Just a reminder that this Saturday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. is the fourth annual Women’s Night Out in Bucks County, PA. Check it out at www.whwcoactive.org. I’ll be speaking on an author’s panel. Please come by and say hi!!
iVillage has an excellent article posted on 16 Changes to Make Right Now to Make Divorce Easier on The Kids and yours truly weighed in on the topic of dating after divorce, including introducing your significant other to your kids and dealing with your ex’s new love life.
Accept that your ex will date — and you will, too!
Bringing new romantic partners into the picture is a huge change for kids, so many parents wait until they know the new boyfriend or girlfriend is a keeper to introduce them. (A general rule of thumb is at least four to six months.) “Reassure your kids that this person will never change your love for them,” says Ellie Slott Fisher, author of Mom, There’s a Man in the Kitchen and He’s Wearing Your Robe and It’s Either Her or Me. “Your relationship is too strong to be affected by anyone.” When kids meet the new guy, pick a fun place and hold off on the PDA. Is your ex dating too? Remember that no person will take your place as their mother; so avoid the urge to pry. Instead, let your kids make their own judgment about the new woman and make nice. “The best way to deal with an ex dating is to take care of yourself, look fabulous, and act overly pleasant and solicitous in his or her presence,” adds Fisher.
Weddings usually involve brides and grooms, and when there’s a groom there is more often than not, a mother; the one person at any wedding who isn’t all that sure of her role. How much is too involved, and how little is too little?
I ran into a former student of mine who is in the throes of wedding planning. He’s one of four boys and the first in the family to get married. Not having any daughters, his mom wants to be involved in the wedding planning – the planning, not the paying. She’s given her son – and by extension, his fiancée, – a list of songs to play, a list of her friends to invite (at the couple’s expense) – and suggestions how to decorate and what to wear.
Not surprisingly, the fiancée is having no part of the mother’s intrusion.
To the groom’s mom: Be very selective in making requests. If it’s most important that you have certain friends then ask for that. But choosing the music, the flowers, the colors, the clothes is a decision left to the bride and groom. Presumably, you had your turn.
To the fiancée: If you’re not feeling the love, then give his mom a pass for one year (longer if you have the patience). Let her get to gradually know you and like you. Without compromising your own wishes, excuse everything she says or does and let her son know that he has one year to help her see what a good person you are. Seriously, it’s too easy to let any poorly directed and ill-conceived comment wear a hole in this relationship. One that’s impossible to mend. But if you can let it go – like we do when a girlfriend disappoints us – at the end of the year, you may find bygones will be bygones and you’ll start the relationship from scratch.
The reason for this is that most future daughters-in-law are ready and willing to like their boyfriend’s mother. But many mothers aren’t quite ready to accept this new No. 1 female in their son’s life. Eventually, most of these moms will come around. But until they reach that point they may say or do something the fiancée will find hurtful and annoying. These moments get locked into our memory and just when the mom is ready to open her arms, the daughter-in-law has firmly folded hers.
To the groom: You don’t get a pass. Your job is to make sure your fiancée doesn’t take to heart anything your mom does while making sure your mom continues to improve in her efforts to trust and like your mate.