dating, teen, parent, aarp, girlfriend
Manon De Jong
Manon De Jong
Parenting

I Am Open With My Teens About My Dating Life, And This Is Why

After all, I'm in my sexual prime.

I have the Bumble dating app on my phone and I kind of love it — women make the first move by sending a message after matching with someone. There are evenings when I sit with my teenagers and talk to them about my matches or recent dates.

"Why are you talking to so many men?" my 13-year-old daughter asked me one evening while she saw me swiping.

"Well, you know how you have school and friends? And you are able to talk to different boys and sometimes you develop a crush? Well, since I don't know any divorced men, and I work from home, this makes it easier to get to know people my age who want to go on dates and see if we like each other."

I've been very open with my three teenagers about my dating life: They know I go on dates, and they know the names of the men I am meeting. They also know I am safe about it. I explain how I always get a last name and let someone know where I will be going, whom I will be with, and that I will call them when I'm in my car before I head for home.

Parents always need to lead by example, and my dating life is no exception.

They know I've had dates with people that went well, and dates where there was no chemistry and we never saw each other again. And honestly, they know their mother and can tell when I have a crush on someone — and I see no reason to snuff those wonderful feelings. I am a human being, after all.

While I don't get into unnecessary details with my children, I've always felt if I tried to keep my dating life hidden away from them like some filthy secret, that would send the message I was ashamed about it, and I am not.

My kids want me to be happy, and I'm open about the fact I'd like to fall in love again someday and have a partner. They’ve told me they don't want me sitting home alone all the time when they are with the father almost half the time.

But also, have you ever tried hiding things from your teenagers? I mean, it's impossible — and I literally don't have the energy to work, raise the three of them, and try and keep a secret about meeting a man named Michael for dinner on a Saturday night. They notice the new top and the extra mascara, and they are on to me.

I coach my kids through relationships and heartbreak. I tell them not to be afraid to fall in love and let someone know how they feel about them, even though it can be scary.

I am a woman who has had three kids who will be off and running soon, I am in my sexual prime, I feel amazing about myself and my life, and there is no reason to hide the fact I like male company and I am looking for my person to share my second chapter with me.

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dating, teen, parent, aarp, girlfriend
Manon De Jong