Yikes! Dad (or Mom) is Dating

You want what’s best for your parent especially if they are lonely after their spouse has passed away, but the mix of your own emotions that surface when a parent steps out on the dating circuit can be confusing. What if the new interloper plans to con your parent out of all his or her money? What if there is a criminal record nobody knows about? What if your parent falls so madly in love that he or she forgets you even exist?

The bottom line is that, most likely, you want your parent to be happy. However ,it’s key to address the mixed feelings you are dealing with before you communicate any concerns with your parent. Your need to adjust to the new family dynamic is critical. Therapists recommend journaling about your feelings or speaking to someone who can hear the conflicts you are experiencing. Once you grapple with processing your needs, it will be easy to have constructive conversations with your parent.

Renewed grief, fear of growing apart from your parent, and fear that he or she will get hurt emotionally are real. Worry about them getting hurt financially is well documented.

Read below for suggestions on ways to cope with all the issues. You do want what is best for your parent; therefore successfully managing the new territory is essential for everyone.