Late teens object to my dating


#1

I have two daughters in their late teens - My wife divorced me about two years ago; annulment near the end of the process and expected to go through.

I’ve encountered significant resistance from my daughters when I attempt light social dating. I’ve made it clear that I’m not interested in a serious relationship for now - certainly not before the the annulment concludes (and if it’s refused then certainly not)

Even so, they are seriously disturbed by the idea. Their stated position is that once they are both off to college (one already is) then they have no problem with me dating, but I expect that even then there will be objections.

I should add that from a clinical angle, one of my daughters has not made a good adjustment to the divorce; the girls’ relationship with their mother is significantly strained.

Not sure where to go with this. My first priority is to the girls, but I don’t want to “kill them with kindness” by accepting an inappropriate situation if doing so will harm them.

They won’t go to family counseling or meet with a senior priest with appropriate training who they like.


#2

understandable, if not completely reasonable, that older daughters would react this way. My best advice is to take a moral high ground and wait until the annulment is final and explain why you have no intention of even thinking about another relationship until then, but simply see your friends, male and female, simply for social reasons, because they are friends, in the same way your daughters meet with their own friends of either sex.


#3

May God bless you and guide you.


#4

I am not a huge Dr. Laura fan but I heard one radio show of hers that really stuck in my mind.

Basically she said that divorce is hard on kids. No matter how amicable or what good reasons the couple has to divorce - it's hard on the kids. As a divorced parent, according to Dr. Laura, your main priority is to help the kids during this hard time. According to her, divorced parents really have no business dating until their kids are settled and on their own.

I am not sure I would go that far (especially if the kids are young and an annulment is part of the equation) but if your kids are voicing concerns about you going out with women socially, it is a clue that the divorce still hurts them. Making them a priority is not killing them with kindness; it's trying to help them heal.

BTW, I am not suggesting you can't go out to dinner or lunch with a female friend. But I wouldn't call that "dating" either.


#5

What do you mean by light social dating? Do you mean the kind of thing that a man might do with the knowledge and consent of his wife? That would be OK.

You will not harm your children if you don't date, though. OTOH, when you are free to re-marry, you are free to re-marry. At that point, your daughters won't have much more to say about who you date than you will have to say about who they date: In other words, apply the same rules to yourself that you'd expect any moral adult to have...and that you expect of them. It is nice to be sensitive about how your friendships affect your family, and to act accordingly, but they don't get a vote.


#6

The divorce was two years ago and you want to start dating? Two years? Just think about that for a minute. Is it unreasonable of your daughters to not want their dad to start mentioning/introducing other women into their lives after just 2 years? It doesn't really matter that they are young adults or late teens. Even people who are in their 40s or 50s are affected when their parents divorce.

Stop dating for now, concentrate on your daughters, and take your time getting back into the dating scene. I would say to wait until your daughters have left the house for good, meaning not coming back, graduated from college and on their own or married.

JMO, I have a feeling you will ignore that.


#7

[quote="puzzleannie, post:2, topic:246989"]
understandable, if not completely reasonable, that older daughters would react this way. My best advice is to take a moral high ground and wait until the annulment is final and explain why you have no intention of even thinking about another relationship until then, but simply see your friends, male and female, simply for social reasons, because they are friends, in the same way your daughters meet with their own friends of either sex.

[/quote]

This. You say your daughters won't talk to a priest or a counselor about the divorce and the remaining issues, but have your yourself seeked the advice from a priest about this situation? I don't quite understand the need for "light social dating". I understand the need for social interactions, but not for casual dating, especially when you are still in the annulment process.


#8

Yeah, I dont get the it is expected to go through and I have been light social dating. Until it "goes" through you should live as if married publically. "light dating" would not be ok with my wife. I have no idea how your kids are even aware of your light dates or why this topic should be brought up right now. It sounds as if you might be trying to "feel" out how they will react but honestly I would really take their feelings into account. They are your sweet children who cannot fathom this idea. And it also should be noted that when and if the annulment does come through a peice of paper from the Church while it is binding in reality and spirutually means nothing to the offspring who have been forever affected by this situation. Personally I'd do anything I could to make sure my kids werent jaded by marriage and destined to make bad decisions at the most impressionalble age possible.


#9

[quote="there_and_back, post:1, topic:246989"]
I have two daughters in their late teens - My wife divorced me about two years ago; annulment near the end of the process and expected to go through.

I've encountered significant resistance from my daughters when I attempt light social dating. I've made it clear that I'm not interested in a serious relationship for now - certainly not before the the annulment concludes (and if it's refused then certainly not)

Even so, they are seriously disturbed by the idea. Their stated position is that once they are both off to college (one already is) then they have no problem with me dating, but I expect that even then there will be objections.

I should add that from a clinical angle, one of my daughters has not made a good adjustment to the divorce; the girls' relationship with their mother is significantly strained.

Not sure where to go with this. My first priority is to the girls, but I don't want to "kill them with kindness" by accepting an inappropriate situation if doing so will harm them.

They won't go to family counseling or meet with a senior priest with appropriate training who they like.

[/quote]

Be patient with your daughters, and don't date until the annulment is finalized. And don't talk with them about your potential for dating until that reality is imminent.

If you chose to start dating after the anullment is complete, your daughters will have to find a way to come to terms with that fact. If they choose to accept counseling or therapy to help them deal with the fact that mom and dad are never getting back together, terrific. If not, well... they'll have to find a way to cope on their own.

I'm of the opinion that it's not healthy for you or your daughters for them to dictate the terms and conditions of your social life. In an ideal world - yes, they would support your decision to date, if not wholeheartedly then with lukewarm acceptance. But I think it's more than a little unrealistic to expect you to not date - even 'lightly' - simply because your adult or nearly-adult children choose not to accept help healing after their parents' divorce.


#10

I would wait until the annulment is finalized.

When my parents divorced I was horrified when a man was flirting with my mom. she asked how I would feel if she dated and I was again, horrified. Today I regret that because my mom never dated after the divorce, and she is alone. it is something that really saddens me today.


#11

there-and-back,

i agree with all the others that anything similar to dating should wait until annulment is granted.

i offer one additional thought, based on one of the saddest and most enlightening conversations i ever had with an ex-catholic. she left the Church because her father proudly announced his marriage to her mother was 'annulled'. and then he proceeded to marry the 'other woman'. be certain your daughters understand what annulment means. it doesn't mean they're illegitimate . it isnt the Church's after-the-fact sanction on adultery. teach them properly so they have no resentment against the Church.

having given a proper understanding of annulment to your girls, if it isnt granted, are you willing to still abide by the decision of the Church?


#12

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:6, topic:246989"]
Stop dating for now, concentrate on your daughters, and take your time getting back into the dating scene. I would say to wait until your daughters have left the house for good, meaning not coming back, graduated from college and on their own or married.

JMO, I have a feeling you will ignore that.

[/quote]

Hum. You read quite a bit between the lines. While I didn't include unnecessary detail, you don't seem to need any. I'm 55 and my girls are highly likely to spend considerable time in professional schools and training. The one headed for medical school won't finish training for about 15 years.

Light dating is just that. Light. Some dinner. Perhaps some conversation.

Finally, I do take the annulment seriously; You don't know me. Face to face I would ask for an apology.

I have to say: some women are quite quick to dismiss any emotional needs of men. Probably because it's socially acceptable for women to maintain intimate relationships with other women.


#13

You'll get a better answer from your parish priest. While there is a slew of good general guidelines offered here, you'd be much better off discussing this with a priest or your confessor (even though your children won't, you still should consider it for yourself).

I've read various threads like this about dating and kids and annulment etc, but I'm glad I sought the advice from my priest about it rather than just relying on a forum's opinion. Unsurprisingly, the priest was much deeper and pastoral in his advice than any answer I've ever read online. This is just one of those issues that can't really be answered effectively from an online forum. One visit with a priest will give you more clarity on this than a hundred responses to this thread.


#14

I agree. I've discussed the situation with my priest several times and in depth. This latest reaction was fresh on my mind (blew up last night in fact) and I probably will go to him again. Even so, the "traditional man" in me hates to bother him again. Oh well. Actually I'm not particularly traditional in fact; I was the stay-at-home care-giver for the last 14 years.


#15

there-and-back,

we cant know the trauma that's brought you to a divorce with 2 teen daughters, a struggling daughter and strained relationships between daughters and mother. and we cant know the trauma your daughters have experienced. every sorrow has many common aspects to it. but every sorrow has so many unique, personal, one-of-a-kind heartaches too. nobody can know what it's been like for your family.

but this: some women are quite quick to dismiss any emotional needs of men.

most of us who love a man know this: the emotional needs of the dearest men in our lives could never be met by 'light' dating-- occasional dinner and maybe some conversation. the emotional needs of our most beloved men go much deeper than that. yours probably do too. why not wait till you may be free to pursue the satisfaction of deeper emotional needs?

your emotional needs may bring you to a place of deeply desiring emotional intimacy and romance again-- which is something you arent free to pursue yet. wait till the annulment comes through. wait until your girls have a clearer meaning of what it means. wait until they feel safer, more comfortable, more accepting.

your girls' emotional needs are still pretty big (and pained.) you're very free to keep trying to meet their emotional needs. doing so, and foregoing dating still, doesnt mean you're giving in to their demands or unreasonable expectations (even if they're reacting combatively). it can mean that you're helping them to more maturely form better understanding and form more reasonable expectations based on the hard reality of the situation.


#16

As a divorced Catholic man, I try to be obedient to the marriage covenant which I made in God's presence.

The secular marriage contract has been disolved but in the eyes of God, the sacrament of marriage is not nullified. I stood at the altar and promised, with God as my witness, to forsake all others until either my wife or I should die. The fact that my wife no longer wishes to live in that covenant relationship does not change that promise.

To me, "forsaking all others" means exactly that, not only phsically but emotionally as well, and so there is a line I will not cross. At a certian point, I will begin to become "Familiar" with a woman. When onversation gets to the point where I am attracted, or when I feel my mind start to wander, when I start to wonder what it would be like to spend more intimate time with a woman - and not just sex - that is where I stop. And so that means no dating. It means cutting off conversations that start to go in certain directions. It means not putting myself in situations where I am alone with a woman if I can help it. It is difficult to do, but with God's help, it is doable.

And there is geat grace in begin humble and dependent upon God, in avoiding certain situations out of love of God, and in putting my own desires aside to please Him. And that's really the point... As I have become more dependent upon God, and my relationship with him has grown, I've come to have everything I need.

There is great grace, for me anyway, in obedience to my marriage vows.

-Tim-


#17

And there is geat grace in begin humble and dependent upon God, in avoiding certain situations out of love of God, and in putting my own desires aside to please Him. And that's really the point... As I have become more dependent upon God, and my relationship with him has grown, I've come to have everything I need.

dear timothy, you've written who i strive to become.


#18

[quote="there_and_back, post:12, topic:246989"]
Hum. You read quite a bit between the lines. While I didn't include unnecessary detail, you don't seem to need any. I'm 55 and my girls are highly likely to spend considerable time in professional schools and training. The one headed for medical school won't finish training for about 15 years.

Light dating is just that. Light. Some dinner. Perhaps some conversation.

Finally, I do take the annulment seriously; You don't know me. Face to face I would ask for an apology.

I have to say: some women are quite quick to dismiss any emotional needs of men. Probably because it's socially acceptable for women to maintain intimate relationships with other women.

[/quote]

As I said, I had the feeling you would ignore the advice. I stand by my opinion based on my experience and the experience of friends whose parents have divorced. Take what you like and leave the rest.

I don't know what you mean by this. Are you saying that men don't have the option of having friendships with other men? Or that women get to have women friends so men should get to have female friends too? :confused:

Emotional needs - OK so you are not going to do "light social dating." What emotional needs are you seeking to meet? Emotional NEEDS suggests a relationship.

Wasn't me who said anything about not taking the annulment seriously, read my post. Others have said similar things. As I said, take what you like and leave the rest.


#19

Tim, thanks for sharing part of your life.


#20

[quote="there_and_back, post:1, topic:246989"]
I have two daughters in their late teens - My wife divorced me about two years ago; annulment near the end of the process and expected to go through.

I've encountered significant resistance from my daughters when I attempt light social dating. I've made it clear that I'm not interested in a serious relationship for now - certainly not before the the annulment concludes (and if it's refused then certainly not).

[/quote]

As others have mentionned until you actually have an annulment, dating is a sin. As for your emotional needs, they can NOT be met by light dating.

[quote="there_and_back, post:1, topic:246989"]
Even so, they are seriously disturbed by the idea. Their stated position is that once they are both off to college (one already is) then they have no problem with me dating, but I expect that even then there will be objections

[/quote]

If your annulment does go through and they are both in college, I agree they will probably object. And that is something you will just have to learn to live with. I am 41, my dad just passed away and when I go home to visit my mom, I have no desire to 'have to be on my best manners' for her new boyfriend. (If she had one). No kid EVER wants to see their parent date especially if they have a strained relationship with the other parent. You will need to be respectfull of their feelings to a certain degree and get use to them not liking your dates

[quote="there_and_back, post:1, topic:246989"]

I should add that from a clinical angle, one of my daughters has not made a good adjustment to the divorce; the girls' relationship with their mother is significantly strained.

Not sure where to go with this. My first priority is to the girls, but I don't want to "kill them with kindness" by accepting an inappropriate situation if doing so will harm them.

They won't go to family counseling or meet with a senior priest with appropriate training who they like.

[/quote]

I feel for your daughter. Unfortunately, at this point she is probably so mad at you, she won't open up to you

CM


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