With the divorce rate still hovering at 50 percent, it's very likely that your mother or father or both will have a new love interest at some point, if they haven't already.
When your parent has been widowed or divorced, your bond with him or her changes -- sometimes temporarily, sometimes permanently and almost certainly if there is a new person in the picture.
It's especially hard to welcome your parent's new partner amicably if doubt about that partner's suitability holds you back.
As I note in my book, Nobody's Baby Now: Reinventing Your Adult Relationship With Your Mother and Father, the first step in warming to a parent's new partner is to figure out why you are hesitant to accept your parent's choice. Your reluctance may be deeply rooted:
Once you understand what is holding you back, you can begin to ask yourself important questions, questions and answers that may help you see whether your reasons for not accepting the new partner are reasonable and worth holding onto, even if it means isolating yourself from your mother or father. When you negate a parent's choice of a partner, think:
Keep in mind, when you are not happy about the new partner, you parent will probably be very torn between wanting to please you and wanting to move on with his or her life. Parents want your acceptance and understanding in much the same way you seek their approval for your mate choices.
As you begin to accept the fact of your parent having a new partner, you can begin to reduce the friction the new situation has caused. One important way is to make an effort to see things differently, particularly if your parent is happy. You may not be able to change your parent's choice, or the partner himself, but you can think of your new family constellation as extra dinners, more people to love you and your children, and an extended support system.
Here are other ideas to help you and the entire family adjust to the new dynamic:
If need be, focus on the new partner's good points and accept that cordiality may be the best you can achieve. You're an adult, too, who can make relatively minor alterations that will reflect your maturity and graciousness and desire to maintain a mutually supportive connection with your parent.
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