Your Dilemmas: I'm still grieving for my mother... but my father has found a new woman

In her weekly column, JOAN LONG, a Bishopstown psychologist and psychotherapist, answers readers’ queries
Your Dilemmas: I'm still grieving for my mother... but my father has found a new woman

"The hard times began when my mother passed away from cancer. I am finding life difficult without her and I miss her now as much as I did when she died."

Dear Joan,

I have been finding life very difficult for the last two years.

The hard times began when my mother passed away from cancer. I am finding life difficult without her and I miss her now as much as I did when she died.

I know that grief can take a long time to get over and I feel that I was making some progress up until last month when my father announced that he had met another woman and they were now in a relationship.

I was shocked with this news and I can’t seem to move on or be happy for my father.

I hate him for being with someone else and I don’t want to be any part of it.

He and my mum were together for forty years and now it’s like she never existed.

I have one brother who seems to be OK with this new relationship and he keeps telling me that I am selfish for not wanting to meet this new lady and support my father.

I know I am being selfish. I know my father deserves to be happy, but it breaks my heart to think of him with someone else. I feel like such a bad person.

Dear Reader,

Let me start by saying that I do not think that you are a bad or selfish person.

It sounds like you are still grieving the loss of your mother and that you want to keep her memory very much alive.

Of course, it is a huge adjustment to see your father with someone else after all this time and it feels like this new relationship might mean that your father has forgotten your mother and moved on.

I think that it is important to speak to your father alone and tell him exactly how you feel.

You say that you know he deserves happiness and it sounds like this new relationship might provide that.

It does not mean that he has forgotten or cares less about your mother though.

Your shock will subside with time, and it is essential that you have support in all of this. I hope you have people to talk to that understand your feelings.

You are grieving the loss of your mother and possibly feel that you are now losing your father to this lady. You need to acknowledge the impact of this and allow yourself to feel your feelings without guilt.

There is no pressure to meet this lady until you feel ready and able, and over time as this shock wears off your feelings about it may change.

The main thing is having honest communication with your father and explaining how difficult it is for you right now. I wish you all the best.

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