Here’s a snippet of conversation between a single parent and their 17-year-old. ”“It’s a long story.”“What do you mean it’s a long story? It’s an almost standard conversation between parent and child about dating. ”Many of us — the dating divorced — find ourselves experiencing a very interesting role reversal as we head out the door on a weekend evening.
But I’ll probably be back late.”“Who are you going out with? Someone you don’t know.”“Where did you meet this friend? Such are the joys of dating when you have an older teen/young adult under the same roof, watching as you come and go, watching (or at least wondering) with whom you go out and with whom you might come back. Why do you continue to annoy me with these questions?
Can you tell from the conversation who’s the parent and who’s the child?
Our children are becoming our parents — or trying to. And many of us don’t like what feels like an uncomfortable invasion of our privacy.
They are, in their own ways, watching over us, asking (at times aggressively) the very same questions we asked them, the very same questions our parents asked us many years ago. Those questions we felt obligated to ask as good, responsible parents are coming back to haunt us.
How many women find themselves at the receiving end of their daughter’s clipped comment, “You’re wearing on a date?
”And yet, I also have friends, particularly lady friends with older daughters, who say dating offers a new kind of “mommy and me” bonding experience — the mommy-daughter dish moment — and it appears the best dishing comes from the worst dates.
My own experience may be unusual, but when I moved into a new apartment following the end of a long marriage, my college-age son gave me an interesting housewarming gift: a box of condoms! Rather, it was his way of telling me that dating — and more importantly sexual attitudes and risks — had changed significantly since I was last “out there” in the late 1980s. ’ may reflect a child’s angry response to a parent they perceive as acting more like a roommate than a parent.”Google allows us — and our children — to do a quick search on our dates and our companions.
And yet, with our children tracking our every move, many of us now find ourselves with the one thing we didn’t expect: a new “parent” watching as we walk out the door — wondering when (at what time and perhaps with whom) we’ll return. I don’t take it too seriously — until she wants me to meet the guy. Marrying was a big transition, since his new wife has kids and we spend holidays together.Dominick, age 21: “When my parents divorced 10 years ago, it was really difficult. It’s strange for me, but I just have to accept this transition.But mostly, I just want them both to be happy.”Carrie, age 17: “My sister and I had a pretty hard time with it at first.Dad waited about a year before he started dating and when he did, he tried the online thing. She has been dating a guy for about a year now – they are pretty much exclusive. But it’s still kind of weird to see her being affectionate with someone other than Dad, even after all this time.”Brian, age 16: “My parents were married for almost 30 years and they just broke up about 15 months ago.I still can’t believe it and I’m still pretty angry. She’s dressing in sort of a sexy way, which I find kind of embarrassing. I think he’s the one who would really benefit by starting to date.It’s hard to watch him mope around.”Anthony, age 33: “I’d be very happy to see my dad dating!