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Mom Dating After Dad's Death

"My Mom Wants to Date (and Talk to Me About It) After My Dad Passed"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!


My mom and I are very close, but sometimes she overshares or calls me to vent. I don't always want to know intimate details of my parent's relationships, but she's often upset when she overshares so I usually just feel obligated to support her.  My parents have had a rocky marriage, my dad cheated on my mom several times and she chose to stay with him because she loved him and because she wanted myself and my siblings to grow up with a father.  I think I was about 18 when she told me this (I'm 25) and it took me months to process. My parents' relationship was actually great for the last several years, they finally found a counselor that helped them and they started communicating much better.

However, she told only me (and not my brothers) that she slept with one of her coworkers about two years ago, she mentioned (although did not try to justify her behavior) that it was an emotional/drunk mistake and that my dad had told her he was no longer interested in sex and that they should have a platonic relationship (I think this may have been temporary).

My dad guessed something was wrong, she told him, they went to therapy, he was very jealous and wanted to read all of her emails. I got a call from him about a year and a half ago wanting to know if I had called x number on x date, because I'm on my parents phone plan and at one point we had switched phones, so my dad wanted to know if I was calling my friend or if my mom had been cheating on him with someone else.

My dad passed away two months ago from cancer, he fought it for three years.  My mom is a nurse and she took great care of him, essentially living in his hospital room at the end.  Even though it was fairly expected, we are a close family and it's been really tough on all of us.  

My mom seems to want to start dating. She is still friends with the coworker she had an affair with, I think they stopped hanging out after the affair, but are starting to hang out and she seems to want me to meet him. When my (adopted) sister told me about this guy and an old friend she's potentially interested in, I was excited for her, abstractly I want my mom to be happy and date. However when I heard that she was actually hanging out with the guy she slept with, it made me very upset.

I'm staying with her for the next month, so it's not like I can make up an excuse to get off the phone, which I do sometimes when conversations with her get too draining.  So . . . should I just suck it up? I know without a doubt how much she loved my dad and she deserves to be happy. Yet the thought of her dating makes me uncomfortable. Just last night we were talking about a friend of hers who had bad luck online dating, I mentioned some of my friends who lucked out online dating and she proceeded to talk about whether she should try it. I mentioned that she should reconnect with some of her girlfriends, (hint, hint — in my head I'm thinking, mom why don't you wait a few months before even thinking about this) but she did not get the hint.

Do I tell her that I don't want to talk to her about this topic and I don't really want to meet her coworker.? She's (understandably) a bit emotional these days so I don't want her to feel like she can't talk to me.  Any insight would be appreciated.

Have a dilemma of your own? Post it anonymously to Group Therapy for advice, and check out what else is happening in the TrèsSugar Community.

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عبده2552307 عبده2552307 3 years
@matoad
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 3 years
My immediate reaction is that you know way too much about your parents' sex lives and marriage. It seems like your mom decided when you were 18 that you were friends and no longer mother/daughter. I've seen this happen with my friends before when a father passes. Regardless of how dysfunctional your parents relationship may have been, her husband was her partner. I believe she's trying to fill that "partner" space with you, which isn't really fair to you. You might kindly suggest that she go to counseling to work through her grief and mixed emotions about the man she lost, and tell her that you love and support her but some things need to be off limits (at least until one of her relationships is serious). sorry you're in this tough position, and sorry for your loss.
vanilla-and-pink vanilla-and-pink 3 years
Agreed.  Encourage your mom to confide in her girlfriends about this stuff.  It sounds as though she is trying to define herself as a single woman again.  We've all watched sex and the city.  When you're dating, you need that female support to make sense of it all.  As her daughter, that's a pretty awkward position for you.    You can still be there to love and support her for everything else.  Let her know that you are grieving the loss of your dad too and this behaviour is making it harder.  Setting boundaries can stir up a whole lot of drama so be prepared for a little backlash.  Your voice and body language should be kind and clam, but your worlds need to be straight forward and simple.  Take time to answer her questions and be prepared to have this conversation more than once--it may not sink in the first time.  She's probably grieving in her own way so she will likely be emotional and possibly irrational.  It's going to be hard but in the end but your relationship will be stronger for it.  
matoad matoad 3 years
This sounds like it is something you really need to tell HER - that you have no problem with her dating in principle but that you feel uncomfortable hearing so much about it. And that sometimes knowing so much about her emotional life can be a bit of a weight on your shoulders (btw, keeping your parents' secrets from each other is not really in the job description of 'being a kid' anyways). In principle she should be able to put herself in your shoes and understand that.
BiWife BiWife 3 years
So your parents cheated on each other, didn't trust one another, and weren't happy together but stuck it out til one of them died. Good lord that's so sad. People should just get divorced sometimes, rather than putting their kids through hell because they have fantasies about what a "good home" for their children would be. Your mom hasn't been "in love" with your father for years, it sounds like. The love she had was truly for you and your siblings, since that was the only reason she stayed with your father and avoided the guy she cheated on him with. Your dad may have been a great person, but as husband to your mother, he clearly failed miserably. Your mom totally deserves to go out and find REAL love, which could easily mean going back to the guy that initially caught her eye while she was still married. That is a reality that you may have to get used to. You can certainly ask her to refrain from conversing about it, but you can't expect her to never speak of dating or beau's around you. She's finally free to find happiness and that search can take a long time or can happen very quickly, but either way, you're going to have to deal with a few facts: a) she's not in love with your dad, nor did he especially earn her love, b) she is potentially in love with someone else, and if so that person is going to become part of your life too (unless you plan on cutting your mom out of your life), c) she is a newly dating woman & dating tends to suck, so she needs friends and confidantes to help her get through it. If you can't handle this, you should tell your mom, but I also think that it is your place to learn to accept your mom's choices just as you would want her to accept your choices. If you were dating someone and getting very close to them, you would want that person to meet & make friends with your family, right? So she's going to want the same thing of anyone she gets very close to, as well.
kaybeth1032 kaybeth1032 3 years
Please let me offer my advice. I am a dating mother of several adult children. It was hard to get back into the dating scene after my husband died, and I had waited until I was ready. None of my friends were dating, they were married with children. So I started talking to my older daughters, with whom I am close, one married, one dating. They were, appropriately, disgusted, and did not want to hear any of it, even the most innocent, mundane things. I wasn't getting the hint, My oldest daughter finally said, Mom, I can't. I do not share intimate details of my life with you, and I would prefer you don't share them with me. Or my sister, Or any of your kids. I was shocked, I hadn't realized I was using them as the sounding board I didn't have with my friends. She was right. I did not cheat on my husband nor him or me, but to my kids, these were personal details they did not want to ever hear about, or discuss. Like thinking of your grandmother having sex. You just don't want to think about it. So be honest with Mom. She may not realize that it is hurting you to her these things. Or disgusting you. But please, tell her. And good luck.
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