To think DH needs to come to terms that his father has met somebody else?

(70 Posts)
Writerwannabe83 Sat 05-Nov-16 08:25:09

Two and a half years ago my MIL died quite unexpectedly. She had been unwell for about 8 months but suddenly took a turn for the worse and died about ten days after she had presented to A&E. She was 62 and she and FIL had been together for about 40 years.

Anyway, 5 months after her death my FIL came to visit and told us he'd met another woman. My DH took this extremely badly due to it being so soon after his mother's death. FIL had met this other woman at a support group for those who'd been bereaved as she'd lost her husband to the same disease that had taken MIL.

Fast forward to now, it is two years down the line and DH still won't accept this woman as being part of his father's life. DH has met her once when we went to visit FIL and she was unexpectedly there. DH said hello briefly but we then left after about 5 minutes. This was the first time I had met her too.

Despite knowing her name he refers to her as "that woman" if for any reason she comes into conversation between us both.

I have met her plenty of times when I've been at FIL's house on my own and she is perfectly nice.

DH has a brother (who is married with three children) and the woman has been fully accepted by him and about once a month they all go out on a day trip together as a family with the children.

We always used to have Christmas Dinner at FIL's house but we haven't the last two years and won't again this year because DH won't go there if she is.

I have tried to talk to him about how his dad needs companionship and it isn't fair to punish him (for want of a better word) for having met someone.

I acknowledge that it was quick to happen after DH's mother's death but surely if they've been together for over 2 years then my DH needs to find a way to accept the relationship? Things are quite strained between DH and FIL, it's like the white elephant in the room all the time and now it's affecting our son's relationship with his grandad as they hardly spend time together anymore as DH don't go to FILs house in case the woman is there and FIL knows she wouldn't be welcomed at ours by DH.

I feel sorry for FIL as he's in such a difficult position as he obviously doesn't want to upset my DH but he shouldn't be forced to live a lonely life and not have anyone to share it with should he? Why should he have to choose between his partner and my DH?

I haven't lost a parent so I don't know how it feels when another person is added into the mix after a death so I genuinely don't know if I'm expecting too much?

When I try and talk to DH about it he gets defensive and angry, says he can't believe I would question him about his thought process when I know how much he loved his mum.
I feel like we're going round in circles.

Has anyone got any thoughts or been in a similar circumstance who can advise me on how to deal with this situation?

Fairylea Sat 05-Nov-16 08:33:40

I think your dh is being very unreasonable. Would he rather his father be unhappy and on his own forever? Surely it's better that he's with someone who loves him and can be there to support him. I can understand your dh feels it was very soon after his mum passing but actually it's very common for people, especially men to find a new partner very quickly after a death.

Your dh needs to learn to accept his fathers relationship. I'm not sure how you can make him do this though. Very difficult situation.

My uncle met and married his new wife within 6 months of his previous wife dying of cancer. Everyone found it very shocking at first but 3 years on everyone accepts it, he's so happy and they make a lovely couple. We wouldn't want him to be alone.

Chocolatecake12 Sat 05-Nov-16 08:34:18

Would your DH benefit from counselling? It seems that whatever you or his df say you can't get through to him. Counselling can help him deal with the feelings surrounding his mothers death.
He needs to understand that his mother would want his dad to be happy. It does take a lot of getting used to seeing one of your parents with a new partner.
Could his sibling have a chat with him about it?

nephrofox Sat 05-Nov-16 08:44:44

Your DH is being unreasonable. But if he is usually reasonable in other walks of life, perhaps there is something deeper going on? How was his relationship with his dad and mum before she died? Is he holding on to some guilt or feelings from the time of her death that he is (unfairly) transferring onto the new woman? I think some counselling for DH would be the best route forward.

rainyinnovember Sat 05-Nov-16 08:45:25

It depends to me on what the woman is like.

Euphemia Sat 05-Nov-16 08:45:33

I'd struggle with this, I have to say. My dad died nearly three years ago and I'd still find it hard if my mum had a new man in her life.

But I'd accept it and be friendly towards him. Anything else would be selfish and churlish.

Is your DH worried she's after his father for his money/the house?

Basicbrown Sat 05-Nov-16 08:45:42

Of course DH is being unreasonable, would he rather his father was miserable and had given up on life? Or is he worried about inheritance? I hope my Dad finds someone we lost DM 6 months ago sad

Ayeok Sat 05-Nov-16 08:52:21

My best friend died unexpectedly 3 years ago, her husband of 28 years was devastated (they were that couple that gives everyone else hope). Their adult daughter called me about 7 months ago ranting that her dad was on dating profiles and had met someone. She's been going through his phone, checking up on his stuff and just generally being very unreasonable.
I tried to explain that he was lonely, it wasn't an attempt to replace her Mum (he couldn't and wouldn't), but that he has a right to a private life and she should not be going through his private things.
She's kicked off at anyone he's met, she's still going through his things, and the relationship between father and daughter has broken down to the point he's asked her to move out (she's nearly 30 but very immature). I told her straight that her dad's plans for the future died the day her mum did and he's just trying to keep going as best he can. Unfortunately her attitude has pushed things beyond the point where they can be mended I fear. So sad.

positivity123 Sat 05-Nov-16 08:54:14

This makes me really sad. Your poor FIL deserves to be happy and your husband is acting terribly. I understand where it comes from but he needs a bit of a reality check that he is making it worse for everyone.
I agree that he needs counselling but do you think he would benefit from a bit of tough love from his brother and dad? He doesn't have the right to act like this so maybe FIL and brother need to give him a bit of a talking to and go NC for a while until he starts to accept this.
It sounds like everyone is scared of upsetting your DH and he is the one upsetting everything.
Good luck as it is a tough situation

Chimchar Sat 05-Nov-16 08:55:15

My Mum died very suddenly a few years ago.
We were all obviously devastated. A few months afterwards, my dad said he'd become friendly with a lady, and was I ok with it.

I have to say, I was thrilled! She was fantastic. He was happy. In fact, happier than I had seen it in a very long time. My kids (who had lost their grandma) welcomed this lovely lady in to their lives too, and built up a lovely relationship with her too. The way I see it, is that no one has done anything wrong at all. No one has chosen to be without their partner, and yet it has happened. Life is too short to be lonely.

Your FIL and lady have found comfort in one another. I understand that your dh is hurting, I really do, but this lady isn't wanting to replace his mum. It's like having more than one kid....you love the first with all your heart, and wonder how there can possibly be enough love to share with a second or third child. FIL loved his wife, and that won't change, but he is still able to love another lady without taking away from what he had. Does that make sense?

He is being quite unkind to his dad I think. I hope he can move forward, and welcome this lady in to your family.

Fairylea Sat 05-Nov-16 08:55:29

Ayeok that is so sad. What a shame that the daughters attitude has meant her dad has lost not only his wife but his daughter as well.

Writerwannabe83 Sat 05-Nov-16 08:56:11

DH was very close to his mom and I genuinely think he's just sees this woman as his dad trying to find a replacement and therefore it belittles how important his mom was as she can be so easily replaced.

My DH does have some guilt around his mother's death as he feels he didn't see her enough during the 8 months she was unwell for.

He doesn't really get on with his brother, they are civil towards each other but that's about it, and I think my DH struggles with the fact his brother has so readily accepted this woman into their life.

TheVeryHungryDieter Sat 05-Nov-16 09:00:03

Ayeok That's so sad, what a horrible way for the family to fall apart.

I used to think like that as a much younger woman, but I think having been in an established relationship for years now that the relationship is as much a part of my life as my husband is. If he passed, I'd lose both my best friend and my marriage. And while I could never replace him, I'd very much like to be part of a team again rather than be alone forever in his memory.

Writerwannabe83 Sat 05-Nov-16 09:00:30

I adk d DH that if it had been the other way around, and his dad had died, would he have wanted his mom to be alone for the rest of her life?

Before MIL died, way before she was even ill, my DH was talking about their marriage and he said if they ever split up his mom would have no trouble finding someone else because she's so outgoing whereas he said his dad wouldn't ever meet anyone because it's not in his nature to socialise and meet new people.

jules179 Sat 05-Nov-16 09:03:15

Your DH is losing out here, in straining his dad, and their relationship and also missing out on a relationship with a woman who other people seem to really like.

Could he view it as a positive that your mum clearly left your dad with such a good view of relationships that he was able to get into another one relatively quickly?

Basicbrown Sat 05-Nov-16 09:03:38

But she can never be a replacement. My parents were married for 44 years, that is not something that can ever be replicated.

For me, one difficulty in the present situation is that I feel responsible for my Dad and I really worry about him :/

It's interesting that he feels guilt about not seeing mum enough. The past is in the past. I wish I'd seen my mum on mother's day last year but I didn't, I guess my mum was a healthy(!) happy woman getting in with her own life. That is how sudden it was. Guilt is pretty pointless and to be harsh his Dad is alive and he needs to cherish that or there will be more guilt in a few years time.

Ayeok Sat 05-Nov-16 09:03:50

And while I could never replace him, I'd very much like to be part of a team again rather than be alone forever in his memory
This sums it up perfectly I think! My friend's daughter isn't defending her Mum (who many times over the years said she'd be happy for her DH to find someone if she went first) she's controlling her dad and that's the problem.
It's her attitude towards him that has caused the relationship to break down, of course it's hard to see a parent in a new relationship after a bereavement, but going too far when feelings are already running high can have horrible consequences.

Waltermittythesequel Sat 05-Nov-16 09:05:18

He is being quite horrible, really.

But what can you do? I too think he would benefit from counselling.

In the meantime, I would visit fil with your son, and I'd join them all on the odd family day.

Your son shouldn't miss out on his family because of dh's unreasonable behaviour.

FetchezLaVache Sat 05-Nov-16 09:09:47

So to an extent, the fact that his brother has accepted her will make your husband stick to his guns even more?

I see his point, kind of. When Dad introduced me to his new lady-friend after Mum died, I felt that to like her would be disloyal to my mother. However, I was 10 at the time, not a grown adult... and she had brought me some Fruit Pastilles, and I am easily bought.

Has he had any kind of grief counselling? In particular I think he needs to address the guilt.

DeathStare Sat 05-Nov-16 09:11:06

I agree that your DH is being unreasonable though because it is grief making him unreasonable it is trickier to deal with. As others have suggested I think counselling might help him.

If I was in your shoes I'd just make sure your DC keep seeing your FiL. Organise days out with him and his partner, if your DH won't join you that's his problem. To be honest I'd probably go round with the DC on Christmas Day for at least part of the day. Again, if your DH won't come that's up to him. But your DC (and yourself) shouldn't miss out on a relationship with your FIL and his partner.

EnterFunnyNameHere Sat 05-Nov-16 09:11:26

I don't think your DH is unreasonable for feeling like that necessarily (I'm the daughter to a DF who met his current partner in almost identical timescales after the death of my DM) but he is being very unreasonable to act on them in such a way.

One of the things I was told which actually helped - not many did - was that my DF must have had an amazing marriage to my DM to want to find that again with someone else. If he hadn't have been so attached to my DM he would have been able to enjoy being single.

I found that helped enormously to stop seeing it as an affront to my parents relationship, it's actually a compliment of sorts.

EmzDisco Sat 05-Nov-16 09:12:06

I think your DH is being unreasonable too, and needs to work out how to be happy for his Dad. I lost my mum when I was 21 and my Dad met someone relatively quickly. It was strange at first, of course, but they are still together a decade on and I'm so glad my Dad is happy and not alone. How could I really want anything else for him? We'd all had such a tough time, and everyone deserves to be happy. As long as he didn't get with someone who I thought might hurt him or my family then there is no problem. She has never tried to replace my mum, just be a partner to my Dad and a friend to the rest of us.

Of course I wish my mum was still here, but she isn't. And my Dad being alone wouldn't change that.

DeathStare Sat 05-Nov-16 09:15:32

Also, does he have a good friend who could have a "mate pull yourself together your mum wouldn't have wanted you to act like this" talk with him? Or even a good friend of his mother's?

Writerwannabe83 Sat 05-Nov-16 09:24:04

So to an extent, the fact that his brother has accepted her will make your husband stick to his guns even more?

Hell yes!

I took DS to see FIL last night knowing the woman was there: I had asked DH if he wanted to come, he gave a firm no and so I went without him. I was there for about 45 minutes (FIL lives very close to us) and when we got back I told him how they were planning on visiting my DH's brother and the children (they live 2 hours away) and DH said, "SHE was going too?" as if the mere thought of it was awful.

I asked him what this woman has actually done wrong apart from be the woman FIL enjoys spending time with and he just walked off.

EleanorRigby123 Sat 05-Nov-16 09:33:09

Is he worried about inheritance and the like?

Following my DFs death my mother quickly remarried a younger man who outlived her. He inherited all my parents substantial estate and has now remarried himself and has a young family. He has made it clear that he now considers the money his and that neither I nor my siblings will receive anything. We have accepted this - but it is not what either of my parents would have wanted.

When DM remarried we were reluctant to say anything because we did not want to sound grasping. We did not ask her to write a will protecting our DFs share of the estate for us. And we had to recognise that our DF had neglected to do so himself. But with the benefit of hindsight we should have done. Both my DH and I now have wills protecting our DC's interests in the event that one or the other of us should remarry.

Sometimes unspoken issues like this can be the elephant in the room. And a timely and open discussion can help resolve them.

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