Dear Barb – Remarriage Reservations

Dear Barb:

My parents were married for 30 years before my mother passed away a few years ago. My dad recently remarried a woman he had been seeing for about a year. My dad is a young man and I didn’t expect him to be alone for the rest of his life.

The problem is I don’t like his new wife. Prior to the marriage I hardly saw her, but since the marriage she is always calling me and inviting me and my husband over for dinners and visits. She seems to really want to include me in their lives. But, the more I get to know dad’s wife, the less I like her. She is not at all like my mom; I really don’t know what dad sees in her. She treats him awful, always belittling and making fun of him. I am having a hard time keeping quiet about her behavior.

My dad is a very passive man and seems to take everything in stride, but I’m an only child and I love my dad very much and feel protective of him. I’m uneasy standing by and watching my father being treated like this. I don’t want to make things worse for dad, but I feel there must be something I can do. Do you have any suggestions on how I can deal with this situation!
Thanks Linda.

Hi Linda:

It can be difficult when we see our parents with new partners, as we often compare the new partner to our lost parent and, at the end of the day, they will never measure up. Ultimately this is your father’s life and his decision. Before you do anything, make sure you are not overreacting and being overprotective of your father. Perhaps this is just playful banter. Have you talked to your dad about the relationship? Is he happy? If he is okay with the way his wife treats him there is nothing you can do about it. However if his wife’s behaviour makes you uncomfortable you don’t need to be witness to it. You may want to suggest to your dad’s wife that her behaviour toward your father makes you uncomfortable and request she not do this in your presence. Of course, she may choose to ignore your request and just not invite you over as often, which might cause some stress between you and your father. Consequently,0 your visits to your father may take place at your home rather than his. This is no doubt a tough situation.

Good Luck Linda!

Email your questions to voice@voicemagazine.org. Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.

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