Sorry for the long post
I’m a 57yo widow with 3 adult children all in their late 20’s/early 30’s, all of them have children.
My DH died 3.5 years ago, just before lockdown, from a heart attack. He was 55 and up until then, healthy - it was a huge shock for us all.
Digressing a bit - our marriage wasn’t easy when the kids were little. We both worked, but he did absolutely none of the raising of the kids. I did everything - cooking, bedtimes, cleaning, story time, school run, nativities etc. He would play dinosaurs or some fun game for 30 minutes of an evening and they thought he was the best thing ever while boring mummy was always cleaning. I used to beg him to chip in more but he refused - he was a bit of a chauvinist and I never left because, well, frankly I didn’t want the kids to be from a broken home. This is probably the story of so many women my age. I really hid, and still do hide, just how awful, lazy and unkind he could be. He was rubbish at parenting - the 30 minutes of being a dinosaur on an eveNing was usually too much for him. I did it all - the emotional and physical labour. He was tight with money, always treated himself and never me (my wages went into the many thing he didn’t realise kids cost such as sports clubs, shoes, school uniform etc). Even after I had major surgery I was still expected to pack lunches and do laundry - even when my stitches burst as a result. He just found it all very annoying that I wasn’t doing better at ‘Mumming’ even when on death’s door. He had some truly horrible moments. Anyway, it got better after the kids left home and we really found our spark again. But I would never, ever want my kids to be treated the way I was and in hindsight genre was too much I put up with.
This is relevant because they have always, but especially since his death put him - and our marriage - on a pedestal. They always talk to their partners about how me and DH were ‘couple goals’. My DD2 tells her boyfriend (who she met after DH died) that we were the perfect couple. I can only say I must have hidden our problems well for them to think that.
Anyway, I haven’t dated since his death. I’ve thrown myself into looking after my 5 grandchildren (I work PT 2 days a week and the other 3 days I have the 3 nursery aged one so my DC can save on childcare fees) which I absolutely love. I also do a lot of sleepovers so my kids can have date night. I am close to my DC and their partners, they all moved back home with me for the 1st lockdown as we’d just lost DH and we all really needed that time together. After they moved out I did feel lonelier than I thought, and have relied on friendships for company. As well as doing childcare, I help all the DC financially in various ways, including paying nursery fees for 2 DGC on days I work, DD1 gets money every month as something of an early inheritance and they’ve all had deposits/weddings etc paid for. Which I really don’t mind doing, especially as they always make the effort to see me.
Anyway, 6 months ago I ran into a man I haven’t seen in two decades. We were colleagues and really good friends. It was platonic as we were both married. We naturally drifted apart after he left the company. But running into him, there was a real spark and he has somehow got even better looking than he was. he’s been divorced a few years now and so we met up for a drink….and the rest is history.
Honestly, even for DH, I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way. DP is kind, attentive, generous and we have a really good laugh - and fantastic sex, something I was worried I’d never find again. I’ve been happier in these last six months than I have for a very, very long time. We have said we love each other and we both want a future. I never want to be married again but I would like to live with him at some point. He has an adult DD, who I’ve met and she is really lovely and supportive of us. I feel so lucky to find this happiness after a huge loss. I feel like I’m 20 again!
I hadn’t told my DC - which isn’t ideal. But I wanted to just enjoy my new relationship for what it was without worrying about upsetting other people or without other people’s opinions. My friends have met DP and think he’s amazing. I feel no guilt at all - had I been the one to die 3.5 years ago, DH would probably have had a new girlfriend and moved her in within six months! I also think my marriage was so, so hard and hate-filled at times that I deserve to have an easy and loving relationship.
Anyway, DP was staying over one night last week. I WFH, so does he, so on the night before my working days (ie when I don’t have the GC the next day) he will stay the night and work in my spare room the next day.
So it was 8am and we were both in our nightwear (me in an oversized shirt thing and him in boxers) having coffee in the kitchen. In walks DD1 with DGC. She’d tried to contact me to say DGC was ill and couldn’t go to nursery and would I have her. My phone was upstairs so she just brought her round (she has a key) and saw me and DP.
I knew the kids wouldn’t take it well but to say that what followed was total pandemonium would be an understatement. You’d think I’d been caught cheating. DD1 hit the roof. DP left (at my request) and DD1 called DS and DD2. Before I knew it they both came over (you’d think they’d have bloody work to do!). DS was actually crying at one point. I explained what had been happening and why I didn’t tell them. They saw it as cheating on their dad. Which is ridiculous. DD2 was completely repulsed that I was sexually active at ‘my age’. They couldn’t understand how I could do this when I’d had such a good marriage. Probably because I was being defensive and I felt they were ganging up on me, but I told them that our marriage wasn’t perfect and he could be really unpleasant actually and the only reason they don’t know that is because I protected them from it. Not a very wise move, but I just got sick of the same old ‘perfect marriage’ shite
I have no expectations of them meeting DP anytime soon, I told them that, but I was clear: this is MY life and I will love whomever I choose and what I do in the privacy of my own home is my business. I explained they all had their partners, their lives and little families but they forget that I have been lonely and could spend another 40 years on this Earth and I don’t want to do that alone.
They absolutely cannot see reason. They have thrown back in my face the fact they lived here during COVID to support me. They said it felt like I was cheating on DH. They said they can’t, and never will, accept I have a DP. They’ve said I’ve ‘suddenly decided DH was horrible’ and that my new DP must be planting this idea in my head because they’d never heard me badmouth their dad before. DS even messaged me yesterday to say he’s so against me having a new DP that he ‘doesn’t want to make me choose’ but he ‘feels it’s getting that way’ and his sisters agree. Mind you - it didn’t stop all of them dropping their kids off here for childcare this week. When they do drop them off, they barely look at me let alone speak to me. DS’s lovely wife has been great and thinks he’s being a dick (and has told him as much) but sadly it’s not enough to help him see how awful he’s being to me. I have no idea what my SIL’s think but according to DD’s they’re in agreement with them.
I do get they’re still grieving - I really do. But this is nothing to do with their dad. They have no right to make me choose or make me feel bad.
DP has been amazing through all this - he is happy to take it as slow as I want but at the same time he’s obviously feeling really disgusted with their behaviour and is defensive of me and he isn’t saying that but I can feel it.
Anyway - AIBU to refuse to give up my relationship if my DC give me an ultimatum? I feel bullied. Their dad used to bully me with manipulation sometimes and it makes me physically sick that they take after him that way. I would of course (hypothetically) be heartbroken to lose them and DGC - but I really feel like this ultimatum is calling my bluff. I really can’t see them following through for more than a couple of days - then they will need childcare/money/a favour/a lift. It seems THEIR love is conditional except all the conditions fall on me and not them. And the conditions are that they get everything from me and I forgo my right to a private life of my own.
I’m utterly heartbroken. what the hell do I do?
EverybodyHatesMaureen Sat 30-Sep-23 10:29:47
Marydoll Sat 30-Sep-23 10:36:26
NotSpaghetti Sat 30-Sep-23 10:41:12
EverybodyHatesMaureen Sat 30-Sep-23 10:44:27
EverybodyHatesMaureen Sat 30-Sep-23 10:47:07
NotSpaghetti Sat 30-Sep-23 10:47:57
EverybodyHatesMaureen Sat 30-Sep-23 10:48:06
Ilovecheese Sat 30-Sep-23 10:49:24
NotSpaghetti Sat 30-Sep-23 10:49:42
EverybodyHatesMaureen Sat 30-Sep-23 10:50:51
karmalady Sat 30-Sep-23 10:51:39
Smileless2012 Sat 30-Sep-23 10:54:53
EverybodyHatesMaureen Sat 30-Sep-23 10:56:44
Sago Sat 30-Sep-23 10:58:29
EverybodyHatesMaureen Sat 30-Sep-23 10:59:01
elasticatedslacks Sat 30-Sep-23 10:59:38
Coronation Sat 30-Sep-23 11:00:29
EverybodyHatesMaureen Sat 30-Sep-23 11:01:23
Smileless2012 Sat 30-Sep-23 11:03:08
Hopikins Sat 30-Sep-23 11:05:21
EverybodyHatesMaureen Sat 30-Sep-23 11:07:37
Grannynannywanny Sat 30-Sep-23 11:16:09
EverybodyHatesMaureen Sat 30-Sep-23 11:18:19
Grannynannywanny Sat 30-Sep-23 11:21:33
Fleur20 Sat 30-Sep-23 11:38:05