Is My Father Getting Remarried Too Soon After Death Of My Mother?

remarriage after death
photo credit: Brandon Christopher Warren via photopin cc

Question: My mother passed away 5 months ago due to a heart attack. My parents had been together for over 44 years. My 65 year father recently met a 45 yr old woman at his bank who handles his bank account. They started dating a few weeks.

Recently, my father gave me an indirect hint that he wants to marry her. I am shocked and saddened by this. I am also worried that she is after my father’s money. This woman is single and never married. I’ve heard from reliable source that she wants to start a family. My father has 2 grown children (including me) and 5 grandchildren already. I think he is crazy that he wants to have babies with her when he didn’t even want to deal with own grandkids.

I feel very bad for my mom. She worked so hard her entire life and now it seems everything is gone. This woman will come in and take everything. How do I tell him that this woman is only after his money? How can I help him to stop being irrational?

Alyssa Johnson, The Smart Way to Re-Do Your “I Do”

I can understand why you’d be so worried. Your mother only passed away 5 months ago. It is typical for widowers to remarry quicker than widows. The fact that your parents were together 44 years speaks volumes.

My guess is your father is uncomfortable being alone (this is usually the reason men remarry quicker). Rather than focus on your fears of her being after his money, I’d encourage you to focus on talking to him about adjusting to being by himself and fears/feelings about the loss of your mother.

Based on the fact that your mother died of a heart attack, I’m going to assume it was not an anticipated loss. Again, it is more typical for men to try to ignore grief and just “move on.” Unfortunately, the grief then sneaks up on them and they tend to have a harder time.

I don’t think it’s out of line to express concern for him and ask that he be cautious about becoming serious with someone so soon. I’d suggest asking him why he feels the need to do this rather than just continue to date her.

I wish you the best. I’m sure you too are still grieving the loss of your mother.

Remarriage Expert

You got some great advice from Alyssa.

I’m widowed so I understand the loneliness factor. During a conversation this past weekend another widow told me that her mother told her, “Better to be alone than in bad company”, after she was dating a couple of less than desirable men.

Perhaps if you and other family members draw him in and keep him really busy he’d have less time and need for this woman. Or, at least, not as much need.

Yvonne Kelly, MSW, RSW, Certified Stepfamily Counsellor and Coach, Co-Founder and Director of the Step and Blended Family Institute

I agree with the suggestions that have been made and my heartfelt sympathies go out to you and your family. This is an incredibly difficult time for all of you and I’m sure there might even be a bit of shock, perhaps even anger, or at least some conflicted feelings that you might be experiencing seeing your Dad move on so quickly. So don’t beat yourself up for that, or your Dad for that matter, as everyone deals with grief and loss differently. And as pointed out, men do tend to want to combat the feeling of loneliness and not being able to cope, by seeking out relationships more quickly after such a loss.

I agree that surrounding him and expressing your concern that perhaps he might be not giving himself enough time to grieve before moving on is the best approach. To try to deter him by focussing on and sharing your fears with him about this specific woman and whatever motives you think she may have, will not likely change his mind but perhaps make him more determined to continue on his path towards marriage. Give him your support, tell him your concerns and maybe he might decide to simply date for a longer time, rather than rush to marriage.

At the end of the day, he will make his own decisions – parents are just like that for some reason. And it won’t be your responsibility or your fault. I know part of you must be trying to protect your mother’s legacy but her legacy is in tact and won’t be forgotten because of those she left behind that loved her. Your father getting involved with someone else at this point, or maybe even down the road will likely be hard for you no matter when and how it happens, but it doesn’t have to change the fact that your parents enjoyed a long and happy marriage together and have left a legacy for you and your families to continue. Remember also, that his getting involved with someone else, does also not mean that he has forgotten your mom or wants to, but is likely more about extreme loneliness and not being able to confront and deal with that in a healthy way, right at this time.

So take some deep breaths, talk to your Dad, love him no matter what he decides and don’t take this on to yourself – it is not your decision. And remember to take care of yourself and your family and give yourselves permission to grieve in whatever way and in whatever time frame works for the individuals involved.