When Sara wrote in, I knew immediately I wanted to answer her question. Her situation is really common, but I feel like not enough people talk about it seriously.
The dating world can be a weird one. Watching your parents navigate the dating world can be even weirder. The most important thing to remember is to keep your relationship with your parents your main focus. Communication, patience, honesty, and love are key.
I’d like to start by saying that I love your blog, you’re really an inspiration to me and I truly look up to you as an older sister! That’s exactly why I would love to get some advice from you right now. I’m 18 and my parents have been divorced for 10 years. For that long, it’s been me, my mother and my brother.
Recently, my mom started dating again, and I’m having a hard time with it. Not because I don’t want to see her with a man (all I want is for her to be happy!), but because I don’t think I’m ready to embrace someone else in our lives. We’re a really close family, we do everything together and go everywhere together, and I’m scared a stepdad will ruin that balance. I can already imagine, “Why are you going to that place?” Or, “Why are you letting her go out tonight?”
As if I wasn’t struggling with this already, the man she’s been seeing, they already dated about 2 years ago and it didn’t work out. My mom keeps things to herself, she could be breaking inside, she wouldn’t tell us. So the last thing I want is for things to go south again and she’s left hurting on her own.
I want my mom to be happy with whoever she wants to, but I also want us to remain the close, tight, balanced, loving family we are.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I would love to hear from you.
All the best,
Not only do I understand, I can relate to your feelings about having a parent who is dating. Every worst case scenario runs through our minds — and who can blame us? A good majority of popular movies feature an evil step-parent. We are influenced from an early age to believe step-parents are evil, vindictive people. When you actually stop and think about it, it’s pretty silly. If the man your mother met had children, she’d be their step-mother and they’d probably be having the same fears you are. And she sounds like an amazing mom and they’d obviously have nothing to worry about, right?
If I were in your shoes, I’d have a one-on-one chat with your mom about your feelings. Talk to her about your fears of the family dynamic changing or someone bringing negativity into your loving home. She might even want to discuss her feelings about the end of her last relationship with you.
Be a good listener and give her extra love because relationships aren’t easy. Staying close, tight and balanced is a team effort, and I think anyone would be lucky to have you on their side!
Image credit: Cat Lane