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My dear dad...

(11 Posts)
bigblueheart Mon 24-Mar-14 12:28:07

I've NC for this as I'm a regular poster. I don't know what advice I'm expecting here - I don't think there is any answer to the situation I am now in. Sorry it's so long........
Back story - Eight years ago, my life was happy. Married with 2 DC's, two parents who had been married forever ( met when they were teens), DS living in the same area with her DC's.
Then, one year, in the space of six months, my DSis discovered her husband was a gambling addict & had gambled away thousands. Just a couple of months later, my XH had an affair and we divorced. My 'D' M was no support to me at all, or my DS. Sat there crying in front of my DSis and telling her how worried she was about it all. I had no practical help from her at all in the following months - no offer of childcare ( I always had to ask & it was always done reluctantly), no emotional support from her. My Dad, on the other hand was ( and always has been) amazing. Practical support, asking me how I was, offering to help financially, helping DSis with sorting out her issues...
He does so much for everyone & runs around after my DM. Always has done. She stopped working 20+ years ago after an illness and now sits indoors all day every day, has shopping delivered, dad pays for a cleaner, his meals are ready-meals. She is retired now, but even before that, when she was better after her illness, she did nothing. She never invites their friends over for dinner ( can't be bothered to cook), says his friends are 'boring', regularly embarrasses him ( and me) when we are out...I met them for lunch a few weeks ago & an acquaintance came over to speak to us all. My dad chatted away, as did I - she sat there looking completely disinterested & then 'mumbled' that she found him boring. I'm sure he heard.
At a party a month or so ago, a very good friend of mine came along who my DM hadn't seen for a few months. As she walked away, DM said to me ' I see X is still struggling with her weight'
You get the idea.

Now here is the problem...
In the months after our Annus Horriblis, DM was again taken very ill. It took her a few months to recover, during which time, we all ran round after her & my poor dad was run even more ragged than usual. She was so utterly hideous to him she actually made him cry one day. I was horrified. My strong, dignified, loving dad. On at least three occasions, in front of me, she blamed her illness on the stress of my marriage breakdown & my DSis problems. Everything, as usual, was everyone elses fault. Nothing to do with the fact that she smoked 20 a day for 40 years, in the house and refused ever to accept that any of us had any reason to complain.
It was inevitable really, but he finally started an affair. And when DM found out, she rang me at work to tell me. I just can't forgive her for that. Said she 'needed to get it off her chest'. It caused a huge upset, Dad said he was so so sorry & that he would end it.
I however know he hasn't. And here's my torment. I don't blame him. My DM makes his life an utter misery & he stays because he can't bear to destroy the family. He Utterly adores the DGC's, spends loads of time and money on them, takes them out in the holidays. DM never goes. 'Can't be bothered'
So part of me is tormented by this - but mainly that he must be utterly miserable at home, and I wish more than anything he could be happy.

AngelaDaviesHair Mon 24-Mar-14 12:39:42

Give him as much kindness as you can, let him know you want him to be happy, and then say no more about it. It isn't great, or necessarily right, but it may be keeping him going.

bigblueheart Mon 24-Mar-14 12:43:44

It is exactly that Angela - thank you. I just needed to hear it .

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 24-Mar-14 12:47:18

It's a tough one, isn't it? So difficult not to take sides and yet that's really the position you have to take. You love them both, you want them both to be happy but the marital problems they have to sort out for themselves. Like any other DC of warring parents, in fact.

Footle Mon 24-Mar-14 12:54:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Optimist1 Mon 24-Mar-14 12:55:12

Poor, poor man. And poor you too, OP. I'd be encouraging him to take the opportunity of whatever happiness presented itself, given the years of sterility he's endured. Of course it's likely that his OW will be encouraging him to take it a step further and leave your mother. Who could blame him (or her)?

Sorry, I have no suggestions as to what you can do except make sure he knows he will have your support regardless of what path he decides to take.

bigblueheart Mon 24-Mar-14 12:55:43

Thanks cog
You're absolutely right - i just wanted to know that others would view it as I do - something I can't get involved with. I have so much anger inside about my relationship with DM & the way she has behaved over the years. I probably need counselling TBH, but as a single mum, working full-time with 2 DC's, I just get on with it really.
As she has got older, I start to think about how I will feel after she is gone. And the overwhelming feeling is that I will be devastated that I never had a mum I could be close to. She actually sat there the other day in front of my DC's, my dad & me, and told him how she would chuck out all his stuff after he's gone. She actually referred to it as 'all his crap'. He is the nicest, kindest, most generous man you could ever wish to meet.
It breaks my heart.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 24-Mar-14 13:09:33

You have a lot of sympathy from me. It's horrible to grow up knowing your parents don't get along... to put it mildly. My DM's famous quote when I once asked her what DF would like for a birthday was 'don't get him anything nice'... confused She's spent a lot of my 49 years telling me what a waste of space he is (who does that to a kid?) and, whilst I'm under no illusions that he is perfect, if a man had ever needed encouraging to 'LTB' down the years it was him. They're now quite elderly, variously disabled and sort of locked in this grim marital dance to the death. Just occasionally I wished he'd had an OW somewhere being nice to him. smile

AngelaDaviesHair Mon 24-Mar-14 13:14:08

My parents' marriage is basically pretty sound, but lately life has really thrown some new challenges at them and they find it difficult. I have to work hard to keep the right balance between being a listening ear for each of them and hearing complaints from one about the other, borne of the new situation, that I find distressing.

In your case, you don't have to listen to stuff your DM has to say if it's too difficult for you, however put out that makes her. And with your DF, don't feel you have to endorse anything, or give him permission as it were, just give love.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 24-Mar-14 13:15:16

I would actually stay well out of it and not take sides.

Your parents both get what they want out of this relationship and their relationship is not your issue. They would be better off apart but for their own (perhaps it could be seen as selfish) reasons they stay together. They should not be burdening you with a choice that they made.

Counselling for you would be a good idea; BACP are good and do not charge the earth. You need to find a counsellor who fits in with your approach.

bigblueheart Mon 24-Mar-14 13:34:28

Thanks ladies - it helps to be able to unburden on here. I don't get directly involved at all attila - as far as I know, DM is oblivious to the fact it continues, and DF doesn't know that I know. To the outside world, we are a happy family. Friends of mine even comment on how lovely it is that they are together after all this time. I can't discuss it in RL because it just feels utterly wrong. It's just so sad for me that I know he will be stuck like this forever. Your comment cog that you sometimes wish your dad also had an OW makes me realise that I'm not utterly horrible for thinking that !
Thanks angela - I feel like you - it's distressing. I would love us to be one big happy family, but increasingly the family occasions are a real strain if she is in one of her 'moods'. Sorry you are going through difficulties too.

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