Once you’ve faced the tragedy of a parent passing away, it can be difficult to look beyond the ordeal your family has been dealing with over the past few weeks, months or years. Sooner or later, however, you’ll have to face reality: no matter their age, your parent may someday remarry.
If the thought of this makes you uncomfortable, you’re certainly not alone. As children, a parent remarrying can affect our lives in a number of ways. Keep reading for how to handle your parents getting remarried after one of them has passed away.
It’s normal to be emotional about the remarrying of a parent. As children (even once we become parents ourselves), it can be difficult to see our parents as human beings with emotions and lives outside of us. But you must accept that your parent has a role outside of parenthood and that they have needs and desires that require a connection outside of family relationships. Sometimes this connection is a romantic one.
Try to envision yourself someday at your parent’s age. Chances are, you too would be searching for a companion to spend the rest of your days alongside. Having someone by your side at an older age is also important for safety—it means someone to travel with, accompany them to appointments and errands, and generally look after each other’s well-being.
What it does not mean is finding someone to replace your marriage. Ask any widower and they’ll tell you that their second marriage or relationship is not meant to substitute the first. It might take on similar qualities, but the bond your parents held was special and will forever be cherished by the surviving spouse. Although they appear to be "moving on", they will never forget the love they shared and the incredible family they raised.
Adjusting to a new person in a parental role can be tricky, especially the older we get. It doesn't matter if you’re fully grown or a parent yourself—your parent’s new spouse may feel like an outsider trying to replace the familiar family structure that you’re used to.
The important point here is not to set any expectations based on other families or relationships. Each family dynamic is unique and you need to do what feels right for your own situation. That might mean welcoming the new spouse right away and quickly allowing them to take on a parental role, or it might mean finding a place for them in your life as an acquaintance, friend or extended family. Whatever helps you best deal with the changing circumstances is the right decision.
Keep in mind that your relationship with this person is fluid and will change over time.. Give yourself the space and time to grieve for the family you once had, before welcoming the new one into your life.
Let’s face it: your parent remarrying was never part of the plan. Once your family dealt with the difficult loss of a loved one, you also had to deal with the responsibilities that come with their passing —bank accounts, securities, real estate, and other assets. Suddenly, there’s a new person to consider. As a new addition to the family, they’re entitled to certain assets in the event of your parent passing. For some, this can be difficult to accept.
Each family and circumstance is different, but if you’re unsure or unclear about how a new spouse may affect your family’s financial situation, we suggest you speak with a legal advisor or family lawyer. Vexxit will connect you with qualified and top-rated professionals who are matched to your specific needs and situation.