Question: Dear Luise: I feel like a “recycled teen-ager”, because I had the same problem when I was in high school that I’m having now as a grandmother. The only change is that it’s not my parents that are my ruthless critics, it’s my kids who don’t like anyone I date. I know it must sound funny, and as a concept it probably is, but in reality it’s a very hurtful and difficult thing. I’ve been a widow for three years. However, the fact that I am willing to meet someone new does not mean I have forgotten my wonderful life partner. Well, you can “tell it to the Marines”, Luise, because they just don’t/won’t hear me. What’s next? Do I even want to know? Sue J.
Answer: Dear Sue: There’s one huge difference in your circumstances. When your parents were second-guessing your dating habits and policies, you weren’t in charge. Please don’t forget the very important fact that you are now.
I’ve often wondered on what date and at exactly what time, our kids become our parents and we become their kids. I know the day will probably come for all of us when they will be making our decisions and writing our checks, (if we stick around long enough), but it often starts long before the needs arises.
Let your children know that you know it’s hard for them to see you as an eligible single. Ask for their understanding in seeing that it is very hard for you to see yourself in that light, too. Reaffirm that you are not looking for a replacement for their dad and that you know that there isn’t one out there.
It’s important that you offer them the opportunity to give you their input on any serious candidates. Then make it clear it’s not the same as getting to vote. There is only one vote…your yes, no or maybe. If you make a mistake, it’s your funeral.
They also need to know that this is non-negotiable. You aren’t going to fold no matter how much pressure they exert. Make it clear that your position isn’t a threat it’s a promise. You have the right to move on with your life in any way you see fit, with or without their approval. It’s is “OK Corral” time, lovingly, with water pistols. Blessings, Luise