Gransnet forums


To not end this relationship because my children don’t want me in it?

(143 Posts)
WeepingWidow Mon 04-Mar-19 12:46:47

3.5 years ago my husband was cruelly and unexpectedly taken from us. He was only 55. It affected our three children (who were lates teens/early 20’s at the time) and grandchildren deeply, and we all miss him tremendously. I’m not going to lie, our marriage of 30 years had it’s up and downs - he could be lazy, had quite a nasty streak and would never do anything he didn’t want to, even if it meant lots to someone else. But the last 5 years or so were our best days without a doubt we rediscovered our love and were immensely happy.

I never had any involvement with any other men for the first 3 years or so after his death. Not even a flirty smile. At first it never occurred to me. We have a huge family and for a good while I never felt alone - there was always someone round the house, I holidayed with my children and I have a good group of friends so never short of company. But as anyone who’s lost a partner will tell you - friends aren’t the same as having a real intimate partner , a true companion. The last year I’ve hankered to have someone in my life - the visitors filtered away, etc and I’ve also started to really miss sex and someone to wake up with.

4 months ago my son got married and at the evening do an old friend - a guest of my DIL’s family - turned up. I worked with him about 25 years ago, and haven’t seen him in 15 years. We were very close at work at the time, always got on famously and had children round about the same time. We were both married and whilst it was strictly platonic (I was very faithful to my DH) I definitely felt an attraction and I know he did. It was never more than that though, but he is very good looking so I couldn’t really help feeling an attraction. So when I saw him at the wedding it was lovely to catch up. He divorced his wife 10 years ago, and we hit it off right away. Long story short - we have been in a relationship for 4 months now. He is amazing. He’s so kind and generous, and smart and funny. We have the same interests - we go to the ballet, theatre and have taken ballroom dancing lessons together (all the things my DH would never do with me). I feel like I’m 21 again, we have said I love you (and I really do) and he wants to be with more pretty much for life now. Plus the sex is amazing!

To clarify, we are taking it slow. I never want to get married again. Not least because I want my children to inherit what I have when I die. And I won’t be moving in with him, probably ever - I look after my four grandchildren a lot, at least one is at my house around 4 days of the week and they sleep over regularly too. I have found that I enjoy my own space and rules, and would hate to check with anyone before I had my grandchildren over. BF knows this and is fine with living apart permanently.

We kept the relationship a secret for three months, but a near miss when my DD almost walked in on us DTD (she didn’t though, she let herself in to stay the night unexpectedly and I snuck him out without her noticing) I decided to bite the bullet.

I didn’t expect them to be overjoyed but I got a really negative reaction. My youngest, who is 23, cried! They don’t see why I want a relationship, and think it’s too quick after their dad. I told them that I have no expectations of them - they don’t have to meet him, or ask questions - I am simply telling them and they do have to get used to it. I explained that, whilst I love them and their children, it’s not enough to keep me going, I need something and someone for me. I have another 30 years probably left in me (I’m 55) - I don’t want to spend them alone.

That was a month ago and they’ve barely spoken about it to me. My son can hardly look at me. I see them often due to childcare and they just avoid the subject. I took the grandchild out yesterday to the zoo as a treat so saw them all and we chatted whilst the kids played in a park. They’d come to a joint agreement to tell me that I don’t need my BF, they’ll never let me be lonely, I can come on their holidays, they’ll keep me company etc. They think it’s too soon as ive “only known him 4 months”. When I explained actually I’ve known him 25 years they were horrified - said it was like cheating on dad! They just can’t come to terms with me being with someone else, and won’t accept him in my life. My lovely son-in-law and daughter-in-law openly disagreed with them and said they should be happy for me. My DIL has text me since to say I deserve happiness and she will always support me. She never met my DH, if that’s relevant, but my son was very close to him.

I’m heartbroken about what my kids have said. My children’s opinion means the world to me, but I love my BF and feel I wasn’t treated brilliantly in my marriage and deserve this love now. The children don’t know their dad was less than perfect because I never exposed that side of our marriage - they have rose tinted glasses about him. Which is annoying as if it has been me who’d died he’d have shacked up with a new woman within six months without a doubt!

I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to lead two lives. I don’t expect BF to meet anyone any time soon, and I don’t want to be held hostage to my children.

WIBU to stay in this relationship and tell my kids to suck it up - or is that the height of insensitivity? They say they’ll never let me be lonely - but I won’t be a burden on them. What if they wanted to move away one day? I don’t want them to resent saying that they’ll always keep me company (it’s not bloody realistic anyway)! And I couldn’t exactly say that I want intimacy not just someone to talk to, they’d probably melt at the thought of me having sex! What do I do?

Grandma70s Mon 04-Mar-19 17:41:36

I pexpect they’ll recover, but it may alter your relationship with them for ever. It depends how much you mind that. Agree children shouldn’t have everything they want - nobody should - but I think that applies more to material things than emotional things.

I don’t rely on my grown children for company, never have. They went away to university at 18 and have lived nowhere near me ever since, with my encouragement. I have friends, though, so I am not at all lonely. Also lots of interests. i wouldn’t change places with my married friends in a million years, partly because I’d make a terrible carer. That’s what most of them are doing.

M0nica Mon 04-Mar-19 17:55:58

Weeping Widow Of course they will get over it. Just quietly stick to your position and your new partner, they are young and they will mature one day.

MissAdventure Mon 04-Mar-19 18:19:53

My mum was widowed at 42, (when I was 14) and I would never have dreamed of standing in the way of her meeting anyone else.
Since your children are behaving, well, like children, I think you must just be the adult and carry on exactly as you are.
I'm sorry, but I think its ridiculous for grown ups (as your children are) to be so narrow minded regarding this.

EllanVannin Mon 04-Mar-19 18:41:30

WeepingWidow it's because you have sacrificed your life for the children that their non-acceptance of an " intruder " into your life is looked upon as a " betrayal " to them as well as their dad.
If you'd been one of those type of women who didn't care and just trotted off to a pub with any Tom Dick and Harry, they probably wouldn't have turned a hair because they'd have been used to you living that way, but because you're not one of those women it's been a shock to them, enough to create hostility towards the BF.

You are their " mum " and mum's are there for them and nobody else, is how they see you and many like us and how dare anyone else step into their dad's shoes.

I can sympathise in a way with your family but also yourself as that horrible feeling of being " torn " between them and your life is the worst feeling.

I don't know your children obviously but I think it sounds as though it'll take a while before there's an acceptance and even then things probably won't be the same.
I don't suppose they've seen you getting really cross with them ? Because once you decide where your future's going, you want to put your foot down firmly, if you can possibly do it and tell them straight that they've got their lives so it's now time that you had a new beginning.

Grandma70s Mon 04-Mar-19 18:44:39

It’s a gut reaction from the ‘children’, though, isn’t it? Not rational. I understand it. They just feel their father, only fairly recently dead, is being dismissed.

I realise you have said you aren’t going to marry this man or even live with with him, which should make it an easier situation for your ‘children’ to accept. Don’t alienate them, though - you may need them in the end.

GillT57 Mon 04-Mar-19 18:50:33

Your children need to understand that you are a person in your own right and not just their mother,grandmother, babysitter. As many on here will testify, there will come a time when the childcare eases off, and do any of us ever want to have that awful feeling that our children have invited us on holiday because they feel obliged, or in the case of your adult children, made an emotional promise in the heat of the moment many years ago? They have to be made to realise that you will not be making a decision about whether to continue seeing your manfriend ( who sounds delightful, by the way) or to continue seeing your family. You, and they, can have both. Invite them out on neutral ground, hopefully they will behave themselves, and you have always got your lovely DiLs on side anyway. Take it slowly, but do not be bullied. Also, I would ask that they knock or ring before just barging in, irrespective of your manfriend, you could be having your legs waxed or something, and we are all entitled to our privacy. I am really happy for you in finding this man again after all these years, do not let him go, you will regret it. Keep us updated.

Chewbacca Mon 04-Mar-19 18:53:55

You have 1 life. Live it. Your AC have their own lives but this is yours. Do what makes you happy.

BlueBelle Mon 04-Mar-19 19:00:13

I think you are right to carry on seeing this man and continue in your relationship and be happy
however I can also see it from your children’s point of view (not saying their point of view is right but understandable) I was sitting thinking if it was me and one of my parents had embarked on a new relationship I think I would have seen it as a betrayal to the other parents memory and probably been marry myself
I think it will take time and you just need to lead your own life with your new man quietly I m sure it will ease in time just don’t rub their noses in it Keep it low key but swing from the chandeliers when their not around
Good luck

BlueBelle Mon 04-Mar-19 19:01:35

Mardy not marry silly predictive text always thinks it knows best

CanadianGran Mon 04-Mar-19 19:15:26

Oh WW, please do not give up a relationship for the sake of your children. They may be slow to come around, but perhaps they are in a bit of shock since they do not see you in the light of a vibrant single woman but rather only in the roll as grandmother. As previously suggested, meeting in a public neutral space might be a nudge in the right direction.

Or perhaps a week spent moping on their couch every evening until bed time would make them realize that a lonely mother could end up a burden! LOL

PECS Mon 04-Mar-19 20:02:06

I think take it slowly and quietly. Try not to discuss your time together too much with your kids but just play it low key and gradually bring your partner into the family. They will hopefully appreciate that it is your life and you can live it how you choose.

I found it hard to accept my father's new relationship a few years after my mum died. To be fair she was not my kind of person but it was selfish of me. I was not proud of my response to her and regret I did not fib and just say I was happy for him. He died 6 months later.

etheltbags1 Mon 04-Mar-19 20:28:56

Maybe you could just pretend that you arent seeing him as much. Dont invite him to events where the family will be. Days such as christmas are only once a year and he could find something alse to do. Thats what i would do as i would not do anything to upset my little family

Madgran77 Mon 04-Mar-19 20:53:20

ethelbags I do not agree that lying to them is the best thing to do!

Foxyloxy Mon 04-Mar-19 21:03:10

WW my father in law died very suddenly aged 44 years, my mother in law, was a lovely lady, but said to me, that she would have stopped her son marrying if we hadn’t already got married, as she did not want any thing else to change in her life. Few years later, she met a man and began a relationship, with my encouragement both of her sons got to know her new man friend who went on to marry her, and they had a very happy life. I did remind her of our conversation, and she said, she was truly glad that, we had already got married and that she did not manage to interfere with her sons future. Your children will feel the same, when they have had time to digest your new status quo. Go ahead with your degree, let them learn to adapt to the new changes in your life style, you are a loving mum and grand mother, so the children will come to see that you need changes in your life now that you have coped with your pain. When I was collecting my degree from the Queen Mother at the Royal Albert Hall, many many moons ago, there was a lady collecting hers for English and something else, she was 85 years old. So very proud as in deed she should have been. So you are never too old.

sodapop Mon 04-Mar-19 21:53:38

Your children will come round if you take things slowly Weepingwidow, you deserve a life of your own too.
I cannot agree with you ethelbags your solution would not help anyone, deceiving your family and not seeing your friend on important occasions is a recipe for disaster.

agnurse Mon 04-Mar-19 22:45:06

From my perspective, you're not doing anything wrong. You're widowed. He's divorced.

Your children may not be ready yet to accept you dating, but that doesn't mean that you can't date at all for the rest of your life!

I'd suggest not bringing your partner to see your children ATM. Rather, I'd suggest going to your children's homes or meeting in public if you want to visit them. Don't bring up your new relationship unless they ask to discuss it. If they do bring it up, reassure them that you've taken steps to protect yourself financially (and do so!).

Don't try to force your children and new BF together until they're ready to accept it. Everyone grieves in different ways, and while I agree that your relationship isn't really their business, it's also true that they may need time to adjust to it. I'd suggest the best approach, as I've pointed out, is to keep those two parts of your life separate for now, until your children are at a point where they feel ready to spend time with your new partner.

SueH49 Tue 05-Mar-19 04:45:07

Personally I think your children are being selfish and need to accept that a/ you have enough sense to enter into a relationship with your eyes wide open and b/ you have wants and needs that they simply cannot satisfy.
I would slowly integrate your BF into activities and give your children the opportunity to meet him and get to know him. Perhaps a birthday dinner (yours or even his) would be a start. Ir have your BF at your place when your children visit. Baby steps but positive ones to let your children know that you intend to carry on with this relationship. They will not accept it unless they meet your BF. How long do they think you should wait before another relationship? I think 3.5 years is quite acceptable, life does not stand still. I would not lie to your children, rather just treat you BF as being a totally natural part of your (and in time) their life. Good luck and I hope you, your BF and your family have many happy years together.

BradfordLass72 Tue 05-Mar-19 07:24:46

You say your son got married recently. Is he the one that can hardly look at you?
When he was planning this wedding, did you tell him not to because you would keep him company and go on holiday with him and so on?
If your daughter finds a partner, will you stop her going out with them?
Of course not.

They need to see it in these terms WW - you don't interfere in their lives - they don't interfere in yours. I am sure they want you to be happy but they need to see your happiness is far more than just having a companion
and being intimate.

It's that feeling of being special to someone, of knowing you can bring them joy as well.

I hope this can be settled amicably because the one thing I would caution against is telling your children about your husbands dark side (although I suspect they may know, surely he wasn't just lazy and stubborn when they were not around?)
That could so easily come out in anger if they push you too hard. It's best to keep that completely to yourself.

As others have said, this is YOUR life and you're the one who makes the decisions. You'd regret it if you bowed to their wishes and life is too short for regrets. flowers

Anja Tue 05-Mar-19 07:47:42

Just keep the two parts of your life as separate as possible for the time being.

FountainPen Tue 05-Mar-19 09:26:41

I have been on the other side of this. I was widowed young. Five years on, I met a lovely widower. I was his first relationship since his wife had died three years earlier.

When he told his daughter he had met someone, she objected vehemently saying he was betraying her mother. She refused to meet me and threatened to stop him seeing his grandchildren if he did not stop seeing me.

She had a husband, two children and a full-time career which kept her very busy but she would rather her father be alone and lonely than find a companion and some happiness again.

We carried on seeing one another for a while after her ultimatum but it never felt the same. Each time he called her to make arrangements to see his family, she would ask if he was still seeing me. When he replied yes, she would make an excuse that she was too busy. I could see it was hurting him, not seeing his grandchildren.

Also, in the back of my mind was the question, did I want to meet this selfish woman? Would I want her as a potential future daughter in law? The answer was no so I let him go.

Only last year, I was talking to a widow who had encountered the same problem when she met a widower. She told me they continued their relationship not exactly in secret but "quietly and in the background" for three years before her family reluctanctly agreed to accept him.

I would never have tolerated that situation or the notion of having to be accepted.

The man I let go kept in touch by email on and off for five years after those events. In that time, he had never tried to meet anyone else and had accepted the conditions his daughter imposed upon him. That made me as angry as it did sad. I didn't hear from him after that and rather hoped he had met someone and found happiness again but suspect he may have died.

Be careful you don't lose this good man. They don't come along that often.

Daddima Tue 05-Mar-19 10:51:51

Am I the only one who thinks money is behind all this, and your children fear for their inheritance?

DeeDum Tue 05-Mar-19 10:53:17

Time for you to live and enjoy your own life!!
Anything your adult children don't like they can lump!
Have them adopted and let someone else change their nappies!
If your late husband loved you he would be over the moon
You've found happiness again!!
You can't live with the past.being (Dictated) to either .

Esther1 Tue 05-Mar-19 10:56:14

Least said Soonest Mended. There is no need for long in depth discussions with your children. Your lovely friend is not moving in so there is no issue to be forced. Let time take it’s course and I am sure everyone will embrace your new situation.

Harris27 Tue 05-Mar-19 10:57:23

I can understand their feelings but why can't they understand yours? I find their negativity appalling. Surely we all have one life and hope to get to old age with present hubby or partner but life can be cruel. You deserve happiness keep them separate and hopefully in time their might be a defrosting of feelings from them. How would they feel if the same thing happened to them?

Kellie40 Tue 05-Mar-19 11:00:29

You absolutely deserve happiness, go for it, enjoy it x