Dating After 50: Your Family’s Reactions
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Your children or other family members may not be ready for you to date now that you’re over 50, or maybe ever. What do you do if they’re capable of acting badly? Your first move should be to head off that behavior by talking to people before the introduction takes place.
Talk to your children and tell them what stage this relationship is in. If you’re just starting to date, let them know that. If you think this person is really special, let them know that too.
Tell them that you need them to be friendly and welcoming. If they can’t promise that, don’t introduce your date. Do tell your children that you want to include them in all parts of your life, but you’re not going to embarrass your date, and you don’t want your children to harm this relationship (or any relationship).
Remind them that you’ve accepted the people that they’ve chosen to be with in their life, and you’d like that respect to be reciprocated.
Reassure them that you understand their feelings (and don’t talk about them until you do) and you respect their emotions, but they have to do the same for you.
The second move is to keep introductions short. Your date’s curiosity and desire for inclusion will, at least in the beginning, be satisfied by an introduction. You don’t have to spend a day at the beach together or even have a big dinner party in the early stages of dating someone.
Let some time pass after the first introductions to let the reality of this new person being around become a fact of life for your family. Then gradually create visits of a longer length.
Your last move is a correctional one, if needed. Talk with any of your children, friends, or extended family who is acting badly. If such people can’t modify their behavior, stay away from them with your date until they can support you.
If it’s children, you need to keep talking to them, trying to get them to see this from your point of view.
If you’re close with your children, they may just be feeling territorial and not want to share you with someone else. Or they may feel it would be disloyal to their other parent to like anyone you’re dating.
But they may only be inhospitable to this person because they don’t think the person is right for you. If so, listen to what they have to say, and at least consider it. They may be seeing things you need to see too.