So…my dad’s dating someone now

I talked to my dad last night to shoot the breeze a little bit, as we’re doing now on a regular basis.  In fact, our relationship has never been better since mom passed away…and that’s something that has left the both of us extremely happy.

As we’re talking, dad casually mentioned that he has been on a few “coffee dates” with a woman that he went to high school with.

My immediate reaction?  “Oh…okay.”

I think he was expecting something different, but that was all I had at the time.  He went on to tell me the story of how they reconnected within the last couple of weeks and who she is as a person. He seemed to think she was a very nice lady…independent, attractive, and easy to talk with.

He hadn’t told my little brother yet, but knew he could feel safe telling me.  I told him that I support his happiness 100% and will continue to do so.

Truth is, my gut is telling me that I’m really hurt by this. Mom passed away in February…it just seems “wrong” to already be dating somebody. 

My head, however, is quite clear on the issue.  Mom and dad were married over 40 years.  When she died, a massive hole entered dad’s life. He’s been so lonely…to the point that I’ve considered moving back to my home town just to be closer to him…that all he was looking for was companionship to fill that hole in his life.

And unless I’ve been in that situation myself, there is no way in the world that I could ever judge him for that.

I can’t even begin to put myself in that position and try to understand what he’s been going through over the past few months. I know what I’ve been going through, and it’s been hard enough for me to get through things…I can’t begin to understand what losing your soulmate of 40+ years would feel like.

And knowing mom, I think she would be okay with this.  I mean, dad is 65 now…life is short enough without throwing health issues into the mix. If he wants to find someone to be his “special friend” and spend his final years with so that he’s not alone, who am I to say otherwise?

I’m not happy about the situation, but I’m alright with dad being happy because his happiness is what’s important to me.  He has already said that no woman could ever “replace” mom…but I know that already.  I don’t have ANY doubts on how dad felt about mom, so that’s not even entering my mind right now. 

He just doesn’t want to be alone…and I’m fine with that.


16 thoughts on “So…my dad’s dating someone now

  1. What an interesting post. I had never thought about what it would feel like to a (grown) kid when their parent found someone new to spend time with.

    You write beautifully; I’m sure it feels odd, but to give your father your OK to be happy and not lonely .. is the gift of a loving son.

    PS — My condolences on the loss of your mother.

    – MJ

  2. I read this as I was heading out the door this morning and I thought about it the entire walk to work.

    And honestly? I’ve gotta call bullshit on this post.

    Sure you love your dad and you want him to be happy and not lonely. I think it’s a perfectly natural reaction to feel upset, confused, and even a little bit angry at this situation. It feels to me like you’re trying to convince yourself to be okay with something that you’re not really ok with.

    Supporting your dad and wanting him to be happy doesn’t mean that you have to be okay with what he’s doing. You’re allowed to be quietly upset about this and work through your own feelings about the matter while still supporting him. Supporting him and loving him and accepting him doesn’t mean that you need to be ok with everything that he’s doing.

    I think that you would do yourself a huge favour if you allowed yourself to be more honest about how this is making you feel – even if it’s just to yourself and to those that you love and trust. You don’t HAVE to be ok with it….and to me, this whole post sounded like you were trying to convince yourself of just that.

    I know that this is tough for you….as it would be for anyone. Just work through your feelings in a safe way with those who love you.


  3. I agree with Sunshine it is okay to not be okay with it. Yes being happy he is happy one thing, but let yourself feel and understand them.

  4. Ouch…this one stings knowing that if it were me, I would not be okay with it either. I think there is truth in the comments here, in that sure, you may not want to tell your dad outright that you’re not okay with it, but it’s ok to work through those feelings yourself, because they may just end up festering and getting worse o n the inside. Good luck…

  5. I’m wondering why you feel the need to be ok with this? I read this post first thing this morning and also thought about it.

    While I’ve not been in your situation before (have come close to losing parents, but did not)…it seems that you can still support you father and work through your own feelings at the same time such as some of the other commenters have suggested.

    I think the important thing is to be there for your Dad…BUT also…be true to yourself. I understand that this may be difficult…and will likely require that you choose to only be 100% truthful in front of a trusted circled of friends. Sometimes life requires that….requires that we compartmentalize for everyone’s benefit.

    I think, from re-reading this post, that you are looking for us to say that is is OK for you to not be ok…..I hope you get that we support you in this. It’s ok…to not be ok and still continue to love and support your Dad.

  6. The bottom line, for me, is that I may not agree with his decision but I’m in no position to say so. I’m not in his place…I haven’t lost my best friend and have had to be alone every night after 40 years of marriage.

    So from MY point of view, it’s hurtful. But this isn’t about me…it’s about my dad and HIS happiness. So I’m going to have to disagree with some of these comments.

    This isn’t about me, so I don’t feel I should make it that way.

    1. No one is telling you that you should make this about you. We’re just telling you that you’re entitled to feel less than positively about this. That doesn’t mean that you should approach your dad or do anything other than what you’re doing – which is supporting him and loving him regardless. The problem that I see here is that you’re trying to deny your feelings to yourself by saying that you’re okay with something you’re clearly NOT okay with.

      You’re allowed to not be okay with this and still love and support your father. The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. People we love do things we disagree with or are hurt by ALL THE TIME. All that we can do sometimes is smile and tell them what they want to hear.

      This may not be about you, but the bottom line is that is IS affecting you. Why not just own up to that and deal with it?

    2. Hmm…. When I read your post it seemed to me that you are facing your feelings and even expressed clearly that it doesn’t make you happy but your dad’s happiness comes first. So it seems like you have already owned your feelings. I’m a bit confused! Would it benefit either your dad or you to tell your dad that it makes you unhappy? I love that you put your dad first. I agree with your take on this.

  7. Well, I too feel that you’re entitled to your feelings about this… whatever they are. I can also see where your dad would want a companion. The most difficult thing about visiting my grandfather is seeing how lonely he is after losing his soulmate of 70 years. He simply cannot function. He doesn’t want a thing to be moved in the house. He doesn’t want any of her things gone or taken away. He won’t even consider moving into an assisted living center because he feels if he leaves their home, he’s leaving HER. Yet, when I see him, he reminds me how he’s alone all the time. He tells me how he just wants to be around people. He’s thrilled when I’m there and devastated when I leave.

    I’m excited for your dad to find someone to connect with. Absolutely no one will be able to replace your mom… but, just as with a divorce, it just feels good to have someone to relate to again. Don’t ya think?

    We all need friends. We all need relationships.

    You, again, are entitled (and expected!) to be uncomfortable with it. It’s weird to see your parent with someone other than your other parent. (As a child of divorce, I can definitely relate!) However, when the newness wears off, and you realize that your parent is smiling again… and you don’t worry so much….well… that’s worth something.

    ((hugs)) to you, my sweet friend.

  8. I completely agree with Starthrower. I read this and had to come back and post a comment. My bf has an adult child who is struggling with our relationship. She makes it clear to her dad that she is not ok with our being together and making life plans, even though we have been together for over a year and a half. Her dad and her mom split up when she was still a toddler, and she doesn’t talk to her dad much, maybe once every 2-3 months. It is hurtful to him when she acts this way, even though she obviously has a right to her own feelings. I think the mature response would be to recognize your feelings (which you have done here), and support your dad in his happiness (which you have also done). Bravo, CBG.

  9. I had to think about this…

    I have lost a husband and then a father. There are different types of feelings around losses. Losing my father was a different feeling than losing my husband. Knowing this, I have to say that the love you and your dad have for your mom will continue forever…thats a good thing, as long as it is in a positive way, and not a depressed way. The potential for new love for your father is a good thing…if he is ready for it. Companionship is one of the cornerstones in most people’s lives, it could be that it is a dog, a wife, a boyfriend, or a penpal. The biggest thing that comes with companionship is trust. “I trust you, so i can tell you these secrets, these thoughts, these feelings. ” When I started seeing my new husband, I was on the other side of the pissed off people who didn’t like I had “moved on”. Life is short! I knew for 6 months that my husband would die…I had time to prepare, to pre-greive.
    My dad passing away was like knife stabs in my heart. I knew him, trusted him, and loved him for my whole life. He was my exact personality type, logical, funny, happy, smart…Not a companion, but a role-model, an educator, … My step-mom has not told us that she has found someone new…but I think she would be scared to tell us if she did. I feel like telling her, “life is short…be happy”.

    So, you are in the norm of people who are disappointed with their loved ones “moving on”. But the fact that you are prepared to accept this becasue your dad is happy, shows you are empathetic…You NEVER know what shoes other people are walking in, to even know how you have to walk…Going from a stilletto to a runner takes a BIG heart!

  10. Ya, same thing happened with me. Dad was dating someone a few months after Mom died of cancer. I wouldn’t read to much into it at this stage. Could very well be a rebound sort of thing… I would be interested to see where he is 6 months from now.

    1. I wouldn’t say it’s “hurt” as much as “awkwardness”. He actually told me last night that he’s no longer dating the woman but is now dating somebody else. I mean, I totally want him to be happy…it’s just weird hearing about this from him.

      But at this point, we’re the closest we’ve ever been so if I’m the guy he wants to talk to about these things, I’m more than willing to let that happen and listen with a smile on my face.

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