Divorced parents dating with children
“One calls him a leech, just because he doesn’t have as much money as I do.The other says he’s boring and that she’d rather be with interesting people.” Lieberman says: “Anne needs to realize that this is probably an expression of her children’s fear or jealousy.” Her advice: Acknowledge their feelings and try to talk it out, or, if they’re not willing or mature enough, to learn to live with it and minimize stressful family get-togethers until they are.6 Tips to Ease the Transition With a New Partner Life with kids is never easy, even when they’ve grown up and moved out.And, given that boomer divorce rates are on the rise, increasing numbers of parents are likely to experience disapproval from their adult kids when Cupid’s arrows land.“Children of all ages feel betrayed and abandoned when their parents divorce because their cozy nest is disrupted,” Lieberman says.“This even upsets kids who are already out of the nest.The message their parents are sending is that it is more important for them to have a life of their choosing than to remain in their prior, primary role of mom or dad.” The result: strained relations, uncomfortable moments for everyone and, for you, the feeling that your children may not have your best interests at heart.And when you can’t reestablish harmony in the family, short-term counseling could be beneficial for everyone.
For instance, a young woman may be especially sensitive when her father forms a serious new relationship.
They tend to think no one is good enough for mom or dad, no one's motives are pure, and every new person you bring around is either a gold digger, a spendthrift or someone who will tear you away.
Things get even touchier when you put sex into the equation: It's hard enough for kids to think about their parents in bed together, much less you and someone else.
“She may feel her dad prefers the ‘other’ woman to both her mom and herself,” Lieberman says. Itamar Salamon, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
“Children, even when they’re grown, get attached to being important in their single parents’ lives, and they resent it when someone gets between them and the parent.” (MORE: How to Tell Your Adult Children You’re Divorcing) On top of the emotional reaction, Salamon says, adult children may also have anxiety about their parent’s ability to help out financially, as well as their own anticipated inheritance, which creates resistance to the prospect of their parents partnering up.
But when the relationship “took” and Barbara announced that she and Gerald were getting married after three years of dating, the kids went bonkers.