For those who have divorced during midlife, getting out there and dating again can be difficult to do. One of the biggest challenges is in dealing with children or even adult children who are not very comfortable with Mom or Dad dating.
I remember when my parents divorced after 34 years of marriage. When they started dating…I found it very weird. And I felt uncomfortable watching them hold hands with someone else and kissing was really creepy. But I learned to accept it.
It made me realize that they were never going to get back together. It was really sad for me. But I also realized that my parents deserved happiness. So I decided to deal with it. And now several years later my father has remarried and I actually am pretty close to his new wife. My mother on the other hand isn’t really dating at the moment. And that is fine too.
So now I find myself is a similar situation here in midlife where I am beginning to date. And I am getting a bit of pushback from my son in particular. When I sit him down and talk with him, he says he understands and just wants me happy. But I can feel how he is uncomfortable. I think he feels like this other man in my life will take more of my time. Or maybe he is realizing that his father and I will never get back together.
Something that I have learned from talking with others who start dating after divorce is that the girls seem to have a harder time with Dad dating then sons, and boys seem to have a harder time with Mom dating.
I think the biggest reason kids have a hard time with their parents dating is that it clarifies for them that their parents never will get back together. And they may feel concerned about losing time with their parent.
Even though it isn’t true, children feel as though the person is taking your parent away.
Have a Heart to Heart
It is really important to let your kids know that you love them. And that you dating someone doesn’t affect that love. Let them know that they are important and you are there for them. Just because you are dating doesn’t mean they will lose you.
And Remind them that you are a person. Sometimes they forget that we are also people. It is important for kids to understand that you have needs just like any other person.
We like hanging out with our friends just like they do. And we also need companionship, love and sex. These are all natural human needs.
Once they realize that you are not only their Mom or Dad, but you are also a person with real human needs it will become much easier. Maybe not at first…but eventually they will realize that they want you happy and if dating makes you happy, they will lighten up.
If you are excited about dating in Midlife, you will may want to read Rewriting Your Happily Ever After: A Midlife Divorce Survival Guide for Modern Women.