Family Relationships

Join other women in the sandwich generation - share ideas and solutions as you learn to nourish family relationships without starving yourself.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Gloria Lintermans & Marilyn Stolzman, Ph.D., authors of "The Healing Power of Love," have written an article about an adult child's perspective when a widowed parent re-marries. Over the next few days, we'll be sharing their thoughts with you. As Sandwiched Boomers, many of you have likley been in this position.

Chances are you grew up in a two-parent family, went away to college, married, had children of your own. And then, tragedy struck and one parent passed away, leaving the other widowed. He or she has mourned their loss and, while still embracing the memories of their late spouse, met someone new and fell in love - ready once again to enjoy a full life, perhaps to even re-marry. And you find yourself exchanging parenting roles as you concerns are not unlike that of your parents when you dated and eventually married. While their expectation is that you will be thrilled that they found happiness in re-marriage or have someone special in their life, it is seldom that simple.

It could be that you have been protective of your parent since he became a widower and are uncomfortable with someone else taking over for you. Perhaps this new partner is assuming the role of your much-loved deceased parent or you perceive her as competition for your parent's time. Maybe you have difficulty thinking of your parent as a sexually active person, especially if their involvement is with a younger woman.

Although the choice of mates is solely that of your parent, he will, naturally, be influenced by your opinion, suggestions, feelings and certainly your actions. As such, be aware that the more accepting you are, the easier it will be to deal with the problems intrinsic in blending families. You can lessen the pain of assimilating new people into family gatherings, for example, by being welcoming and flexible, with a willingness to establish new family traditions.

Click on 'Comments' and tell us about your experiences.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Father married a woman he met in a bereavement group a little over a year after my Mother died. My brother and I weren't happy when he started to date but he's the kind of person who can't be alone. Andrea

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mom was vulnerable after we lost our dad. A neighbor whose wife also died a few months before started coming over to visit her. They had so much in common. None of their children could understand what it was really like for them. They are good for each other and spend a lot of time together. I don't really know how I would feel if they got married. But I do want mom to be happy.

9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Often the grown child whose parent has remarried is faced with some ambivilence...surely, they want their parent to be happy and perhaps feel relieved that someone else will share this responsibility as their parent ages but often they worry about their inheritance as well. Will I still be the special child? Will I still be loved? Will this person take my place? Will this person use my mother's treasured things? It is wonderful when the grown child is genuinely happy for the happiness of their parent and encouraged that their life has gone on, but often it is bittersweet in terms of reminders that another person is significant in the life of their surviving parent. A healthy response is the delight in the happiness of their parent, that they have met someone special and that their new significant other is being loving towards their parent. Anonymous

9:52 PM  
Blogger TravelinOma said...

After my mother died my dad dated the widow of one of his best friends. It was strange at first, since I had known her all my life, but it took the pressure off of me as far as entertaining him. She was a great friend to us all.

11:51 PM  

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