Whether your parents are in the middle of a divorce or they’ve already hashed it all out with their Toronto divorce lawyers, they might be headed back into the dating pool. As long as they’re not dating too soon (before their Toronto divorce lawyer has given them the green light), there’s no harm in that. Like most people, you probably want your parents to be happy. But what happens when one of your parents finds a younger—much younger—partner?

Cross-Generational Dating

It’s normal for divorcés to look for connections with new people; in fact, it’s often a healthy part of starting over emotionally. After several meetings with their Toronto divorce lawyer, financial planners and/or mediators, the fact that they want to get out and have a little fun is completely understandable.

Psychologists suggest that older divorcés might view younger partners as less threatening when it comes to emotions. Naturally, attractiveness and energy can also play a factor when divorcés start dating younger partners—despite the discomfort it can cause for the divorcé’s kids.

Recognize Your Parents as Individuals

You might feel like the roles are reversed in your child-parent relationship when your parents date younger partners, but remember that your mom or dad is an individual. They’ve been through a lot and they have feelings, which can be tough for you to handle after a lifetime of being in traditional parent-child roles. Like you, your parents need to feel loved, accepted and useful. Older divorcés often feel like their best years have already passed, so they might try to recapture their youth by dating someone younger.

For some adult children, cross-generational dating can cause a rift in parent-child relations that are tough to overcome. You might view your parent as competition in your own dating pool, or you might feel a bit put-off by their motives. These feelings are completely normal, and it may help to talk about them with your parent before your relationship starts to go downhill.

“Date Someone Your Own Age!”

Many people feel uncomfortable when one of their parents dates someone well outside his or her age range. A few years, or even a decade, might seem preferable to an age gap that spans an entire generation.

Examine the reasons for your discomfort before you talk to your parent(s) so you can have an educated, adult discussion. Bear in mind that the dating scene is scary for you, and imagine what it must be like for your parents. While your discussion might not change the fact that your parent chooses to date outside his or her own generation, most psychologists say that communicating your feelings can pave the way to your eventual acceptance of their behaviours.