AIBU about mum's new man?(22 Posts)
My father died a few years ago after a long illness. At the time of his death, I had a toddler and was heavily pregnant with DC2 and so I focussed on the birth of my child and to be honest, I have never really let myself grieve for Dad, at least not properly. Not a healthy coping mechanism, I realise, but this is how I have dealt with it.
My mother is a wonderful woman and she and my father adored each other, though she lived very much in his shadow and depended on him a lot. She was devastated when he died but I am so proud of the way she has got on with living her life, doing things she never did when he was alive, due to lack of funds when we were children, and lack of confidence in herself. She now travels abroad with friends and family, volunteers for a local charity, and is active in a number of groups in her village. I live a few hours away from her but she travels to visit me regularly, and my husband and I take our DC to visit her several times a year also. I have other siblings who live closer to her and we are quite a close family, and mum likes to help us all out as much as she can with childcare etc. I have always hoped mum would meet somebody else, as she is only in her late 60s, fit and healthy, and has, I hope, a long life ahead of her. And what do you know, she has! Someone she has known almost all her life, someone we as a family all know quite well, has apparently been working up the courage to ask her out for a couple of years and finally, they have started seeing each other recently. It’s all going really well, they are getting along famously, and we genuinely couldn’t be happier for her. She’s like a giddy teenager.
But here is the AIBU (eventually, sorry!). I am hosting a family celebration in a couple of months, it’s quite a significant one and one that I know my father would have enjoyed. There have, of course, been numerous family occasions since his death, and at all of them, I have had a fleeting moment of wishing he was there and then putting it out of my mind (bottling it up as always). My mother has, of course, been on her own at these events (i.e. no partner), and that has made me sad, so naturally she wants to bring her new man to this event. I have encouraged her all along to be open to meeting someone and I am delighted she has, but I feel so unsettled at the thoughts of him being at this event. I am happy for her, but I feel so sad for me. I know this is selfish and probably childish, and I will of course welcome him and not make him feel left out or embarrass my mum in any way. But AIBU to feel overwhelmed with sadness at the thought of him being there, as if his presence magnifies my father’s absence in a way that has never been apparent before when it was just my mum on her own? I feel as if all the years of grief that I have bottled up since Dad’s death are about to burst out and I really want to get a grip of myself before this event. What do I do? My sister is a big advocate of a good cry but I’m afraid to start crying as it never makes me feel better. I don’t want to make my mum feel bad and so I think speaking to her is out of the question. All advice (and kicks up the backside) gratefully received.
You’ll have to suck it up, I’m afraid. My dad’s partner isn’t who I’d choose for him and tbh we have nothing in common but I’d never exclude her from family occasions. He started seeing her months after my mum died, btw.
Thanks corkscrew. There's no question of me excluding him...and he is a nice man and I actually might have chosen him for my mum (not that I have any say in a grown woman's love life!). The issue is the sadness I feel, like this has made m face my grief which I had locked away for the last number of years.
It’s so tough, I get it. I constantly compare dad’s partner to mum in my mind and find her lacking. But she’s NOT my mum. And this guy isn’t your dad’s replacement. He’s a different thing entirely.
Can you get some grief counselling OP? Crying may not make you feel better immediately, but since you’re feeling so awful now, and you seem to have quite a clear understanding about how not having grieved for your dad is affecting you, it seems the obvious thing to try?
YANBU. Of course you're allowed to feel sad, and of course you're aloowed to miss your dad. Just because you feel those things doesn't mean you don't love your mum and don't want her to be happy.
I lost my mum a number of years ago and my Dad met his partner some time after her death. She has become a member of our family, and the love and respect between the pair of them is as wonderful to see as the love and respect he and my mum shared. It doesn't mean I dont miss my mum and didn't yearn for her to be present at my wedding, the birth of my children and pretty much every day since she died. And I know that if she were still alive then there's no question that my parents would still be together.
I think the key in all of this is that you haven't grieved properly. I know I didn't and suffered depression a few years after my mum died. Speaking to the GP, accepting a course of anti depressants, receiving counselling, and most of all crying, remembering and talking to people who knew and loved my mum helped.
I would strongly urge you to do what I think you know you have to do. Address the grief you are feeling and learn how to manage it. Try and do it sooner rather than later, and I know you're not a fan, but I agree with your sister; a good cry can help a lot. You are obviously a caring, loving, family orientated person who just wants her mum to be happy. Good Luck
I have thought about it bottle...but I'm a stiff upper lip kinda girl (though clearly that doesn't always work). I will try talking to my sister to see how she's feeling about it all. Perhaps knowing how she's dealing with it might help me.
Thank you Liskee for your kind words...I'm much closer to my mum than I was to my dad but some of what you've said rings very true for me. I'll be calling my sister tonight for a chat.
It's understandable of course and you should let yourself feel it, have a good cry, spend some time looking at photos and remembering him, you might feel less upset on the day of this event if you get it out of your system a bit, you need to grieve <3
The thing about grief is that you have to go through it to come our the other end. Sometimes it needs a catalyst, this is yours. I'm sorry to say there's no way of avoiding it. I think your sister is right, you have to let yourself feel it, weather the pain and then the healing starts. I know this from experience, when my parents died six months apart I went into meltdown, it was dreadful but the process was inevitable. I do hope you can now start to find your way through. I really feel for you.
Yanbu to feel sad or they way you do. However I think it's one of the times you just have to put your feelings aside. It doesn't mean you can't think about him on the day of the occasion or that no one can talk about him. Maybe seek some grief counselling?
My dad found someone a few months after my mum died.
Bloody awful woman - we're NC now.
Just be grateful she's with someone you like. I'm sure your dad would be.
I would also recommend bereavement counselling - especially if you usually bottle things up.
Thanks all. Have chatted with a friend and my husband this evening and that has helped. One thing my husband suggested is that I try to see my mum and her new man together before the event a couple of times - while I know him from years ago and from seeing him around I haven't actually seen them together so it might take some of the strangeness out of it all. I will also consider counselling if I feel I'm not coping. Thanks again.
That's good advice. Glad you are able to talk this though with people in real life. Hope you are OK, that your Mum is happy and you are all able to work through this. I lost my Dad too. Feel sad that my Mum never met anyone else but also not sure how I would feel about it either. Take care.
You have a really good grasp on your feelings. You have looked at what is going on in your heart and head and worked out exactly why you feel the way you do. YANBU - you can't help it and your feelings are normal. You aren't going to say anything to your mum. You are handling this amazingly well. So let yourself feel how you need to feel and stop feeling so guilty. Have a good cry, don't stop if you don't want too. You will be ok, but you need to grieve.
Its really understandable to feel the way you do! But it IS the right thing to invite him. Thats the right thing to do by your mother and I think if your father loved your mother he would have wanted you to do the right thing by her and be proud that you put her happiness over your own sadness.
Its good you are talking about this you sound so insightful and brave.
Instead of thinking about how sad it is that your dad isnt there at the event, maybe focus instead of thinking about how if he could see you all there he would be so happy that you found it in yourself to support your mum.
Its very sad that he cant be there but its also so lovely that you have all come through this together and carried on.
YANBU. Definitely agree with your husband that it would be a good idea to see them together in advance of the event. After my dad died I bottled quite a lot of stuff up and embarrassingly broke into a completely uncontrollable full-on snotty blubbing fit that lasted for the best part of half an hour when I first saw Mum and her new partner together. Even worse, it was lunch at his house, so nowhere I could really go and hide, and at 19 with no car of my own at a house in the middle of the countryside, I couldn't excuse myself and leave either. They've been together over 20 years now and I still haven't quite got over the embarrassment of that first meeting!
Ahh op you sound like a lovely person it's understandable you would feel like this and I can tell that youl be nothing but welcoming to him. Seems to me like you say you haven't really grieved and the situation your going to be put in will really make it all seem so real and also strange for you . Your dhs idea sounds a good idea to me .
I also second some counselling I know you say it's maybe not your thing but I think it would help
Its actually a testament to your dad being such a great and loving partner to your mum that she has felt able to let herself develop feelings for this man.
It is extremely common for people from long happy and loving marriages to find love a second time - quite often fairly soon after losing the previous spouse. This is because they have a positive view of relationships. And that is down to your lovely dad. !
Those whose marriages were unhappy will most often say 'never again' !
Do go see them both before hand so that the impact will not hit you at this 'do'. And try to remember that a man such as you describe you dad to be - would above all else want your mum to be happy.
I found it really difficult when my Mother remarried 6 years after the death of my Dad, like it was a betrayal. It wasn't of course, but I know how you feel.
I wasn't a child either I was going on for 40. Be glad she's happy.
Oh Kevin, that's precisely what I'm worried about happening!! Though of course I might be crying happy tears on the day of the celebration as it's a milestone for my child. Well look, I'll put my big girl pants on and arrange a visit to mum soon. Get it out of my system and move on from there. You are all very lovely, I don't often post (am a serial name changer too as I hate to think I'd put myself!) but I'm glad I braved it today as just writing it out helped me to get my thoughts in order. It also helps to know others have been through similar and come out the other side just fine.
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