Should I be creeped out by my dad's relationship? November 25, It was not an easy break-up, and my dad was pretty devastated in its wake. While it was wrenching for me to think of my dad being alone in his mid-sixties, I cheered myself knowing that my dad, being a very smart, handsome, together guy with a whole lot of awesome qualities, is definitely a catch and would almost certainly end up with someone terrific.
I always pictured him being with some fun, free-spirited woman, probably a widow, someone who could match his intellect, stand up to his occasional bull-headedness, and win the hearts of his kids.
My dad is now dating a woman nearly 30 years younger than he. She and I could have been classmates. He is, quite literally, old enough to be her father. My dad and I are close in every aspect but this. The added layer of ickiness here is this: To complicate matters further, today the girlfriend e-mailed me for the first time, and in it she included a few suggestions for what to get my dad for Christmas. So my conundrum is this: Emotionally, it creeps me right the fuck out that 25 years ago she and I could have shared a locker.
I live on the opposite side of the country as my dad, so while we talk regularly I only get to see him once a year or twice a year at the very most. I know that ultimately dating decisions belong solely to my dad, and I really want to be supportive of him. Am I wrong here? Should I just get over myself and just be delighted my dad found someone he loves? Or is it totally creepy that my dad is dating someone less than two years older than his own daughter?
Please help me find clarity and peace here, hive mind. Okay, that is awful and gross - no disagreement on that. But the woman your father is with is not an underage babysitter. She's not even a naive twenty-one year-old. Don't conflate the two. That's all I have to say about it. You're going to, to a certain degree, have right of refusal on his mates if they get serious and I don't think you have to be so reticent about expressing your approval or disapproval with him.
I wouldn't let his girlfriend know your concerns but I definitely would say something to your father about the age difference. If he assures you it's nothing serious ie, he's not planning to marry her then you probably should just let it go. And fwiw, this seems to just be the way men roll at his age. Even as they age past their forties, men seem to still be only considering women in their 30s as eligible.
The babysitter thing is a little disturbing but this woman is a woman, not a teenager, so it seems his tastes have changed a bit. Probably two or three decades ago? The thing is your dad was acting very poorly back then, but he is a different man nowadays, and the new woman isn't your babysitter - so you really should just take that comparison right off the table - it doesn't have any bearing on this situation to anyone but you.
James Woods was dating a year-old when he was 53 and said, "If you ever bought a dog, what did you buy? You bought a fucking puppy You don't buy a year-old German shepherd. You buy a nice young puppy -- what are you, crazy? Indeed, it's sort of its own cliche, isn't it? Your dad was distraught over his divorce. This younger woman makes him feel better in a way that a more mature partner would not.
He is able to tell himself, "Yeah, I still got it. Sure you should secretly hope that your dad settles down with someone his own age Let your dad do his thing. He is a grown up and so are you. You can deal with this. While it was gross of him to fuck the babysitter, being with a 36 year old has nothing to do with that.
In fact, considering the fact that he's been with at least two women presumably his own age your mother and former step-mother , the indication is that he has pretty diverse tastes, so to speak. Really, let go of the ageism. These two people are consenting adults and this woman is trying to reach out and forge a friendship and you're reacting like a snotty teenager. You may want to consider what you would think if you fell in love with a perfectly charming year-old gentleman and your father told you that your relationship creeped him out.
I think the odds are fairly good that would justifiably tell him to suck it up. You've got a wonderful opportunity here to demonstrate grace. Don't pass it up. Oh, and the fact that she is actually trying to a make your dad happy at Christmas and b get you in on it. Did she insinuate that she's trying to be your stepmother? Don't go all cutesy with the "stepmommy" crap; she knows perfectly well how awkward this must be. How do you think she feels? YOU need to grow up.
Anybody coming out of a divorce, at any age, deserves to have someone around who makes them feel alive again. It's a little unfair to raise objections about age, and it's really unfair to drag the babysitter incident into it. As far as Christmas presents go, it seems a little inappropriate and insensitive for this woman to reach out to you in this context. The best thing to do is to shift the subject away from your father and maybe see if there is some other Christmassy-bonding thing she would like to do that is politically neutral.
Since the relationship is relatively young six months ,it may be unwise to start bonding too much. Being friendly, but observing boundaries, may be the safest and nicest thing to do. However, and this is a big however, the email with Christmas gift suggestions would really have bothered the hell out of me.
I mean, you haven't even met her. She's not even an acquaintance, let alone a friend or family figure. As someone who's worked through all variety of healthy and less healthy responses to the people my divorced parents have dated, that would just drive me bonkers.
I'd probably be tempted to respond in the snidest, snottiest way I could, but obviously that's a terrible idea. Your current reaction is much more sensible.
Still, just as it's your dad's business who he dates, it's also up to you what kind of relationship and boundaries you have with her, so your response to her is important.
Indeed, be pleasant and bland. Thank her, but make it clear that you've got tons of ideas for what you plan to get him. Resist any urge to be unpleasant, but also make sure that you're laying the groundwork for a relationship with her that makes you as comfortable as possible without unnecessary weirdness festering and distancing you from your father. If my dad was dating someone my age, that would be kind of creepy to me, too. But it's his life so you just have to deal with it and secretly judge him and be annoyed.
You're really not going to be able to change his mind on this and trying too hard can only be wrong. Stating once that the age difference is a little off putting to you and you need some time before meeting her would probably be fine.
I totally hear you. I am sort of surprised that everyone is all, "grow up," because it seems natural to feel weird about that AND to compare the situation to the horrifying babysitter debacle, because the babysitter was probably closer to your age, then, too. Can she match his intellect?
Stand up to his occasional bull-headedness? Forget winning your heart for now. Try to find out if she is these things on your "wish list for Dad's new lady. At that point, you might find that she is fun and even an ally in modernizing or youthful-izing your dad or something, and you may enjoy her. Maybe she'll teach your dad to text! To upload videos to Youtube! Also, she might help him understand YOU more, which would be a bonus. Good luck, and I would be surprised and grossed out, too, if that helps.
That's really all you can do. Accept the fact that in one pretty significant aspect your dad isn't that great of a person, but luckily that aspect of his personality doesn't necessary have to impact him being your father. You are entirely right that this is gross, it really really is but there is nothing you can do about it. In response to her email I would keep it very short, but very perky. Something that will let her know that you aren't interested in become penpals, but also is friendly.
I would go with: I never know what to get him either! Sorry I couldn't be more help, I'll let you know if I come up with any ideas! Her dad left her mom when she was a senior in high school for a woman I think was 21, maybe Her dad was at least in his late 50's. The girl in question barely spoke English and worked in a department store that he owned, it was rough.