My parents were married for 32 years. My mother was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer and died four months after her diagnosis. My mother was our rock, and really kept the entire family together. It has only been a little over a year since my mother passed away and I recently found out that my dad is seeing someone new. To make matters worse, the woman he is seeing is only two years older than I am. While my brothers have no issues with the situation, I think it is too soon for my dad to jump into another relationship and I really think he has no business seeing someone young enough to be his daughter. How do I talk to him about this without starting a family feud? — Concerned Daddy’s Girl
Dear Daddy’s Girl:
First let me say that I am sorry for your family’s loss and know that it is difficult to deal with losing a matriarch. While I can imagine that it has been rough on you and your siblings, I imagine that it has been just as hard, if not harder, for your father. Thirty-two years is a long time to be married and to share your life with someone. Many times it is difficult for the remaining spouse to be alone for very long because they are so used to companionship. Unfortunately, no one can make the determination for your father as to when it is “too soon” or “soon enough” to move on.
If you love your father, and I am sure that you do, you should try to feel happy for him, even if you do not agree with his choice. Who is to say whether this new relationship will be a lasting one? And instead of concentrating on age, try to concentrate more on the character of the person and if she makes your father happy. Your family has already been through a lot, I would not suggest starting a family feud simply because you are uncomfortable.
It can be funny how time allows the tables to turn. Do you remember growing up and not wanting your parents to interfere in your relationships? Well now it is your turn. Your father is an adult and old enough to make his own decisions. He also knows what he needs right now to be happy. You should just be his daughter and give him your love and support.
Author of the upcoming book Been There Done That: And Lived to Tell About It (due out Spring 2011), Tamara R. Allen is Your Advice Guru giving REAL advice from REAL experience. Email your questions to [email protected]. You can follow Tamara on twitter @tamararallen or check out her daily column and archives at www.tamararallen.com.