When you are a Widow or Widower and your Children Disapprove of your Dating Again

The loss of a parent brings about emptiness for children which never seems to go away, whether they are still young or are adults already. Add to this the situation when the surviving parent wants to date again and you have fireworks in the offing. If you are a widow or widower, you may have faced this scenario more than once. Here is what you can do when your children disapprove of your dating again.

Reassure them

The parent that the child has loved from birth can never be replaced by another person. Explain to your kid that you understand this perfectly and are not trying to bring a substitute for Mum or Dad who is no more. The older the children are, the larger their store of memories with the departed parent and thus the more difficult to convince them that your dating others does not mean that you are looking for a replacement of their departed parent. Reassure your kids that at this stage you are simply looking for enjoyable companionship and they will be the first to know if you meet someone special.

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Address concerns crucial at their stage

The most effective way to deal with kids who disapprove of your dating again is to address specific concerns which in turn will depend upon their age. Young children for instance are more afraid of abandonment than anything else. The loss of a parent has already created a great hollow in the lives because of which they still feel alone and scared even. When they see you leaving them for few hours and that too with another adult of the opposite sex, thoughts of being abandoned are sure to figure uppermost in their minds. At these times, it is up to you to reassure them that as your children, they will always remain your number one priority. By affirming your own personal commitment to your kids, you will go a long way in assuaging their insecurity and fears of abandonment and create groundwork for a healthy give and take.

Grown up children can feel just as threatened by their parents’ new relationships as their younger counterparts. It is not unusual to find adult children wary of dad’s new girlfriend or mum’s new date which might lessen their parents’ total involvement in their own lives. They might have got so used to weekly shopping sprees with Mum or going fishing and golfing with Dad that they fear the prospect of someone else supplanting them in their parents’ affections. In such cases, the only thing for you to do is to reassure them that there is no splitting of affections on your part but merely a widening of circle in which there are more people to love and receive love from.

Emphasize your need for companionship

Dating after the loss of a spouse is not always about getting to have sex again. It is more about looking for companionship, for someone interesting with who you can have a pleasant time. If your children are young, tell them that just like they have a couple of ‘best friends’, Mum or Dad too like being with someone nice and special from time to time. this kind of disapproval from adult children usually takes the form of embarrassment and fears about what people will think of their sixty-something year old parent wanting to date again. Once again tell them that every human being craves for companionship and human attachment, no matter what age they are. And just like their adult children cannot be expected to leave their families and careers to be with elderly parents all the time, the latter too are completely within their rights to look for companionship where they like.

Address inheritance issues

Very often, disapproval by grown up children of their parent’s dating again stems from a far from mundane source and that is the fear of getting a smaller slice of the inheritance pie. This is particularly relevant when the parent has a large business or estate or substantial funds to leave to his children after death. In such cases, the adult children may be wary of their mum or dad dating others for fear of the possibility of a stronger attachment which may result in marriage and consequently in a pruning away of their share in the parent’s inheritance. If this is the reason behind your children’s disapproval of your dating, let them know that you will do the right thing by them like you always have and that they will get all that they deserve. If a lot of money is involved, consider opting for a pre-nuptial agreement with your new spouse.

Keep an open mind

Sometimes the first hints of a bad relationship are the wary responses of family and friends when you introduce them to the new person in your life. So even though you completely deserve to have a full-fledged social life and a satisfying love life, keep an eye out for those who might be trying to take advantage of your resources. If a child whose judgment you have always trusted and has nothing to gain from the loss of your relationship, shows some signs of discomfort with your partner, don’t brush it off at once. Rather keep an open mind and take into consideration all the differing perspectives before you arrive at any important decision.

It’s your life

Finally make it clear to your kids that while you like sharing the significant happenings of your life with them, you are not asking for their permission or even approval for dating again. For all this time you have done your duty by your family and now it is your turn to have a fulfilling personal life. Most of all, you have always given your kids their space and the freedom to take their own decision and so the least than can be expected from them now is to let you take yours.