I’m dating again. Nothing unusual for women who are used to that scene, but this is my first re-immersion after 23 years of marriage. I was 19 when I met my ex, married at 20. So, outside of a couple short-term high-school romances I never really “dated” at all.
I’m not worried about how to handle meeting new men and seeing what happens. I’m worried about my three protective sons, ages 21, 19, and 17. The youngest is the most negative about any man who comes to my door, having already described one as “conceited” (true), and another as “trying to hide his baldness to look younger” ((maybe true).
But my oldest son presents a bigger problem. He insists on my telling him about each potential date, for “safety’s sake.” He’s done online searches on two men already, even though I’ve said I’m being careful and looked them up myself. He’s always home when I’m going to meet someone in person and engages each in conversation, even though I told him that’s my job.
I’ve only connected for in-person dates with five men since I got double-vaccinated, so I feel that all three of my sons are overreacting.
However, I’m especially worried about my middle son who seems to be distancing from me in favour of his father, despite that my ex started immediately seeing the woman who was waiting for him to leave me three years ago. I waited till just a few months back before trying dating sites.
How should I handle my sons’ reactions to me dating? How do I help them understand that at 46 I still need the interest and companionship of men?
My Critical Sons
Though your two sons’ protective instincts are thoughtful, your dating life’s really not their business unless they had reason to believe you’re careless with your choices and actual contacts. Not so.
Your middle son presents a different issue of why he’s distancing. You need to talk to him privately, gently probe whether he blames you for the divorce. If he’s hurting and angry, reassure him of your love for him and try to get him to go to counselling (with or without you) about his feelings.
Try to bring all three into your larger view of what dating means to you, and that you want new perspectives from today’s men - their interests and hobbies beyond their work, sense of humour, attentiveness to a date, outward signs of emotional intelligence, and their personal goals for the years ahead.
My daughter-in-law’s been in my family for 13 years and produced three children. She lives in another city so I haven’t seen her, my son, or the kids throughout the pandemic.
She never called to ask how I am or put the kids on the phone to talk or on Face Time. I know she’s busy, as I was when raising my children. But I stayed in contact with both our parents. What should I do to get her to connect with me?
Phone and ask how she is. Mention awareness of how busy she’s been with schools closed and home-schooling for months.
Send cards to the children for every birthday and holiday, and call their mother on her birthday. Ask your son to set up Zoom calls with the family and be playful with the children. Ask them to sing songs, show their projects, etc.
Be the in-law example.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding whether to return to an office job or keep working from home (July 19):
Reader – “Ontario law says employers have responsibility to provide a safe work environment. Once achieved, the employer can legally require everyone to return to the office.
“Anyone who refuses, without a valid medical reason and doctor’s note, is deemed to have resigned. The employer’s free to replace them.
“Meanwhile, many presently unemployed like me, want to re-enter the workforce. I’m fully vaccinated. I’m hearing about a fourth wave comprised primarily of those people who aren’t vaccinated, and those who are vaccinated but getting a milder Covid illness not requiring hospitalization.
“Not all jobs can be performed remotely. Many require site presence.
“Some employers are planning contingencies should any employees not return. I’ve had zoom interviews last week for such potential positions.
“I encourage everyone who’s not wanting to return to the office, to not return.”
Tip of the day:
Grown children who want to protect a dating parent need information about the parent’s own safety measures and goals, then back off.