AIBU - I am starting to seriously dislike my Dad.

(54 Posts)
radicalradish Sat 11-May-13 07:48:05

Trying to summarise...My mum died a long time ago. Within 2 days one of the women from their bowls was coming around with cottage pies. Within 2 weeks my dad was getting togged up and wearing aftershave and going on dates. At the time we were very upset about my DM dying as it was really sudden and found it difficult to deal with this. Anyway, along the way I hid my feelings about this other woman. TBH she is really not very nice and it is not only me who thinks so. My Aunt used to come over to see if we were OK and get a bit of a shock when new woman was sat there on our couch. In the end she stopped coming (mum was her sister) and they slagged my aunt off no end for this. I adore my aunt and she has always been there for me. Over the years new woman has been quite nasty to me and my brothers wife. She has basically pushed us out and my Dad spends 99% of his time with her and her 4 grown up kids and their offspring. I went to stay with him a few months ago with my 3 children and she brought her GC over and they basically told my GC that he is their granddad and wouldn't let them near him. Ons sat on his lap and refused to move.

Anyway OW face booked me and I felt I had no option but to add her in. When I looked on her page there are photos of my Dad, her family and things that they do together e.g. holidays (where I knew he was going, didn't realise that her 2 kids and 5 GC's were going too), days out etc. I felt that it was a person I don't even know. We used to be a really tight knit family with a lovely mum and dad and 2 siblings. Going on holidays and days out. Now it couldn't be any further from that. I feel like she stole my Dad and he went along with it. When I go to see him, he goes round to her place or brings her GC over and I end up on the phone to my DH saying I'm not coming again, it was a waste of time. When I invite him over he brings her (they are not married) and they stay 1 night (as she clearly doesn't want to be there, but dad says she won't let him go alone). Either way I am usually in tears.

My DH says she is awful and I am not being a spoiled brat throwing my toys out of the pram.

I am starting to think that my Dad is actually a pile of crap. I look at my DH's parents and see that they would rather cut off their own head than upset their kids and I feel like shit. I am beginning to think that perhaps I should just let them get on with it and make no more effort as I usually end up in tears.

BoundandRebound Sat 11-May-13 07:52:17

Your father list his wife and fell into a relationship that it sounds like this woman forced on him in his grief.

It happens some people cannot cope with loneliness death brings

However this was years ago, he clearly now has a new family that he is a big part of.

May I ask what you have done to be part of this family or develop relationships with them?

EllaFitzgerald Sat 11-May-13 07:59:00

That sounds like an awful situation to be in and yanbu. What did you say to him when he told you she wouldn't let him come by himself?

pictish Sat 11-May-13 08:04:24

What does your dad have to say about it?
Have you attempted to communicate your feelings to him? If nor...it might be a good place to start.

He sounds weak and lazy rather than malicious...but he is hurting you and needs to know.

Ledkr Sat 11-May-13 08:07:44

It does sound upsetting yes. Can you speak to you dad alone and tell him all this and ask him if he could have some times with your children and not hers.
Do you invite him to your house or on days out?

Torrorosso Sat 11-May-13 08:10:32

It sounds like you are still grieving for your DM, and your dad's new relationship is compounding things.

My dm died 9 years ago and my dbro had difficulty accepting our dad's new relationship - but it was a few years before our dad was ready to date again. He had been suicidal after dm died, so I was relieved someone was making him happy - and I like his gf.

Your situation is very different.

What sort of a person is your dad? Can you talk to him on the phone and say you'd like to see him alone so the gc have chance to have time with him alone?

BiscuitMillionaire Sat 11-May-13 08:12:32

Ouch that sounds very painful. Dates within 2 weeks of your mum's death? That's awful.

The tricky thing is how to approach it with your dad. If you say anything critical of her, he's just going to get defensive, as he's clearly very invested emotionally in her and her family. You could try sending him a note or email saying that you feel sad that you hardly get to see him and you would really appreciate some one-to-one time with him, even just once every few months. Suggest a time and a place. If this doesn't work then there's not much else you can do.

What do your mum and his former friends think of it all?

BiscuitMillionaire Sat 11-May-13 08:14:01

I mean your mum's and his former friends.

HollyBerryBush Sat 11-May-13 08:25:52

Well, having been in the same situation, sort of, my dad hooked up with an old school friend 4 months after my mum died, this was after 43 years of marriage.

I was a bit "whoa" until a good friend pointed it out to me that I should stop trying to parent my father, he wasn't a child, and as such was entitled to move on. I made a good friend of my stepmother, we still talk ten years after my fathers death, even though she was only in his life for 6 years. Had I chosen to be arsy, I would have lost my father. As it was, I would say that my stepmother was the best thing that happened to my father. She gave him his life back.

I suppose it comes with age, that as an adult you have to accept you are no longer the most important person in a parents life, their partner is.

Does he live quite close to you, or is it a bit of a trek to go and see him? You say they aren't married, but are they co-habiting?

Your father is probably very lonely and grateful for the company.

Vivacia Sat 11-May-13 08:33:28

I agree that you shouldn't hold the timing of his relationship against him. People grieve and cope in different ways. Perhaps as you had your husband, he needed someone too?

I agree with others advising you to ask him for time to talk to alone. However, part of me feels it's not realistic to expect him to change. He hasn't seemed very caring towards you and your children so far. It may be a case of accepting that he's flawed and that you'll never have the father-daughter relationship you want. At this point you need to decide whether you want the father-daughter relationship that is on offer.

I'm sorry your so upset. But some people just can't be on their own.

My best friends husband passed away at 43 within weeks of finding out he had cancer. She and all of us were devastated. sad

Within three months she was on a dating site, met someone and was posting photos of their days out on Facebook. Her parents and friends were a bit hmm but I've known her over 20 years and I knew she wouldn't be on her own for long.

I don't know what the answer is for your situation, could you ask him out for coffee and just tell him how you feel?

Smellslikecatspee Sat 11-May-13 08:45:07

Have you posted about this before? Not picking on you but if it was you I remember you'd made a big effort to get on with your Dads GF and family and it was thrown in your face?

I appreciate that having gone from a tight knit family to this must be heartbreaking and I can understand why you keep making an effort but at some point you have to see you're just flogging a dead horse. And not only are you bring hurt on yourself but also your children. Sorry that sounds harsh.

But think this way, you had a lovely Mum and a great childhood, her being gone doesn't take that away. you have a supportive husband extended family and in laws. Count your blessings.

The GF sounds very insecure and needy, and not very nice. Do you really want her in your/your children's lives?

This happened to me although I was really young. Gradually over the years my stepmother got more and controlling and jealous of him / his time love and attention that things got really bad. Once I married with my own children I was unable to see him alone unless 'secretly'. Eventually he actually told me that he couldn't deal with the hassle of seeing me and we broke off all contact - 2 years ago. This is the sign of a really weak man I think, he has chosen his bed let him lay in it. Underneath I'm sure he really loves and misses you as you do him but ultimately he has chosen to put his new family above you and you need to do the same for your peace of mind. Mostly this works for me - I have a lovely family of my own now. Hope you work it out.

PlasticLentilWeaver Sat 11-May-13 08:50:50

Could she have picked up on your dislike/disapproval when they first got together?
Does she make your dad happy?
How would you feel if he disapproved of any new relationship you might form?
His life did change when your mum died and he is probably just trying to make the best of his position. It doesn't sound like you all live locally, so of course you won't know everything they get up to.

EdgeOfSociety Sat 11-May-13 09:06:30

Radical, I really sympathise as my dad is exactly the same. He has never been single since my mum died in 1998 (I was 17) and it really does hurt when you can see your dad fully embrace a new family and ignore the one he has got.

It was a stark truth at 17 to learn you had no one at all. It is interesting lots of posters say how lonely the man is. Yes, probably - aren't the bereaved children lonely without their mum and need their dad? Don't the grandchildren deserve to have their granddad take an interest in them?

I am all for people moving on and moving upwards but I have never understood why, in my dad's case and in the case of a lot of men it would seem, this inevitably has to involve metaphorically burying the 'old' family as well. It is so very unfair and heartbreaking for the individual, who is dealing with the death of their mum and the disappearance of their dad.

likeitorlumpit Sat 11-May-13 11:28:55

people grieve in different ways ,i can understand you were hurt because it seemed so quick after losing your mum, you had a partner to lean on , your dad was probably lonely and glad of the company , until you lose a partner you have no idea what it is like ,you might of shown your disapproval (not meaning too) and the new partner was feeling threatened , you are an adult with your own family ,your life has changed from when it was you ,your mum and dad , and now his has changed ,if hes happy just be happy for him .

likeitorlumpit Sat 11-May-13 11:33:02

edgeofsociety i completely agree it does seem like men bury the old family , ive known it to happen , even when the old family welcome the new family with open arms , it seems like the man cant cope with both lives and just wants to move on ,maybe its to upsetting for them thinking of what life was like and they need to block it out, sad but true.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sat 11-May-13 11:33:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sat 11-May-13 11:35:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OTTMummA Sat 11-May-13 11:41:50

2 weeks!!! Sorry but this isn't a relationship, it's a coping mechanism.
I would be just as upset as you tbh.
She sounds like a viper, inwould just leave them to it tbh I think to keep on trying and making all the effort will leave you feeling even more heartbroken.

SilvercloudRainbow Sat 11-May-13 11:50:20

Are you my long lost sister lol! My Mum died 12 years ago this August and my Dad met an old neighbour of ours at the funeral and within days was dating her. They are still together and he seems to have adopted her family has his own, me and my 3 brothers have been virtually sidelined by the whole thing. I've kind of come to terms with it by being completely indifferent to my Dad, I don't even call him "Dad" anymore when I speak about him but use his first name. 2 of my brothers are still fit to be tied about it though. I don't have any advice to give you, just letting you know that you're not alone and it's a shite situation.

CelticPixie Sat 11-May-13 11:50:25

I don't care how hard it is for men to be on their own. Two weeks is so fucking insensitive to his children who are still grieving for the mother they have lost! I'd be beyond upset at this. I don't think anyone expects their parents to be on their own forever after the other dies, but two weeks!!! Come on. That's sick, insensitive and cruel.

b4bunnies Sat 11-May-13 13:00:56

i read somewhere that when a partner dies, the instincts of the bereaved partner kick in, and they have to get laid, to prove to themselves that they are still alive. there's a kind of survival logic in that, and it explains why people hurry into new relationships.

another reason for the instant switch to a new partner is that single women don't like to miss opportunities - i recall a colleague watching the breakdown of a neighbour's marriage and stepping in in to grab the newly-separated husband asap. started by taking meals round...

keep away if it hurts you. un-friend them, or whatever its called, on social networking sites. its his life, and his choice, but you don't have to be involved.

MadamFolly Sat 11-May-13 13:01:33

Not fair on his children despite how he was feeling, were you still living at home at the time OP?

MorphandChas Sat 11-May-13 13:10:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StuntGirl Sat 11-May-13 13:11:12

Lonliness, grief etc aside, this has been going on for several years and the father must have the social skills of a slug not to see how hurtful it must be for his own children.

OP if you haven't already I would speak to him - daunting as that may be - and tell him very matter of factly how, althouh you sure it wasn't his intention, it feels like you and your siblings were pushed out after your mothers death and its almost as if he's replaced his own family with this new one.

Explain it hurts to find out you were left out of news about what he was up to, that it hurts to never spend quality time alone with him, that it hurts that your children don't get quality time with their grandad. Ask if you can make some changes to the relationship, so you see him alone sometimes, so he spends time with your children, etc. Don't let him turn it into some us vs them thing, tell him you'd be delighted for everyone to spend time together too occasionally, but equally you want some family time alone too.

insanityscratching Sat 11-May-13 13:21:15

My Dad did something very similar when my Mum died, I think because he wanted looking after and some light relief after my mother's illness. It broke our hearts tbh, we were aged 11 to 17. She didn't want us (she wasn't even attached to her own children who she left with her ex husband), she wanted a wealthy husband and we all left home at the earliest opportunity. I blamed her for quite a while but now I am older I can see that df was weak and pathetic when his children needed him most and that makes me really sad.

havingamadmoment Sat 11-May-13 13:25:59

OP I could have written that story myself.
My mum died when I was 17 and within 6 weeks my dad moved a woman he had only just met into our house. I left to go to uni and from that moment on he made it clear that my sister and I were no longer his priority.

It has been 12 years and we have very little relationship, at first I tried to continue the close relationshop we had but it was impossible and eventually I realised that it was best for me to move on. He has his life I have mine, we speak on the phone every now and then and meet up once a year or so . Thats enough.

It breaks my heart sometimes but thats just the choice he has made.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sat 11-May-13 13:30:30

Yes people grieve differently but the Dad is sidelining his own children and grandchildren and prioritising someone else's.. That is unacceptable. There should be a balance.

NurseRatchet Sat 11-May-13 13:35:15

*Single women don't like to miss opportunities*-what a horrible post. Single women are just women not in a relationship, not some kind of separate breed. You may be a single woman again yourself one day.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 11-May-13 13:36:46

"Anyway OW face booked me and I felt I had no option but to add her in. When I looked on her page there are photos of my Dad, her family and things that they do together e.g. holidays (where I knew he was going, didn't realise that her 2 kids and 5 GC's were going too), days out etc."

Several things

Why OW? is this in the MN meaning of Other Woman? from what you are posting she wasn't an affair.

Did your dad tell you he was going on holiday? It seems that you would be happy if he was going on his own.

How often do you see your dad? Do you live close? it seems strange that if you are close (distance wise) that you have never seen these things.

You seem to want your dad to put his whole life on hold and just be their for you and your family.

lolaflores Sat 11-May-13 13:44:11

Boney there is grief and loss going on here too, please do not lose sight of that. She wants her father to be her father, from my reading of it. To still feel important to him, not control him.
Which is fair enough and not a huge ask

EdgeOfSociety Sat 11-May-13 13:58:36

Boney, if you had children and something awful happened to you, would you be happy with your own children being left to it while your partner integrated himself into a new family?

It's so common, it's depressing, is the only 'consolation' I can offer, OP. Around 80% of children who lose a mother end up in foster care. It's less than 5% of children who lose a father.

MorphandChas Sat 11-May-13 14:01:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lolaflores Sat 11-May-13 14:03:20

Edge that is so sad! My father died when I was 8. My mother met another man two years later. he was an arse. but, we hung on in there somehow but he did drive a huge wedge through us all. he had his own family who he had abandoned. so in a way we were on the other side of it. though we met his kids later and they were none too pleased with him though it was mum who made that happen.

EdgeOfSociety Sat 11-May-13 14:05:58

Have to smile wryly at the thought of someone wanting a once-beloved father and grandfather to join in with activities he is enjoying with his 'other' family is 'entitled' - it isn't like she's after the family tea set hmm

thebody Sat 11-May-13 14:11:52

Such a sad thread. How can people do this to each other? And how anyone can do this to their own children and grandchildren is beyond belief.

Sure all of us here would walk over broken glass for our children.

I am a TA and I spend more time worrying and caring about the 4 year olds in my class than some parents of posters on here did about their own kids. Very upsetting.

Op if I were you I would ring him up and make him see you alone.
Tell him you need to talk to him alone.

If he won't then I think you have to face it that you are second place and wrap yourself around your dh and children and his family.

StinkyElfCheese Sat 11-May-13 14:21:03

You could be me even down to the bowls connection - I have ranted many tines before and was about to have another one later

Mums been gone a whole year now and what does the old hag bag do on the anniversary of my mum's death - strip the wall paper from her bedroom rip up carpet and get a new bed - nice

Along with the constant calls from my dad asking if I am ok asking if sis is ok complaining no one talks to him anymore he spends 100 per cent of his time with her and her family and I just can't stand the evil manipulative old bag hag witch..... and breathe.... and go and find some wine

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 11-May-13 14:21:42

MorphandChas

Its called having a different opinion.

Edge and Lola

I just see this from a different point of view, When my mum died I saw my father reduced to a shell of his former self, he was brought back from that due to his new partner, (yes there was a bigger gap than a couple of weeks). He is know fully intergrated in to his new family, It is a wonderful thing for me to see.

But then I live some distance away and can't be there for him all of the time. His new family is.

greenformica Sat 11-May-13 14:27:53

Meet him alone for a few hours and explain all this to him

Viviennemary Sat 11-May-13 14:30:21

I think this is hurtful. But it does happen that men go more quickly into new relationships than their own family would like. But your Dad's behaviour sounds really unreasonable, unkind and insensitive. Two weeks is absolutely dreadful. I think he is totally out of order letting this woman dictate to him and I'm not surprised you're annoyed.

You could say look next time come on your own or don't come. But that's a big risk Or say you want to see him by yourself because that isn't an unreasonable request. I hope things improve.

StinkyElfCheese Sat 11-May-13 14:46:16

How do you ' meet him on his own for a few hours'

Me and my sis asked dad to meet us for lunch without her it took weeks to organise he had a migraine was ill etc. When we dis go. We were out less than an hour dad inhaled his food and she phoned him 4 times.

Op it's really hard to accept that the dad just isn't the person you thought he was or the dad you want him to be xxx

EdgeOfSociety Sat 11-May-13 15:27:02

Yeah, getting my dad alone is a mammoth task in itself. Takes weeks of organising, and then he's constantly moaning and wanting to get back to his partner. His partner has two adult daughters, one of whom has two sons and the other is getting marries this year. My dad is very involved and interested in both these things. His interest in his grandchild-to-be is nil.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sat 11-May-13 15:27:50

Boney

Then it's not just a difference of opinion, it is a difference of experience

You sound unsympathetic to the OP - her experience is different to yours

MorphandChas Sat 11-May-13 16:25:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IfNotNowThenWhen Sat 11-May-13 16:40:41

God some men are fucking weak. 80% of widowers let their kids go into Foster care? Jesus christ.
I also have a (male) friend whose dad took up with a new woman after his parents divorce, and the new woman hates my friend's dad seeing him, and literally forbids contact.
My friend is a lovely guy, and totally innoffessive, wants to get along with people generally.
The saddest thing is that when friend's mum dies a few years ago, he was basically left with no family-his mum was gone and his dad wasn't "allowed" to see him.

EdgeOfSociety Sat 11-May-13 16:42:16

he was basically left with no family-his mum was gone and his dad wasn't "allowed" to see him.

Yes, that was what happened to me.

Iamsparklyknickers Sat 11-May-13 16:53:26

Sympathies OP, I'm another whose experienced a similar situation in my teens. The childhood view I had of my dad has long gone.

I've heard that the reason some people move on so quickly is because their marriage was good - they want to experience it again. In a round about way it's a compliment I suppose. It makes sense to me that if that's the case weaker men are also so utterly terrified of the grief that they will submit to whatever the new wife wants - so it's mainly luck of the draw who they end up in a relationship with.

I'm sorry to say what worked for me was completely reworking our relationship. My dad is much more on the fringes of my life - more like a distant uncle I suppose, although I'm involved in other ways through obligation a lot more closely than I'd like to be, in an ideal world I would be down to birthday, christmas and postcards by now. I resent being in a situation of his making because I didn't break contact sooner tbh.

Distancing him from the father I knew growing up with allowed me to grieve for what I'd lost rather than constantly having my expectations thrown back in my face. It hurt and was hard, but it's a lot better for me in the long run.

EdgeOfSociety Sat 11-May-13 19:18:54

Excellent post, sparkly.

I see a lot of what I have had to do reflected in your post.

I am, or will be next year, a single parent and some people have asked what I will do (or rather, what my DC will do) if something happens to me. I reply they will probably be in the same position if I had a partner.

BegoniaBampot Sat 11-May-13 19:43:41

op - no wonder you are upset. he sounds weak and out of order. Maybe write him a letter telling him how you feel but i think you will have to accept that you will never have the relationship you would like with him and distance yourself to protect yourself. She doesn't sound great bit i think you have to credit him with his bad behaviour and not blame her so much. a good strong parent should have maintained a good contact with their children.

Livinglavidafoca Sat 11-May-13 21:32:30

Welcome to the world of the stepmother. I am afraid I can't help you, but my brother went through the same and we both now live in different cities away from our father and stepmother. Lucky her, she got my mother's house.

radicalradish Sun 12-May-13 09:10:05

Thank you for the kind responses. I think the reason I am posting this is because I feel at a cross roads and feel that I am in a bit of a toxic circle. This has/ is causing me a lot of pain and I am trying to decide what to do about it.
In answer to some of your Q's:
No, they are not married, nor live together. If they were married/ cohabiting I think I'd have to accept her as a StepM. If they haven't made that commitment, I don't see why I always have to have her there too. FYI she stays with her family often without my Dad.
My DM died when Iw as still living at home, late teens. I met my DH after. I left home at 18, largely due to this situation.
Over the years I've tried to convince myself that I am immature and throwing my toys out of the pram because my Dad has a new woman in his life. However, everyone I know dislikes her and my siblings and their partners, rational, educated, open minded people despise her. My SIL, a mature, reasonable woman is regularly in tears over her behaviour according to my brother. I myself have adopted the shut one eye philosophy over the years only to come to the conclusion that I am SICK and TIRED of being the pacifist. I think calling her the OW was a freudian slip. However, I think that my feelings for her are probably very similar to what a wife would feel about an OW.
There are lots of small things that I have made excuses for over the past and now I look at them and consider myself a fool. We have a big family with nieces and nephews in their 20's. My siblings regularly invite him over and he doesn't go. They are 10 mins away. We are 1.5 hours. For example, for a few years after my DM died we carried on our tradition of going to Dad's on Xmas day. All of us, even with small kids, my DB's brought them over. After a few years he said that he was going to GF's son's for Xmas and has done so ever since. Now we all spend Xmas at home and go give him the presents.

Finally I don't think my DF is dependent on her. In fact I think it is the other way round. In fact when I have had them here or been in his house he cooks all her meals whilst she sits on her arse. He will be in the kitchen making her tea and toast and running round like a headless chicken. That's another thing. In all the time I have know her she has never ever sent me or my kids a birthday/ christmas card or present, never ever cooked a meal or made me a cup of tea, never ever offered to hold a baby or help a little and never washed a dish in my house whilst staying there. She doesn't touch my kids, but my DF is a Granddad to theirs.

Obviously I need therapy! There is a lot of bitterness here!!!!

radicalradish Sun 12-May-13 09:16:13

One more thing. Sorry!
I have talked to my Dad a few times about this. In fact last year I did open my heart to him and tell him, sorry I just don't like her. I told him that I want to see him on my own sometimes. One of the things my Dad says to me is not to discuss personal things in front of her as she tells everyone so when he comes over I cannot tell him about my life and what we are doing or discuss any problems. When I spoke to him he did say he wanted to spend time with me alone, however the next time he came visit, it was same old same old. Apparently my kids are spoilt, they never shut up and they get on her nerves. So she says. Other people say my kids are lovely shock

HollyBerryBush Sun 12-May-13 09:22:58

I see where you are coming from. You were only 18, and with the best will in the world, in mourning for your mother and it is a bit of a shock to the system when another woman pitches up. I wasn't emotionally prepared for it at 28.

The tone was probably set back when you were 18. It will be very difficult to alter the family dynamic now and make a friend of her.

Perhaps your Dad just likes having someone to look after. If she knows you resent her, and you have told your Dad this, then things are never going to defrost.

Female relationships are peculiar, what you tolerate from one, you wouldn't from another. Some women give off the vibe that their kitchen is their domain - you'd let your mother/sister/best mate into it - but not another woman. I certainly wouldn't be offering to make a cup of tea in the house of someone I knew resented me simply because I would treading on their territory.

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