My widowed father is dating

People deal with death in intensely personal ways. There really is no right or wrong. If your dad is really rich rich, yes, he could and probably will have gold-diggers after him. But he's 60 and completely compos mentis, right? He's not this infirm, vulnerable target. The documentary 51 Birch Street is about a very similar situation. I'm now paranoid that I sounded a little abrupt in my response, so can I get a chance to re-state some things? First of all, I'm so sorry for your loss. I do still believe that letting your father be and just continuing to "be there" for him, and let him guide the conversations - or lack of them - about your mother, would be best.

But that's not to say that this also isn't a mindfuck for you too, understandably; but your feelings about your father dating right now are a separate issue from your father dating as an issue itself.

Dear Carolyn

I get the sense that you understand that, and you're indeed wise to keep them separate, I think. I don't know of any books or web sites to point to, but my instinct says that understanding for your own self what your boundaries are - how much or how little you want to hear about this other woman, just in case - would be a good thing to figure out; not that I think that he may start gushing about how awesome she is it looks like quite the opposite, in fact , but that can help you reframe that "okay, I have every right to say something if Dad goes there, but if he doesn't go there then And also - any grieving process is different for every person, and may involve you doing some things that you wouldn't expect yourself to do.

Everyone kind of does that. Respect what you yourself need to work through in your grief; support yourself as well as your father. My dad then in his 60s started dating within months of my mom passing away after a long bout of cancer. Only your dad and whomever he is dating can decide that. Seconding that this is what people that age and situation do if they are so inclined: She was by no means replacing my mom but there was definitely a void in my father's life that she was closing and he for her.

That, for me, was boundless good. For my dad, he was initially hesitant to tell me because his best friend, who was widowed at about the same time, met with huge dramatic resistance from his kids when he wanted to date again. I assured him that I was fine with it and this and subsequent conversations broadened and deepened our relationship. As an aside, this is not uncommon. Sometimes, even in the best of health, us older people make informal agreements with our best friends to take care of each others surviving spouses.

I think EmpressCallipygos has the direction I was heading in with this question in their second comment He's going to make his own decisions and I will love him and support him. And, for that matter, give him a piece of my mind if I don't agree with them. However, I am looking for help getting my mind to that place. The one family member I spoke with riled me up quite a bit but I couldn't comprehend why, because I didn't have an angry reaction to the concept, more just a rehashing of the relatively fresh grief.

I spoke to another family friend about it and she grounded me quite well. I know my dad is going to do what makes him happy, but I'm not concerned about gold diggers for two reasons: I have made a point of making myself quite self-reliant and am not depending on inheritance and 2. I'm pretty sure my dad would always put his kids above his own happiness, but especially before someone else's.

I guess I have just been looking for people to tell me it's going to be okay in general ever since she died. She used to be that person for me.

When you are a Widow or Widower and your Children Disapprove of your Dating Again

I remember her encouraging her father to start getting out after my grandmother was fully incapacitated by Alzheimer's. She was happy when he started seeing a friend's widow even while my grandmother was still "alive" but not really a shred of herself. I guess my mom was already telling me how she'd feel well in advance. I'm in a similar situation , but my mom has been gone 2 years and my dad is He is moving in with a woman next month after dating long distance for a few months and they are talking marriage. I was a mess when he told me and for a while afterwards.

I'm not proud of my response I cried as hard as when my mom died , but they were my feelings and I owned them. I came to realize that what hurt so much was that I had just adjusted to my family being defined as just me and my dad and now it was changing again and I had no control over that. It was like losing my mom all over again. And I had no choice but to accept this stranger into my life. Also the disparity between his extreme happiness over the situation and my extreme sadness was jarring.

There is lots of "too soon" chatter coming from my extended family and even my dad's friends - not in terms of too soon after my mom's death, but too so to be moving in with someone after knowing her such a short time especially since they live in different states and have spent little time together. I am trying to embrace the notion that it's his life and if it were a stranger and someone was telling me about a man who, after a difficult but long marriage, found someone he was crazy about and had a second chance at happiness, I would think it romantic.

That it's my dad is what has made it a sad story for me. And that's my problem, not his. I wish you well. I know how hard this can be even when at your core you want him to be happy. This recent AskMe question , while a little further down the line in scope, might have some useful insights for you. My grandfather started dating again before my grandmother even died. So to me, waiting two weeks after death sounds like he's being tactful by comparison: P I think that us younguns don't realize that the old folks date differently than we do: Especially if they're men.

Resources for dealing with your widowed parents starting to date? - dating | Ask MetaFilter

I don't think I really know how to answer your questions, but those are the things you have to keep in mind with regards to your father. He's luckier than most in that he's got a good family friend to date. It is my observation that men who were very happy in their marriage are quick to start dating again as they know exactly how much they like being married and want to return to that state of happiness as soon as possible.

At his age he knows himself and knows what he wants we should all be so lucky. The senior dating game is much less of a game than it is the first time around. Thank you all for your suggestions. When they see you leaving them for few hours and that too with another adult of the opposite sex, thoughts of being abandoned are sure to figure uppermost in their minds.

At these times, it is up to you to reassure them that as your children, they will always remain your number one priority.


  1. The Globe and Mail.
  2. You are here;
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  4. How do I deal with my widowed father’s new partner?.

By affirming your own personal commitment to your kids, you will go a long way in assuaging their insecurity and fears of abandonment and create groundwork for a healthy give and take. In such cases, the only thing for you to do is to reassure them that there is no splitting of affections on your part but merely a widening of circle in which there are more people to love and receive love from. Emphasize your need for companionship Dating after the loss of a spouse is not always about getting to have sex again.

It is more about looking for companionship, for someone interesting with who you can have a pleasant time. Once again tell them that every human being craves for companionship and human attachment, no matter what age they are. And just like their adult children cannot be expected to leave their families and careers to be with elderly parents all the time, the latter too are completely within their rights to look for companionship where they like.

This is particularly relevant when the parent has a large business or estate or substantial funds to leave to his children after death. If a lot of money is involved, consider opting for a pre-nuptial agreement with your new spouse. Keep an open mind Sometimes the first hints of a bad relationship are the wary responses of family and friends when you introduce them to the new person in your life. So even though you completely deserve to have a full-fledged social life and a satisfying love life, keep an eye out for those who might be trying to take advantage of your resources.

Rather keep an open mind and take into consideration all the differing perspectives before you arrive at any important decision. For all this time you have done your duty by your family and now it is your turn to have a fulfilling personal life.


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  • Most of all, you have always given your kids their space and the freedom to take their own decision and so the least than can be expected from them now is to let you take yours.