As I mentioned last week, my dad sprung his new girlfriend on me in a dinner where I didn’t know she was going to be attending. Oh…and for the record, neither did she. Oh…and for the record, he did the same thing to my little brother the following night.
So Ankle Biter and I went to visit dad on Sunday, as we normally do every two weeks. When we arrived, I saw that dad and his new girlfriend were sitting outside on the patio.
Wow…now my son was going to meet her.
We hung out on the patio in the sun for an hour or so before lunch. Dad went inside numerous times to check on lunch, and I’m sure there were times where he just wanted his girlfriend and I to talk a little bit.
Again…I need to stress how nice this woman is. I’ve got nothing against her at all. And again…I need to stress that dad’s happiness is so very important to me. He’s lonely…I get that. I don’t begrudge him for dating somebody new. He’s 65, for crying out loud. It’s not like he’s in his 20′s or anything.
But after lunch when we moved into the living room to watch television before visiting my aunt and uncle, that’s when things went from bad to worse for me.
As I sat there, I looked over at the couch where they were sitting. All I could see was mom and dad sitting on the couch, side by side…watching television and talking with me about our lives and what was going on. The same place where mom and dad sat for years. Dad even called her “dear” at one point.
I could barely look over at them.
I had somersaults and butterflies in my stomach. I fell physically nauseated. It finally dawned on me just how I’d been feeling about the whole situation: I’m fine with dad being ready to move on, but I’m definitely NOT ready to move on.
So while I want dad to be happy, I’m just not ready to have this woman so immersed in the family life. My family is my dad, my little brother, my son, my amazing girlfriend and her two girls, and then my extended family and friends. I’m still grieving and getting used to having a life without my mother around. I don’t think poorly of dad for wanting to move on, but I’m just not at the same place that he is…and I don’t know how to deal with that.
I can’t tell him. There’s just no way. I can’t sit in front of him and tell him that I’m not ready to “hang out” with him and the girlfriend. I’m can’t tell him that I’m uncomfortable with my son meeting her at this point…it’s confusing to him (and to me).
I just don’t think I can tell him without him taking it personally or taking it the wrong way. And you know what? I’ve worked too damn hard and have gone through too damn much emotionally to finally have the relationship with my dad that I’ve always wanted to risk it by alienating him in any way, shape, or form.
I mean, I can be honest and tender and gentle and true with him…but I know my dad. He’ll take it personally. He’ll get defensive (like father, like son?). He’ll either put up walls thinking that I’m attacking him for moving on or he’ll say “take it or leave it” and be defiant about the situation. So I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place…my feelings or his.
I went to my aunt and uncle’s and arrived about ten minutes before dad arrived. The group of friends and family that gather every Sunday afternoon proceeded to ask me about her and I was honest…she’s very nice and dad’s happy. I tried to explain that the whole thing is awkward as hell for me…that I’m not wanting to let it affect me but it’s difficult. They all had my back. They all told me that they felt the same way.
But nobody had any answers for me. Nobody knew how to proceed without stepping on toes or making things even more awkward and uncomfortable than they already are. Dad is oblivious to the whole thing…at least that’s how he’s playing it.
So what the hell should I do now? I feel so lost.