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Bryan, 23, kept repeating that he could no longer “trust” her. “I thought I was close to my children, but suddenly I felt like I didn’t understand them at all.” Why Grown Kids Don’t Like Your New Partner Throwing a hissy fit is a natural youthful reaction to divorced parents’ dating, says Dr. Lieberman, a psychiatrist in Beverly Hills, Calif., who is on the clinical faculty at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.
Both children were so insistent that she put off the wedding for at least a year that she did, reluctantly. Unfortunately, this behavior doesn’t always end after a child is in his 20s.
I figure it was just teen rebellion, and the fact that I wasn't her real dad, who she really didn't know well. She would try on different perfumes and get me to smell her neck.
I supported her at times when she and her mom were at odds. But it was like she only knew me when she needed me for something.
“She may feel her dad prefers the ‘other’ woman to both her mom and herself,” Lieberman says. Itamar Salamon, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
“Children, even when they’re grown, get attached to being important in their single parents’ lives, and they resent it when someone gets between them and the parent.” (MORE: How to Tell Your Adult Children You’re Divorcing) On top of the emotional reaction, Salamon says, adult children may also have anxiety about their parent’s ability to help out financially, as well as their own anticipated inheritance, which creates resistance to the prospect of their parents partnering up.
“But the next time I visited them, Pat was showing off her new emerald-cut sapphire ring.
“You’re our family,” Amy, then 25, yelled at her mother over the phone.
At first, her two 20-something sons were fine with her new husband — until they settled into relationships of their own.
“Both of their significant others don’t like my husband,” Anne says.
“One calls him a leech, just because he doesn’t have as much money as I do.
The other says he’s boring and that she’d rather be with interesting people.” Lieberman says: “Anne needs to realize that this is probably an expression of her children’s fear or jealousy.” Her advice: Acknowledge their feelings and try to talk it out, or, if they’re not willing or mature enough, to learn to live with it and minimize stressful family get-togethers until they are.6 Tips to Ease the Transition With a New Partner Life with kids is never easy, even when they’ve grown up and moved out.
And, given that boomer divorce rates are on the rise, increasing numbers of parents are likely to experience disapproval from their adult kids when Cupid’s arrows land.