Telling your adult child to “grow up” or asking, “Don’t you want me to be happy?” only increases the odds that the parent-child relationship will suffer.Divorced or widowed parents might feel excitement or hope when they return to the dating world after decades away.But their adult children might feel anxiety about the parent’s safety and financial security (and their own inheritance)…renewed grief over the loss of the family unit…or discomfort at seeing the parent behave in a nonparental way.Here’s what parent and child should do—and not do—to protect their relationship during these emotionally difficult times…
Your partner should be pleasant and polite but should let your adult children take the lead in these relationships.
If you find someone who you think could become a long-term partner, ask your kids if they want to meet this person rather than trying to force a first meeting.
Offer the option of waiting to see whether the relationship lasts a while longer before agreeing to meet.
Reminisce with your adult children about the old days when your original family was intact.
This subtly reinforces the sense that your search for a new relationship does not invalidate the family unit of their youth. It is surprisingly common for parents to share details about their revitalized sex lives with their adult children when they return to the dating scene.
Continue to find as much time as possible for your adult children and your grandchildren—ideally without a date by your side.