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.
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