It was more than a year before she was ready to date.Today, she continues to be discreet even with the twins, who are now 23, and fiercely so with Shana, who is 8. But Friedman would never kiss him in front of her children, and even though the twins are adults, she was careful they didn't see her go off to bed with him."It's still a parent-child relationship," she says."You assume your kids understand that mom needs a life outside of them. "He asked about him almost daily, for months," she says. The problem is not that they get attached to a new person, but that exposure to a parade of new people creates the potential for more loss."At its heart, this is about trust," says psychologist Leah Klungness of Long Island, who specializes in single-parent issues.
That's generally healthy for the adults; it means they're moving on to the next phase of their lives. Marilyn daughters, Shana, and twins Alison and Rachel, were 4 and 19 when she and their father split up after almost 27 years.
Klungness would be careful, even with a teen: "Do you say he was sleeping with someone else? Even when a relationship is going well and children like the person, they may reveal underlying emotions in subtle ways. '' That doesn't make children feel important, it turns them into peers. Have the person sleep over only when children aren't home.
Marilyn Friedman says that whenever she and Shana and Ed play a board game, Shana insists on partnering with her mother, the two of them against Ed. If they unexpectedly show up one morning, be matter-of-fact: ''Joe's here.
After a break-up, be sure you tell children, ''Feelings adults have about each other sometimes change.
Feelings parents have for children never change.'' It only delays the inevitable if your child continues to have contact with a person after you no longer do.