My father passed away unexpectedly two years ago. After over forty years of marriage, my mom has been lost without him. She recently joined a single seniors group at her church. They play cards, go out for lunch, and organize trips to museums, zoos, and other local destinations.
While we were forced to stay at home during the COVID-19 crisis, her new friends stayed in touch virtually. They used online platforms and apps like Zoom and Houseparty to stay connected. It’s been such a blessing to see her happy again.
However, I wasn’t expecting her to start dating again as a result of joining this group. While I haven’t mentioned it to her, I’m really struggling with the idea. My husband tells me I need to get over it, but I’m not sure how.
Do you have any advice?
Nina in Grand Haven, MI
What to Do When a Senior Parent Starts Dating
First, please accept my sympathy on the sudden loss of your father. It’s never easy to lose someone you love, especially without warning.
While you might feel alone in being concerned about your mother’s return to dating, you aren’t. Many adult children share this concern. I do have a few suggestions that might help you find peace:
- Be honest with yourself: Take some time to think honestly about what you find most upsetting. Does it feel like you mother is betraying your father? Does her age worry you? Are you fearful of her being taken advantage of? By figuring out your concerns, you may be able to come to terms with this change in both your lives.
- Communicate with your mom: While no one wants to hear the intimate details about a parent’s dating life, it is important that your mom can share her new adventures with you. It might also give you an opportunity to overcome some of your worries. For example, if you are concerned about her safety, talking through a few precautions might make you feel better.
- Discuss safety concerns: Speaking of safety precautions, the dating world has changed a lot since the last time your mom dated. From making sure she meets new friends in public places to not loaning money, it’s essential to discuss potential risks. If your mom is utilizing dating websites, “How to Keep Aging Parents Safe on Senior Dating Sites” offers good advice.
Best of luck to you and your mother, Nina!
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