Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Carolyn: Four months ago, my mother died unexpectedly and suddenly at 53. She had been ill (with my dad as caretaker) but was expected to make a full recovery.
Two months later my dad was going out on dates with a few women bike rides and coffee. He acknowledged it was too early but was asked and wanted to get out of the house. I was supportive.
Now he has started to call a couple by their first names, and the dates are less casual. He seems to be seeing these women several times per week.
I understand my dad is lonely and is an adult without minor children. But I cant help but feel perturbed by this; it feels like too much too quickly.
Additionally, he has completely eschewed any grief counseling (I havent pushed it he complains that his doctors keep bringing it up). I havent said anything negative, though I do try to change the subject after I say something like, Well that sounds fun.
Is this something I need to come to terms with on my own, or is there a nonhurtful way to ask him to stop mentioning any women unless it gets serious? I dont want to cut myself off emotionally, but his talking about Kathy baking him cake is surprisingly upsetting.
Im sorry about your mom; what an awful shock.
Your dad is dating too much, too quickly for you and that makes it something you cant ask your father to fix, no matter how understandable your discomfort is. Youre both still grieving and youre both doing so in your own ways, which is fine. The problem is only that your ways conflict.
You dont say whether youve gotten any grief counseling yourself, but if you havent, then please do. A support group is ideal for talking about your discomfort openly, and might remove the pressure you feel to say something to your dad.
As youll probably hear from others at such a session (readers mention it just about every time this subject comes up), widow(er)s who jump into dating often are the ones who most enjoyed their marriages; theyre motivated to find that kind of happiness again.