By Kelly Seal

Considering dating someone with kids?

Celebrities without children are daring to date single parents these days, at least according to the tabloids.   Rocker Matt Bellamy recently started dating single mom Kate Hudson.   Brad Pitt became an adoptive father to Angelina Jolie’s oldest son shortly after their relationship took off.  And let’s not forget Jake Gyllenhaal’s romance with Reese Witherspoon, single mother of two.

I have to admit, I never thought I’d be dating a man with children, let alone marry him.  I don’t have any myself, and had never dated any single dads previously.  It’s one thing to figure out the twists and turns of being in a relationship, and quite another when you add children to the mix.   And yet I decided to pursue this path, not only because I fell in love with my husband, but because I saw him as a compassionate, caring, and loving father with his kids.

Whether this is a new trend in Hollywood or not, dating a single mom or dad comes with its own unique challenges.   If you find yourself in this situation and are looking to navigate your way through, here are some considerations that may help guide you in the right direction.

1. Are you looking for a long-term relationship? Perhaps you’ve fallen for a single mom or dad, but you aren’t really sure if it’s just a fling or something more substantial.   Until you decide that you are in it for the long-term, don’t meet the children.  They do not need more instability added to their lives, and it’s more confusing when girlfriends or boyfriends come and go.  Take your time so you really know what you want.

2. Be flexible. Single parents are going it alone, so remember if a child gets sick or has a change in schedule, the parent has to take care of things.   If you planned a nice evening out or a trip with your beloved and it gets canceled due to the kids, recognize that sometimes you have to go with the flow.

3. Do you want to form a relationship with the kids, too? When you date someone with kids, you’re also entering a relationship with his/her children.  If you are uncomfortable with the idea of taking the kids places or getting to know them, you may want to reconsider.

Kelly is a writer and former speed dating host.  She writes regularly for Womens Online Magazine, Examiner.com, and DatingSitesReviews.com, and blogs about dating and relationships at www.kellyseal.com.