Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Acceptable time between death of partner and start of new relationship?

(16 Posts)
ninaprettyballerina Sat 20-Oct-12 20:20:55

My parents were married for 36 yrs when my mum died suddenly. Found out my dad was seeing someone new (who I've never met before) after 6 months. Now (1yr later) she wants to move into my parents house (my dad is undecided at present).
I feel destroyed by the whole thing but don't know if I should just get over it and accept the situation.
Does it all seem fast to anyone else? Or normal??

RobynRidingHood Sat 20-Oct-12 20:29:58

Normal, for a man. 4 months after my mother passed away after a 43year marriage. Hard at first but SM made him so happy, and it's difficult to remember he was the parent and I was the child, not a role reversal as my dear aunt pointed out. It was not my place to feel anything but happy he was happy.

From friends parents in the same situation, mature folks tend to move at lightening speed when it comes to matters of the heart. Maybe they are aware time is short and all the dilly-dallying around we might do at our age isn't for them.

However to be quite mercenary, make sure they have their wills sorted. I've seen that cause a lot of problems s well, especially with owning a property.

EverybodysSpookyEyed Sat 20-Oct-12 20:31:11

this seems to be quite common amongst the widowers i know who had been married a long time. I think it is a case of trying to fill the gaping hole in their life.

In a few cases it has meant the widower has had a happy final years with a loving companion. But in most cases it has definitely been a case of 'marry in haste, relent in leisure'.

It is incredibly hard for you because you undoubtedly feel like he is replacing your mum - don't. This relationship has absolutely no bearing on how he felt for your mother.

You don't say anything about his new girlfriend - do you like her? would you like her if she wasn't your dad's girlfriend?

Regarding the moving in, your dad should be 100% certain before committing to this.

discrete Sat 20-Oct-12 20:32:10

Some men who are with someone for that long just don't know what to do with themselves on their's fairly normal to find someone fairly quickly to fill the vacuum left in their lives, I think.

RandomMess Sat 20-Oct-12 20:32:28

I think as soon as they feel ready, but fully understand how hard it can be for you.

Remember he's not replacing your Mum, he's lonely and found someone that makes him happy - you have your own life now.

HeinousHecate Sat 20-Oct-12 20:34:26

There isn't one. It is at whatever point the individual feels it's the right time for them.

I do think it is fairly common for people to enter into a relationship quickly. They're lost and lonely, grieving and just want some warmth and comfort. That isn't to say it can't also be true love, but I think it can be complicated.

lalalonglegs Sat 20-Oct-12 20:34:45

I'm sorry for your loss and I can see that his relationship puts you in a difficult situation but I think it proof that he was very happy in his relationship with your mother and wants his life to have a partner in it. I'm not sure that you can prescribe a set amount of time for official mourning but I wouldn't take it (as you seem to be) that it is a sign that he is trying to replace your mum. Possibly he is of a generation that feels very helpless without a woman taking care of the home etc.

I don't know how well they go together as a couple and you don't mention if you think she is good for your dad or not, but I think you should try to feel happy for them. He has obviously decided that life does go on and he should try to make the best of things. It's really much better that he is happy with the new woman (if he is happy with her) than he spends the next few years feeling bereft and miserable.

CarpeJugulum Sat 20-Oct-12 20:34:58

My dad took about 3 years (4 before he plucked up courage to tell me and 5 until they married grin )

In his wedding speech, he mentioned my Mum, and said that had she not shown him how happy marriage could be, he wouldn't have had the courage to find someone else.

bigTillyMint Sat 20-Oct-12 20:36:39

This must be hard for you.

I think that men who have been happily married for a long time feel bereft when they lose their wives and want to fill the gap quickly. My uncle got remarried (to his first ever girlfriend) less than 2yrs after my aunty had died which I think was quite hard for his sons who were young teenagers. They were happily married for over 20yrs before she died nearly 2 years ago sad

EverybodysSpookyEyed Sat 20-Oct-12 20:37:03

Carpe - that's really lovely

trice Sat 20-Oct-12 20:38:49

Do make sure his will is up to date. Other than that, people who are used to living as part of a couple are usually good at it. I would want him to wait two years though until the first bite of grief has passed, just to make sure he knows his own mind.

crackcrackcrak Sat 20-Oct-12 20:40:01

Hard to judge another's situation but this was my experience. I am sharing my feelings about fil - not casting judgement on yours.
Exp's mum died in 2008 after a few months in hospital. She had COPD and had suffered emphysema for some years prior to that. She was 68 I think. Fil was utterly, utterly destroyed and in the first 6 months I was extremely concerned about him. They has been married 50 years and had 5 adult children. I felt I was much more worried than exp or his siblings as I really though at times we would find him hanging in the garage or similar. He lost a lot of weight and and existing health condition of his flared up terribly. Life was miserable for him. He wasn't yet 70 at the time and until then had been very active and outgoing with many friends. He had a caravan he towed up and down the country visiting people and generally enjoying his retirement. All this stopped for a while and he seemed to age 20 years over night.
Almost a year later he bumped into the widow of a close school friend. The two couples had socialised together now and then for decades but has lost touch prior to her becoming widowed. They began spending time together and this slowly blossomed in to a relationship. She lived in the next district and or course they has already known each other most of their lives and had a huge shares history. I remember her first coming on a family day out for his 70th birthday in 2009.
I was delighted as fil actually seemed a bit happier but exp and his siblings were utterly horrified and extremely rude about new GF. I felt that exp sounded like a total brat in his character assassination of this very ordinary, kind woman. I have him a stern talking to at the time, stating that fil was not yet an old man and was entitled to try and have some kind of a life after the live of his life dying. I was cross with them all for being so unsupportive but they all said things like 'why arnt we enough for him?' I felt they were quite selfish and blinkered and seemed unable to understand fil was still an adult man with his own social needs and possibly a sex drive! Gasp!
He is a lovely man who would die for his family if he needed to and would drop anything to rescue any of his kids/grand kids. I was so happy to see him smile and laugh again and live in the present. The relationship bloomed and soon enough she was up and down the land with him in his caravan, doing touristy things and going to balls and just living it up! grin

Maybe it's different for he because my parents separated when I was a child. My dad had a few GF and eventually remarried. My mum had a partner for 16 years who I adored. I can see that losing a parent well in to adulthood and then trying to accept a new partner would be really hard but I do hope in that situation I could be a bit happy that my dad wasn't suicidal any more sad.

I hope this post was helpful in some way and comes across in the way I meant it.

dequoisagitil Sat 20-Oct-12 20:40:14

It doesn't mean he has forgotten or is disrespecting your mum.

Of course it hurts, but you have to try to be happy for him, if she makes him happy. The alternative is him spending his last years lonely and stuck in grief - is that really what you want for him?

expatinscotland Sat 20-Oct-12 20:43:20

Men tend to do this often enough, particularly if they've been married a long while.

ninaprettyballerina Sat 20-Oct-12 20:50:44

I think I've found it difficult for several reasons 1) I've never met her 2) she's the same age as my sister. My dad is grey but no George Clooney so I struggle to see what attracted a 37 yr old to a 60 yr old widower 3) She's 'not fussed' about meeting me or my brother (she has met my sister). My dad never really mentions her to me, I get told everything by my sister.
I'm relieved to hear its fairly common though so I'll take comfort in that

ThompsonTwins Sat 20-Oct-12 21:13:35

IME men are more liable to find a new partner more quickly than women. Women have a tendency to be more independent/self sufficient - more of them work and are working longer these days and so have more of a handle on finances. They also tend to have more responsibility for domestic and child matters although there are some very hands-on partners/husbands/fathers. Put simply, some women may cope better.

Men may also have a tendency to compartmentalise and able to close a situation, not keep brooding and returning to it as women have more of a tendency to do.

Having said that, it is also difficult for a family to see the finding of a new partner as anything, perhaps, other than some form of disloyalty. There may be fears (unfounded or not) about inheritance etc.

Each family is different. Ultimately, I think it a great pity and can be very damaging if the children/siblings/parents of someone bereaved are unsympathetic and even unpleasant to the new partner. Bereaved people deserve to find happiness. They may make mistakes in finding a partner too soon (a form of rebound) but from the threads on here, making relationship mistakes is something that most of us have done.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now