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Dr. Ruth on: Marrying again—what will the family say?

Created date

February 3rd, 2009

While it would be nice for you to count on your family being supportive when you find a new person to love, sadly, far too often that doesn t happen, especially when it comes to your grown-up children.

To them, you are Mom or Dad. Even if you are no longer with your original spouse through divorce or death your children don t think of you as having an intimate relationship, so they will resent this new partner.

Part of the problem may stem from keeping your desire for a new partner a secret. If you spring the fact that you have a new partner on your children, it s more likely that they will have a negative reaction. But if you let them know you would like someone to share your life with, and you talk to them about the people you are dating, you will avoid shocking them with the news that you are now serious about somebody new.

I m not suggesting you make confidants of your children; just let them know in general that you are dating. They may still be upset that you are getting remarried if you reach that point but if they ve been apprised of the situation all along, then hopefully they ll at least be able to keep their negative opinions to themselves.

Of course, one potential negative reaction to you dating may have to do with their inheritance. I don t necessarily believe in prenuptial agreements, but maybe you can do something positive, such as putting money into joint accounts with your children or setting aside money in trusts. Talk with a financial advisor to see what options exist that would be best for you but that would also assuage any fears.

No one should have to be alone just because they re worried about what others, especially family members, would think. But it s also not realistic to believe that any new relationship won t have some impact on your family situation.

So the best thing is to not bury your head in the sand; instead, take preventive action to minimize any potential damage.