Getting your children through their schools years and able to stand on their own as adults is not the end of their persistent tug on your life and lifestyle. As a senior who finds himself single and alone, you’re likely to discover that your adult children will try to reverse the roles, deciding that they know what’s best for you.
Although this can be helpful in some areas, like managing finances and helping with home repairs, it can be a tough situation to deal with when you begin dating a new woman who brings a little joy, comfort and love into your golden years.
In order to avoid possible problems and conflicts, it’s best to consider a few things that might make your dating experiences smoother and happier for all.
Understand their point of view.
Your kids may be grown with families of their own, but when it comes to you, the little child inside of them will always be close at hand. You have to begin by understanding that they have never seen you as a flesh-and-blood human being with a real need for romance and sex.
They may be resentful of any woman they see as taking their mother’s place in your life. And they don’t want you to get hurt or make a foolish mistake.
You can preempt some of their knee-jerk objections with a little communication and planning. Next time you’re on the phone with your son or daughter, you might send up a trial balloon.
They will ask if you’re OK and have enough company because they don’t want you to be lonely. Assure them that you’re fine, but ask what they would think if you started dating. Or tell them you were thinking about asking the widow Jones out to dinner, and see what their response is.
They may be delighted, or you may sense a bit of apprehension. Assure them that no one will ever take their mother’s place in your heart, and never tell them the ways in which your new woman outshines their mother. Most of their objections can really be traced back to the fact that any new date you have is not their mother.
You can try to explain that now that your kids have been raised, your needs for companionship are not the same as they were before. You just need someone nice to be with and share your time with. And, of course, you will not be spending all of your money on her or investing in any phony scams that are prevalent only in primetime TV news magazines.
“The kids fill your life in other ways, but you
owe it to yourself to find true happiness again.”
Do your homework.
If you are using online dating sites, make sure you use a reputable site your kids are familiar with. Do some searches on Google to screen your potential dates. And make your first meetings in a public place, as women can be used to lure unsuspecting men into a bad situation, especially if you have more than a few nickels to rub together.
Present your plans and maybe even some profiles and background checks of the women to your kids if they are concerned, but pick your own dates. If you give them the sense that you are going into this wisely and with your eyes wide open, that will give them a sense of assurance.
You may already know some eligible women, such as widows of your friends or acquaintances or other single or divorced ladies from your neighborhood or church. They all need companionship too, and they may seem like a safer choice to your skeptical children.
Meet the children.
When you start having real feelings for a woman, you will want to share her with the rest of your family, and the experience will not be unlike bringing a girl home to meet your parents all those years ago. Your kids will be curious and will notice all the ways in which she falls short of their mother, which is only natural.
It is your job to show them all of the ways in which she brings a new and different kind of joy, stability and companionship that will be a positive thing for everybody. Show them you have fun together and share a healthy respect for each other.
Try to avoid showing her more attention and affection that you generally showed their mother around the house, and don’t appear to be under her spell. Hold her hand and let them see the glow she brings out in you, but allow them to warm up to her slowly.
Starting over after a full life is never easy, and your kids might not make it any easier. But it is your life, and you deserve the fulfillment that you can only get from the love and companionship of a good woman.
The kids fill your life in other ways, but you owe it to yourself to find true happiness again. Just be considerate of your children, and do what you can to ease their minds and include them in the next stage of your adventure in life.