My love life divides my twin daughters: Ask Ellie

Q: My 14 year old twin daughters disagree about my dating as a now single mother. A daughter likes me to be attractive to other men, although she still likes her father.

She’ll check my outfit/hair/makeup and comment on what she says “works” or doesn’t. I find it amusing, disturbing too.

My other daughter is angry that I date men other than her father. She’ll smash the door before the date arrives to take me to his car, or she’ll stay to examine him and ask if he’s divorced.

What’s worse is that the girls argue about it and their usual agreement on most issues is broken. Sometimes they even yell at each other about it.

I am 38 years old. I love my job and I love being a mother. I have been divorced for four years. I only started going out last year, and only occasionally, as I need to have dinner/dinner with my daughters.

There were only three men that I saw in person more than once. I liked one more than the others, but I wasn’t ready to get serious (he was).

My ex has a girlfriend that my daughters met. They don’t say anything bad about her or their father who found someone so “early”. They seem to find this relationship “normal”. But somehow, my dating gets criticism from one girl and too much interest from the other.

I first thought that our mother-daughter closeness would carry us through the post-divorce changes. They still live in the same house as me, see their dad every weekend, and they spent time with him (and her) for two weeks in the summer. He also calls them once a week and attends teacher conferences with me.

But I worry about their divided attitude towards my date. I feel like this indicates that my older daughter is blaming me for the divorce and my slightly younger daughter has too much interest/curiosity about it.

I’m afraid this split opinion will affect their closeness as twins. What can I do to prevent this and help them just accept that my association is normal? Or should I stop for a moment?

Divorced Mom Dating

A:There is an important lesson here for your daughters in their early teens – that their mother is a beautifully independent single woman, socializing periodically, while still maintaining a busy and responsible life as a mother.

And your “dates” have been with the few men you wanted to get to know a little better. You are also open with your girls about who they are and the standards you set, having them come to your house to take you rather than meeting them elsewhere, without the girls meeting anyone and possibly feeling worried about you.

In fact, the way you go about your “personal” life is an example of post-divorce thinking for your children and for yourself.

However, 14-year-old girls can be very sensitive to social behavior, especially when it comes to dating and relationships (and sex is something they think about).

Perhaps true to their core nature, they view your encounters differently. So they may each need to hear different points of view.

Girls should be told that your divorce does not mean that you are looking for another partner. Reassure them both that you live a life where they always come first and that you will until they grow up to be empowered, confident young women.

If their relationship becomes more strained, discuss it yourself with a therapist. If recommended, ask the girls if they are interested in attending.

Ellie’s tip of the day

Twins usually have a special relationship bond. Serious separations need to be handled thoughtfully by the parents and may also benefit from professional counseling if the twins are in agreement.

Ellie Tesher is a Toronto-based Star advice columnist. Email your relationship questions to: [email protected]

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