When an elderly parent dates….

by Rod Smith

Women (and men) who date later in life after a long marriage has ended through the death of a spouse often have adult sons and daughters who understandably treat the parent as if she were a teenager once more – and not a very wise one at that.

The parent is often severely cautioned. The pursuer is regarded with suspicion. Mom is warned about moving “too quickly” or it is chuckled that she is “acting like a teenager.”

Perhaps it’s the fact that the person has had no other relationships at all of an intimate nature for so very long that the adult sons and daughters wonder whether the parent has the necessary discernment to take care of herself.

Yet, there are dangerous relationships.

There are people who are after power and money who have an eye for the vulnerable.

There is a case to be made for caution when a new relationship follows a long marriage. Grief tints lenses. Novelty can feel like love.

I’d give full credence to a unified cautionary voice of wise and caring adult sons and daughters.

If those who have loved us longest and deepest think something is a bad idea or deserves caution I’d suggest we listen – whether we are 70 or 15.

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