Wedding Woes

I think it's time to have an honest conversation with her daughters.

Dear Prudence,

I was married for over 20 years before my husband left me for another woman (younger of course). It was never a good marriage and I stayed for all the wrong reasons. The past 10 years on my own are the happiest I’ve ever been. I have a great job, a great home, and do what I want, when I want. I am not in the least bit interested in another marriage. My contact with my ex-husband is minimal. We meet rarely at family functions. We are cordial, but no more than that. The last time we saw each other was at our younger daughter’s wedding two years ago.

Last night my younger daughter called me in tears. Her father is dying—he has cancer and is not expected to live more than six months. His wife left him once they got the diagnosis and is divorcing him. He has nobody to care for him and no money to pay for help. My daughters want me to move in with him and take care of him during his last months. I do not want to. Our marriage was not good. He cheated on me continually, treated me badly, and did all he could to smear my reputation during our divorce. I have no intention of taking care of him. This may make me a terrible human being but I don’t care. My daughters of course both adore him and never saw him as flawed in any way, so they will not take this decision well. Can you see a way I can tell them without trashing their father?

—What Do I Owe My Ex

Re: I think it's time to have an honest conversation with her daughters.

  • DrillSergeantCatDrillSergeantCat Oklahoma City, OK member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    You can be honest with them without trashing him. Telling them that he did not treat you well and did not remain true to his vows isn't trashing. 
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    Yeah, I think she just needs to be honest. She doesn't have to be all, "I don't want any part of helping that lying son of a bitch!" about it. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
  • Yikes, yeah I think she needs to be honest that she doesn't want to live with him again or take care of him. That's a huge responsibility.
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  • bleve0821bleve0821 The Shire member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    I don't think it's hard to have an honest conversation, without tarnishing another, about why you won't do something.  "Daughter, I'm sorry that this is hurting you so much that your father is ill, and I'm glad you have had such a positive relationship with him, but my relationship with your father ended a long time ago for many reasons, and I do not owe him anything.  Our marriage was not good or healthy for me, and I'm not going to reopen that door to painful memories."

    Or something.

    No need to say, "He cheated and treated me poorly so I'm not going to do shit for him."

    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

  • I would so be like "Girl, what were you thinking?"

    My parents are divorced.  When my dad has his heart attack/bypass, if he hadn't been married, it still would have never occurred to my brother or me to ask our mother (!) to take care of him.  What?

    And y'all know everything that has been going on with my mom--again, at no point did my brother or I say "Hey, maybe Dad can help out."  No.  NO. Nononononono.  Nope.

    (Actually, I don't even think my dad knows about my mom.  I told DH that it never even crossed my mind to call him when my mom got her diagnosis, like for moral support or something.  DH, my bestie, my brother, my aunt...but not my dad.  But that's a whole other issue.)
  • Being honest about your feelings toward someone =/= having to trash their dad/spill every secret.  

    Also, it sounds like her daughters are, at the youngest, in their early 20's.  It's not like they're 10 and have a limited concept of adult relationships.  No matter how they feel about their dad and/or what they *think* went down between him and their mom, I don't think it's wrong for the mom to defend herself against untruths that the dad may have perpetuated. 

  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Maybe I'm reading into this, but I can't help but wonder if there was another reason the new wife left him. I feel like that wouldn't be a usual response if the relationship was otherwise healthy and happy. 

  • levioosa said:
    Maybe I'm reading into this, but I can't help but wonder if there was another reason the new wife left him. I feel like that wouldn't be a usual response if the relationship was otherwise healthy and happy. 

    What are you saying?  I'm sure everything was fine.  I'm sure he was entirely faithful to her.  Because she was the "one" and that whole "their relationship started as an affair" was merely a cruel trick of fate in the way of their eternal and undying love.  I'm sure their relationship was the exact opposite of the unhappy, miserable life the LW described with that cheating jerk.  Hmmm...really is just mystery why newer wife would have bailed (heavy sarcasm).
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  • I mean, I feel sorry for what the daughters are going through.....but really? Seriously? What a bizarre and completely out of line request. What a thing to ask of their mother and I sincerely hope LW says no.
  • Woah, if the daughters are so concerned, why can't he move in with them and they take care of him?  That is a really disrespectful request and IMO crosses a boundary.

    I would simply tell them that I will be there for them as they deal with his disease and his eventual death and support them in any way I can, but the details of the marriage and subsequent divorce would make me a poor care giver and that it's a responsibility I do not want to bear.

    THIS exactly!  If they are so upset and concerned, why can't arrangements be made for dad to move in with one of them?

    Different topic, but same idea.  I bought a duplex as a rental investment and the previous owner's brother had been living rent free for the last 10 years in one of the units.  He had a very limited income.  I gave him a 30-day notice to vacate after closing.  He was too upset to talk to me so his friend asked for a meeting with the 3 of us.  Overall, the friend was surprisingly more helpful than harmful.  Even though they started with wanting something ridiculous, like 3 months (also no rent) before he had to move.

    However, one thing she said really irritated me.  She tried to make her case by saying, "But he'll have nowhere to go!  He'll be homeless!"  I didn't actually say this but was thinking, "Yeah, so?  Then YOU take him in.  I'm not his sister.  I'm not his friend.  I hardly know him."  What I did point out is that, while that would be unfortunate, I'm not a charity.  And every month I can't fix up and then rent out that unit is money out of my pocket for costs without any income.  I also pointed out that he'd known for at least two months already that the house was being sold.   

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  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its

    I don't know if I shared this or not over the years. My parents were married for over 20 years and divorced my junior year of high school. I was extremely close to my dad and a few years after the divorce he was diagnosed with lung cancer. My sister and I were both in college and were more than willing to leave to take care of him.

    He insisted that we did not do that. My mom didn't want us to leave either, so she offered to take him in. It wasn't easy to deal with his illness and all that entails, but I know that my dad appreciated her taking him in. My dad stayed with her about six months until he was in remission. Unfortunately, his cancer came back and he passed away.

    I will be forever grateful and love my Mom for the compassion, and forgiveness that it took for her to take care of him. She had past hurts and they fussed like an old married couple, but at the end of the day she loved him because of the years that they shared and he was the father of her children.

    I'm not saying that this lady should do the same, but maybe checking in on him if he is local, giving him a call or something would be huge. As you get older, forgiveness and compassion goes so far.

    Ya know, I could see this being my parents, had they been in this situation. They were still really good friends after being divorced and when my dad was sick (it was a few months type thing though, not long term), my mom was the one taking care of him the most. My mom was remarried so she didn't *need* him when she was sick, but I'd bet money that if my family was LW, she'd have done it for him.

    But that is irrelevant. These daughters are nuts. They need to understand their family dynamic and that this isn't how shit works. LW hasn't even seen the guy in two freaking years!

    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
  • I agree with everyone saying that the daughters should look into taking him in before the mother.  If my dad was sick (and my mom was not there), I'd want to take care of him myself.  I don't understand why the daughters are trying to find someone other than themselves to care for their father.  There may very well be reasons that they can't, but asking their divorced mother is an odd request.

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