Dad's New Wife

Frequent readers and commentator Karen M. liked to a great advice column in the comment section of my latest Widower Wednesday post.

Hi, Carolyn:

My mom passed away suddenly in November. My parents had been married for 40 years. My dad started dating two months after her passing and just got engaged. I have met his fiancee three times total, and they have been together for about six weeks.

Is it okay that I am not thrilled about this? To soften it, they told me they would not get married for a year but also said they are basically living together. I think they expected me to congratulate them. I feel like I need more time to get used to this. Am I being mean?


There is a bright and clear line between what you’re entitled to feel (anything) and entitled to do (very little). Since the way you react to your father’s relationship carries potentially lifelong consequences on your relationship with him, keep your response within these boundaries:

1. It’s Dad’s life, not yours.

2. You grieve your way, he grieves his. There’s no one “right” way.


4. Don’t criticize his fiancee; you don’t know her well enough. When you do know her well enough, don’t criticize her then, either. Identify troubling facts when necessary, without assigning blame.

Read the entire column at the Washington Post.

The only thing I have to say about it is that I agree with it 100%.