My friend (who is also a parent like me) was telling me how her widowed mom has a boyfriend. I too have experienced a parent dating and getting remarried after my mom lost her battle to cancer.
Sadly I am at an age where I have more and more friends that have lost a parent to illness. I have had this exact conversation more times than I wish. As with all my posts, I feel it is important to talk about this. To tell people you and your family are not unique to this situation even if it feels that way. You are not alone. Since I am nearly 15 years out from losing my mom I have had lots and lots of time to think and analyze my thoughts on this. My goal is to give some other perspective to your opinions.
So, back to the story......
My first reaction when my friend told me this was that is awesome because it is awesome in my opinion. This Grandma has lived through supporting her spouse during severe declining health until his body eventually gave way to the disease it was fighting (just like my dad did for my mom). After living through that, grieving through that, and I'm sure feeling beyond lost and helpless during that time Grandma found a way to dig her way out of the darkness and keep living life. I thought my friend was going to tell me what wonderful news this is. How she and her siblings are so happy for Grandma. How they are thrilled she has a partner to be spending time with. Someone to be looking out for her. Someone to be giving her attention and care. Someone that is making her happy and giving her something to look forward to each day.
To my complete surprise that was not where this story went. I feel this is actually more common than not. She told me how she and her siblings don't like this man. How they wish Grandma wouldn't date him. I'm sure that makes Grandma feel awful.
These are adult children. The same age as me and all three of them are parents like me. In my opinion unless they want to fill the shoes of the new man in her life by:
calling her all the time,
taking her to dinners,
caring for her,
taking her appointment, and
having her move in with them
then they shouldn't tell her who to date. Do you think any of them would want to take on that responsibility? I doubt it. Their hands are so full as is with all their small children. I get it and agree if the man is doing something illegal or putting their parent in harms way. But if that is not the case then maybe they should just keep their thoughts to themselves.
Let's think a little here. Everyone shut your eyes for one second and go back to your high school days or maybe your twenties. How did you feel if your parents told you that you shouldn't date someone? Did you appreciate their opinion? Or did you think to yourself "shut the f*ck up!" So why would it be ok the other way around. I think the answer to that is very obvious. I hope others out there read this and maybe just think about it a little before they say something to a parent about who they are dating.
If you have nothing nice to say....maybe you shouldn't say anything at all
I know what you are going to say. What if this person is trying to take time away from us with our parent. Well, I will save you the suspense. That will happen. Let me help give you different perspective on this. Let's say you go out to a family dinner every Friday night before when you were single or perhaps if you are reading this maybe you are currently single. But then you start dating someone new and you start going out to dinner with this new person and not your family on Friday nights. Your family would understand...right. They know one day you are most likely going to get married and start your own family. Same concept with your parent. Maybe not starting a new family in the same way as you but starting a new chapter in their life with someone new. People don't like change especially when it is being forced upon them instead of them getting to control it. Trust me, this new person in their life is going to fill your parents days in such a positive way and in the long run take a lot of pressure off of you. It is a good thing even if it means things will change.
I have my opinions because I have lived through this myself with my father. As I mentioned in the beginning he has remarried after my mom died. Never once in my life did it cross my mind that I should have any say on who he should or should not date. It is his life and I certainly did not want him spending the rest of it alone. Is it an insult to my mother? No I don't think so. Was it weird as hell the first time I met his girlfriend because he was with someone who was not my mom? Absolutely!! But it is NOT ABOUT ME. It is his life. It has been almost 15 years since we lost my mom to cancer. I could never imagine asking him to spend 15 years completely alone. That is just selfish and mean. Imagine how long of a time 15 years is.....from birth to your sophomore year of high school.
That being said, my advice to any other widowed folks out there living through this.....Our days on this earth are limited. So enjoy the people you have, enjoy the time you have here, and live your life even if others are trying to get in the way of it. Because at the end of the day only you live in your body and only you have to deal with how you feel! As for the adult children there.... maybe you don't like the guy or the lady your parent is dating. Heck you don't have to like them. Regardless be nice and be nice in front of your parents. They have been though enough and they shouldn't have to grow old alone!