Many children of single parents end up in a situation where their parents start dating again and they don’t like the new boyfriend or girlfriend. If there is a reason not to like them – like they make you feel uncomfortable or are physically or emotionally abusive, you need to tell someone about it. However, if you just don’t like them and you don’t know exactly why, there are some things you should keep in mind to help you adjust to your parent’s new love interest and keep from damaging your own relationship with your parent:
- Remember, your parent’s boyfriend/girlfriend is not your new parent. They shouldn’t act like they are, and you shouldn’t expect them to fill that role.
Talk to your mom or dad about it, but make sure you do it in a respectful way. Explain that you don’t like the idea of them dating. If it hasn’t been long since the divorce, explain that you need time to adjust to the divorce. Explain that you are trying, but that they need to understand that this hurts you. Don’t give ultimatums and don’t place blame. Just share your feelings.
Remember that you don’t have to like the person your parent dates. Unless that person makes you feel unsafe for some reason, you don’t have to like them. Don’t try to force yourself to feel a certain way, you can’t.
Try to start over. If there isn’t a reason not to like the new person in your parent’s life, go back and “redo.” Start over remembering that you are just working on forming a new friendship regardless of what your parent feels about this parent. Engage in idle chit-chat. Find things that you both like and talk about them (even it’s ice cream). Without the pressure on either of you, you might find it easier to start a relationship and even form a friendship with this person if you just start over.
Guard your heart. Your parent might be in love, but that doesn’t mean this relationship will last. If you do put some effort into it and end up liking this person, guard your heart a little bit to avoid being overly vulnerable in the event the relationship ends.
Work on your relationship with your parent. Just because the two of you disagree doesn’t have to destroy the relationship. Find some common ground or work together to set up some ground rules that you both can live with.