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Widowed Parent Dating Again

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Hi everyone,

I find myself in need of a bit of advice if anyone is able to help out. Before I get to that though, a little background on the situation....

My fiance's step-father passed away suddenly 19 months ago. I say step-father, but this man was the only real "Dad" my fiance ever knew and they were very close. It was a very tumultuous start to their relationship, as my fiance was a hot-headed child who wasn't very accepting of this strict military man entering the life my fiance had with his mother. Eventually though, that all settled down, and they grew to have a father-son relationship, as well as becoming best mates. 

Very recently however, my fiance's mother has started dating again. This has come as a bit of a surprise, but we want nothing but happiness for her. She is a vibrant woman of only 50, and it's wonderful to see her full of confidence, smiling, and more herself than we've seen in the last 19 months. This has, of course, opened up wounds that we have been trying to deal with for the last year and a half, and as happy as we are for her, we're struggling to be supportive of her, as well as deal with our own grief. Especially since this new relationship has become very intense very quickly. There is also a significant age gap between the two of them (20 years) and this is VERY difficult for my fiance, as he is actually older than the man his mother is dating. 

She is keen for us to meet him, but the more she talks about it and pressures my fiance into it, the more resistant he is. We immigrate to Canada in February, something that has been planned for a long time now, so if we're to meet him, we do have to arrange it fairly quickly as it will most likely be the only opportunity for us to do so before we move. She has also made a request which has made both my fiance and myself very uncomfortable, she's asked if this new man (whom we've yet to meet, and who she has known a matter of weeks at this point) can accompany her to our wedding. We're getting married in Canada in August, so there is actually plenty of time to have these discussions later if they become a more serious item, but it has made my fiance incredibly uncomfortable. The ring I will be putting on his finger as we say our vows is his father's wedding ring, and my fiance feels very strongly that this is not the appropriate event to bring him along to. Keeping in mind our wedding day would potentially be the second time we've met this man, talk about awkward wedding photos!!

Does anyone have any advice, or any experience with any part of this situation? I appreciate all people and situations are different, but I could really use any and all advice at the moment, as I'm really struggling with how to deal with all this. 


Thanks for listening :)

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I'm sorry for you and your fiance, that is a hard situation. My mother started dating a month or two after my father passed. We went through a few nonserious relationships and then the one she's on now. Her and this man went at the speed of light, they were living together after their first date and this guy was a friend of her previous boyfriends. After she moved out she moved him into my dad's home that he built for his children and that was the week of Thanksgiving, about a month into their dating. We tried to reason with her but her argument was she is 52years old she's knows when things are right and who knows how much longer she has. It was a lot of arguments and such trying to get her to rethink her situation, nothing worked. It seemed like the more we said no the more she pushed. My advice is definitely tell her how you feel about things, tell her about his worries and such don't just let her because it's your wedding and you don't need negative effects there. I do think when you do tell her don't tell her no, but in a way that it's not going to hurt her, just explain to her that it makes y'all uncomfortable and she probably will care. Or you can take the time to talk to the boyfriend and get to know him and see how you feel about things then. I wish you the best of luck in this situation and many happpy years together. 

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I'm very sorry about the predicament you find yourself in with your fiance and your future mother-in-law. I haven't had to deal with this exact situation, but I can relate to your fiance's mother moving in with her boyfriend very quickly.  Grief makes strange bedfellows.  I've never been married, but after the death of my father (I was his caregiver for many years), I found myself living alone for the first time in my life (I'm 57).  Some people like living alone.  I'm not used to it and do not like it one bit, because I like to talk to people in person, not just on the phone or through email.  This is why getting a dog or a cat is not enough.  I also feel safer knowing that someone would know right away if I were ever hurt, sick or in danger.  After eight months of living alone, I let my gardener move in with me after a very brief courtship ( a few weeks), because he lost his lease and was going to move far away.  Not knowing him at all, my relatives thought he was going to strangle me in my bed.  While we've had our arguments, like most relationships, his moving in with me was the best thing that helped me with the terrible grief and loneliness I was experiencing. 

After a year and a half together,  we have realized that we aren't compatible as a romantic couple, but he continues to be my roommate and we will probably be friends for life.  So I sympathize with your fiance's mother wanting a companion in her life, especially since you and your fiance will be moving to another country.  If you truly are happy for her, then letting her bring him to your wedding shouldn't be such a terrible thing, unless he's a total jerk, but you don't know that yet.  You should know him better by August.  Your fiance was resistant to his mother getting married to his stepfather, and they ended up becoming best mates.  Unless you know something specific about the young man, such as he's a drunk or a heavy drug user, and might make a spectacle of himself, then he shouldn't be a problem.   Men date younger women all the time.  This is the 21st century, women should be allowed to date and live with younger men.  If your fiance suspects he is a male golddigger, that is a separate issue, but if his mother's boyfriend is supporting her emotionally and financially, at least halfway, then he could be the real deal.  It could be a blessing in disguise since she now has someone to take care of her.  What if she turned lesbian, would you not invite her partner just on account of her sexual orientation?  I totally understand your fiance's reservations, but the love between a parent and child should be unconditional.  Besides, he needs to check this guy out to make sure his mother is in good hands.  Do a background check, if necessary.  I did that with my roommate.

As JMEagle advised, I would explain to her how you feel and try to get to know her boyfriend better, so you can determine if he's the kind of person you would like to attend your wedding, or more importantly, to live with one's mother.   I wish you and your fiance a blessed and happy marriage. 

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First, I am sorry for you and your fiance's loss.  I hope you had time to get to know this important man in your partners life, and I know how much he will wish his father could have been at your wedding. Also congratulations, I hope you have a beautiful wedding.

As a general thought on family members who are in relationships you don't approve of, protesting the relationship usually doesn't work out too well.  Emotions tend to run high, on both sides.  Unless the people involved are all emotionally aware and truly trying to understand the others viewpoint it becomes a situation that can strain even family ties.  I am not saying you or your fiancé need to approve of this new man, or the relationship, but supporting your mother in law may involve turning a blind eye to this particular situation.

That having been said, meet him.  Try to go into it with an open mind.  Remind your fiancé this man is not a replacement for his father, either for him, or for his mother.  No one will or can ever replace those we lost.  The boyfriend is a step in his mothers healing process.  The fact that she is ready to have another person in her life shows that she has gained some acceptance in her grief, and that she is past some of the anguish.  It does not mean she forgot his father, or loves him any less.  Quite the opposite, it shows that she loved and indeed still loves him so much that a new partner doesn't threaten the place in her heart that belongs only to your husbands father.

And after the meeting, you may still not like him.  But at least you will have more information, which is always helpful when dealing with complex situations.  Regarding inviting him to the wedding, that is your and your fiances day.  If it truly makes you uncomfortable, don't invite him.    You still have time to make that decision though.  Sit down and reason out why you don't want him there. Weigh that against the possibility that being there alone could make his mother feel the loss in a very intense way.  I know when I think forward to important events in my stepdaughters future life, I will be thinking deeply of their departed mother.  It will be a strange mix of pride and reopening my loss.  Having a friend for support could be very helpful.

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