a parent is difficult, and it can be even more challenging when the
surviving parent starts to date again. This is especially true for
adult children of senior parents, because their mother or father has
been defined for many years through his or her marriage. Just as your
parents may have disapproved of your teenage love interests, you may now
find yourself in this very situation as roles are reversed, and he or
she begins dating again. It’s important to put yourself in your
parent’s shoes. He or she deserves happiness and companionship. Yes,
it can be difficult to watch a parent change as he or she tries to
rediscover a new identity in life, but imagine how difficult it must be
for him or her to suddenly be alone after all the years of marriage.
can replace your deceased parent, and remember nobody is trying to. In
fact, this new partner my bring a welcome change and allow your family
to move past grief, while still being able to hold on to cherished
memories of your deceased parent. It may also be helpful to view this
new relationship as an opportunity to reduce your burden as a
caregiver. Your parent’s new love interest can provide companionship
and give you more time for yourself and your home life. Aim for
friendship with your parent’s new partner. You need time to get to know
each other. Remember that this new partner is coming into an
established family dynamic, and it can be equally uncomfortable and
overwhelming for him or her too. Focus on the positive aspects, welcome
changes, and always assume the best intentions.
with your newly dating parent is the first step to becoming comfortable
with this new chapter in your lives, but this can often be a difficult
conversation to start. In fact, research shows that nearly half of
adult children are “not very” or “not at all” comfortable speaking to
their mothers or fathers about their parents’ romantic lives.
some humorous yet insightful advice from Mary Maxwell in response to
Sandy who has asked if it’s appropriate for her mother, who was widowed
after fifty years of marriage, to start dating.
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