Sunday, January 15, 2006

dating

Loving and being loved are meaningful parts of human existence, no matter what the age. After a period of grieving due to loss of a spouse by death or divorce, the older individual may decide to fill the void by initiating new intimate relationships. Dating again after being married for a number of years can be a totally new experience. There is usually, but not always, a much freer attitude toward dating and sex now. The older person who decides to date again must determine his or her own values about becoming emotionally and/or sexually involved with a new partner. However, some people who have become widowed may feel that dating again would be betraying their deceased spouse. Others are afraid of becoming emotionally involved again because they want to protect themselves from experiencing another loss.
Before becoming involved in a new relationship, it is important that people should have had an adequate period of time to grieve a former relationship, whether terminated by death, divorce or separation. The required time of waiting varies from person to person, but studies show that grieving usually begins to subside anywhere from six months to a year.
A healthy attitude was expressed by one widow, who remarked, "When you are a caring person and you get involved with people, you do take chances. But to experience pain is better than to experience nothing."
Adult children mayor may not approve of their parents' new emotional involvements, and when older people start dating they may encounter unexpected problems. They may face prejudice, ignorance about their needs, interference from their children, and even denials that they are competent to make independent decisions any longer. Adult children often feel they have the right to approve or disapprove their parents' choices, including friends, lifestyles, dating choices, and personal behavior.
A parent's decision to remarry may provoke an outburst of objections when children do not approach the matter with an open mind. These objections may stem from a variety of causes, including selfishness, overprotectiveness, jealousy, and most especially fear of losing an inheritance. Adult children need to understand that the loss of one parent does not mean that the other remaining parent has surrendered his/ her life simply because a relationship has been terminated by death. Most frequently it is the parents themselves who must take the initiative in explaining their new relationships to their children. When introduced tactfully over time, with reassurance of a continued commitment to existing family, parents' new personal relationships usually cause no difficulty.
Newly chosen partners also need to understand and accept the existing family obligations of their newly found intimate "other." They must be prepared to make former family relationships of a new spouse a part of their own lives, whether this involves visits from grandchildren, holiday get-togethers, or various forms of support and help typically provided in families.
See also RELATIONSHIPS WITHOUT MARRIAGE; REMARRIAGE; SEXUALITY.
Loewinsohn, R. J. Survival Handbook for Widows. Glenview, Ill.: AARP, 1984.
Seskin, J. Alone Not Lonely. Glenview, Ill.: AARP, 1985.

1 Comments:

Blogger Ann said...

My best friends father who is a widow,( 3 in a half years) has just started a relationship with another widower. We are absouluty dumbfounded with his behavior. We don't even know who he is anymore. In the 4 short weeks that he has been dating E he has blow off his family for the holidays, expressed that his former wifes belonging mean nothing to him. (where before nobody could touch them). and is acting like an 18 year old. He is totally smitten. Now E(new woman) wants to get together with the three daughter to talk to them. No one wants to meet. She is wearing their (dead) mothers shoes and taking over their family home. Is this normal? When they try to speak to their father about this, he thinks they are worried about money! Is this normal behavior? Do adult parents have a responsibility to their adult children to be sensitive to their feelings , or do they just not understand? I feel horrible for my friend, and would appreciate any insight! Thanks, Annie

5:09 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home