Dating After 50 with Unsupportive Children

Copyright © 2014 AARP All rights reserved.

Children vary in their response to an older parent dating. Some children, particularly adult children, are delighted that their parent is dating again. They want you to be happy. Others are nervous. They aren't sure you know what to do or will make wise choices.

Finally, there are the ones who are outraged. You're too old, they say — it's ridiculous. They actually intercede and threaten you, saying that you'll ruin their life if you start dating again. You have a few options about how to handle this:

  • Call a meeting and include the kids who are upset as well as any who aren't. Have an open discussion about any or all of their fears. Argue the case that, although you enjoy their company, it's not the same as having someone you care about romantically.

    If you don't have a child who's on your side of this issue, ask a supportive friend to be there with you. If this person has standing with your children, he or she may be able to influence them. The friend may also turn down the heat on — and add some light to — the conversation.

  • Talk to your upset family and react to their specific fears.

    • If they're worried about legal and estate complications, tell them you're not going to do anything with legal implications, but if you do, you'll involve them to make sure their rights are protected.

    • If they're worried about your safety, let them participate in guarding it. Tell them that if they're worried about the person you're dating, they can meet him and look into his background.

    • If they feel you're too old to be in love or to date, show them some data. Recommend they visit AARP Dating and see how many older people are looking for love.

Some children will bully or guilt-trip you on this. You need to resist. Remember, they wouldn't allow you to meddle this much in their lives! Draw some boundaries here; they're not allowed to insult you.

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