Many of the parents of my friends have hit the senior dating circuit of late, either do to death or divorce. In most instances, this means the children are grown and flown, and are not really a part of their parents everyday lives. You would think that this makes relationships easier- let’s face it- your adult children shouldn’t have anything to say about your new relationship- should they?

Yet

When I think to my friends and acquaintances, none of them are taking too keenly to their parents new “friends”. In fact, I’d say they are quite vocal about their displeasure.

One of my friends had parents who divorced after about forty years of marriage. The father began dating within a few months. (you know what they say- after 65 if you can drive at night and have your own teeth and are male, you’re a catch) The mother did not find a partner that quickly. The kids were totally annoyed with their father and refused to meet the new girlfriend. To be clear, this wasn’t someone he’d had a affair with- he met her after he’d moved out of the house. The kids didn’t like her because they chose to “side” with their mother, because they didn’t want to see her hurt. It didn’t help that the mother would call them up hysterical and tell them to never speak to their father again….

Many of the people I know have a problem with their parents mates for the most basic reason of all: money. This is especially true in the case of the widowed. They’re worried that their parents are going to leave the estate to their new partner, or spend it before it can be even left. Some kids have factored in their parents wealth into their own long term plans. If new partner A spends a hundred thousand redecorating the parents house, how much is left for me? While you can make a case that the child is trying to protect the parent from a gold digger, is it always the case? Should you be counting your parents chickens before they hatch?

I know of one scenario where the man must leave his house when his girlfriend”s son comes over. The son does not approve of the boyfriend and refuses to be in the same room as him, and this extends to more than just Sunday lunches: the man does not spend any holidays with his girlfriend because of the dynamic between son and boyfriend.

Of course, some kids simply do not wish to see their parent “replaced”. I understand this- your father had a certain chair at the table- you don’t want to see anyone else occupy it. Your mother made the apple pie at Thanksgiving- you don’t like the idea of someone else having that responsibility. But it is fair to your surviving parent?

We all grew up worrying about what our parents would think of our mates/partners/spouses. Sometimes we listened to their gut feelings that something just wasn’t right. But  the tables have turned. Do we, as  grown children, have the right to interfere with our adult parents and their choice of new mate? Does our opinion matter?

55 thoughts on “Stay Away from My Mommy

  1. Thorny subject! I fall into the leave well enough alone category. Adult children who do not care for their mother or father’s intended should be quiet, treat the person with respect, and not get involved in their personal lives, even though I know this is massively difficult and painful to do.

    As for worrying about where their parent’s money might go, shame! Get a job and get your own money!

    Your comment on teeth/driving at night being desirable male attributes made me laugh. Here is a joke on the subject:

    An older woman was sitting on a park bench. She was joined by a man, also of a certain age. They chatted briefly.

    The woman said, “You’re not from around here, are you? I haven’t seen you before.”

    Man: “No. I just moved here.”

    Woman: “Where from.”

    Man, after a beat of silence: “Well, I was in prison.”

    Woman, shocked. “Oh. What did you do?”

    Man: “Well, I killed my wife.”

    Woman: “You’re single!”

    Liked by 8 people

      1. It’s totally case by case. But it would need to be something is really off about the new mate for someone to interfere. I think it’s more likely the new person is fine

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  2. Oh you may have opened a can of worms here! LOL!
    I have seen it both ways, where the adult children really take to the other spouse and where there are problems. Its really sad when there are problems for it divides the family. I think the only time children should really interfere is if they feel that their parent is definitely being taken advantage of, or putting themselves in harm’s way. To just not like the person your parent chose, well…sadly you aren’t the one living with them, so that isn’t your decision and that is where love and respect for your parents come in!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I completely agree. Unless I thought someone was just trying to take advantage, I would never stand in the way of my parents relationships. But I see adult children behaving horribly towards parents new mates

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good question, but no real answer here. Telling a parent what to do… never worked well for me… but I suppose it depends on the relationship you have with your elders. Are you adult friends or is the parent/child dynamic still in place?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree, but yet….I know one case….the mom has a place in nyc and a place in Florida. She allows her nyc are kids to use the apartment when she is in Florida. They want her to break up with her boyfriend cause he has a dog and they don’t like dog hair in the apartment when they stay there…….

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Re: the scenario I shared yesterday. In retrospect, part of me wishes I had talked Dad out of remarrying at that time. I know he’s been in it now a long time, but it came at a heavy price, as far as relationships and just what he has to do to keep the peace at home. I certainly have no expectations of an inheritance, nor do I need or want one. I just wish I could have had something like the close relationship I had with him when I was growing up.

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    1. See, yours is a different scenario because the new wife is an envious horrible selfish person who wanted to separate your father from you. I get why you’re hurt. I would be too. His wife robbed you of a relationship. Shame on her

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I wanted my mother to leave my father WAY back in the eighties and I would have been plenty fine with anyone she chose, unless he was a total schmuck. But really, wouldn’t have been my business. Never happened thought, not then. They finally divorced a few years ago and she is at an age where she is no longer interested in looking.

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  6. I’ve wondered what my adult children would think/do if their father or myself started dating someone or moved into a second marriage. I would hope they would be accepting, but personally I have no interest and no intent to head in that direction. I like my life now and would not be keen on pursuing any sort of romantic relationship again.

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  7. I think it’s a two-way street. The new friend/spouse needs to acknowledge the long-standing relationship of the parent and child. They need to encourage and support the existing relationship in order to become part of the family. I’ve seen more than one new wife systematically keep their new husband away from his children and old friends. I’m not sure if it’s that she’s too insecure to live in the shadow or doing something nefarious, but either way, it’s sad.

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  8. Each situation is different and there are SO many factors. Some elderly parents may be meeting new potential partners, but they might no longer be totally capable of making all their own decisions, especially in matters that affect finances. Any family members (young and old) who care about each other should probably be able to express their opinions (hopefully in a positive manner); it’s up to the receivers of those opinions what they do with them.

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    1. Each scenario is different. We just have to think about our individual motivation when giving someone a strong opinion about something. You need to be aware of consequences, and that the relationship may be severed

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I will never, ever understand why anyone, no matter age or relationship, cannot just be happy when someone they care about is happy (in healthy, non-harmful ways). I just will not ever get it. Sometimes it is hard if you don’t like the scenario for whatever personal reason (I REALLY get this), but as long as the person you care about is being safe and healthy and not harming others, why would you make it harder for them to just be? Life is too damn short to be so hard on other people’s choices and happiness.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I completely agree. I think that the vast majority of the time, you should jus5 let it go, and let them be happy. But as I’ve been commenting with people I realize that there are bad cases…there was a tv show “dirty John” based on a true situation where the daughter thought something was off about he4 moms boyfriend and she was right. So it’s trying to figure out if the dislike is truly bad, ot something that be ignored/managed

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In most cases, if you already have honest and open communication with your loved ones and not petty opinions and judgements, then when you have legitimate concerns, your loved ones are more likely to have a conversation where they can listen and actually hear your concerns. The flip side of that is that you can not always protect people from themselves and their bad decisions, but if you leave a door open for them, they will be able to come to you if they do find themselves in need of help. You constantly harp and complain or be inflexibly difficult, they won’t feel they can do that if they really are in need. This is an impossibly thin line to attempt to walk. We had to do it with OC, so I know how impossible it is to find that balance.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Monetary inheritance, Wills, ‘hand-me-downs’ of property also expensive material ‘goodies’ are the reason older children won’t accept parental change………….. hell if my widowed mother decided to marry again I’d guess I’d have something to say!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh this is a really interesting question, cos I can see a lot of factors being involved. In general, you should just be happy for the parent. That said, I can see how having a new person would be an emotional strain in a situation where one of the parents has been widowed. Personally, one thing no one has mentioned is sometimes you can be protective of your parents- so if my mum started dating again, I’d definitely give whoever she dated the third degree (and ask all the questions like “what time will you be back young lady?” 😉 ) As for the question of inheritance, well I guess it’s lucky I don’t come from money 😂 I really think this isn’t something you can factor into your life regardless- because you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. And to be honest, parents have the right to spend their money! Let them enjoy themselves!

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  12. This is a hard one, for me I would say explain to the children even though they are grown you are still their parents, just like no matter how old your children are they are still you little ones. As far as letting them say whether or not the parent should be seeing another person, I think a simple ‘you live your life and I will live mine’ approach is the best option.
    When my mom died my dad lived alone for a few years then started a friendship with another woman, until my sister started and dad stop seeing the woman. I made my sister cry by calling her a selfish cow. Don’t regret, she was

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  13. After my MIL passed away, my FIL moved on with a woman that was especially well known by my husband’s older siblings. They weren’t fans.

    Although it was never said it was clear there were new rules for how my FIL was to conduct himself. He didn’t seem to be allowed to see his kids or grandkids without her present My son was the youngest of the grandkid. Instead of being engaged with him like he had in the past, he seemed like he was as on a leash.

    She seemed like she wanted to take over a role that was not hers. One of FILs grandsons died tragically. She kept identifying herself as the kids
    grandmother….which she was not and no one ever saw her that way.

    Re: inheritance: My FIL was in his seventies when he remarried. I am certain that a lot of money was transferred to her before FIL died. Especially odd that she was the executor.

    My mom is difficult in her own way. She never moved on after my dad died. Now that I am assisting her, I am imagining things are easier without me having to butt heads with someone who I am not related to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Relationships are so complex. I’ve heard many stories about new partners controlling the situation, determining what can and can’t be done. It’s sad when some people are so insecure they need to pull people apart….it’s me or them…..

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I was happy for my father when after my mom passed away, he found a new friend after a year or longer. I had her over for lunch. She as beautiful inside and out and blind. I was surprised at my dad’s choice but I think he liked taking care of her. Older men seem to remain a commodity as there are fewer of them. I don’t care for younger women making advances to the older men…who knows the intent.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This post has so many layers. I hate when the mom tells their adult children not to have a relationship with their father. Its controlling. Its immature. Its ridiculous. Of course there are extenuating circumstances. For example if he is a.murderer or an abuser. My dad passed away five years ago and my mom has never talked about dating. I dont know how i would feel about that..

    Liked by 1 person

  16. My dad remarried several years after my mom passed and I firmly believe she is the reason he is as active and healthy as he is today. I think he would have withered away years ago had it not been for new love and companionship. I live a very long way away from him and it reassures me knowing someone is looking after him. I’m grateful that in our family’s situation things worked out.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. A good friend struggled with her adult (married) daughters expressing their distress when she spoke of re-marrying and her (now) husband moving in with her. It was not the home she’d shared with their father (he’d kept that) yet they seemed most put out. She’d always been there for them, cancelling many a social engagement for them at the drop of a hat. A a lovely (and determined) lady, I’m happy she did manage to successfully navigate the situation, but I’d have been heartbroken to be on the receiving end of their response.

    In terms of my dating, other than (the understandble) preference not to have to think of her mother having sex, my daughter was fine. Never pressured me to meet anyone, happy to meet someone if I felt the time was right. Mutual respect is an important part of the parent/child relationship.

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