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Navigating multiple new relationships can be overwhelming. Yes, not liking the fit between the person you are dating and your kids is a deal breaker, even if you love him or her as a partner. Getting smarter means learning all you can about how stepfamilies function, operate best, and why they have the unique complexities that they do.

Breaking the two families into parts can be helpful initially. Liking a parent’s dating partner sometimes creates a loyalty problem for kids: They don’t know how to embrace everyone and not hurt feelings (especially the other biological parent). You may know how to drive a car, but driving in snow and icy conditions requires a different knowledge and skill set.

If the other person has children as well, it might be wise to orchestrate early get-togethers with just one set of children. But you also need—and here’s where single parents fall short—a silhouette of the type of family you are hoping to create.

You might, for example, engage in an activity with your friend and their children one weekend and then have your friend join you and your kids the next. If the person you are dating isn’t good parent material (with your kids or theirs), for example, you ought to move on. Nearly 20 years of counseling, coaching, and training blended families has revealed to me this secret of successful blended family couples: They work harder at getting smarter about stepfamily living.

And everyone has strong emotions and opinions about who is involved and what the outcome might be. Here are a number of dating “best practices” for single parents: 1.

Realize that you’re not just forming a relationship; you’re creating a family.

Instead, we slowly meet the good ol’ Logan boys of West Virginia – Jimmy (Channing Tatum), a once-promising high-school footballer who wrecked his knee and has been walking with a limp and struggling to hold down a job ever since, and Clyde (Adam Driver), a slow-talking veteran of the Iraq War who these days runs a bar despite the loss of what appears to be an arm but he insists is only a hand. But it’s when Jimmy loses his job as a miner employed to shore up the old tunnels threatening to undermine the Charlotte Speedway track that an idea is born. ‘The last time you said that word for me I was sent down for six months.’But ‘cauliflower’ it is.