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What would you do about DF's DP in thsi situation ?

(26 Posts)
poshfrock Wed 12-Dec-12 17:19:31

I was reading a thread earlier today on a similar theme to this ( AIBU not to invite my father’s partner to my wedding) and it struck a chord with me so I thought I would canvass opinions about my own family situation.
In the mid 1980’s my DM was diagnosed with a chronic untreatable illness. My DF has never liked sick people and as their marriage was already faltering ( they had been married 20 years at this point) this was really the nail in the coffin for it. I remember both parties as being really unhappy from the age of about 12/13 onwards.

My DM's condition deteriorated and eventually she went into full time care in her late 50’s about 8 years ago. At first my DF rattled around at home, visited my DM regularly but as she was starting to lose mental capacity too he started to see her less and less. After a couple of years he confided to my DH that he had started internet dating. He knew my DH would tell me which he did and I then told my siblings. Our general view was that we could understand his reasons ( like not having had sex for 15 years), and that as long as our DM was still provided for and cared for he was free to make his own choices. To start with he continued to visit DM weekly ( he was till working full time) and bought presents for her etc. He also paid her care home costs, bought her clothes and toiletries etc. etc. His visits tailed off more and more as my DM lost her capacity and then he started lying to us and saying he had been to visit when he hadn’t ( we checked with the staff).

After about a year it became apparent that he was seeing one person and that a permanent relationship was developing. At this point (and even today) he has still never formally sat down with either me or any of my siblings and informed us of OW's existence or his relationship with her. He drops her name into conversation and he signs cards from both of them. He has shown me pictures of them on holiday together. He assumes that we all just “know” about OW now.

It has also transpired that OW believes my DF was separated from my DM when he met her and he has never told her the reality of the situation. When one of my siblings got married a couple of years ago apparently she made a comment about the fact that she was never invited to our family events ( my father had attended her own daughter’s wedding only a couple of weeks earlier). I asked my DF how she expected to be invited when my DM was going to the wedding WITH HIM ? But of course she didn’t know that.

Since then my DM has died ( in blissful ignorance – we could never have told her even if we thought it was the right thing to do because she didn’t know who most of us were for the last couple of years and she wouldn’t have had any understanding of my dad’s behaviour). My DF explained his presence at the funeral to OW by saying he wanted “to support his children”. Not sure how he explained paying for it all. She is now making noises about wanting to meet us; not surprising as they have been together about 6 years. I don’t have a problem with meeting her but cannot bring myself to lie about the fact that my DF was still married for the first 2 or 3 years they were together. More importantly I can’t expect my children to lie either. If the topic of how long they have been together comes into conversation ( which it will – my daughter knows her GD has a girlfriend and has already asked me how long he has been with her; if I say 6 years then she will ask how that is possible because GM has only been dead for 3). I have told my DF this on several occasions. I have nothing against her. I am sure she is a nice person ( she makes sure my dad remembers everyone’s birthdays which he never used to, even when we were kids, and she spends time looking for suitable presents for all his GD on the internet etc – he has told us this) but she has been lied to and I don’t feel comfortable carrying on the pretence. If she comes to visit for example and looks at photos of my sibling’s wedding on display she will see pictures of my DM and DF together taken only a couple of months’ before her death so it’s obvious they were still together then. It was also noticeable that my DF’s own photos of that same wedding contained not a single one of my DM – presumably so he could show them to OW.

My DF has recently made one or two comments about the fact that she thinks we are "strange" for not wanting to meet her ( for "strange" read stubborn, rude, unaccepting and generally unpleasant). He has done nothing to disabuse her of these beliefs and just tells her that we decided to “side with our DM” when they “separated”. I have repeatedly told him that I am happy to meet OW but not to expect me to lie to her.

What would you do in this situation ? I don’t even feel right including OW's name on Xmas cards as I have never met her but it also feels rude to leave her off ( they live together in her house).

poshfrock Thu 13-Dec-12 12:58:13

Thanks again badinage and everyone else for their kind words and wonderful support.

I have no axe to grind with the DP at all. She is very much the innocent party in all this I think (as was DM). In fact sometimes I feel really sorry for her that she doesn't really know what my DF's like. I also hate the fact that she must think we all really dislike her when none of us has any issue with her at all. DF is apparently really chummy with all her kids and grandkids and he sees them all the time but can go six months without seeing us.

DF also make a point of telling me things like " DP spent hours on the internet last weekend looking for that toy that you told me DC wanted for Xmas". He would never put himself out like that but she seems to do all his Xmas and birthday present shopping for him for which I am very grateful because otherwise my kids would get nothing from him at all. One year when I was about 17 he gave me a birthday card, unwritten, still in its cellophane wrapper with the price on. He couldn't understand why I was annoyed and kept saying " but I got you a card". But if any of us forgets his birthday then he goes on about it for weeks afterwards.

You have probably gathered that there are lots of issues with DF going back YEARS. I and at least one sibling have had counselling over these issues because they go so deep. I am in a much better place now than 12 months ago.

I will repeat the Xmas invite and see what happens.

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