When your mom starts dating someone new, it can seem weird and gross. The fact of the matter is, though, that your mom is a human being and desires love and affection just like most other people do. In order to deal with your mom going out on dates, you’ll first need to deal with your own emotions by reflecting on how your mom dating makes you feel. Talk to your mom to avoid misunderstandings, and take steps to maintain your relationship.

Part 1
Part 1 of 3:

Working Out Your Emotions About Your Mom Dating

  1. Perhaps your parents got divorced, were never married and decided to go their separate ways, or maybe your other parent has passed away. There are many reasons parents aren’t able to continue on together, and as their child, it can be hard to accept this reality. Sometimes, when your mom starts dating, it serves as a cold reminder that your parents aren’t and will never be together again.[1]
    • Try to understand that it isn’t up to you whether your parents will be together or not. If your parents are no longer together, then that is how it will be, and you can only try to make the best of the situation.
  2. You may be feeling a lot of different emotions about your mom’s decision to start dating. You may feel betrayed, or angry, sad, scared, or even happy for her. Try to identify all the different feelings that are going on. Try to identify what it is about her dating that is causing each emotion. Thinking deeply about your feelings can help you untangle them. When you talk to your mom about what’s bothering you, you’ll be able to express yourself more clearly.[2]
    • Sometimes it can be helpful to write down all the different emotions you are feeling to keep it all straight.
    • For example, if you write down that you are feeling “betrayed,” follow that thought. What is it about your mom dating that makes you feel betrayed? Do you feel betrayed because you think she is trying to replace your dad and create a new family?
  3. What do you think will happen now that your mom has started dating? Try to imagine and work through different scenarios. Maybe she will meet someone and get married, or maybe she will meet someone and get her heart broken. What role do you play in each of those scenarios?
    • Thinking through different scenarios can be a good way to feel like you have some control over the situation. Ultimately, you really don’t, but it can be helpful to feel like you know what role you will play in several different scenarios.
  4. Dealing with this new situation can be really tough, especially if you feel that you can’t talk to your mom about what’s going on. Instead, talk to a friend or trusted family member about the situation. Tell them why it’s bothering you. They may be able to point out things you hadn’t thought of, or offer guidance.
    • It may be very helpful in this situation to get help from a professional counsellor, who can help you understand what you’re feeling.
    • Avoid talking to your other parent about your mom’s dating. Even if they already know about it, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to approach the subject without putting their own emotions into it.
  5. When your mom is dating, she may make choices that you believe to be poor ones. She may go on dates with lots of different people, she may stay out very late, or she may date people that are obviously wrong for her. However, it is important to recognize and remember that she is an adult who is able to make decisions for herself. She may not always make the best decisions, but they are her mistakes to make, not yours.
    • If your mom has not dated for many, many years try to keep in mind that it is probably a very scary and challenging time for her. Dating can be hard and emotionally draining. Try to remember this and be understanding of the situation.
    • Although it may not feel like it sometimes, you are the child in this relationship. It is not your responsibility to keep your mom from making poor decisions or mistakes.
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Part 2
Part 2 of 3:

Talking to Your Mom About Your Feelings

  1. It’s important when you do this not to accuse your mom of neglecting you or not caring about you. Instead, focus on talking to her about how you feel. Are you feeling scared that you’ll lose her to someone? Maybe you’re worried she will get hurt? Are you worried she is trying to replace your dad? Pinpoint exactly what you’re feeling.[3]
    • Try to do this at a time when you are not fighting with your mom or angry about something. Otherwise, you risk saying things you don’t mean, which may really hurt her feelings.
  2. When you are talking with your mom, this will be the time to address any concerns you have about her decisions related to dating or about the person she is dating. Do this respectfully. It may be helpful to say something like, “I know it is not my place to tell you what to do, but I have noticed that….” Hopefully, this will help her see that you are only trying to look out for her (even though it isn’t your job).
    • For example, if you notice that she often comes home sad after her dates, point this out to her. Say something like, “Mom, I’m trying my best to be understanding of this new chapter in your life, but every time you come home from a date, you seem less happy than when you left. I just want to make sure that you are doing what makes you happy.”
    • Point out any changes you might like to see related to your relationship with her. For example, if you feel like she isn’t spending enough time with you then say, “I understand that going on dates means you won’t be home as often and that’s OK, but I also want to spend time with you. Can we schedule some time where it’s just you and me doing something fun?”
    • Once you have talked about your concerns related to her dating, leave it be. It is OK to do this once to get it out in the open. After that, you should respect that your mom is an adult.
  3. It is just as important to give your mom a chance to express her own feelings. Try to hear what is going on in your mom’s life, and why she wanted to start dating. You may find, for example, that your mom has felt very lonely for a long time, and that dating has made her feel happy and cared for.
    • If you are able to listen, your mom will see that you aren’t just trying to make everything difficult. Listening to your mom’s feelings will also help make her feel like you care, which will hopefully bring you closer together.
  4. If you feel as though talking to your mom will only end in a fight, or that she won’t listen to you, try writing down all of your feelings in a letter. As you would when talking to her, try to be respectful, and avoid accusing her of one thing or another. Just explain how you’re feeling.
    • The advantage here is that it will give her plenty of time to read and re-read your thoughts, and will give her a chance to think about the best way to react to your feelings.[4]
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Part 3
Part 3 of 3:

Maintaining Your Relationship With Your Mom

  1. If you feel like your mom is spending too much time with her new love interest, try asking her if you can spend some time alone together. She may simply not realize that you want to spend time with her too; she may have thought you’d like to have your alone time. Ask if you guys can go see a movie together, or make dinner together.
    • If she tells you that it is a great idea, and that she will invite the new boyfriend along, explain to her that you’d really like to spend some time with just her.
    • If she asks why you want to spend time together in the first place, just tell her that it’s because you love her, and you want to stay close with her.
  2. It can be easy to notice how her new partner is not as good as your other parent. Keep in mind, though, that they’re not there to replace your other parent, so it doesn’t matter if they’re the same or different.
    • Instead, try to notice the things that you really like about your mom’s new partner. Maybe they like going outside and playing catch with you, or maybe they treat your mom really well, and it’s apparent how happy they make your mom. It’s always a good plan to look for the qualities in other people, rather than their flaws.
  3. This is a tough one, but if you are constantly fighting with your mom about her dating, and telling her she shouldn’t do it, then there will be a lot of tension in your relationship. If you can, try to remind her that you love her very much, and that you want her to be happy, but that you also want to have your own time with her too.
    • If you like someone that she is dating, tell her! If you don’t like them, then just try to be polite. You don’t have to be best friends.
  4. Remember that this person isn’t there to replace your dad. They are there because they care about your mom too. You don’t have to treat this person as you would your parent, but treat them as you would any other adult that you have no reason to disrespect. Greet them when you see them and remember to say “please” and “thank you” when necessary.[5]
    • If you give them a chance, you might find that you like them more than you thought you would.
    • This can be scary, and you might feel angry or resentful when you meet this person. If you need to, go to your room for a while to reflect on your encounter with the new person, but try not to be rude.
  5. This can be tempting, but try not to do it. It isn’t fair to your mom or the person she is dating, and it may even be painful for your other parent to hear about it. It may create even more tension between your parents as your dad may question your mom’s ability to make her own decisions.
    • If you feel like you need to vent bad feelings about the person your mom is dating, try writing all of it down in a journal or talking to someone, such as a friend, who is not involved in the situation.
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  • If someone your mom is dating is being physically or verbally abusive either towards your mom or you, or towards one of your siblings, then inform the police.

About This Article

Chandler Chang, PhD
Co-authored by:
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
This article was co-authored by Chandler Chang, PhD. Dr. Chandler Chang is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, the Founder & Owner of Golden Hour Therapy and Therapy Lab, and a Clinical Instructor at the University of Southern California. With nearly 20 years of experience, she specializes in providing evidence-based, science-backed treatments to toddlers, children, teens, families, and adults to target specific mental health problems or cultivate mental wellness. Dr. Chang earned a BA from Princeton University and a PhD in Psychology from The University of Georgia. She completed UCLA's pre-doctoral internship and trained at NYU’s Child Study Center and UGA Regents Center for Learning Disorders. This article has been viewed 71,716 times.
5 votes - 100%
Co-authors: 11
Updated: June 9, 2022
Views: 71,716
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