Family Matters
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My Grandpa and His Girlfriend

So.  My grandma died a year ago.  They had been married 51 years.  She died very suddenly.  Within 3 months my g'pa was dating.  although none of the family were exactly happy about that (we all thought it was rather soon after g'ma died) we all put on a happy face and supported him bc we knew he was lonely and want companionship.

 

Now he had been dating one lady "Mary" for about 4 months.  I guess they got serious pretty fast- he has gone on 2 trips with her and the whole family has met her.  He is very lovey-dovey with her, which is hard because he was never that lovey dovey with my g'ma. 

 

The whole family (G'pa, aunts, uncles, grandkids and great grandbaby) is going to CO for xmas this year.  We are staying in a big cabin with bunk-style bedrooms, shared bathrooms, etc.  Not much privacy which is fine since we are all really close and get along well. 

 

G'pa has asked if it is ok to bring Mary.  All of our reactions has been "heck no we don't want her to come" but of course we said yes, sure G'pa.  Now, though, he want to know if her son can some too.  Her son is the age of us grandkids. It is just so wierd.  My g'pa has a girlfriend who is coming to the family xmas instead of my g'ma.  Now Mary's son (who none of us have even met) might come and we are going to be sharing bedrooms and bathrooms with him. 

 

I don't really have a point with this, just a vent mostly.  No one wants Mary and her son to come, but of course we feel that we must invite them at g'pa's request.  If anyone has dealt with this sort of thing before and has advice, I would appreciate it. 

Re: My Grandpa and His Girlfriend

  • I can understand how your family feels, but you should let it go. Your grandpa obviously needs female companionship in his life (whether it's for companionship or for a travel partner or because, like my grandfather, he didn't know how to do his own laundry!), and you can't compare his new gf to your grandma. After my grandmother died, my grandfather dated a woman for the final ten years of his life, and she became family to us and we love her, even though my grandfather has passed away. Let your grandpa have his fun and be nice to his new gf!
  • It feels weird to you because it is not your grandma.  But that doesn't mean that your gpa does not truly really like or even love this woman. And he wants to include her son which is great that he is trying to include her family. 

    Though it will be hard, I think it is important for your family to try to be more open about this. Don't go to xmas thnking "god I don't want these people there." Just think "this may be fun, these people may be great people."  Because you haven't said that this woman is bad for your gpa because she is agold digger or just plain mean.

    remember that everyone grieves in their own way.  Your grandpa is a lot older than the rest of you and older people tend to move faster in relationships than younger people. 1. because they already know what they want and 2. they are older so they realize they don't have as much time as everyone else.

    Also, wouldn't your grandma want your gpa to be happy?  I am sure she would.  So he really is not disrespecting your gma's memory because he started dating this other woman.  As far as the lovey dovey stuff is concerned...it is a new relationship...most people ar elike that in the "newlywed" stage of relationships. You just didn't see it with your grandma because they had been married for so long (it happens, I bet you and your DH aren't AS lovey dovey as you were at the beginning of your relationship.)

  • I could imagine i wouldfeel the same way, you want your gm not this lady.

    BUT your gf is VERY lucky to have found someone to make him happy at this age and i dont think you should deprive him of it.

    suck it up and be happy that he is still able to go to CO with you.



  • Many men, especially older men, tend to start dating very quickly after a relationship ends.  They want companionship, and someone to take care of them.  It isn't that he didn't love your Grandma, he just doesn't know how to be alone and jumping into another relationship is more comfortable.  Yes it was soon, but he has to move on with his life.  Remember, he didn't die.  As far as Grandpa being more lovey-dovey with Mary, they are in their honeymoon stage and every relationship is different.  Again this does not mean that he didn't love your Grandma, only that he is moving on with his life.

    I think you should be welcoming to his new girlfriend.  It sounds like they are in a very serious relationship, and it would cause a huge rift between your grandfather and the rest of the family if you treated her poorly.  Would you have been happy if during your relationship with your current SO was not welcomed into your family while you were dating?  Probably not.  Why should they be treated any differently?  I know it is odd to see him with someone else, but give her the benefit of the doubt and try to be friends.

    As far as her son coming... yeah it is odd.  But I think that your Grandfather and Mary are just trying to create one big happy family.  I'm sure that Mary wants to spend the holidays with her family just as much as you want to spend the holiday with yours.  If you really feel uncomfortable meeting him for the first time on this trip, plan a meeting between then and now.  You have 8 months, it can be done. 

  • I'm sorry for the loss of your Grandma.  I understand that it is weird for you & the fam, but I think these situations are not uncommon.  Many folks who lose a spouse later in life move on to a new companion in what seems like a short period of time.

    The fact that he is affectionate with her probably has nothing to do with his relationship with Grandma, he probably just feels "young again."

    The alternative is worse--TRUST ME.  My Grandpa died eight years ago last week, and Grandma still lives with the memory, and that is it.  Her sister died last year, and things are even worse.  It's awful that she is so alone, and there is nothing we can do for her.  We keep her company, but she is used to having a partner.

    Try to be happy for your Grandpa and be welcoming to his GF & her kids.  Unless she is not a good person, Grandpa really deserves nothing less.  Take it easy on yourself, too, as you have your own feelings and grief.  Just do your best. 

     

  • I get that you are primarily venting, but I strongly encourage you to move past "we dont' want them to come" because that attitude will come out in some form or fashion.

    I understand that everyone is probably still grieving the loss of your grandmother, and it's hard to see her husband move on so quickly.  But look at it this way too- he was married to her for FIFTY years.  He had a companion in his life for FIFTY years. 

    To suddenly lose that and to be alone...???  I truly can't imagine how hard that must be.  Cut your grandpa some slack and realize that he's doing what he needs to do for his own emotional and perhaps even mental health and try to be more welcoming to this woman and her son.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • I definitely took it as you venting too.

    We actually went through something similar to this with my H's grandparents.

    His grandparents had been married something like 40 something years.  His grandma got sick then better then sick then better...finally she passed (but all of this happened in like 6 months).

    She passed in April of 07 and by November 07 he had a lady friend.  We all were like oh thats good she sings at the church and what not.

    Well they were engaged by Feb 08.  And married in April 08.  So basically in a year re-married.  He married someone who is exactly the same age as my MIL.  So it was really tough on her.

    Now we have reasons not to like her because she's alienated him and uses him for his money and didn't want to sign a pre-nup, talks down to him etc etc.

    However he generally is seen smiling and they go to church a lot and sing in the choir.

    I don't like her...in fact nobody does but we just go along with it when she's around because there's no point in hurtin him.

    Now I don't understand why this grown son needs to come along though.  I would think he would feel very uncomfortable with that situation but I guess he doesn't.

     Just go on the trip and have fun and remember you dont have to spend all the time with them.

     

    Good Luck.  I know it hurts and it's hard.

  • Thanks for all the replies.  Yes, it is mostly a vent. We all know we need to just get over it.  It is easy to say I am going to suck it up, and hard to do that when I see them together and just want my g'ma back!

     

    It is interesting to hear that it is common for older men to jump right into a new relationship.

     

    My other g'ma is definitely the type that just sits at home and mourns my g'pa after his death.  So it isn't easy either way!

  • Your Grandfather was with your Grandmother for 51 years...That is a long time to be with someone....When you are used to having someone in your life for that long and something happens to them, you have a big void in your life. I am happy to hear that he found someone that he can relate with (what happened to her DH? Did he die to?) Some people who loose someone go into a depression and some even die. Its good for him.

    I think its a bit weird that he wants to bring her but if it makes him happy then I say why not.

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • My grandparents were married 40 years when my grandmother died suddenly.  My grandfather was remarried within a year.  Was it awkward? Yes.  Was it the best thing for him? Yes.  He just couldn't function alone.

    I think it is important that you put this in perspective - this woman is not a replacement for your grandmother, she is someone that helps your grandfather survive the loss of his life-long love.  Embrace her for being able to do that.

  • 51 years is a long time to be with someone...imagine trying to function living on your own when you were so used to having someone with you all the time.  Who knows, maybe your G-ma told your G-pa to find someone to be with.  Just because he's in a new relationship doesn't mean he still doesn't miss or love your g-ma.  Maybe he talks to "Mary" about his feelings. Had she gone through something similar?  And lovey dovey is something that wears off (I think anyways) I mean it's his first time being a new relationship in 51 years, he's probably giddy. Is part of the issue just the fact that he's with this new person that makes your family so uncomfortable, or is she up to something?  Like is your G-pa wealthy?  Is Mary a lot younger than him?  I know that was the issue with my G-pa when his second wife died...a younger woman tried to move in on him for his wealth and my aunts were not having that, lol.  As far as her son goes, I would say give him a shot.  I'm sure he's going to be VERY uncomfortable as well in that type of situation.  You know, just try to go into the situation without dread and keep an opened mind.  Who knows what'll happen from now until then, so try not to worry about it so much.  And you might even like her son.  Don't not like him just bc you're not sure if you like Mary.
  • Ditto what the PP said about trying to be happy with for your GF.  And like a PP said, you have no idea how your GF and GM were in terms of the "lovey-dovey" at the beginning of their relationship.  DH and I have been together 4 years and I am sure we are not as lovey dovey as we were in the beginning.

    And regarding her son, I am sure he wants to see his mother over Christmas. I am sure that is why your GF is asking if he can be inncluded.

    Take this as an opportunity to get to know them.  For all you know, they are both great people with good hearts. 

  • I saw the same thing happen with an uncle of mine; he was married the same length of time; Aunt died and he was dating within months, too.

     Wow, did Aunt's sister and Uncle's daughter cause a big hue and row when Uncle was all set to remarry. They should have butted out; Uncle came back to life when he began to date.

  • Just fyi, Mary was never married, she was a single mom.  So I an understand from that perspective why she wants her son to come, he is her only family. 

     

    Mary seems perfectly nice, she isn't a gold digger or anything. 

  • I think you all really need to be accepting to your grandpa's girlfriend. I am sure he was lovey dovey with your grandma but many years back. This is a new relationship and they are going to act like that. If your DH died wouldn't he want you to find someone else to make you happy? Yes this is a very soon relationship so shortly after your grandmother died and I know it must be hard for you all but it will be much easier to just accept it rather than get angry over it. My DH's grandmother remarried two months after her husband died to a man she just met. Crazy and hard on the family - yes but she stayed married to him and happy for 10 years until he died. She just could not live without a man taking care of her.
  • I know it must be hard to see your grandfather with another woman, but you all really have a window of opportunity here to create a great welcome to your family for Mary and her son. 

    Think about it from her perspective -- how hard must it be to agree to come on a family vacation when she doesn't really know you all well and bring her son, who's likewise a stranger, into an established family with established traditions and habits who will be feeling your grandmother's absence at the holiday?  If you all come at this with the attitude of grudging agreement, they'll know it and feel it and this will not be a good experience.  If you can all set aside your grief and loss and that tiny voice that says "how dare Grandpa think and act like anybody could replace Grandma" and be welcoming and gracious and open to Mary and her son, I think that would be the greatest gift that you could possibly give to your grandfather.

    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
  • I agree with everyone else.  Also keep in mind that a 50 year marriage relationship is not going to be the same as a 4 month relationship.  Sure, your GF may be "lovey-dovey" with her, but it's also a new and probably exciting relationship for him, which I'm guessing he needs right now.  That doesn't mean he didn't also have a good marriage with your GM and treat her well.  You can't really compare the two relationships.
  • I agree with everyone in that you should try to accept the GF even though it will be hard but I don't think it's really her place to bring her son on the vacation. Just because you are dating someone does not automatically mean that your family is automatically included in everything your s/o's family does.

    Spending a christmas vacation together in one house is a little different than going to someone's house for dinner. It just seems awkward to spend a holiday such as christmas with someone you have never met, regardless of who is dating who. This is the kind of thing you bring your child to if you have been dating someone long-term and everyone knows everyone. If your grandfather wants him to come and feel included then he should make an effort to get everyone to meet each other and spend time together prior to the vacation.

  • I also want to reiterate that it is very common for widowers to begin dating and remarrying soon after their spouses passing. They miss the companionship.  I couldn't blame them. 

    My GMIL is on her third marriage.  She was widowed both times previously and yes she started seeing someone  soon after both husbands passing.  I know my husband's family is just happy to see her so active and happy now.  I compare her to my MIL who is still single after being divorced for over 15 years and I kinda wish my MIL is more like my GMIL.  My GMIL isn't lonely, depressed and doesn't feel sorry for herself.  She walks the mall with my new GFIL, they eat out, go to church together, go on vacations and in general is just happier.  My MIL life revolves around her kids and grandkids and hardly leaves her home.  I know being widowed is different than being divorced but sometimes I wish my MIL would take a cue from GMIL and just put herself out there and at least try to meet someone. 

  • I have an aunt who got engaged to a nice man a year after her husband died.  But her kids complained, threw fits, said they didn't want a "new dad" and ultimately the engagement fell through.

    Now this aunt is 80, extremely lonely, and her relationships with her kids are strained at best.

    My grandmother on the other hand got remarried a few years after my grandpa died and they opened a business and became very wealthy - guess who that money gets passed down to?  My family.

    DH's grandfather was married to his grandmother's BEST FRIEND a year after they died.. and now everyone loves her.  She is a sweet lady.  And ironically, her name is Mary too.

    Be sweet to the family and treat them right.  It seems obvious to me that they want to be close to you ... this woman is probably going to be step-grandma soon.  Be nice to her AND her kids.  You won't regret being nice to people.. but trust me, you and your family will regret it if you thwart the relationship between these two people in any way.

  • My great grandfather married his wife's best friend after her sudden death. It was the best thing for them, and his kids and grandkids definitely supported him.

     

    My grandmother died after fighting for her life for 7 years--my grandfather was by her side the whole time. Their dreams of traveling during retirement quickly turned to doctor visits, dialysis, and many many hospital stays. When she passed away, there was a huge void in his life. He "re"met a woman he had hired years before at the hospital(she's about 15 years younger than he is, although my grandother was about 7 years older than my grandfather). They have been together for 6 years, and it was sooooooo difficult to see them together. However, they travel together and enjoy each other's company. This woman has not replaced my grandmother, because he still has tears in his eyes when he talks to her(being married for 42 years, and moving to a new country to start a new life really brought them together). Seven years later, I am thankful for his SO. He can travel with her, and show her new things, and vice versa. I could not imagine him being alone!

     

    It takes time getting used to it, but you will see it is for the best(unless there are huge red flags). Good luck.

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  • This happened in my family, only for some reason my gpa wanted to introduce his new gf to the family at christmas...My dad and uncle refused to accept my gpa's gf...that led to seeing my gpa less and less and pretty uncomfortable holidays.

     Just treat them the way you would want to be treated, and hope they have the same consideration for you.

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