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Widowed father and friend

(71 Posts)
Bedders24 Wed 10-Jan-18 21:17:27

I feel like an awful person writing this but could do with some advise - my mum passed away nearly 3 years ago, she and my dad were married for over 50 years and she was very ill for the last few years.

Dad started going to a bereavement group which my sister's and I were really pleased about as he was talking to people who had been through the same thing.

Recently he has become friends with another member of the group, a lady, who seems to be around a lot - she is very overpowering, a bit of a know all and acts as if she knows dad more than us. Both my sister's have been very upset and have said they will not go to my dad's if she is there, and my nephew who was very close to my dad won't go round at all in case she is there, I live further away so don't visit so often but was a bit upset when she turned up and took over when we only had a limited time together.

My dad is 78 and it is not that we don't want him to have friends but we all feel very uncomfortable when this woman is there and in fact as if we are imposing.

We are thinking of saying to him that while we are happy he has a friend we are not comfortable with her and would rather be told us if she was there so we didn't go or if he could ask her not to go round when we are there - is this selfish of us and how do we go about it without causing upset.

Luckygirl Wed 10-Jan-18 21:44:16

Are you concerned that this over-powering lady is detrimental to your Dad's well-being? Or that she is aiming to exploit him in some way?

If the answer is No then I think you have to just bite the bullet. He has taken a chance on a new relationship and is building a new life for himself. It would be sad to rock the boat and make him choose between the family and his new relationship.

Grannyknot Wed 10-Jan-18 21:53:49

And it may (or would) break his heart to know that his children do not approve. Or have your sisters and your nephew told him?

I find it interesting that no matter how old we are, there can be tension when a lone parent finds a new companion that isn't liked.

Is he happy?

MissAdventure Wed 10-Jan-18 22:00:32

I don't think there is too much you can do. It would be quite unkind to jeopardise his friendship with this lady. Would you feel the same if he had made friends with a man who was overbearing?

Eglantine21 Wed 10-Jan-18 22:03:34

Even if she irritates the life out of you all, don't start staying away. That will make him even more dependent on her for company.
Can he come to you for a bit of a break? That would give you some uninterrupted time together. Perhaps he could go over to your sisters for Sunday dinner or have a day out with them.
If they've developed an arrangement where she is welcome to drop in then neither of them might even think it would upset you.
It's a pity you don't like her but don't turn it into a choice he has to make.

Happychops Wed 10-Jan-18 22:04:21

Could your sisters as they live closer try to get to know her better,maybe they may change their opinion. Sometimes you can get it wrong. Your dad would hate to have to choose, and it could spoil the relashionship you have. He may need the company, and probably hasn’t noticed the things you all don’t like in this woman. Maybe next time you visit you could treat dad to lunch just the two of you,and catch up that way.

Christinefrance Wed 10-Jan-18 22:07:30

I agree with Eglantine don't spoil this for your father if he is happy. You can have time with him in your own homes maybe.

Tegan2 Wed 10-Jan-18 22:08:05

I'd be a bit wary. It could all be totally innocent but my uncle left everything to a younger woman who befriended him and got him to change his will. I agree that it's important not to lose touch with him especially as, if this woman isn't trustworthy she'll start to try to alienate him from you.

MissAdventure Wed 10-Jan-18 22:10:32

If someone is in sound mind though, they may leave their money to anyone they choose.

Bedders24 Wed 10-Jan-18 22:31:06

Not worried about money at all, that doesn't concern any of us. Really the fact that she is so overpowering, when she is there it is impossible to have a conversation without her answering for my dad or taking over the conversation. It is making visiting uncomfortable - it is all difficult to know what to do without upsetting somebody.

MissAdventure Wed 10-Jan-18 22:43:49

Does your dad seem to notice how she is?

Synonymous Wed 10-Jan-18 22:45:06

When my mother died my father asked almost all of the 'suitable' ladies he knew to marry him and we were so grateful that they all turned him down. A widower father of a friend of DH did the exact same thing and unfortunately one lady accepted.The marriage lasted just over two weeks and it was amazingly difficult for the families to undo what was done so quickly. The ramifications are huge and not to be taken lightly.
I wonder if rather than a statement about your feelings regarding the lady in question then a few simple questions to your father Bedders might be helpful. Perhaps you could ask him if he is planning a new life or how he sees things in his future, even whether he feels the need for a woman to run his life for him now. He may think a new marriage will be a replay of his marriage to your mum but this is totally unrealistic.
We have an elderly relative whose wife died about 18 months ago and he seems to think that he is irresistible to all women of any age (including our DD who is half his age and sees him as a Grampy) and that even at 84 he is a real catch! Apparently this is fairly common according to the staff in the retirement complex where he lives. This is indeed a potential minefield even when there are no money issues or inheritance thoughts

Nelliemoser Wed 10-Jan-18 23:21:28

Luckygirl My immediate thoughts were of someone trying to befriend a lonely person and using their money or marrying for the house.

"Nasty suspicious social workers mind" syndrome is always there.

Unfortunately many vulnerable lonely people are caught out by unscrupulous people and if the bereaved person is happy to have "a friend" it is often very difficult to prove the victim has been exploited.

Newquay Wed 10-Jan-18 23:42:00

I would be very concerned for his welfare. I agree with OPs to invite him-on his own-for lunch, outings etc so he isn't "putting all his eggs in one basket" with this lady AND it would give you opportunity to talk to him (kindly) about it and where he sees it going.

kittylester Thu 11-Jan-18 06:53:58

I would suggest that rather than seeing your father less, you all try to see him more. Especially while his friend is there!

That way you may mitigate any potential problems but also you may find that you have misjudged the woman. Either way, if you leave him alone with her you have no idea what is going on.

Invite them both for Sunday lunch (or whatever) which will reinforce the family connection with you father both for him but also for her.

If you see less of your father it opens the door for his friend to see more of him.

Jane10 Thu 11-Jan-18 08:15:35

It's a pity that this new woman is so blooming insensitive! You'd think she might notice how you all feel about her however well you try to hide it.
Could you convey to her less subtly how you find her eg if she interrupts sigh loudly or say 'as I was trying to say' etc. I don't suppose she'd notice though or she wouldn't have developed into the personality she has. I do hope she's on GN btw...

OldMeg Thu 11-Jan-18 08:51:27

I’d be tempted to point out her rudeness as Jane10 suggests (and keep doing so) if only to see what her reaction is. You need to deal with the situation and take back some kind of control as the last thing you want is to feel you cannot visit your father when she is there.

That way she is driving you away, and it’s quite possibly deliberate.

It’s not that you object to her as a companion for your father, but rather that you and your sisters are getting the distinct impression she is trying to take him over and drive a wedge between you all.

And yes, if you can, see more of you father by himself. If you live a way away then invite him for dinner and to stay overnight perhaps.

Alexa Thu 11-Jan-18 09:13:08

"overpowering, a bit of a know all and acts as if she knows dad more than us. " I can think of a lot worse. Maybe your father likes bossy know it alls. Some old men cannot stand the company of old sweety- wives who talk trivialities all the time.

This man's relationships are his own business, unless he is royalty and even then the royals are a lot more liberal than they used to be.
You may of course tell your father that you don't like or trust her. But please be kind and supportive to the man himself whether he is happy or unhappy.

eazybee Thu 11-Jan-18 09:13:57

This is where a family comes into its own. Visit more, not less, and visit in pairs, then you can control the conversation; invite your father to your own homes without her. If she turns up when you come to visit, meet her at the door and say terribly politely, that you are discussing sensitive family issues and firmly usher her out.
Your father is probably very lonely and glad of her companionship, but the fact that she takes over, interrupts your time with him and speaks for him definitely rings alarm bells. How she, and he, respond to your actions, will give you an insight into their relationship.
You all have to agree to spend more time with him if you possibly can.

Coconut Thu 11-Jan-18 09:53:23

You have to take control of the situation and be blatantly honest about it. Tell your Dad that you want him to be happy but explain in depth how she makes you all feel. You are fully entitled to see your Dad without her and if she forces the issue I would tactfully tell her your reasons why she is excluded. Some people do not respond to subtle and their feelings override all others, so be blunt. If she genuinely values the family she will take on board what you say and reach a compromise. If she doesn't, it’s proof that she has ulterior controlling motives.

Oldwoman70 Thu 11-Jan-18 09:55:03

As someone who lives alone I can go for days without having a conversation with someone as a result when I am with people I have to stop myself from taking over the conversation! Could this be the case with your Father's friend? Having said that I think you should continue to visit when she is there to ensure she is not trying to take over other aspects of his life

MissAdventure Thu 11-Jan-18 09:57:56

I know of a man who was widowed and took up with a woman who sounds much the same. Overbearing, bossy, and a know it all. His friends and family have gradually been pushed out until they're on the periphery of his life, and she tells him what he can and can't eat, etc. The thing is though, that he is happy with her. He was totally lost without his wife, and this woman came along and has filled the gap, albeit a bit (lot) too overwhelmingly.

David1968 Thu 11-Jan-18 09:59:32

I advise caution. Like Tegan2 I know of a situation (close to my family) where a younger lady "befriended" a much older man, had all his savings, lived rent-free in his house, and was left most of his assets in his Will. She alienate This is such a potentially tricky situation. Best to keep up communications and regular contact with your dad -

paddyann Thu 11-Jan-18 10:00:16

I get where you're coming from ,my MIL has a "friend" who she sees regularly ,who she goes away for weekends with and who none of us can stand.He is the most obnoxious man,the total opposite of FIL and he tries to influence everything she does.He even tried to tell her we shouldn'd have POA as we would "take her money"which is totally ridiculous.WE are lucky as this awful man is still married ...although he claims it was a marriage of convenience and he and his wife have never lived as man and wife.I completely understand where the OP is comng from,her dad is looking for company and at the stage of grief he's in ANY company will do .I'd certainly tell him how she feels ,before she's landed with this awful woman as a stepmum and loses her dad

David1968 Thu 11-Jan-18 10:00:28

- and keep a careful eye on his finances if you can.

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