A letter writer is angry with her widowed father for dating her English teacher.
Can our elder persuade her to give them a chance?
Dear EWC, this might sound horrible but right now I feel like I hate my father. I’m 13 and my mom died two years ago of breast cancer. Now my dad announced to me that he’s dating my English teacher! My older sister is 15 and says she sees nothing wrong with this. Am I the only normal person alive right now?! My mom has only been gone for two years! You can’t just jump into a relationship after a short time of your spouse dying! My dad says that my teacher thinks the world of me and that I need a mother figure. I don’t need another mom! I already had one! I feel like my dad and sister are trying to replace my mom and I hate every bit of this situation. I moved out and am living with my aunt who’s my mom’s sister and even she says she doesn’t think my dad is in the wrong – what is wrong with everyone? My dad keeps calling and begging me to come home but I refuse and my sister just yells at me so I completely cut off contact with her. My teacher tried talking to me but I refused to listen to anything that has to say. It seems she’s already trying to replace my mom. How does a woman like that not feel bad when she’s dating a widowed man? I do miss my dad and my sister, but there’s no way I’m going back home where my teacher is dating my dad. How do I talk my dad out of this? I mean, he says he’ll always love my mom but how can he say that and be with another woman? It doesn’t make any sense to me. How do I make everything go back to normal, how do I break him and my teacher up?
First, I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother. It’s a hard thing to lose someone you love, especially at such a young age. I know this is hard. I hope I can say something that will help you wrap your head around all this.
I think I have a similar situation for you to look at and consider. Very often when a new baby comes into a family, the older children in the family feel unloved, or like the baby is replacing them as the object of their parents’ love and attention. They don’t understand that parents can love multiple children at the same time. Love expands and grows. I’m sure that your dad loves your mother now every bit as much as he did when she was alive. However, he has enough love in his heart to give to another great woman. Love expands and grows.
A friend of ours became a widower when he was about 80 years old. He and his wife had been married for more than 50 years. Within a year of his wife’s death, he married his wife’s best friend. They were happily married for about 12 years before he died. Cy loved both of his wives very much. He told me once that he felt his first wife was pushing him from heaven into the arms of her best friend. Cy was very lonely after his wife died. His second wife had been widowed a few years earlier, and she was lonely, as well. They were very good for each other, and they were very happy together.
When I was a little girl, my paternal grandmother wanted to get married. She had been a widow for 18 years! Four of her children were all for her getting married again, but her oldest son had a fit. Unfortunately, she didn’t marry the man, and she continued to be lonely until the day she died. I have to admit that every time I looked at my uncle, I thought about how much happiness my grandmother could have had if she had not listened to him.
Your dad loves you, and he still loves your mother. He will grieve the loss of your mother for the rest of his life. However, life moves on. He has found another woman he can love. Isn’t he entitled to a little happiness?
My husband and I have been married for 44 years. He is 78, and I am 66, so I will probably outlive him. I know that without him I will be wandering around in this house with a huge hole in my heart. When that happens, I have two choices: a) be miserable and make everyone around me miserable, or b) pick myself up by my bootstraps and start a new life. I have to tell you, I’m not the kind of person who wants to sit around crying in my soup. I know about a group of widows and widowers in my city that get together and do fun things together. I first discovered this group at a baseball game I attended with my husband. There were several widows and widowers in this group who were obviously dating, and it was such fun to watch how cute they were together! These people took their grief, shared it with others, found new love, and were in the process of making new lives. When my husband dies, I will probably join this group.
I don’t think your teacher is trying to replace your mother, nor do I think your father wants her to do that. I think your teacher fell in love with your father, and she would like to be friends with you. I’ll bet that if you accept her as a friend, you will find that she has a lot to offer to you. After my mother died, I was very grateful for other women in my life who could take me in their arms and just give me a hug when I needed one.
I hope this gives you something to think about. You don’t want to be the one who holds your dad back from happiness. You don’t want him to be lonely and unhappy. You are still grieving the loss of your mother. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone else to look up to and give you a hug once in a while?
Give her a chance, and I promise you won’t regret it.
Article #: 472180