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My father moved on very quickly after my mother died and I don't like his partner

Tagged as: Family, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (31 March 2020) 9 Answers - (Newest, 19 May 2020)
A female Australia age 30-35, anonymous writes:

Dear Cupid.

So my mother passed away almost a year and a half ago, (November 2018) I’m an only child and still very hurt over it for reasons.

4 months after my mother moved out of the family home in 2016 he met a woman and she moved in quit quickly.

Anyway last year not even a year after my mother’s passing, had they got engaged.

But here’s the real issue....she has a grandchild and one on the way and my dad is a “step parent” and gets called “pop” now I’m upset about this because I don’t have children yet and seeing him with her grandchildren upsets me.

Anyway, what really upsets me is that last night they were having a conversation where it went with her saying she had baby sat, to which I said to my dad “well that’s something you will be doing when I have kids” well I was talking to him, not her and she goes “well your dad is already a step grandparent” but the thing is, she brings up her children and grandchildren whenever she gets the chance at me. I only see her as my dads “partner” not fiancé or future wife, and see her as a gold digger. I haven’t liked her since I met her when he met her in those 4 months of my dad meeting her, and that’s probably due to the fact of how inappropriate they were at a family event with my dads side of the family, the fact she moved on so quick claiming she had no where to go which she did....and well always bringing up her children and grandchildren whenever she gets the chance....

I don’t see myself ever giving her a special name for my kids to call her except for her actual name.

Call me ungrateful but I am hurting over the fact my own mother isn’t around and will never get to experience what my dad will probably never have anything to do with because he likes her children and her grandchildren better ??

On top of that. I feel I can never bring up my mother when she is around and she gets quit “jealous” if I ever talk about her to my father....

I can honestly see myself having my own children and actually never having anything to do with my father because he will be too busy with her family and her grand children...

It also upsets me that he treats her better then he ever treated my mother...

View related questions: engaged, her ex, moved in, moved out

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A female reader, hilary United Kingdom +, writes (19 May 2020):

hilary agony auntYour father is not hurting you on purpose. He can be tactless,he can be caught up in his new life, but it is not meant to hurt you in anyway, do not take it personally. Imagine if you had been happy and then lonely and then found someone who made you feel alive again, would you embrace it and make the most of it or would you be so concerned about others not approving or being unhappy about it that you let it go?Your father must know that he has this one chance of happiness. He will probably never get another. He has to make the most of it. You have your own life to lead, he cannot just sit there waiting for your calls and visits, he has to have a life of his own.

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A female reader, Aunty BimBim Australia +, writes (1 April 2020):

Aunty BimBim agony auntYour dad had already been living with his partner for nearly 2 years when your mother passed away, so really, if you were expecting some sort of mourning period from him after she died you were being a bit unrealistic.

From personal observations many children, even adult children, notice their fathers treating new partners much better than they treated their mother's, maybe the father's have made the decision not to make the same mistakes twice.

If you want a good respectful and loving relationship with your father you are going to have to accept his new wife / partner. You don't have to like her but she does deserve you treating her with respect and politeness.

Its possible most of her conversations are about her children and grandchildren because they are what are important to her. It is good to see they have accepted your father as a part of their lives and families and have given him the title of "Pop".

As for her getting jealous if you bring up your mother, that would depend on context, if you are injecting your mother into conversations because you believe she has more "right" than this lady and her family then I can understand her being a bit put off.

You say quite clearly you have never liked her from when you first met her. I think you simply haven't given her a chance.

If you want your father to be part of your future children's lives then you need to accept the fact he comes with a ready built in Nana for them. why deny any children you have the ability to interact with, and be loved by, your father. He is not going to park his wife somewhere for an hour or so every week so that he can play grandad to your children without her being included, its not going to happen. Besides which, do you really want a man who would disrespect his partner like that to be heavily involved in your children's lives?

Your father is not a belonging that was taken from you and your mother. He will be fully aware of your feelings towards his chosen partner. If it comes to a choice who do you think he would pick?

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (1 April 2020):

Men do tend to do this when their wives die . Statistically men are more likely to move on more quickly after the death of a wife and also after divorce . Why ? Who knows . Does it mean men are less empathetic or have less emotions and feelings for their partners than women and are less sentimental , possibly

However none of this takes away the deep love you have and will always have for your mother . None of this makes her any less special and nothinb he of his new wife does makes any statement about her value

She can never be replaced no matter how it may look and any attempt he has made to replace her will always be futile because she is unique and she is your mother

No one can ever take that away . No one

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A female reader, mystiquek United States + , writes (31 March 2020):

mystiquek agony auntI lost my father 6 years ago. I was lucky he lived to be 84. My father was my rock. I loved him dearly and I still think of him and miss him every day. My parents were married for 53 years. My mother moved in with her "first love" 3 months after my dad passed away. My sister and I were devastated. It hurt so much especially since my mother couldn't stop talking about how happy she was, how much better this man treated her than my father. My father was a good kind man and everything my mother said was like a knife going into my heart BUT...I didn't have the right to wish my mother to be lonely. My parents did not have the best marriage they fought alot and my sister and I knew it. Who was I to begrudge my mother happiness? My dad was gone and he couldn't be hurt by how she was living. I learned to accept my mom's new man.

Don't turn away from your father. He is still your dad and he loves you. He just doesn't want to be alone. Its really hard to be old and be alone sweetie. Try to at least tolerate his lady. You don't have to love her or call her mom but if she makes your dad happy can she be that bad? Love your mom, cherish her memory and always keep her in your heart but please allow your dad to be happy even if it hurts you. In time maybe you'll even learn to like his lady. Please try and see it from your dad's point of view. I'm sure he loved your mom..he's just sad and lonely dear. Doesn't everyone deserve a chance for love/companionship?

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy +, writes (31 March 2020):

CindyCares agony aunt Of course it is very sad that your poor mom did not get the chance to be a grandmother to your children, and it is natural that you regret that, and that it makes you sad.

Not that it makes you bitter, though.

It is not your father's fault nor his fiancee' fault if your mom is dead. Life goes on, - theirs , and yours. Unluckily your mom is not here anymore , at least on a physical plan, to enjoy the company of her loved ones ; but, same as this does not prevent YOU ( and rightly so ! ) from appreciating life and making plans for your future… it does not prevent them either ( father and his partner ). Why should it .

As for " moving on too soon "... it may feel like this to a daughter but, well, objectively, it is debatable. To soon why ? Your mother had left your father ( or viceversa ) in 2016. Your father got engaged in 2019 . 3 years. How long was he supposed to wait ?

I could understand that if he had re-married not even one year after losing his wife, that would feel rushed and even disrespectful. But his marriage , either legally or de facto, had been terminated in 2016. I think is a bit too much to expect from a man to mourn years and years … for an EX wife. You are the daughter amd you feel still in bereavement , and that's natural . But if your father and , least of all , his new partner, do not feel the same- this does not make them per se bad people or heartless or culpable of something !

If someone told you, ok, you've lost your mom, so now you can't love any more, you can't have sex anymore, you can 't seek companionship and affection anymore … you'd tell him : your are tripping, pal, WTF ?

So I don't understand why ,in your eyes, your father did or does something wrong by having a close loving relationship

with this woman ( and her kids and grandkids ) after your mother's death. Ok, I understand it, that's your grief talking- but grief can be very irrational, and unjust toward people.

As for him preferring her kids and grandkids to those you will have :... aw come on. That's paranoia. That's being morbid. And biased. Is your dad a notorious jerk, to make you think like that ? Or is he an average, regular , normal

dude- with a heart that can take in more than one kid at a time ? WHY should he prefer his step grandkids to your children ? why can't he love them equally ? How do you know for a fact that he will be too busy with her family to see yours ?

Unless… unless you force him, in a way, by being openly hostile and disrespectful to his partner. I don't know this woman, maybe she is a gold digger and does deserve your distaste- or maybe, you are just an only child who is a bit jealous of her dad and does not want to " share " him. Either way, I think you should still respect your father's choice, wish him the best and try not to make waves and not to put a wedge between them.

( like, by bringing up your mother more than just occasionally in front of this woman. It depends : if you just mention, coincidentally, " That must have been just before Mom and I went to UK… " that's fine. If you want your father to follow you in a long, fond walk down memory lane, … no please. Don't do it. it's not appropriate, it's not polite . )

You don't have to love this woman, or even like her, or make your kids call her Nana or whatever. You don't have to be closer than you feel comfortable with, visit them more than you see fit, show , or encourage your future kids to show, any particular affecton. A civil , serene formality will be Ok. Be as detached as you wish. Just it is wiser if you abstain from antagonizing her , keep being respectful and avoid forcing your father to choose between the rwo of you. It will be better for everybody concerned, and , who knows, she may volunteer to babysit your kids too any time you want….

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A reader, anonymous, writes (31 March 2020):

I am very sorry for the loss of your mother. It is one of the most heartbreaking and horrendous experiences that could happen to you in your lifetime. I know, it happened to me when I was only 17. My youngest-brother was only 2 years-old! He had a wonderful nanny, and doesn't really remember my mother. All he has is her pictures and our lovely stories.

Dad had a great job, and remained a single-parent even up until he retired. He was a good-looking man, I know the ladies liked him. Why not? He was a good man, and a good father to us.

I know how it feels to lose your mother. My father never remarried. He hired a nanny (I had younger siblings), and a housekeeper. Neighbors first saw the nanny, and thought my dad had gone-out and replaced my mother only a few months after she died too! He got nasty looks! I was never aware if he had ever dated anyone seriously after she passed-away. It would not have bothered me if he had! I knew how much he loved my mother; but I never wanted him to be alone. I modeled, then joined the Air Force; and after that, I got an appointment and attended college at a military academy. After I moved-away, I really didn't keep tabs on his love-life.

He spent a lot of time at his church, doing beautiful woodwork (his hobby), and playing golf in his spare-time. Oh, did he love golf! He passed-away in 2003. Years after mom!

You are a young-adult, and mature enough to understand that people handle their grief in their own way. Your father is the head of his household, king of his own castle, and in the position to make whatever decisions he deems best for himself in his own life. As an adult, you have that same right. You choose when and with whom, you wish to love and share your life. It may not please your parents or others. As I know teenagers, growing-up, you probably didn't always pick guys your parents would have chosen for you. If they had tried to keep you apart, you would have found a way to be with him anyway! Pardon my presumption, if you are the exception to what seems to be common for most people.

If the situation was reversed, he'd have no right to decide when you should be over your mother; or decide when you should find a man to love and marry, or have kids. Unless it is a cultural-tradition; you get to choose whom you'll date or marry. You would not want his interference otherwise. In many cultures, particularly patriarchal-societies; men take wives shortly after his wife passes-away, or a divorce (i.e. Orthodox Judaism). There was a time in the middle-east that the husband's brother was required to replace him in marriage after his death. Imagine that!

I don't know, maybe you have every right to decide to tell him what to do; and when it would be appropriate to see somebody else. Maybe you stepped right out of the cradle; got a job, supported yourself, and your parents. You were a perfectly obedient-child; who never once got into trouble. Always dated the right-guys; and never once did you hurt their feelings, or misbehave.

I can't disagree that it would be more considerate of your father to be aware of your grief for your mother; and show more sensitivity as you grapple with your loss and bereavement. Yet that could take years! Sometimes people can't deal with being alone and assume rushing into a new relationship will heal their grief and fill the void. Others will frown on it, but really...it's nobody's business! Nobody's!

You don't really know the underlying-issues and covert-details within your parents' marriage. Your children shouldn't be privy to, nor adversely-affected by, your marital-problems. Sometimes people remain together for the sake of their children, sometimes they just decide to stick it out, through hell or high-water! Not all people believe in getting a divorce. If you are unaware of what's happening in your father's mind and heart; looking only on the surface, you may think the worse. Unless you consider how they got along, and know the true character and personality your father possesses. That should be fully-considered before judging him harshly. If he was or is a jerk; then it should come as no surprise. Regardless, what can you do about it? Nothing! Just get in the way and cause trouble. Right? You don't even have to deal with his girlfriend, unless you want to. Even if it hurts his feelings? That's okay, if it gets even...right? No!

I think it would be best you should be respectful of his chosen mate. You don't have to like her, her kids, or her grandchildren. If you are a mean, judgy, and bitter person; then it is likely they will not like you either. Justifiably, I would say! It's best you be on your best-behavior, if you love your dad! He's your only remaining-parent; and you should try to get along for his sake. Hold your tongue, and bear with it!

Your father thinks he has found love again. Only time will tell if that is true. He could fall out of love just as quickly; if these are rebound-feelings, and he's trying to suppress his guilt and grief by quickly starting a relationship with another woman. You should relax, sit-back, and see how this all goes. You should also mind your own business and keep your negative-opinions to yourself. Otherwise, you justify your father sticking his nose in your business; when you choose a jerk for a boyfriend, or as a husband. You are not a child! You know better!

I fully understand how this hurts. I also feel your resentment could be misplaced; and being a thorn in your father's side to demonstrate your disapproval would be unfair. It could develop estrangement between you and your father. Let the lady speak of her children and grandchildren all she likes. She has every right to speak of the people she loves! She can brag until the cows come home! What's it to you?

How can she stop you from speaking of your mother? Unless you're just being belligerent, and throwing it up in her face to show your disdain for her! I can only speculate from your post how much you dislike her; but considering your grief, it would be understood. Only, it would be more appropriate behavior for a teenager, or a younger child!!! Not someone your age! Aside from your grief, you are very much out-of-line.

Casting aspersions on this woman out of your resentment reflects badly on you and your character. It doesn't necessarily mean she's a bad-person; assuming your father is old enough, and man enough, to have judgement and discernment. He's not a child either! If he chose your mother, whom you love dearly; it means he has it in him to choose whom he feels to be right for him. It would matter if you were still a youngster living at home. Not being an adult, and able to make your own decisions; and having the right to live wherever she pleases... and be with whomever she chooses!

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (31 March 2020):

Honeypie agony auntI what it is like to lose my mom and my dad moved on fast too afterwards, however, I was much older than you and my dad was too.

You dad moved on because he HAD a good wife, good life, and didn't WANT to be alone. He knows what it's LIKE to have a happy home. He wants someone to take care of him, to make him feel like he matters.

You don't have to like her. But if you don't, my advice is to hide it, and do it well. YOU don't get to choose who he wants to date or even marry. Same as HE doesn't get to choose YOUR partner.

She brings up her children and grandchildren either because she LOVES them, and that is what mom's do. Brag about their kids!

Or she knows it nettles you and she likes to see you squirm. I can't tell, because your description of her is VERY biased against her. (not that I blame you). And she probably feel quite hurt when you EXCLUDE her and talk about your mom. So NEITHER of you are really playing fair here. Putting your dad in the middle.

Don't compare her to your mom. Ever. They are two different women all together.

As for how he treats her, you are again comparing. You have no idea how he treated your mother when they were just starting out, right? Over time things can change. And maybe he is treating HER better because he knows he wasn't always a great husband.

And then there are your OWN future kids. ONE day when you have some he will LOVE them dearly. Because they are part of you. I am PRETTY sure he will have enough LOVE for ALL the kids, whether they are yours or her daughters. And you know what? ALL the kids deserve some love. You don't have to be blood to love some kids.

Lastly, maybe take your dad out to dinner JUST the two of you. Like once a month. I think it would give you opportunity to talk about your mom (not his new partner) and anything else you JUST want to share with him. She can do without him for a meal here and there.

Just remember your DAD is a grown man. He has to make his own choices and his OWN mistakes. Maybe this woman will work out for you dad, maybe she won't. But he doesn't deserve to be alone because YOU miss your mom.

You have a mom sized hole in your heart, he has a wife sized one. Think about it.

And the very last bit of advice I want to give you, is work on your grief. Losing a parent hurts. And it will for a long long time. It's been over 10 years since I lost my mom and I still hurt, but not as badly. She was my rock.

IT IS OK to love your mom, and to miss her. Don't let that make you bitter that your dad doesn't WANT to be alone and lonely. That he wants to be loved and needed by a partner again.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom +, writes (31 March 2020):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntI’m sorry you’re hurting and I’m sorry for your loss. I have a few comments:

• he’s an adult and getting engaged less than year after your mother died will hurt, but they weren’t even a couple when she passed

• have a chat with your dad about how you’re feeling, without her around, but do NOT slam her or him because he will get defensive. He had emotionally moved on from your mother for over a year before she passed, so he won’t feel the way you do or the way someone would feel when their partner dies

• if you have children and he treats them differently to his “step” grandchildren, then keep contact to a minimum

You’re feelings are valid. However, it’s been a while since your mum passed and even longer since they split up and he found love with someone else. It’s time to accept him as your dad, not as your mum’s ex. That includes accepting that he has a fiancée. Talk about your mum with him in private, not in front of her. It would be nice if she could hear about your mum without getting jealous, but she may sense your hostility and that would make most people jealous/uncomfortable. Don’t disrespect her or her relationship with your dad because of your pain over your loss.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (31 March 2020):

Widower who hook up fast after their wives die usually had good marriages.The guy gets lonely and want to be happy again and thinks a replacement for his deceased wife will do the trick.Yes this hurts but try not to take it so personally.If the new wife treats you badly or your kids badly then distance yourself.Sometimes a little distance can do wonders.Someday when the newness of this relationship wears off be there for your dad.Seen this happen so many times as I am old.Be patient...this is your dad's way of greaveing.....give him time.Do not let the love he thinks he has for her right now destroy the real love he has for you.Give it time...Do not worry....It will work out in the end....just be there for your dad when he finally gets it.

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