Q. My adult kids think everyone I spend time with is a potential partner. No matter if I am just meeting a new male friend from my hiking group for coffee, they think it’s my next big romance, and the introductions become very awkward. I reassure them that it’s nothing, but they don’t seem to accept it. A good friend’s wife passed away three months ago. His family is stationed out of the country, and this will be his first Thanksgiving alone. I mentioned that I would like to invite him for Thanksgiving dinner and my oldest daughter had a fit. She automatically assumed he’s my new guy and does not want him sitting at our table so soon. My thoughts are we are supposed to reach out to our friends and loved ones on a holiday like Thanksgiving. But she will have none of it. What’s good ex-etiquette?
A. Most family holidays are steeped in tradition, and many family members, particularly adult children, like to keep it that way — especially after a parental breakup when family members cling to the way it used to be and long for a sense of unity. However, without the proper preparation, the kids (of all ages) are inclined to see their parents’ new partners as interlopers and simply resent that they are being included in their holiday without knowing them well enough to attend. Bottom line, moving too quickly could interfere with the potential bond between a new partner and your children. That’s why timing for introductions is so important.