Nobody is ever fully comfortable seeing their parent be with anyone other than, well, their other parent. Even though, when our parents are together, we understand what that means – that they are romantically and sexually involved – for some reason, it’s really only when our parents date other people that we are confronted with the reality that they are sexual beings. It’s something we conveniently and neatly ignore when our biological parents are together. They’re a part of something bigger than their romantic relationship – they’re a part of this family. That feels natural. That feels normal. So when our parents cease to be together for any number of reasons, from divorce to death, and they start delving into the dating world, it can be confusing at best and upsetting at worst. If your parents are no longer together because one passed away, then it can be particularly complex and painful when the parent who is still alive begins to date. In an ideal world, our parents would all live to be 100 years old and pass away in the same instant holding hands. But that’s not always how things go, and sometimes you have a widowed parent who still has many prime years left ahead of her – prime years to perhaps engage in another relationship. If that’s your parent, it can be hard to know how to behave. It can also be hard to control your behavior, because you feel so sensitive about the issue. Ultimately, you need to be true to yourself, but you probably don’t want to hurt your parent. Here are tips on how to deal when your widowed parent begins dating again.
Nothing’s serious until they say so
First, don’t panic unless there’s reason to panic. Just because your parent is going on a date doesn’t mean that that date with that person is going to go anywhere. Just like when you date, most dates go nowhere. Most lead to no second date. Many fizzle out after a few weeks. Only when your parent tells you she’s getting serious with somebody should you even begin to get up in arms about it.