As a child, it is often difficult to get over the loss of a parent or accept separation caused by divorce. You are emotionally charged; there are feelings of sorrow mingled with guilt. And, during this time, when you see your dad dressing up for a date or your mom chatting up with a male colleague, you feel disgusted. There is only one question in your mind – How can he/she do this?
Your feelings and questions are completely justified. However, if you think logically, if you look at it from their perspective, there isn’t anything wrong in your parent seeking companionship again. It is likely that he or she feels lonely. A person who has lived his or her life alone is not disturbed by solitude, but one who has known companionship finds it hard to imagine life without a friend or spouse. Ask yourself would you like to spend the rest of your life alone?
Instead of critiquing their decision, you, as a daughter or son – their own and who understands them best – should support and help them get back into the dating pool and make their lives worth living. Not only this, if you find that loneliness is consuming your parent’s life, you can step forward and motivate them to get more social.
So, just how can you do this? We’ll hold your hand and show you how.
Breaking the News
If you look up the web, there are many middle-aged parents, widowed and divorced looking for advice on the best ways to tell their children about a new relationship. This is because the chances of rejection are higher than acceptance in real life situations.
When your parent breaks the news to you, accept it calmly. Because remember, this new companion is not only to take to dinner dates or family functions but to fulfill a deeper need, to share joys and sorrows while you and your siblings are busy with your lives.
One main reason why children often find it difficult to accept a new member in their life is because they think this member will automatically replace the lost parent. It is not so. Your mom or dad will continue to hold the same position in your life and such a positive mindset will help you accept your parent’s decision to date again easily. This is how you cross the first hurdle.
Avoid Being Over Protective
It is natural to be overprotective of a newly widowed parent. You don’t want their heart to be broken a second time or you don’t want someone dating them for ulterior motives. Many elders choose online dating after a divorce or loss of a spouse, which is becoming ever more popular as a way to find someone new. You can advise and help them by being part of the process and being there for them. Be open and be prepared to address and discuss issues in a healthier way.
Get Social Yourself
Do not compare your parent’s new interest to your other parent. Do not assume in advance that you will not gel well with this new member. Speak to them like you would to any other adult you come across. Your parent will feel happy seeing you interact with their new companion.
Take the Initiative
Each one of us handles grief differently. You may have worked through your emotions, but your parent might still be struggling to come to terms with a loss or separation. After your mom or dad has settled down, you can approach them and ask if they would like to date again. If they agree, you can help them develop social relations. If they are not favor if it, don’t force your opinion on them.
So, give your mom or dad a chance. Support them for their want of love in their life. After all, you cannot cling on to the past; you have to move forward. And, you, with your love, support and care can make this transition an easier one for them.