When it comes to our children thinking it’s too early for us to start dating again, we might immediately think of little kids. However, I hear this coming up even for widows with grown children. And while this can happen for so many reasons, the truth is there is only one person who needs to agree with your decision. And that’s you. And in this episode, I’m showing you how to make peace with that reality.
Join me on the podcast this week as I discuss my thoughts on what you should do when you’re ready to date, but your kids don’t approve. I’m sharing how to make the decision that is right for you about whether or not you should start dating again, and walking you through how to make peace with the fact that there is no perfect way to approach this difficult topic.
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 92, Dating When Kids Don’t Approve.
One of the most frequent questions I get asked by widowed moms is, “What do I do when I’m ready to start dating but my kids don’t approve?” So, if you’ve been struggling here or you anticipate you someday might, then this episode is for you.
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, the only podcast that offers a proven process to help you work through your grief, to grow, evolve, and create a future you can truly look forward to. Here’s your host, Master Certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St-Germain.
Hey, everybody. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. Are you ready to talk about dating? Maybe. Maybe not.
I get this question so often. In fact, inside The Widowed Mom Podcast Facebook community, which is a closed group, which if you’re not a member of, you’re absolutely invited. You just need to be a widow and a mom. Age of children is not relevant. But I put a poll in there recently about topics that members most want help with and again, this one keeps coming up, this, “What do I do when I want to date but my kids don’t approve?”
And the assumption isn’t even that kids aren’t at home or little. Sometimes, these are adult children that we’re worried about. So, I’m going to share my thoughts with you in today’s episode.
Before we do that thought, I want to take a minute to read a couple of listener reviews because I haven’t done that in a while. And I really do appreciate all of you who have taken time to leave them. So, the first one is from a listener who calls themselves iPadalicious. And the title of the review is “Wow, Thanks.”
iPadalicious wrote, “I’ve recently started listening to you. I’m not a widow. I’m not a mom. And you really resonate with me. I’ve learned so much about grief, feelings, the NOW method, et cetera. This podcast is for everyone who’s grieving someone or something.”
Thank you. I love knowing that not everyone who’s listening is a widow or a mom. I think that’s pretty amazing. And the next one is written by someone who calls themselves Dogwood Flat.
And it reads, “I’ve been listening to the podcast since my husband passed in March of 2020. Each week, I’ve learned so much and have found encouragement from everything Krista shares. Thank you.” And you’re welcome Dogwood Flat.
If you have not left a review and this podcast has helped you, it would really mean a lot to me if you took a couple of minutes and did that because reviews and ratings and subscriptions are how podcasts rise up in the ratings. And that’s what makes them easier for people to find.
And as you well know, if you’ve been listening for a while, I really want to reach a million widows with this podcast. And so, I appreciate it if you take time to leave a rating or a review.
Alright, let’s talk about dating when kids don’t approve. So, I’ve heard lots of stories about dating when kids don’t approve. And by lots, I mean lots. Little kids, middle-school-aged kids, teens, young adults, grown adults, grown adults with their own children, all children have opinions about whether or not they’re onboard with their mom dating again.
And so, what I want to offer you are just three things today. The first, there really is no right or wrong here. You get to decide. And that’s always true.
Now, if you haven’t already, if you’re not dating, or maybe you’re in the early stages of dating, or maybe you’re wondering if you should be dating at all, I would recommend that you go back and listen to episode 42, which is called How to Know if You’re Ready to Date Again.
So, I think that’s a valuable listen if you’re thinking about dating, or if maybe it’s just not going so well and you’re kind of questioning your motives, that’s a good episode to listen to. So, check that one out.
But regardless, you’re not going to do this perfectly. There is no such thing. And it really isn’t about what’s right or what’s wrong because right and wrong exist in our minds. We don’t agree on what’s right and what’s wrong. We all have different opinions about what’s right and what’s wrong. And that’s okay. That’s okay.
But what I want you to do is to decide for yourself what’s right or wrong. Make that decision consciously, intentionally. What other people are telling you about whether you should date again, what your kids are telling you about whether you should date again isn’t right or wrong. It’s just their opinion. And they’re entitled to have that opinion. They don’t have to change that opinion.
But their opinion, they opinions of other people, doesn’t really have anything to do with your opinion about what’s right or wrong for you. Only you know what is right or wrong for you. I don’t know what’ right or wrong for you. I’m always telling my clients this.
I know sometimes it’s easier just to have the coach tell you what the coach thinks you should do. But I don’t do that. And the reason that I don’t do that is because I don’t know. Who would I be to know what’s right or wrong for someone else? Who would someone else be to know what’s right or wrong for you?
And so, what is that little voice telling you about what is right or wrong for you? And what if you just listened to that voice, and you didn’t need my approval and you didn’t need somebody else’s approval because you gave yourself your own approval? So, that’s my first point. There’s no right or wrong. You get to decide always.
The second thing I would like to offer you is to consider the perspective of your children. Now, you’re listening to a podcast for widowed moms. I’m pretty sure that you already are interested in their perspective, or you probably wouldn’t be interested in listening to a podcast that helps you parent as a widowed mom, right?
So, I know where your heart is. You know where your heart is. You’re not trying to harm anybody, hurt anybody, upset anybody. You genuinely care about the experiences of others. So, when I say consider their perspective, I’m not implying that you don’t care. I know that you care.
What I’m saying is to consider where they’re coming from, not because you don’t care and you should start caring, and not because you need to agree with them or change your opinions. But because when we understand where other people are coming from, it creates connection. And that’s what most of us want.
So, what are the messages that our children are sending us about what they want? Are they feeling insecure maybe? Are they worried? Are they scared? Maybe they’re looking for some reassurance that you’re not going to forget their other parent, or maybe that they’re looking for some reassurance that you’re not going to replace their parent.
Most often, I believe, when children aren’t ready for us to date, little, grown, no matter the age, it’s usually because there’s some fear involved. There’s a worry there. It’s not that they don’t want us to be happy. There’s just something they’re worried about for themselves.
Even with grown children, it can often bring up their own stuff. They might think, “How could you date so soon?” Because they might be worried that their spouse would date before they would want them to. It might have nothing to do with you and your dating life and everything to do with their own fear, their own worry.
And so, when we can just know that most people are trying to do the best they can with what they know, grown children, little children, and we can consider that their perspective is their truth, it’s their reality. We don’t have to agree with it. But when we understand it and we hold it softly, we hold it with a little bit of compassion and a little bit of space and know that they’re doing the best job they can with what they know, then we can soften a little bit.
And maybe we do choose to provide a little bit more reassurance, if that’s what we think they’re looking for. And that’s up to you too. It’s not right or wrong either. But I would just invite that you consider their perspective. They’re probably not out to get you. They’re probably not out to hurt you. They’re probably just afraid of something. What is it?
The third thing that I want to offer you is that our children don’t need to agree for us to date. And this might be the hardest part. But I hope it’s also the most liberating part.
I see a lot of widowed moms holding themselves back from dating because they can’t get comfortable with the idea that their kids don’t like it. And many of them have decided they will not date until their kids are onboard. And that’s a valid choice.
But when I see people making it, mostly it’s coming from fear. It’s coming from abundance. They’re worried that their kids won’t like them, that their kids won’t approve of them. And so, they’re putting what they want at the bottom of the list because they don’t know how to be at peace when their kids don’t support their decision to date.
And so, they just acquiesce. They give in. They put what they want at the bottom of the list. Maybe they don’t like conflict, they don’t want to have difficult conversations. But they end up not giving themselves what they want and giving everybody else the higher priority.
What I want to offer is that’s up to you too. It’s entirely possible for you to date without your children supporting that decision. And you can love them. You don’t have to be mad at them for not supporting you. You don’t have to be upset that they don’t support you. You don’t have to be wishing that they did support you. You don’t have to be railing against their lack of support.
You can be at peace. You can decide that they get to have their own thoughts and feelings about whether you date and that you don’t need to change those thoughts and feelings in order to date.
All humans have agency to think and feel what they think and feel. And it has very little to do with us and mostly to do with them. But when we decide that there are only certain ways humans in our lives are allowed to think and feel, we create a lot of suffering for ourselves when they don’t go along. And then we spend a lot of time and effort trying to get them to change, or when they won’t change, we spend a lot of time and effort trying to change ourselves so that they will find us acceptable.
And so, since other people will have their own thoughts and feelings, our children included, little or grown, and since we have our own thoughts and feelings, and since sometimes those are different, we don’t have to create suffering by telling ourselves they should be the same.
It’s our option to decide to let people have their thoughts and feelings, to not agree with our decision to date and to date anyway. Again, back to number one, there is no right or wrong. There isn’t a way you should be doing it, there isn’t a way you shouldn’t be doing it.
And I’m going to tell you, before I did this episode, I just decided to Google what was out there. and after reading a few articles, I just kind of – I’m not going to say it got me mad, but it really started kind of getting under my skin a little bit about, just, I think really unhelpful emotional childhood kinds of responses out there about rights and wrongs and dos and don’ts and rules.
And you need to choose your own rights and wrongs. You need to choose your own rules. You know what’s important to you. You know what you value. You know what you want.
So, don’t listen to any of that other BS that’s out there. Pick what’s right for you. Consider the perspectives of others, sure. If you can provide some reassurance to your children, why not? I’m in.
But make peace, if you want to date, with the idea that your kids might not like it. If they’re little kids, they might not even understand relationships in general. They might not be old enough to really get what’s going on. And if they’re grown, they still might not like it because they will have their own thoughts and feelings.
They will make your dating potentially mean something about how much you loved their other parent. Who knows? But that’s okay. We can love them anyway. They don’t have to agree. We don’t have to hide it. We can be honest if we want to. We can do it our way with so much love and so much understanding. And let them be upset if they get upset.
So, there’s no right or wrong. You get to decide always. Consider their perspective. Just see what you can learn. And then. Be willing to let them not agree with you if you’ve decided that you’re ready to date and dating is what you want. Okay, that’s what I want for you. Live your life intentionally. Make decisions that are best for you. And you decide what’s best for you. Okay, I know this was a short one. Hopefully it helped you. I love you. You’ve got this. And I’ll see you next week. Take care. Bye-bye.
If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about, even after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to join my Mom Goes On coaching program. It’s small group coaching just for widowed moms like you where I’ll help you figure out what’s holding you back and give you the tools and support you need so you can move forward with confidence.
Please don’t settle for a new normal that’s less than what you deserve. Go to coachingwithkrista.com and click Work With Me for details and next steps. I can’t wait to meet you.