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My Dad remarried the worse spouse!

(194 Posts)
marn1186 Fri 17-Nov-23 17:49:01

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 angryangry

Again, what do you all think of this? I'm happy to clarify in the comments as needed.

eazybee Fri 17-Nov-23 17:57:41

So much hatred.

marn1186 Fri 17-Nov-23 18:01:59

@eazybee, are you saying hatred from me or my dad's spouse?

Germanshepherdsmum Fri 17-Nov-23 18:14:36

It’s your father’s marriage, his life, his choice. Not yours. It isn’t about you. You can but do your best to get on with your stepmother on the occasions you meet her for your father’s sake, as he has asked. You have many years ahead of you, God willing. He doesn’t. Don’t try to get him to divorce this woman and end up financially poorer, and lonely. He already knows that divorce isn’t a pleasant experience.

MercuryQueen Fri 17-Nov-23 18:16:29

Unfortunately, the problem is all your dad. He allows his wife to treat his children and grandchildren badly without action or consequences, AND demands you accept it without protest.

You have an unfortunate choice to make: continue to enable her toxic behaviour to continue to see your dad, call her out every time and make her leave, or tell your dad she’s not welcome at all, and hope he’s willing to visit without her.

I suspect he won’t. He’s already chosen her over his children and gc by enabling her behaviour.

Smileless2012 Fri 17-Nov-23 18:18:52

Yes your anger is clear to see marn1186. You say your father has barely seen his children and GC because of "his toxic spouse".

Your OP suggests to me that it is because of your's and your siblings not even thinly veiled dislike of his wife that is the real reason.

They've been married for 12 years and it appears that you made your mind up very early on in the their relationship to dislike this woman. If he wont agree to see you without his wife, and you wont see him with his wife then you'll have to accept that you wont be seeing him wont you.

Elegran Fri 17-Nov-23 18:28:22

To me it looks like hatred in both directions. I'd say that both of you are behaving like kids in the school playground bad-mouthing each other and/or other family members because you are each jealous of someone else's closeness to another friend.

I think you are just sounding off here, unless you are trying out the plot of a novel you plan to write, but I will assume that you want advice on how to improve your relationship with this woman. I can't help you rescue a situation that has been steadily getting worse for more than 12 years, so I am not going to even try.

CanadianGran Fri 17-Nov-23 18:38:21

But is your Dad happy? You've mentioned how nasty the relationship between wife2 and all of your siblings, but is she kind to your father? Maybe you need to have a ono-on-one with him.

I had a friend that found such fault with her father's new lady friend (they never married). This woman may not have been her or her sister's cup of tea, but she was good company for their father, who would have been alone otherwise, since none of the daughters lived close by.

Sometimes you just need to zip it for the sake of your father. It will just add to his stress if family refuses to accept her.

silverlining48 Fri 17-Nov-23 18:42:21

The Karen of Karens? There are a few Karen’s on this site. It’s a stupid insult, coming from the US, and not the best start.….where is the respect and dignity you talk about ?

As to your post, you say you feel your dad needs to be told how wrong he is by a professional?

Well I was one such and my advice is that you need to leave your father who is an adult to live his life with who he chooses. It’s clear you can’t stand his wife so unless he divorces her, and he probably won’t, you have to decide how much, if any, contact you have with her/ them in future.

That’s my advice, for free. I hope things work out for you. It can’t be pleasant for any of you.

Namsnanny Fri 17-Nov-23 18:50:47

Forget about changing either of them.

If you really want to see your Father, then form a strategy to deal with them.

If what you say is true, (ie this woman is an alcoholic) she won't be able to be controlled by others.

All you can do is encourage everyone before hand to walk to another room when she starts, and leave her to it.
Do it every time and on mass.
Don't give her the power to ruin everything, just quietly walk away, over and over.

Or give her big measures so she falls asleep pretty quickly.

BTW I don't see hate in your post. Of course it is only one side of the story, but that is the case with all who post.

eazybee Fri 17-Nov-23 18:56:41

Hatred from you, Marn.
Your father is married, so are you, and it is not for you to dictate how he lives his life.
Your parents divorced because they no longer had anything in common, so unkind of you to forbid him to bring his girlfriend to your wedding, making your hostility palpable from the start.
I truly believe any other normal human would divorce a spouse that hurts relationships with kids or grandkids.

You don't know very much about human nature, do you?

Namsnanny Fri 17-Nov-23 18:57:09

Forgot to point out I didn't like the use of Karen either.

marn1186 Fri 17-Nov-23 20:22:52

A few folks need to realize we've been trying to accommodate his spouse for 12 years (far too long). We're not trying anymore, so it's up to my dad to see us on his own. We have zero time for his insane spouse.

Some are talking about hate. Well, of course, based on the actions of my dad's spouse and what I listed is the tip of the iceberg she is obviously NOT well-liked which is the normal human response.

I'm not telling my dad what to do with his wife or his life. Just letting him know that after 12 years of her treading on our amazing family she shes not welcome any longer per her actions, behavior, and mouth.

I do know the right choice which is your children and grandchildren way over a 2nd marriage formed way late in life, and she doesn't treat anyone in a kind way. Again, not saying he has to divorce her I'm saying keep her away from us since she will never ever change as a 70 year old lady. So I am saying my dad should be seeing us a visiting us frequently without his toxic spouse.

Sorry for the Karen comments. Was just trying to form a picture with words since many are aware of the Karens out there in the wild.

marn1186 Fri 17-Nov-23 20:35:11

I do see that some people are confusing truthful statements with hate. Some people hate the truth. It's annoying you can't respond to individual comments.

Callistemon21 Fri 17-Nov-23 20:38:25

She is the “Karen of Karens"

Calling someone that is nasty, nasty, nasty.
As well as stupid and childish.

TLTFR too.

Theexwife Fri 17-Nov-23 20:39:08

You cannot change her nor how your father feels about her so it would make sense to work on yourself to let go of the anger and bitterness. You have said that she cannot visit your home, which is your right, now it is up to your father to decide if he wants to visit alone or not at all.

To talk a lot about her past behaviour , you need to let it go, you cannot change it.

Callistemon21 Fri 17-Nov-23 20:39:11

I could write for pages and pages ...

Please don't.

RosiesMaw Fri 17-Nov-23 20:39:32

. Again, not saying he has to divorce her I'm saying keep her away from us since she will never ever change as a 70 year old lady
Who are you telling to keep her away from us ?
Why not just stay away?
We are all angry so what do you expect anybody else to do about it? You are adults hopefully with life experience and commitments of your own
Just get on with them.
This is a long convoluted OP containing much anger and bitterness but to what point? And as for the “Karens” jibes- I’m afraid, or indeed happy to say, we don’t do them here.
If I had had any sympathy for your dysfunctional family, you lost it there.

Callistemon21 Fri 17-Nov-23 20:40:42

Sorry, I am not good at acronyms - RLTRTT.

RosiesMaw Fri 17-Nov-23 20:41:09

I prefer TLDR

Callistemon21 Fri 17-Nov-23 20:42:01

I'm getting confused now anyway!!

(reported as a troll.)

Scat Fri 17-Nov-23 20:54:31

You lost any sympathy when you referred to another woman as the "Karen of Karens”. Wrapping your hatred and resentment up in misogyny is really ugly.

VioletSky Fri 17-Nov-23 20:59:22

Your Dad is responsible for his choices and his choice is to enable his wife's awful behaviour

There is nothing you can do to change his circumstances, he has chosen them and he is a grown adult

You are not obliged to have a relationship with them

The fact that this woman would physically throw a toddler to the ground was enough for me

Sorry you got a lot of comments defending that sort of behaviour... People don't always read properly here, they just take the side they can relate too

Walk away, take back your peace, don't let another decade of family life be ruined by toxic behaviour

RosiesMaw Fri 17-Nov-23 21:01:22

There seems to be a habit if looooooong complicated dysfunctional family sagas emanating from the other side of the Atlantic doesn’t there?

Scat Fri 17-Nov-23 21:03:28

So I am saying my dad should be seeing us a visiting us frequently without his toxic spouse.

If I was your dad, I'd be avoiding spending any time at all with you. Why on earth would he choose to spend one minute with an angry, resentful, embittered daughter who makes no secret of the fact that she detests his loving and supportive wife? But you're right about one thing: some people hate the truth. But you're going to have to face up to it at some point. Good luck with that.