When My Widowed Dad Started Dating..

I wasn’t sure I was ever going to bring myself to start writing about a topic so personal and something that I was still struggling with so much. But I figured- If I am struggling with it, maybe it could help someone else to realize that their feelings are normal and they too are having similar thoughts and feelings.

I never thought this would bother me. At least after so many years of my mom being gone and really wanting to see my dad happy. I always thought I would be okay with it. That I would even be happy about it. My dad deserved happiness again. He deserved to get out of the house and do things. Heck, maybe even it would make me feel a little better about having to leave him alone sometimes.

However, the way things appear in our head, aren’t always the way that they happen. Actually, things usually happen in a WAY uglier manner than we think or expect.

And that’s exactly what it was. A very ugly array of emotions and thoughts throwing me for a curveball that I was not ready for. It started with some REALLY ugly crying. To the point that I had to run upstairs to get my emotions out before I could even attempt to talk to him about how I was feeling or even putting words together.

Then came the grief. This part, I’m not sure has really gone away. Another reminder that my mom is NEVER coming back. She died and is gone and is never going to be present in our lives again. My dad is actually moving on. Not that he doesn’t still have love for my mom, but she has been gone long enough that he is actually starting to be with someone that isn’t her. Now that is just a whole other mess of emotions I can’t wrap my head around.

I had never seen my parents with anyone else. Honestly, that is never something I would have even thought I’d ever have to think about. When my mom was alive, I just kind of figured they would always be together until they were really old and I was married with a family of my own. 

And then came the crazy thoughts and the questions. What if my dad got married again? What if some strange woman who isn’t my mom moves into our house? What if my dad and I can no longer do all of the stuff we’ve been doing together for the past years my mom has been going? Do we have to take the pictures of my mom down in the house? Does this mean that he doesn’t love her anymore?

I don’t think I could rationally address all of these questions if I tried. So it turned into a lot of crying, a lot of anger and resentment and somehow trying to throw all of these questions at my dad that I don’t even think he was ready to process himself yet. 

It’s been a lot of conversations that have been uneasy, confusing and straight up difficult. For both of us, I think. It’s been a lot of trying to understand the other person’s views and experiences when the loss that we experienced was totally different. 

And it’s been complicated and confusing…. every single day since. I’m still not sure I’ve even started to process half of what I am feeling. Every day is an emotional rollercoaster for me. I cry a lot. I’m angry a lot. This has been the furthest thing from easy for me.

Sometimes I think I am being unfair to have these emotions. Sometimes I start to get angry at myself for handling this the way I am. But then I remember, I’m human. I have been through hell and back way younger than someone should ever have to and this is HARD. This is another transition and another difficulty that I need to overcome. Not for a second longer will I be hard on myself for these genuine, real, struggles that I am having.

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2 thoughts on “When My Widowed Dad Started Dating..

  1. I just read this. And oh my Gosh I have been trying to figure out what my deal is lately and this is what it is. My mom has been gone 5 years, cancer as well, and as much as i know my dad needs to move on, and as much as I love his gf, i cant help but feel this overwhelming guilt of "forgetting" my mom. Thanks for putting into words what I was feeling and unable to say. You truly are a blessing who needs to be proud of who she is. I read your book through laughter and tears. Our stories, so similar yet so unique so I look forward to your posts. They most always come when I need to read them….

  2. My mom passed away the day after Thanksgiving 2013, not one month after my parent’s 56th anniversary. Like you, I had never seen, or thought of, my parents being with anyone else. We all thought their love was so strong that my dad would not survive her passing. I never wanted him to spend the rest of his life alone. I wanted him to have love, but I also wanted to be able to grieve for my mom during the firsts of the firsts without her, without someone else in the picture. I had left my home in GA for 2 years and moved in with my parents during my mom’s illness; ovarian cancer. I had been there for them during every hurdle they faced. After my mom died, my dad had a few stressful months, but was dating within 6 months. On the first birthday after my mom’s passing, he proposed to a woman I had known my entire life. My mom had hardly been gone a year when they were married. I knew he had been dating, but had no idea he had gotten serious. None of us did. Needless to say, I didn’t handle the engagement on my mom’s birthday well. I never got to talk to him about it because my oldest daughter questioned him and he blocked communication from all of us. He went so far as to file a police report on me for changing flowers on my mom’s grave. My sister who had not been a part of our lives for over 30 years became his confidante. He disinherited me, and removed me as his power of attorney. Those things didn’t bother me because I had tried to get him to spend his money on him and my mom while she was alive and able to enjoy life. I not only lost my mom, but my dad as well. He eventually unblocked my phone but will not talk to me. Nor will he answer any texts I send to him on special days or holidays. Yet he continues to tell his family, my paternal side, that I no longer wanted to be in his life after he got engaged. Nothing is further from the truth. I just needed time to process it all….time he wasn’t willing to give me. My heart breaks for what should have been, but our relationship irreparable. And that makes me sad.

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