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My Dad just got engaged...

Galactic_Gizmo
Community Member

So my parents are going through a divorce and i am the only one of three kids who is still talking to our dad.

Well i just found out today that he has gotten engaged. Ive never even met her. Ive attempted to contact her and she has spoken with me briefly on a couple of occassions, but she has never made an effort to contact me in return. (Yep he was dating her while my parents were still married).

She seems like a lovely lady. I think i should be happy that he is happy, but i just feel....weird.

My mum doesnt know yet. Its going to be a disaster when she finds out.

I guess being 7 months pregnant with an anxiety disorder probably doesnt help my emotional state. I don't know how to react.

11 Replies 11

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion
Dear Galactic Gizmo~
As you have found out parents are not perfect, in fact far from it. When they split up there is an awful temptation to side with one and see things in black and white (which admittedly is sometimes quite justified). I guess the fact that you are still speaking to your dad means you have already passed that hurdle.

I‘d think the real test of a parent is if they love you, that can make all sorts of things tolerable. So apart from just being on talking terms, how do you get on with our dad? The reason I ask is if you are reasonable close your will probably want to keep in contact and that will mean dealing with his new fiancée.

I suppose from her point of view she may want to build bridges with you and her fiancée’s existing family or it may be something she just does not want to deal with. Hard for you to tell from a couple of brief talks.

Perhaps your dad can shed some light on this.

I’m not sure anyone can sort all this out straight away, know how they feel and be glad for him - or not. I’m sure it would depend largely on how he behaves and what this lady is like over time. Even then many will have very mixed emotions, perhaps even liking the person but not the situation.

You sound very sensible, though at 7 months, and with an anxiety condition you do need support. May I ask if your anxiety is being treated? Also do you have family or friends you can talk frankly to about this and other things? Being able to do so can be a real help.

At times like this there are very often all sorts of conflicts in relationships with parents, brothers and sisters and others, things can become very strained.

So please feel you can come here and talk as often as you’d like, you will be met with care and understanding.

Croix

Thank you for your reply Croix.

I get along with my Dad and have always been close to him. Maybe I'm a little scared I will lose him simply due to the distance we live apart and, well, he has a whole new family to get to know.

I cant talk to anyone in my family about it as they are all firmly on one side or the other. I feel stuck in the middle. I want Dad to be happy, but I know Mum is heartbroken and if I am happy for him, i feel like I'm betraying Mum.

I 'know' I shoulf be seeing someone at the moment for my anxiety, but I cannot afford the fees currently. (Long story about finding the right psycologist there. Ill leave that out of here.) Im hoping, as my hormones stabalise I will be able to cope better. If I am still struggling after bub is born, i will be going back to see her. 🙂

Hi again, 🙂

I forgot to mention, and I think maybe this is one of the reasons I'm struggling with the news... I found out about the engagement from a facebook post Dad put up. He hasn't even told me himself yet. Is it wrong that I feel like he should have told me before announcing it to the world?

Dear Galactic Gizmo~

It's nice you came back. with that Facebook entry - If it was me I,d be hurt. True I don't know all the circumstances, but I think if it was my parent I'd expect better - all things being equal. Sorry, but that's me.

As for drifting apart due to distance and new family. It would not surprise me if there was a bit of that at the start, as you say he has a new family to adjust to and may have his hands full - does she have any kids? I do say at the start because bonds of love do reassert themselves over time.

I know what you mean about if you have understanding for one you feel like you are betraying the other. Unless there is a good reason to side with one it is possible for someone to maintain contact and care for both. This of course will probably not easy for your mother to understand right now. Letting your mother know you love her and are there for her would be the best thing you can do.

Without being underhanded simply not emphasizing things might be the best course at the moment, prevents scenes and arguments. Many parents in time want their kids to have a relationship with both parents (yes there are exceptions).

I'm sorry you are not able to access medical help at the moment, is there no possibility of bulk billing under a Mental Health Plan? If you are stuck I guess it becomes more important again to look after yourself, try to get your day to day stress levels down and have coping strategies to deal with anxiety when it gets bad.

I'd suggest a couple of things, look in The Facts menu above for information on anxiety, causes, symptoms and treatments, and also have a look around this Forum to see how others have got on. I'd start with

Forums / Anxiety / SELF HELP TIPS FOR MANAGING ANXIETY

which is pretty long but full of stuff I've personally found very useful (I have anxiety plus other things too). I use the Smiling Mind free smartphone app to deal with really bad episodes as well as regularly to keep stress levels down.

Exercise, distraction, doing things you enjoy, they all are important.

I've probably said enough for one post, I hope to hear from you again,

Croix

Thanks for the tips. I'm downloading that app now 🙂

She doesn't have (nor apparently want) kids, which oddly makes me feel relieved. All things considered, it shouldnt bother me either way but it still does.

Im going to try to get a good nights sleep (fingers crossed the morning sickness keeps away tonight. Lol) and hopefully I'll work out a way to proceed in the morning without losing my temper.

Thank you again, very much, for being here to talk to. You've made me feel less guilty about my feelings. Xx

Hi Galactice Gizmo. I don't normally reply on family and relationship posts cause I am single AF. But I saw this one and I can completely relate.

SO my dad married my mum (wife 1) and got divorsed. He then got engaged to wife number 2. I never knew they were engaged. To me they were never engaged. I found out they were getting married on the wedding day! We were in Hamilton Island for a family holiday (me, my brother and my now step-sibliings). We got dressed up for what we thought was a family photo. Then arrives a wedding car to the hotel. That is how I found out. A wedding car. Less than an hour later they were married. It was probably one of the worst days of my life. I didn't smile in the photos cause the day before wife number 2 said my smile was dorky and not good so I smiled with my mouth closed. Dad wasn't happy when he found out why. Anyways she didn't like me and wasn't that great. So what I am saying is I know how you feel and you are not alone in being bombarded with a wedding/engagement! (when dad married wife number 3, who is great, he told everyone and made sure my younger sister was ok).

It is ok to be frustrated and even a little mad about the situation. It has been over 15 years since that wedding and I have talked to dad about it and we have sorted it out (note I never had a falling out but did cause some issues). I found talking to him and getting his perspective helped. I also kinda told him off in a non agressive way about it. I found this helped with our relationship. He never did it to hurt me. He didn't know how to tell me. He knows that the way I found out was wrong. But he didn't know how to tell me. This doesn't excuse it but by talking to him it helped.

Hi 🙂

Thanks for your reply.

I still haven't heard from him and, to be honest, now I'm not only hurt but angry as well.

He knows better then to not tell me something to protect my feelings. (He moved houses a couple of months ago to live with his now fiance and didnt tell me. We battled that one out and made it clear that approach doesnt fly.)

The topper now is that my mum has just found out and it appears that she thinks i am in on it all.

So not only has he made it clear how "important" i am to him, it has damaged my relationship with my mum.

Dear Galactic Gizmo~

I'm sorry to say as this story unfolds your dad appears in a less and less attractive light, cheating on your mum, not telling you personally about the move or the engagement, even after things have been explained to him. Maybe it is time to step back for a while, concentrate on your own life, your coming baby and all, leaving the future to look after itself for now.

I know you said you were worried of losing your dad. At the moment it does to seem he feels the same way. Maybe when things have settled down.

As for you mum, all anyone can do is offer love and support - and work in the facts if appropriate, in my case it would not be at the expense of arguments.

I was disinherited from both my parents after proposing to get married, and the rift was never healed (a little later they divorced). I found that the love I'd presumed was there and always returned had gone, and for a fair while blamed myself at least in part. I guess self-blame in such circumstances is something most people go though.

Nothing you have said is caused in any way by you, not the divorce, not your dad's selfish behavior, not wanting to maintain a loving relationship with both parents - none of it. It can be hard to really believe but true.

You anger with your father seems to me to be quite justified - I'd be very angry - and hurt - too. It does not sound as if he needs any contact, quite the reverse. From what you have said it's quite likely your mother does need both contact and support.

Looking after you now has to be the important thing, lowering your stress levels as much as you can, and keeping in as good a physical condition as possible.

I hope you can sort things out with your mum quickly, in this situation it is hard on both her and you.

Croix

Hi Galactic Gizmo

I think you should be upfront with your mum. I know you probably have been but emphasise you found out on facebook and you are just as mad as she is. That you don't understand why he couldn't tell you about it and why he won't respond to you reaching out questioning it

I won't lie. When I think about my dads second wedding to wife number two (I still call her the wicked which, but not to my half sister as that is her mother) I was so upset. Even thinking back about it I am still mad that he would do that to me and my siblings. I have told him that it hurt and made me angry. He told me his side of the story and I still called BS because he should know better. How could anyone bombard someone with big news like that without sitting down and telling us? He knows I am still mad about it and it is still a poor point for us, but we have tried to move on from it. I was young when it happened. I was 11. I know you are older and know better. But I still lived with my dad and needed to make it work. If you need a break from your dad and you need time to be angry then that is ok. But do not let it take over your life. You shouldn't feel bad for what has happened. It is not in your control. And your mum will see that soon. She is just sad and possibly embarrassed that he has done this. It will pass I am sure