Knowing what to do when parents date

Parent Date

There are five words that no child wants to hear from either of their parents: “I’m going on a date.” It’s a tough reality, but learning how to cope with these circumstances is important.

If you’re the child of a single parent or of parents who are swingers, you know all too well what I’m talking about — and trust me, you have my sympathies.

When my parents got divorced, I think I figured they would start dating other people at some point, but you’re never prepared for it no matter what age you are when it happens.

You could be 16-years-old or 26-years-old when you get the “I’m not coming home tonight” phone call from your mom or dad.

If your parent is so bold as to be this honest with you, they might as well just say, “I’m having sex.”

No one wants to think of their parents getting all freaky with a new lover but it’s a reality many of us must face. So here are some tips for dealing with your parents once they venture into the dating world.

First of all, don’t play dumb. Ignoring the fact that your parents are beings who want love and companionship is going to get you nowhere fast. Unless your parents are dead set against finding love again, they will eventually seek out a new partner following a divorce or death — and they will probably be happier for doing so.

Personally, I’d rather have my mom or dad let me know where they’re going at night, just in case something happens.

“I’m off to get groceries” seems to be a bit of an odd thing to do on a Friday night, so don’t let your parents give you such lame excuses.

Be honest with them and hopefully they will be honest with you. If you do find yourself playing dumb, try to ask yourself why you’re not comfortable with your parent’s new love life. It might be that you’ve got some issues of your own that need to be dealt with.

This brings me to my next point: be communicative. Open these dating dialogues with your parents. Acknowledge to them — when you’re ready — that’s it’s okay for them to date.

We all want the best for our parents so we might as well talk about it — assuming your parents are also willing to have that discussion.

After a divorce or death has taken place, it seems that everyone feels the need to dance around the reality of the situation. Talking about these things will only improve your life.

And if you don’t like your mom or dad’s new partner, tell them why. If you can’t articulate a reason, you’re probably just being an ass who needs to grow up.

When your parents do start dating, try to be positive. Not all stepmothers and stepfathers are evil gremlins who will forbid you from going to the ball so don’t assume the worst.

It’s never going to be easy to accept someone new into your life, or your home for that matter, but having a positive attitude about it will only make things easier.

If your dad’s girlfriend has a lower back tattoo, don’t make an immediate judgment. She might have been a party girl in her younger years, but has since tamed things down.

My point being, never make any conclusions right off the bat. Those negative sentiments might just stay with you and having a poor relationship with a potential stepparent is a terrible idea.

Once your parents do venture out into the dating world, talk to your friends about  it. Discussing the dating lives of your parents will help you to develop a dynamic perspective of the situation at hand. An unbiased perspective is a good perspective.

Perhaps the most important part of parental dating is learning about prenuptial agreements.

Let’s face it, your single parents might even get remarried again. Don’t let your mom or dad make uninformed decisions.

Encouraging your parents to be wise about their financial matters and living situations are merely precautionary measures, should the worst occur. And really, that’s good advice for anyone in a serious relationship once finances start to be joined together.

Following these helpful hints will hopefully help you to deal with your parents once they emerge into the dating world. But if you ever do find yourself more wrapped up in your mom or dad’s dating lives than your own, you may want to check your priorities.

  • Darryl

    A worthwhile article. Well written Travis!

  • Andrew

    The notion that as grown adults, we can’t handle the mention of our parents love lives is on the bleeding edge of insulting. I’ve walked in on my parents having sex. It wasn’t something I wanted to see, but it wouldn’t have been something I wanted to see had it been two completely different (even younger and more attractive) people either.

    It beats the hell out of wondering if they’re happy or not. I’d rather see them have sex than find out they’ve been pretending to be happy for my own sake.

    (I should mention this little incident happened in our hotel room during a winter holiday, before anyone asks…)

    • Lucas

      Not to worry, wasn’t going to ask.

  • Lucas

    The undercurrent of satire in this piece is perfect. As it could be rewritten word for word by consoling parents concerned about their college kids. How times change.