Helping your parent back onto the dating
scene can be an emotionally confusing experience. Even though you want your mum
or dad to be happy and find the right person, that doesn’t mean there won’t be
hitches along the way.
This is perfectly natural, as there can be all kinds of unforeseen emotional challenges for both of you if a new relationship develops. As their child, you are bound to feel protective about your parent, and it can be harder than expected to step back. You’ll be worried about their safety and emotional hurt, particularly if your parent has lost a partner through recent bereavement or divorce.
It might feel hard to strike a balance between being too involved, and giving your mum or dad the freedom and space to make connections online. But there are ways of making sure you both feel comfortable.
It is important to ensure you are always open about any fears or issues you may have. For many of our parents’ generation, getting online is still a new and somewhat daunting experience – they will probably be grateful for you to be involved with help and advice.
Communication is the key
Try to have a clear agreement right from the start about what your role in the process will be. Most likely, they’ll be relieved and enthusiastic about having your input on potential new partners as well as your help online. After all, your happiness has long been their number one concern.
The issues that can hold many single parents back from new relationships are guilt or fears about their child’s reaction to the news they have a new partner. Your desire to be involved will relieve a lot of the worries and stress they would otherwise feel when starting to meet new people.
What if the two of you disagree on their choices? It can be more difficult than expected to put their happiness first if you struggle to get along with someone new. Again, it is important to remember that your happiness is still their top priority, and they will be receptive to your concerns. Communication is the key when it comes to issues like this. Do not be afraid to address the issue sensitively and maturely, while respecting the fact that they are free to choose the right person for them.
Need a listening ear?
Our charity partner Family Lives are here for you and your parent every step of the way. They can provide free, expert advice and support with all the issues mentioned above and whatever else is on your mind, no matter how small or trivial it seems. Feel free to get in touch with them by phone, email or through their website.
Phone: free, confidential helpline 0808 800 2222 (free from landlines and most mobiles)