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I am feeling angry and guilty about my family’s reactions to my dating since my spouse died. How can I get them to understand?

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Your feeling angry and guilty is an understandable and common reaction to family members who seem “cool/reluctant” to accept the changes that go with your moving on with your life. You may feel that you are being forced to choose between your old life and your new life. How to bring the old and new parts of your life together without choosing one or the other is quite a challenge that usually requires more time and patience than we anticipate.

Dialogues with each of your children may be helpful in learning where they are in the process of accepting the changes in your life. The focus would be on needs and feelings – both theirs and yours. It would be important not to try to change or persuade your children to behave differently. Two topics you might want to explore with them include: whether the presence of your “friend” reminds your children of the pain of their loss; and whether they also have fears about losing you because of your involvement with your friend. If you feel unable to create an opening for the talks, keep in mind that opportunities will present themselves and you can take advantage of them at that time. Having time with your children without your friend is an important way of reassuring them of their connection with you. It’s also important to directly talk with them about their special place in your life.

Posted in: About Grief and Healing

By Caroline Burns