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My dad left my mum last night

(39 Posts)
GingerVodka Sun 25-Feb-18 09:36:40


I'm absolutely heartbroken. I went to uni 4 years ago and my sister moved out a few months ago, apparently they've been having problems a couple of years but were working through it. They met as teenagers and have been married 25 years.

My mum is difficult and we never got on to be honest but since I had my daughter a year ago she's been much more supportive and loving and we get on well now. She's broken. He threatened leaving at Christmas and she asked him to work through it, he said he tried but doesn't love her so packed up his stuff and left. He's moved into a flat literally 5 minutes from my house (which is half an hour from my mum's), hasn't contacted me since it happened. I just don't know what to think, he always seemed to love her so much.

My mum thinks there's someone else, she found a name in an email which corresponds to someone he works with.

It's their relationship and I believe everyone deserves to be happy so I don't blame him for leaving, but right now my mum is going through a lot and the timing is horrible of him - we were told on Thursday my grandad (mums dad, who is only 70 so not old really) is now on end of life care because the cancer, which we were told had 'all but gone' has started shutting down his body. My nana has had a breakdown with the stress and I don't know how she'll cope with this too.

I feel really let down by my dad. He's left my mum in this big empty house with the dog and gone off to some posh bachelor pad in a naice area. He's got his 140k job and she has nothing as she was a SAHM and then housewife who does volunteering and non-profit baking as she never thought she'd have to work again. She's going to have to get a job now and doesn't know where to start.

How are you supposed to deal with things? And can I have some advice on how to support both my parents in this? Especially my mum. She's lost a stone and was only slim to begin with, and looks so sad and tired.

Sorry for ranty weird post just need some support. Sister is at uni so also upset but nothing she can do from there and with grandparents in hospital it's all on me to make sure everyone's okay.

MrsJoshDun Sun 25-Feb-18 09:48:10

It's shit, I sympathise. Same happened to my parents.....there was another woman. Mum had been vile to dad for years though.

I didn't take sides, would listen to problems but not to slagging off of other parent.

It isn't up to you to make sure they're ok. I do know what you mean but look after yourself

Zaphodsotherhead Sun 25-Feb-18 09:49:57

it's all on me to make sure everyone's okay

You know it really isn't. People have to take responsibility for themselves, you have your own life (and your DD) to think of. You can be supportive but you can't sort this out. You just let them know you are there if they want to talk. Don't let this ruin your life.

Arapaima Sun 25-Feb-18 09:53:10

As your sister only moved out a few months ago, I imagine that this has been on the cards for a while and your Dad was waiting till you and your sister had left home so as to make it less disruptive for you?

Your poor Mum. All you can do really is to try and be there to support her. Definitely encourage her to see a solicitor and find out what she is entitled to financially.

flowers for you OP. I would be devastated if my parents split up, even though I’m an adult now.

GingerVodka Sun 25-Feb-18 13:07:45

Thanks. I'm staying at my mum's today and tonight. She's coping remarkably well but it's hit her she needs to get a job after 15 years out of work and probably sell the house and she's terrified. It's all so hard.

MyBrilliantDisguise Sun 25-Feb-18 13:10:06

How old is your mum, OP?

GingerVodka Sun 25-Feb-18 13:15:07

She's 47 @MyBrilliantDisguise

WitchesHatRim Sun 25-Feb-18 13:15:54

Even as DC you never know what goes on in your parents relationship.

It isn't down to you to fix it, as hard as that might be.

Not imo is it for you to 'chose' sides.

My Aunt and uncle split as year after the youngest DC left home. My Uncle left. Everyone blamed my Uncle as he was the one that left. It transpires that my Aunt had been having an affair.

Things atentvakways as they first seem.

WitchesHatRim Sun 25-Feb-18 13:16:34

To many typos but you get the idea.

VimFuego101 Sun 25-Feb-18 13:16:36

I would get her to see a divorce solicitor so she understands what she is legally entitled to. She probably will have to work but she should understand what she's entitled to in terms of the house/ his pension. Has she been paying NI contributions to keep her state pension up to date? (It would have been paid for her while she claimed child benefit, I think)

PurplePotatoes Sun 25-Feb-18 13:25:36

This happened last year with my parents although it was my mum leaving my dad (no affair) and it is a nightmare. They were married 40yrs and my mum doesn't have a clue about life so it's almost like roles have reversed and I'm doing all the "mum" things for her now, trying to sort her life out for her basically while trying to juggle life with 2 very young kids. I can't help resent my mum a bit although I try hard not but she only thinks about herself and wants to be treated like royalty by everyone.

Anyway I would say all you can do it's try and take a step back - I've had to tell my mum that I don't want to hear all the ins and outs and all my dad's "failures" he's still my dad and I'm also taking a step back from running about after my mum too it's too much as I've now lost all my family support, neither visit me at all any more..its my mums decision so she needs to get on with it (I'm aware this sounds a bit harsh but there is a big back story!) .

I think it hurts just as much when you're parents split as an adult and throws everyone's lives up in the air so don't feel silly for being so affected by it flowers

ClareB83 Sun 25-Feb-18 13:34:06

I've been through very similar. My Mum and StepDad (who'd been around since I was 8) split when I was 24.

He claimed to just not love her anymore but there was another woman. They moved in together after 6 months in his batchelor pad.

He left my mum with the big house, pets, chickens, construction work etc. She had forgotten how to be independent and for a long while thought either me or him should do stuff for her like organise a replacement tumble dryer or take out the bins.

I was very supportive - took mum on nights out, went on holiday (a really exotic one StepDad would have vetoed), went shopping for new make up (total divorce cliche but does seem to help).

But it did get too much at times. We had to have a couple of rows to reset boundaries eg her treating me like the parent and sulking at ridiculous things (like me feeding the cat before making her tea). It made us incredibly close though and it didn't take too long (say a couple of years) to get the hang of being independent again. It also helped when they legally divorced and she got a more manageable house.

So I would say prepare to spend more time with her, for some unreasonable demands and to be kind, but know where your limits lie.

I have no advice on how to handle your Dad. My StepDad showed that despite all the years he considered me a mate not family, so I cut ties and supported my mum.

Qvar Sun 25-Feb-18 13:39:28

She's still really young! 47 is not too old to start again, I promise.

WhatsGoingOnEh Sun 25-Feb-18 13:44:12

If he's on £140k, they've been married 25 years and she was a SAHM to their kids, your mum should be able to do very well out of a divorce settlement.

YellowMakesMeSmile Sun 25-Feb-18 13:46:32

It sounds like he was waiting for his last child to leave home and then left.

It's not upto you to fix, your dad deserves to be happy. You acknowledge she's difficult so he's obviously reached the end of the line. It's not great if there is somebody else, he should have split first.

Yes she's going to have to find work and maybe downsize but that's part of adult life. As she knew he was unhappy and wanting to separate she's had chance to find something and still didn't.

VladmirsPoutine Sun 25-Feb-18 13:47:47

You sound incredibly compassionate and empathetic.

Your mum needs a lot of support at the moment. She should also see what she is legally entitled to.

On another note; take heed. I bang on about this kind of thing to young women all the time.

jkl0311 Sun 25-Feb-18 13:49:59

I'm sorry to hear this op. Be there for your Mum in this tough time as no one can see it coming sometimes! If she gets a good solicitor she needs to file for divorce but prove that if she didn't sah and sort out the children he wouldn't of got as far in his career.... that has a value. If she has any friends gone through a decent divorce obviously ask them? thanks

StopPOP Sun 25-Feb-18 13:50:09

47 is really young! confused

From the description I thought she was going to be around 60.

I hope she'll be ok but surely a 47yr old in today's world isn't completely clueless about what needs to be done?

Agree with handholding in the first instance but not doing everything, you have your own life and your own relationship with your Dad. Hope your Grandad is comfortable thanks

mixture Sun 25-Feb-18 13:53:13

Selling the house might be a good idea, swap it for a studio or something small/smallish, and spring might be a good time to sell. I met someone on the bus who had had a background in media, she was your mum's age (but had worked, in pr/media) but was made redundant, with no or little prospect to get back in, as it was (she said) hard to get in into pr again if you were a woman approaching her 50's. She retrained to become an assistant nurse, not her favourite choice but she had to get bread on the table. There's a book I've read, that you might want to get her, if she does read, it's "Book o Eve" by Constance Beresford-Howe, probably you need to buy it second-hand, it's about a woman leaving her husband building up a new life after retirement, quite inspirational and a bit funny too. The Good Read's (website) summary here:

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 25-Feb-18 13:54:11

I'm sorry for your sadness, OP. It must be very stressful with your granddad dying also - and your nan having to deal with that.

As for your parent's marriage, only they know what's happened within it so best to stay out of the detail. They'll get by; your mum has a large house that she could sell and that would give her some breathing space to decide what she wants to do with the rest of her life.

I imagine your dad is giving you (and your sibling(s)?) a bit of space to come to terms with this. In retrospect, he should have left when he first determined that it was the right thing to do then the awkward timing wouldn't have happened. Both though will be adult enough to keep this additional worry from their own parents/PILs, I would have thought?

Support both; perhaps your mum needs a bit of extra at the moment whilst she finds her feet, but she will. Encourage her to get out and meet up with friends so that she can rant and vent in safety. I would urge you not to allow yourself to become a venting post for either parent, it's not your job and it won't be the truth in any event, just the truth from the eye of the beholder.

This will pass, in a while, and things will find their new 'normal' again.

cromwell44 Sun 25-Feb-18 13:55:31

This is very difficult but your parents are adults and will need to work things out for themselves. The transition will be difficult for your mum in the short term as she won't have had time to think about the new situation, I guess your dad has been thinking about it for a while. You probably know this isn't about you or letting you down, you can't expect him to be unhappy for the rest of his life.
At 47, your mum is relatively young, she doesn't have the responsibility of children at home and will be entitled to some financial security from the divorce. It'll take time to absorb but you'd be best to encourage her to look to her future when the time's right and she's begun to deal with the shock.

JaneEyre70 Sun 25-Feb-18 13:57:05

Whatever you do, don't take sides. People don't just walk out of happy marriages, and your dad sounds at least like he gave trying a shot. Your mum will be devastated, and it will be tough but let your dad know you love him just as equally and stay out of their arguments if they happen. She's young enough to find another way to live, and it could be a good change for her.

whitecremeegg Sun 25-Feb-18 14:02:14


I echo the pp who say get your mum to a divorce lawyer. She shouldn't hang about seeing if he's going to come back, it sounds like he won't.

You say she has done some voluntary type work and some baking. Maybe she can set up her own business making cakes for birthdays, retirement etc? You can help her set up a wee facebook page? And she could work in a charity shop perhaps?

missyB1 Sun 25-Feb-18 14:02:24

She definitely needs to get good legal advice asap, yes the house will probably need to be sold but she should be able to get something smaller. I know getting work might be tricky but she could look at re training / updating qualifications which should help. I'm 49 and currently re training as a Nursery worker after a few years as a sahm.

She's lucky to have you, I'm not sure my son's would be so supportive.

CuriousaboutSamphire Sun 25-Feb-18 14:10:00

Oh! Don't take sides OP! Support your mum by all means, but don't write your dad off.

For all you know, in a month or so you'll find out that your dad is still paying all the bills, mortgage etc on that big empty house and making sure your mum has money. As an adult you need to stop and think of the consequences of becoming too entrenched for one side or the other - as your OP suggests you may be!

And yes, as others have said, YOU HAVE NO RESPONSIBILITY for any of this!

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