After my wife passed away a number of years ago, a second marriage was not on mind. Recently, though, I have been redd a number of shidduchim and I am ready to consider it. However, my fifteen-year-old daughter has told me in no uncertain terms that she does not want me to get re-married. I understand how the prospect of re-marriage could be difficult for her to deal with. I was wondering if any of the panelists have dealt with this in the past and can offer suggestions for deftly navigating this in a way that allows me to live my life while making sure that my daughter is okay.
The matter of a second marriage after the passing of a spouse, and in particular when one has teen-age children, is no simple one. It is quite natural for a widow or widower to want to get remarried after some time has passed, and it is equally natural for a child to feel that a “new” mother or father is a great disrespect to their biological parent.
To the child, it can come across as if their deceased mother or father is being replaced and their memory being tossed aside, and it can be near impossible for the child to see the need of their living parent to remarry. It asks a great deal of a child to comprehend this need, especially when it conflicts so deeply with their own feelings, and even more so during their teen-age years when so much change is occurring within themselves as it is.
Such situations demand the involvement of those who know all parties well and can help guide them through this stage of life. Without knowing you or your daughter, I do not feel I could responsibly give you direction other than to strongly recommend that you take the time to speak at length about the matter with your daughter, and to do so with the help of a trusted rov, teacher and perhaps even a professional therapist.
B’ezras Hashem, they will be able to help you and your daughter decide on a plan of action together – based on a complete and mutual understanding of each of your needs and points of view – and assist you in moving forward from there. The process should not be rushed, and you should each take the requisite time needed in order to proceed on to the next steps from a place of mutual understanding and respect.
May Hashem help you and your daughter to successfully take this next step in life together, and may it be b’shalom ub’shalva.