the fact that after date one we never really had traditional dates etc is why he felt that besides filling me with tales of his glorious off-spring and seeking advice even, he never had the need to introduce me.  Granted things were still in a semi-causal state and I can't be too upset but I felt like it was a red flag because they were part of our every conversation but I know I wasn't part of his with them in any way.

3. This situation was much more complicated.  In this situation, I knew very early on that there were children in his life and I respected that.  I respected that I wouldn't meet them right away because we had talked about it and how he felt the need to protect them from growing attached to someone who may or may not be in his life for the long term.  I thought at the time how wise it was of him to think of his kids that way... but when the relationship became very serious, I expected to be gradually introduced and was not.  He even left the room when his kids called so I couldn't hear the conversations and so they wouldn't hear me at his house.  I had patience, gave way to his wishes because I was in love and had a hope for the future... I had verbal confirmation that this relationship was going to be for longer than a minute and not much less than forever.  So when I found out that after a long term his kids still knew nothing about me, or that they had been told that we were just friends, all my alarm bells went off.  Did I pay attention?  Nope.  But it was a huge red flag that a hugely important part of my partners life was off-limits to me.  I should have heeded the alarms and high-tailed it out of there but I didn't.  So if your partner keeps an important part of their life secret from you or you a secret to that part of their life, HUGE RED FLAG.... RUN!  I know he had his reasons and I'm sure he had doubts he wasn't willing to fully pay attention to at the time but it still wasn't right.

All in all, if the person you date denies their children or, after your relationship takes a serious turn, denies you to their children... GET OUT OF THERE!  If there is no honesty with something as important as the lives of precious little (or even teen/big) people, there certainly are other, "lesser" areas that they are also being dishonest about and there goes the trust.  If you don't have trust and honesty, what do you really have?


  1. Wow Angela...this is so good! You are so wise, seriously. You have learned so much...have you thought about writing some kind of advice book for single women?

    1. Yes... it's been a thought and I've even written chapter headings etc but I'm a project starter, not always a finisher... how about we collaborate?

  2. I like this article...I feel like people ignore the red flags too often! Helps to explain the divorce rate!