Hey, I’m looking for some other ears and eyeballs on a difficult situation with my 70-year-old dad.
My mom divorced my dad after almost 30 years of being married. At his time, all 5 of his kids were leaving for college or getting a job/career (kids ages around 19-27). So, my dad goes from being married and 5 kids to being quite lonely. I know he was down on himself and in the dumps between everything that goes with divorce and children leaving the house. Anyways, not too long after the divorce, he meets another lady(eHarmony) and goes from being in the dumps to happily dating. During the dating phase, I would regularly stay with my dad, where sometimes his new girlfriend would be present. I quickly read this lady for 6-12 months during the dating phase and KNEW she was full of red flags, but I didn’t say much because my dad was enjoying dating/life and could tell it was good for him after such a life change of his divorce and kids leaving the house. To be clear, he and my mother parted ways because they grew far apart and became complete opposites.
Fast forward to my dad remarrying in 2011 (his new spouses 2nd marriage too), and he's been re-married for over 12 years (kids are now married and ages 31, 33, 37, 39). There are now 6 grandchildren in the picture. There is no bitterness from me or my siblings over my dad re-marrying, but IMMEDIATELY, his new spouse started jeopardizing my relationship with my dad, and the same for my 4 other siblings. The root cause of our degrading relationship with our father all links directly to my dad's spouse. To put it clearly, she is one of the most sour and unpleasant people I know. She is the “Karen of Karens” and can ruin just about any father gathering. Most of what she does is make nasty comments, passive-aggressive comments, or just demonstrate insane behavior. Unfortunately, my dad is unbelievably oblivious to how egregious his spouse's behavior is, or he plays intentional ignorance (easily a combination of both). At the same time, he’s made comments recognizing his spouse “has problems”.
I truly believe any other normal human would divorce a spouse that hurts relationships with kids or grandkids. I’m not asking my dad to do this, but I have told him since he won’t correct the situation with his spouse that, he will need to visit with us without her. Please know we have tried and tried to accommodate him and his spouse for 12 years even though she’s treated us and my dad terribly for over a decade.
Over the years, examples of my dad's spouse:
-When they were first dating, she attempted to make nasty comments about me moving (they maybe had been dating 3 months) home with dad after I was laid off from my first corporate job in 2009 and also severely suffering from a disease Ulcerative colitis (really tough). I let these comments go to not rock the boat as my dad was happy. Essentially, she was calling me a mooch for moving back home for a short time do get back on my feet getting a new job, and get my health figured out (22-23 years old at the time).
-After my dad's divorce, my dad was struggling financially, and she would criticize him for this. She would brag they had a prenuptial agreement but now she’s mad about it because my dad his now doing much better financially shes now she wants to know all about his money.
-Dozens of examples of bashing our family members, my mom, and even my mother's grandmother. She bashes my aunts and uncles on both my dad’s and my mother's side. My dad’s new spouse gets very jealous of anyone that people like, and her automatic behavior is to bash anyone that is well liked.
-She is often very mean to my dad and does this in front of all his kids.
-To be clear, I married in 2011, and she had just started dating dad. She stopped my dad from coming to my wedding because I told my dad your “new date” wasn’t sitting up front in the wedding with my mother. So yes, you could say I wasn’t willing to let my dad “bring his new date” to my wedding and jeopardize the day for my mom. Anyway, my dad missed my wedding over this, and I let this go quickly. The remedy was I would throw a celebratory party with family (I had a small destination wedding), and my dad thought this was a replacement for attending my wedding. I really did question my dad at this point in my life.
-Almost all family parties/holidays end with some kind of verbal incident with my dad’s spouse and one of my siblings. Usually ruining the gathering.
-Things are starting to get ugly because now my dad’s spouse is saying nasty things to my wife and my other sibling's spouses. Oh boy, this is where gatherings get ugly.
-She does NOT like young children. She doesn’t like the kids to play in the house, to loud, to dirty/messy.
-She has no interest in spending any time with grandchildren and really doesn’t let my dad spend time with his grandchildren.
-She won’t let him visit his kids alone/without her.
-She gets very drunk at most family parties to the point where she passes out on the couch or chair in the room (this has happened more than I can count).
-My spouse can barely tolerate being in the same room with her or traveling to see my dad whatsoever because dad's spouse.
-She is unhappy and mad at the world over her childhood.
-I’ve seen her throw/push a toddler to the ground because toddler was having a typical toddler meltdown (it was my daughter, who was only 20 months old).
-Recently, she got drunk and told my wife that our kids are terrible, don’t listen, and are very messy + we keep our kids from her and my dad (you can imagine how well this went over). My wife put her in her place (verbally), and even my dad, who witnessed all of it, fully supported everything my wife said to his own spouse.
-She won’t let us visit her house with our dogs but will allow her friends to stay at her house with their dogs and stay for weeks at a time.
-During family parties at their house, you will see her throwing objects across the kitchen (plates, forks, spoons) because she can't handle how dirty/unorganized a kitchen can get during a large family party (20+ people). She is out of touch with reality and thinks every minute of a family party should look like the Ritz-Carlton.
-She is nasty, and I’ve seen her comment on young children’s body and appearance (even her own grand daughter). She’s called kids fat, and I’ve seen her not let her own granddaughter have a snack because she thinks they’re getting too fat.
-when we lived out of state, she visited with my dad for Thanksgiving, and immediately upon arrival, she demanded cleaning supplies from my wife to disinfect her room (we had just had the house professionally cleaned). She also started to aggressively clean anything in the house in front of my wife (pans/backsplash During this same visit, she couldn’t stop trash-talking my sister and my grandmother, and suddenly, the gathering was ruined because my sister-in-law decided to stick up for us and loudly told my dad’s spouse to STFU! Many things like this have happened over the years.
-My dad has 5 kids in the Midwest, and she attempted to get my dad to move away to California so she could be closer to her kids and better weather. My dad stated from the beginning that he will never leave home.
-She really has no genuine interest in visiting with my dad’s kids or grandchildren. It is 100% for show so she can tell other people that she visits with us (it's all so disingenuous).
I could write for pages and pages…
Anyways, I know my dad has made the mistake of a lifetime. My siblings and I have made our best attempt to work around my dad and his deranged spouse for over a decade. I feel like I’ve lost 13 years of good times with my dad because of her and how difficult she is… and may only have 10 years left with my dad. My wife and I can no longer tolerate her toxic/negative attitude to the point of barely speaking with my dad or seeing him (he knows this). My siblings feel the same way along with their spouses and are upset with him over enabling and allowing his spouses toxicity over his own kids and grandchildren. My dad has not seen his 5 kids or grand children for 6 months because of his toxic spouse.
I do want to hear other comments feedback on this bizarre situation. As a father, I do feel an obligation to keep toxic people like this away from my life and my young kids. We have dozens other people who care about us and genuinely want to spend time with us.
I feel like my dad needs to hear how wrong he is from a counselor/professional. I fear he is in cognitive decline, intentionally ignorant, or playing intentional head in the clouds. He is a very traditional human, and he finds doing anything without his wife to be an embarrassment or looks bad from an image standpoint…. and a divorce is just outrageous to him because of his image and pride. Again, I’ve simply told him do what you want but you need to visit with us without your toxic spouse. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible for his spouse to treat anyone with genuine respect and dignity anytime we see here. EVERYONE has had it and is at their wits end!!!!!
My dad wants to continue to force-feed us his toxic spouse and just make us all "deal with her".
We are all angry
Again, what do you all think of this? I'm happy to clarify in the comments as needed.
marn1186 Fri 17-Nov-23 17:49:01
eazybee Fri 17-Nov-23 17:57:41
marn1186 Fri 17-Nov-23 18:01:59
Germanshepherdsmum Fri 17-Nov-23 18:14:36
MercuryQueen Fri 17-Nov-23 18:16:29
Smileless2012 Fri 17-Nov-23 18:18:52
Elegran Fri 17-Nov-23 18:28:22
CanadianGran Fri 17-Nov-23 18:38:21
silverlining48 Fri 17-Nov-23 18:42:21
Namsnanny Fri 17-Nov-23 18:50:47
eazybee Fri 17-Nov-23 18:56:41
Namsnanny Fri 17-Nov-23 18:57:09
marn1186 Fri 17-Nov-23 20:22:52
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Callistemon21 Fri 17-Nov-23 20:38:25
Theexwife Fri 17-Nov-23 20:39:08
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RosiesMaw Fri 17-Nov-23 20:39:32
Callistemon21 Fri 17-Nov-23 20:40:42
RosiesMaw Fri 17-Nov-23 20:41:09
Callistemon21 Fri 17-Nov-23 20:42:01
Scat Fri 17-Nov-23 20:54:31
VioletSky Fri 17-Nov-23 20:59:22
RosiesMaw Fri 17-Nov-23 21:01:22
Scat Fri 17-Nov-23 21:03:28