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UP CLOSE: Rushing into Remarriage

Several years ago I took a long walk with my future husband while we planned our life together: how to finish school, where we would live, jobs etc. I’m sure we mentioned our parents in that discussion but didn’t worry about their approval (we already had it) and we certainly didn’t consider the effect that our marriage, every marriage, would have on our extended family and network of friends. We were young and in love!

A few weeks ago, my dad went on a similar walk with his secretary of twenty years as they planned their future life together: she would quit her job, they’d move into her house, everything would be wonderful– they were in love!

But when my dad gathered my siblings and I around to tell his news– “This is one of the happiest day of my lives!”– we exploded. Mom had been gone for just four months; we didn’t even have a headstone on her grave.

Second marriages, by nature, are much more complicated than first marriages (and let’s face it, every marriage is complicated). There are usually children to consider, grandchildren, homes, careers, reputations and decades of amassed fortune (or misfortune). We’ve tried to explain to my dad that remarriage this soon after mom’s death would mock her memory and damage his good reputation. It’s hurtful that my dad chose a woman who was been consistently unkind to my siblings and I over the past two decades– even my father admits that she doesn’t get along with people and can be “difficult.”

I have no wisdom to impart. I’m just aching for my mother and wishing my father missed her the way I do. But maybe you do? What advice do you have about second marriages– especially when it involves your parents? What do you think is an appropriate time frame to start dating after a death or a divorce? How can I watch my father kneel across the altar with this woman, share a home with her, create a new life, with my mother’s dying moments seared across my eyes?

75 thoughts on “UP CLOSE: Rushing into Remarriage”

  1. Your dad is lonely. If I died first, I would want my husband to remarry quickly. He doesn't function well alone and children are too busy with their own lives to give constant attention to a widowed parent.

    That being said, the fact that your dad's fiance does not deal well with people, especially with prospective stepchildren should make him consider playing the field a while longer. Second marriages have a high rate of failure. Too bad the people involved are good LDS. Living together for a few months might be a better choice in this case.

    Probably nothing you or your siblings can say will change your dad's mind. You may as well accept the marriage with good grace. It fills a need in your dad's life.

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  2. My dad remarried shortly after my parents' divorce, and it has been a long and difficult road for all of us. (My mother left us, so we all stayed with my dad) It helps me as an adult to remember that it wasn't an easy change for my stepmother, either. She came from being a 35-year-old single woman with a dog to wife and mother of four in one quick trip to the temple.

    I don't agree about living together first making it easier. I think if they are committed to each other, the best thing for the family to do is try to support them and sometimes bite your tongue when your stepmother hurts your feelings whether on purpose or just because she has an abrasive personality.

    A distantly related thought: My grandmother has always said that if a spouse marries again after a death it is a compliment to the first spouse, that they enjoyed being married so much that they can love again so easily.

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  3. That is hard! My mom died two years ago and my dad can't even fathom going on a date with another woman, much less getting married. And his dad never did get remarried after his wife died–lived alone for 30 years.

    My dad just shakes his head at those who remarry so quickly after losing a spouse. My youngest brother was on his mission when my mom died–how strange would it have been for him to get back and find that my dad had remarried?

    I have no advice to impart, but my heart breaks for you. And I am going to thank my dad today for not rushing into a new relationship and replacing my mother. Of course, my mom died suddenly and unexpectedly at age 55, and he's still in shock and expects her to be there when he wakes up. But still, 4 months seems awfully early to have made it through the grief process to the point you can welcome a new person into your life.

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  4. The traditional standard was one year, but personally I don't believe there should be an arbitrary, bright-line test. People's needs and circumstances are all different.

    I also had the same thought as Jen expressed in her third paragraph. I've been married 29 years. While being single would certainly come with some significant perks, I like being married. If my wife were to die, I'm not sure I would want to remain single for an entire year (although four months does seem awfully quick!). Research shows that married men have a significantly longer life expectancy than single men. For a man who has been happily married for a long time, all of a sudden being single can be extraordinarily tough.

    I also agree with Course Correction's observation in the second paragraph of no. 1 that the bigger issue is not the specific amount of time elapsed (which I know is hard to swallow as a child), but rather the fact that he chose someone with an established bad relationship with the kids. To me that's the more significant and troubling issue, and I wish I had some useful advice for you. I would never, ever marry a woman who couldn't get along with my kids (but a woman would have to be a total witch not to be able to get along with my easy going children).

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  5. My dad married 6 months after my mom passed from this life. He met her on the internet and only had a few dates before proposing to her. All of his 8 children were very concerned. But my husband had died after 22 years of marriage so I was familiar with his loneliness and grief. Once you have a good marriage you just want another one. Men especially do not do well alone. It has been 2 years now since my dad married his second wife and we all truly love her and are truly happy for them both. As a side note, I am also very happy 10 years after marrying my 2nd husband. So there are success stories. I see wanting to remarry as a compliment to the first marriage. If it wasn't good, I doubt one would be so quick to do it again. And one more thing to keep in mind…unless we are the lonely one, it is so hard to understand what they are going through and what they are longing for. If I go first, I would hope my husband would find happiness again. I just can't stand the thought of him being sad and lonely.

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  6. People do dumb things when they are in pain. After my mom died, my dad "fell in love" with a sister missionary barely older than myself, and started lots of relationships (often stringing along several women at once) and eventually remarried two years later. It only lasted a year. My dad isn't every man, but I'm sure I'm not the only one with this story.

    Isn't there a rule of thumb that says you shouldn't make any major decisions for a year after the death of a spouse? I really think this is a good idea. Grief can really distort your ability to see things clearly and make good decisions.

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  7. I lived in a ward with a lot of older people who lost spouses. I went to a lot of funerals. These were people who had had long marriages spanning decades, grandchildren, great grandchildren. What I noticed was that the women have stayed single in more cases than the men. I didn't follow timelines, but there were several remarriages, some between two people who had each lost partners and had known each other over the years. I had heard from these people that the longer their spouse was gone, it actually got harder for them. I also once heard someone say that when a man remarries quickly, it was a testament to how happy he was in his marriage. I think that means that he was so in sync with living with a partner and sharing a life together that he desires to find someone to share with. It sounds strange, but since I haven't experienced it, it's hard for me to judge.

    I guess what I'm offering is that we don't know what the experience is like for these folks. Their personalities play a role I'm sure. In the end, they have their agency to decide what they want to do even if it appears that they are operating with the brain of a wayward child. I am sad that your dad would choose a woman who has been unkind to you and has trouble getting a long with people. Unfortunately, if she's that stinky, he is going to end up in a place where he is the object of her behavior as time rolls along. He is going to have to lie in the bed he makes and whatever path he is taking will be one unique to what is required for his learning. I only hope you as his children can survive the pain this causes you.

    I am so sorry for the loss of you mom. It is clear that you love her and that she was a special person in your life. There is never a good time to lose a mother, and my heart goes out to you as you wade through the events taking place now.

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  8. I don't know how to edit a post or if it's possible, and I want to clarify something I said. I didn't mean to insult your dad or anyone else when I used the words "operating with the brain of a wayward child." I only meant that it is hard enough to watch our children make decisions that won't be good for them and may cause them pain. It's harder when we have to watch our parents do it. We expect more from them. They are older than we are and we hope that they would lead the way with their example. I had a mom who made poor decisions on a regular basis. No matter how hard we tried to stop her from making mistakes she plowed ahead. It was frustrating to say the least. I wanted to say that I understand your frustration. I apologize again if my choice of words was poor.

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  9. My dad didn't remarry after my mother died, but he did talk to me about it just a month or two after her death. Four months does seem like a short time to grieve, but in the case of my parents, my mother had been sick for a very long time, so her death brought closure and relief after an already long grieving period. Dad brought up the subject with me because he was concerned that if he did decide to remarry that he would encounter opposition from me and my siblings. He had seen that happen to several of his friends. He was so concerned about this that I promised him he would have my 100% support.
    As for my own situation, I can not imagine ever marrying again if I were to lose my husband, but then, I am a person who likes to have my own space. On the other hand, if I die first, I have no doubt that my husband will remarry within the first year. I expect my children to support him and not give him any flack about it (and I have told them as such). I think they will have to accept that their relationship with their father will never be the same when he makes a commitment to another woman who is not their mother and who will likely have adult children of her own, but different doesn't mean it has to be negative–just different.

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  10. My heart aches for you—this is such a difficult situation. I wish I had some good advice to impart, but can only offer empathy. My father remarried very quickly after he and my mother divorced, to a divorced woman who was in our ward and who we had all known for many years (my mother was the one who initiated the divorce, and my father was lonely). My step mother is personable and easygoing with us, but I don't think my father has been very happy in this marriage. He doesn't discuss it with us, but that's the impression we have. Consequently, I am leery of anyone rushing into a second marriage. I know how concerned you must be and how this must add to the grief you're already feeling. My heart goes out to you!

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  11. I forgot that I have a whole other story to tell. My mother-in-law remarried about two years after my father-in-law died of leukemia. She and my father-in-law had been happily married for forty years, and she was understandably very lonely and depressed after he died. She ended up marrying a friend in her ward—Bob—who had lost his wife just a few months previously (why is it that men tend to remarry faster?)—they'd actually been friends as couples and had traveled and done a lot together, so it was kind of weird for my husband and his siblings when she married him (especially when they eloped and she called her children the next day to say they'd gotten married, then sent them photos of her and Bob kissing—very poor taste, imo). But they ended up having a fairly happy marriage, I think, though it wasn't without its troubles and adjustments, and it wasn't as happy as her first marriage. But she had companionship for another ten years before Bob died of cancer, and my children had "Grandpa Bob"—who was actually a more attentive grandparent than my mother-in-law is. But it was definitely difficult for my husband and his siblings to adjust to this marriage, and Bob had an abrasive and controlling personality, which made it harder. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law openly disliked him and never did fully accept him or the marriage, but my husband did his best to be gracious and welcoming to his new step father—and I admire him deeply for that. I know my mother-in-law appreciated my husband's efforts, especially when she sometimes struggled in the marriage herself. So I guess what I learned from my husband is that A. he is a much better person than I am and, B. choosing to bestow love and kindness and tolerance, though difficult, is never a wrong choice. Easier said than done, however, and much harder when it's only been months since your mother died. It might be a long and difficult journey, so be patient and gentle with yourself.

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  12. My dad remarried a little over a year after Mother died. They had been together 63 years. The woman he married turned out to be abusive and manipulative. She did everything she could to drive a wedge between him and his children. It was an extremely difficult two years or three years until he died. It took a long time for the rest of the family including the extended family to get past the damage that she did.

    These kinds of things are more common than one might expect. I doubt that was anyway to prevent this marriage from taking place. The only thing we might have done had we known what could happen would have been to find ways to strengthen our relationship with each other and with our dad so he would not have become isolated from the family. It wouldn't have hurt to have a prenuptial agreement that took his interests as well as hers into account.

    I often wonder if we had been a better support to him right after Mom died we would have been in a better position to influence him. We were too busy with our own lives.

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  13. Although the speed at which your rather is remarrying is a huge concern the bigger concern is her treatment of you and your siblings and your father's own observation of her behavior. Love and marriage will not make her kinder and if your father is under the impression that he can love her enough to help her than he is wrong.

    There is not really much any of you can do other than kneel in sincere prayer in his behalf. I believe miracles can be worked through prayer. He is lonely and blinded by that lonliness cannot see that this woman who has been unkind, had a hard time getting along with people and is difficult will direct most of that behavior towards him after marriage.

    I hope he is able to see past his lonliness before marrying this woman. If not, I hope marriage can soften her heart and that she can end up being a good companion to your father and step-mother to you.

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  14. I heard Dr. Laura say once that the most happily married men are the ones who re-marry the quickest after their wife dies. Why? Because she creates such a huge void with her passing that they're anxious/desperate to fill it.

    I have a feeling that in this case, because you don't like the lady much, it wouldn't matter if he did wait. You still wouldn't be thrilled about it.

    So sorry about your loss! Good luck in the future!

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  15. I don't necessarily think it is a bad thing to remarry quickly. It seems that this particular set of circumstances seems troublesome because of the personality of the new wife. I'm really sorry that you are experiencing this. If I were in your shoes, I would do all in my power to maintain a positive and loving relationship with my father. Be kind to the new wife, but also do not allowed yourself to be abused by her.I would also pray about the situation a lot. You can't change either of them, but you can pray for acceptance, love and help.

    The statistics for remarriage actually vary depending on how the first marriage ended. Those whose first marriages ended because of divorce have a much higher rate of divorce than those whose first marriages ended because of the death of one spouse.

    But people can and do defy statistics all the time.

    I think that second marriages are important. If my grandfather had married after my grandmother died, he might be around a little longer.
    My father lost his first wife to death after a few years of marriage. I'm grateful he didn't wait around to remarry. I am the first child of his second marriage. Being the second wife can be really difficult. Many times, people simply aren't kind to the second wife, especially family members. She has to contend with many things, coming into a developed family with traditions, values, shared experiences and a whole lot of memories. It can be painful to wonder if you are second best, compared to the first wife and especially difficult when children remind you over and over again that you aren't their mother. I know the experience of my mother was difficult–mainly with extended family members and my dad's children.
    I'm not saying this is the case of the original poster, but I hope people might look at each case from a different perspective.

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  16. I want to reject the idea that men remarry earlier "because they love being married". This really invalidates the individuality of the woman, and makes her almost an interchangeable piece.

    Perhaps men have a harder time being alone. Perhaps they are eager for feminine attention. Single men of a certain age are far more scarce than single women. I think this partly makes women more aggressive, and if that man is vulnerable and eager for a woman's touch, he might be more susceptible to falling for her.

    Broad generalizations, all, I know.

    As someone going through a particularly ugly divorce right now, I am going to find myself soon single, in my mid thirties, and with three children. I worry about them. I am not eager to date again. I also am not eager to spend the rest of my life alone either. I know full well that most of the med in my age and availability group are going to be divorced or never married. I don't think there are many widowers in that pool, but I don't know for sure.

    Back to the OP, I am so sorry for the pain this is causing you- and I do empathize. I would be worried sick if my dad remarried, let alone so quickly.

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  17. Oh, I relate to this. Too much.

    I lost my mother 6 months ago and ache for her every day– the holidays have just increased my grief.

    We worry about my dad a lot. I know he has a target on his back. We all call him every day and he lives with my sister and her family. We've been taking him out to dinner and on vacations and still it isn't enough. He's lonely.

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  18. When my dad went back to work, two weeks after burying my mother, women started chasing him. He isn't even ready to consider dating.

    When he feels ready, I will support him in finding someone to spend time with, and maybe even marry. But he isn't ready to look yet and I'm glad, because I just don't think you can make a smart decision shortly after losing your spouse. We didn't even make any decisions on what to do with the insurance money until she had been gone a year.

    It's been two years and I miss my mom as if she died yesterday. If my dad were to start dating now, I would probably be furious because I still have trouble accepting she's gone.

    My aunt remarried less than a year after my uncle died–he had a long drawn out illness–and my cousins are still furious, and that marriage has long since collapsed and her kids are still mad at her. I think you should definitely wait more than a couple of months.

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  19. This is an interesting topic. I think we can't judge people who are in this situation, but I have seen so many of what seem like very hasty second marriages, followed by divorces. You would think an older person especially, who has seen so much and gained so much experience, would be able to avoid this type of mistake. Maybe it's just a matter of being very needy and therefore unable to think about things rationally. There are exceptions to everything, but I think that remarriage in such a short time frame has to almost always be unwise and is probably a sign that the person has a problem he or she is trying to avoid dealing with. Regardless, there is probably very little you can do other than share your thoughts and concerns in as loving a way as possible and be prepared for them to be disregarded.

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  20. This comment's going to make me seem like a very small and dirty-minded gal, but marrying his secretary of two decades four months after his wife's death? My first thought was that there was flim-flam goin' on, at least emotionally, while he was still married.

    I want to be clear: I always choose to give people the benefit of the doubt and say that there's "nothing going on," but these circumstances sure give one (not just me) a lot of doubt for which to give him the benefit.

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  21. My grandpa remarried 6 months after my grandma died of cancer. Thirty years afterwards I spoke to him about it and he cried. Obviously he loved my grandma and wished he could have spent more years on earth with her. Most members of my family were not welcoming to my step-grandma. For thirty years there have been hard feelings, and those hard feelings have been passed down to the next generation.

    Looking at your situation 30 years down the road my advice is similar to advice someone once gave on Segullah about daughter-in-laws and son-in-laws. Love them like they were the one you picked for your loved one to marry.

    If you have major issues, sensitively counsel with your father, speaking in specifics. But if he decides to go ahead with the marriage, support him by doing all you can to love her. It will not be easy, but you will make it easier on him. Think of this as an expression of your respect and love for him and your mother. Don't turn the family they have built into a contentious one. Try, at this very painful time for you personally, to minister to your father in a Christ-like way. It is his life, let him use the agency God has given him and then support him in it, giving his second marriage a chance of success.

    My grandpa's second marriage lasted more than 30 years. I had the opportunity to visit with him and my step-grandma in his last days. It was such a sweet picture as she told him to let go, saying that his first wife waiting to be with him, that he should go into the next life to be with her. These second marriage relationships are very special. I am grateful for my step-grandma, that she loved my grandpa and kept his loneliness at bay. She will always have a place in my heart, what great service she has given to our family.

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  22. I'm a second wife. However, I think you're talking about a big difference here between someone who was married for many many years and then is widowed, versus a young person who becomes single again. Also I think there's a big difference when the first marriage was happy versus unhappy.

    My husband married at 23, was divorced after a rather unhappy and emotionally abusive marriage at 29, and then was single again for as long as he was married. He dated lots of nice girls but never wanted to marry them. I think the idea of marriage, no matter how nice the individual prospects were, was like sticking a hot poker in his eye. He told me his mother despaired as he got closer to me when we were dating and she once blew up at him and said "I can't stand it! No more! You keep falling in love with these girls and then *I* fall in love with them and then you don't marry them, and I can't stand one more!" but then he married me. 🙂

    There are some challenges in being a second spouse. It's his second time around and my first. I don't know if I handle the ups and downs as well as he does, and sometimes I think I'm picking up pieces from the previous marriage too.

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  23. I have no answers or advice.
    I am the granddaughter of a man who rushed into a second marriage very soon after his wife and mother to their eleven children was killed in a car accident driving home from general conference. I don't wish to expound or speak ill of his second wife; it has been a difficult road we have ALL been down with his second wife. It has not been for lack of trying to accept and love her.
    I only offer my sympathy for the loss of your mother and my prayers that your father will revisit his decision to marry someone who has "difficulty" with people and/or your siblings. As you illustrated in your writing, it will affect so many more than just his immediate family.
    Best wishes.

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  24. My heart goes out to you. Your grief must still be so fresh and raw with wounds (and loving remembrances)that need time and attention.

    I don't have any experience with a parent remarrying but I can see how timing, personality, + history could all be huge factors for all of you. I hope there's a middle ground where things can slow down and decisions weighed a little longer before any major changes are done.

    p.s. Yes, as Kevin says, if the marriage goes forward, prenup all the way.

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  25. My mother-in-law is a second wife. She married the stake patriarch not long after his first wife died. She was 20 years younger and had four small children. There were many people who didn't approve, there was plenty of gossip, and her first husband's children had a hard time, understandably.

    But I am grateful they both had the courage to get married. My step-father-in-law has been such a blessing in my life, and it was very good for my husband to have his influence in his life as he was growing up. It hasn't always been easy on them for many reasons, but they both knew it was right. I think they'd both say it has been worth it, and his children made an effort to welcome her into the family.

    I don't think that his marrying shortly after his first wife's death meant that he didn't care about her, or that he had forgotten her. She is certainly not forgotten. But he also moved on, in the way he knew was right.

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  26. I'm sorry in advance to write such a long response. This experience is all too familiar to my family. Our mother died after a short illness, leaving children ages 15-30. Less than a year later our father remarried.

    He felt very strongly that the spirit had revealed to him that he was to marry this person, and I cannot argue with that. What I can say is that choosing to marry while he was still in the *depths* of grief dictated the dynamic of their relationship, and it was not a healthy one.

    His new wife turned on my 15 year old sibling (who was a pretty good kid, esp considering losing a mother at such a young age) and made life miserable. My sibling ended up living with another family for the rest of high school, and did not have cordial relations with my dad for many years. I think that most of my siblings felt very betrayed by our father—that he would choose to countenance the actions of his new wife when they were so damaging to his child/children.

    For the first several years of the marriage no one would have bet it would survive, but it has and now more than a decade later my dad is pretty happy. At this point I think we are experiencing the normal complications of a second marriage, and that definitely has it's tough moments as well.

    I can see that this has been a learning experience for my entire family, but it is not one I would wish on anyone. Relationships are still being repaired and may never be completely healed.

    One of my uncles gave me advice similar to that suggested by #23. Additionally he told me that I should just “get over it” and be happy. I think this is one of the life situations where anyone who has not experienced it should not be judgmental about how anyone else deals with it. Watching my mother die before I was 30 was agonizingly painful. Watching my father remarry such a short time later brought back all of the pain of our mother’s death. The difficulties with my sibling kept that pain alive for many years.

    My husband and I (and all of our friends who have gone through this experience with us) have had many discussions about the necessity for a proper period of mourning. I know that my father was lonely. I know that he was severely depressed as a result of my mom’s death. I don’t think that marrying so quickly was the way to deal with these feelings. I think that if my dad had waited until he was in a healthier place emotionally he would have been able to have better balance in his relationship with my stepmother and my youngest sibling, and that there would not have been such damage to our entire family.

    My advice to the original poster would be: whatever you’re feeling, be very careful. We learned that nothing we ever said to my dad was private, and for many years (and still possibly now) nothing was every entirely forgotten or completely forgiven. I hate the feeling that 10+ years later we’re still all on our tiptoes around her to some degree, but that is the reality of the situation if we want to be able to maintain a relationship with our father.

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  27. I'm so sorry about your mom! I used to worry about this same thing happening during talks my husband and I had in the past. It bothered me that he assumed he would remarry if I died while I could not imagine any spouse but him. (The recent disclosure of his long term affair has explained a lot of those conversations for me). I am currently going through the divorce process and have been reading a lot about grieving. I am finding that the process of being "abandoned" is much the same for both death and infidelity. The one thing that is consistent in all the books I am reading and the therapy I am getting is that you should never, ever enter into a serious relationship while you are still grieving and I am sure your dad is, regardless of his method of expressing it. Experts suggest that the "falling in love" feeling can be detrimental because you are really looking for someone to fill a gap in you that you really should be addressing yourself. If you both are pliable enough to adapt to the rough stuff that will come your way, then it will work, but those who are expecting another to fulfill a need single handedly (because they seem to at first) are in for a bumpy road.
    I feel for you and for your dad. I do understand the panic associated with facing a future alone when you have been part of a team for so very long (I'm only 31). It is so easy to wonder if any other chance I had might pass me by, or to mask the hurt by finding "security" with someone else asap. However, as I keep getting reminded over and over, you can't get over grief, you have to get through it. And it is excriciating to know that the next part of this journey needs to be a lonely one. I do believe you have to be a solid, emotionally healthy person on your own before you can make a great partnership. I think the bottom line is that your poor dad is in for a rough ride either way, but one of the options just might estrange his most precious relationships. If it helps, one of the books I have found very helpful is "The Journey from Abandonment to Healing" by Susan Anderson. It deals with the fall out from both infidelity and death. Best of luck to your family.

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  28. the only thing that came to my mind is that there ARE scoundrels out there…who look for targets to take advantage of. and one of the methods they employ is to drive wedges between the parent and their children/extended family. when things like power of attorney and wills/trusts start getting manipulated and altered, it's too late.

    i can only strongly endorse the suggestion that a prenup is absolutely critical in a situation such as this. and if motives are pure, the new spouse won't have any problem with that. there are just too many cases of abuse at this stage of life, when feelings are fragile and hurting hearts are open to someone coming in and "helping" make life better.

    greed is a powerful tool. avoid letting it dictate things by getting a prenup. please!

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  29. This is a bad, bad situation.

    Bad.

    A family member's second wife has been a cancer on the family. She's been manipulative, mean, and financially greedy. It's been a terrible situation that has driven a wedge into that part of the family. They've been married now for probably 30 years. She's still as mean as ever.

    A pre-nup is essential. You probably won't be able to talk him out of getting married, but if she's anything like the second wife I referred to, she will lie and manipulate until she is in control of the (mis)fortune.

    I have no idea what else to say, it's clear that if your father weren't in deep mourning, he'd never, in his right mind, marry anyone who didn't love or cherish his children.

    Bad.

    —–
    On the other hand, my husband has a step-father. He's a kind man, and wonderful to my mother-in-law, but he doesn't quite fit. They met two years after her divorce. They married six years after the divorce, after her daughter was 18.

    You see, my mother-in-law promised her daughter that she'd never have to live with a step-father. I've always respected my mother-in-law for that. The divorce was as acrimonious as it gets: their family wasn't just split, it was torn into irreparable pieces and those pieces set on fire. (My mother-in-law says that if she knew then what she knows now, she would have stayed the extra 6 years until her youngest was out of the house, even though her situation felt unlivable.)

    I've always liked the step-father, but he kind of drives his step-kids crazy. The dynamics are nicer when he's not around, he just doesn't seem to fit.

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  30. For a competely different perspective, check out the role of the father in the movie "Must Love Dogs." Christopher Plummer, an elderly widower, is dating women all over town. His daughters are highly offended. They would prefer him to get married. His response: "I've had the one true love of my life. I don't want another." All he wanted was companionship.

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  31. All I can say is: ouch (because I know your pain!)

    My mother's sad excuse for a similarly rushed marriage was "once you've been married, it is harder to wait."

    In other words: "We've had sex before, so we're not capable of long-term abstinence."

    The result of rushing: not until AFTER they married did we discover Stepdad's addiction to very raunchy pornography that includes a proclivity for teen girls (and he married my mom while we had two teenage sisters still living at home).

    Maybe we should give the same "Wait, it's worth it!" speech to our parents that they gave US when we were teens! 🙂

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  32. I think adults assume that just because they're "older" that it means they are "wiser" and not prone to the disasters of marrying the wrong person. My mother did the same thing, met, dated, married a guy within 3 months, moved her whole life to a different state to be with him, and found out he was a psycho…seriously, he was committed two different times.

    They think just because the kids are grown and out of the house that their actions don't really mean as much anymore, after all, its not like the spouse will really be a "parent", they're just a companion.

    I also think men especially are more apt to run off and marry after the funeral. Personally, I think its horrid. In my opinion, one should wait at least a year.

    It also raises suspicion about his activties before your mom's death. Obviously the secretary and he had talks about this prior to her death. Thats emotional cheating at best, and you know what else at worst. :/

    I would be so upset, too. I wouldn't be able to talk to him for awhile. I dont think you need to pretend to be happy about it, or even go to the wedding if you dont feel right about it. You are grieving. Your father is being insensitive of your feelings, so you dont need to return the favor right now.

    Maybe when things get settled you'll be able to repair relationships, but right now you need to take care of you and yours. Good luck, and I'm so sorry for your losses. 🙁

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  33. This may sound callous, but maybe ask to please be allowed to go through your mother's things before the new wife moves in. My friend's stepmother felt threatened by the first wife and threw out years of her journals and other precious family heirlooms. My friend is a very kind woman, and has miraculously been able to heal and forgive, but I don't think it came easily. I would hope that's an exception and not a rule, but that might be something to take (kind, but firm–you will need to establish a relationship with this woman) action over.

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  34. My aunt's Dad met a woman at the funeral of his first wife, married her, divorced her within the first year, but she strung him along for 30 years, took all his money and ruined his relationship with his children. And now that the money is gone and he's in a rest home (and she's still in the will even though they were married only 4 months 30 years ago!) she doesn't visit him, but he is still obsessed with her.

    My dad has promised me that he won't marry anyone who wants to put a wedge between him and his kids. Of course, we're also getting all his assets put in a trust before he even starts dating. That was on the advice of my cousin, a lawyer. That way you can weed out treasure hunters from someone who will actually be a good second wife.

    My husbands grandma remarried and lived just as long with her second husband as she did with her first husband. When he died, she buried him next to his first wife. So this can be a good thing. Of course, she didn't get remarried a few months after he died either.

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  35. I usually tell my husband that if anything happens to him, I've got it all figured out – I'm getting a shih-tzu, and it'll even sleep in my bed.

    Joking aside, I've been divorced and remarried. I was single for two years. My first relationship was about 6 months after my divorce. I'm glad that I didn't get married to that guy (he was a great guy, but it would have NOT been a good marriage). I wanted to get married, but, thankfully I was close to the Spirit. I knew that the real reason I wanted to marry the dude I was dating was just because I wanted to be married, it didn't really have to do with the guy I was dating. I was blessed to know I needed to just stay single for a while longer.

    I guess I'm saying, as with everything, you really need to follow the spirit.

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  36. “We’ve tried to explain to my dad that remarriage this soon after mom’s death would mock her memory and damage his good reputation.”

    And did he slap you when you said that, or disown you on the spot? If not, you’ve got a really wonderful and patient dad. I might have.

    What you are really saying is that you care more about what other people think than your dad’s happiness.

    Data suggests that the men who are happily married do marry soon after. Six months is not the least bit uncommon.

    "I’m just aching for my mother and wishing my father missed her the way I do."

    He isn't going to miss her the way you do. For him, it is worse. She was his lover. She was with him longer than she was with you. His missing her is part of the reason he is doing this.

    “How can I watch my father kneel across the altar with this woman, share a home with her, create a new life, with my mother’s dying moments seared across my eyes?”

    Oh, I am sorry, did I miss something? At your mom’s dying moments, was dad saying, “Hurry up so I can marry someone else?” If not, if he was a loving husband who truly grieves the loss, then what right do you have to claim your pain is worse?

    How will you do this? You will do this the same way he put up with all the crap you and your sibs gave him. Don’t think for a minute that there weren’t times that he didn’t say, “How can I watch this?” It could even be that he wasn’t as thrilled with *your* spouse selection as you thought, but his love for you and trust in you overcame his misgivings.

    One of the interesting things about him marrying someone who knew your mom is that she did know your mom, and knows she was the love of his life. In some ways, it is really healthy that he is choosing someone with that perspective, rather than someone who didn’t know her, and how the two of them were together. She will help keep your mother's memory alive for him.

    If my kids acted like you, I would turn over in my grave. I wrote a welcome letter to my husband's new wife, and tucked it in with my will. Of course he will remarry, probably within 6 months.

    Think about your dad instead of yourself, for once. The purpose of the prenup should be so that he should be comfortable, NOT about passing on to you our the grandkids. As far as treasure hunters, I know far more women who married an older gent and were nurses for years or decades, as the man they married dissolved in the onslaught of old age (something your own mother never had to face).

    Sorry not to be more sympathetic, but other responses have done that for you. I am writing as an older woman who may well end up being in your moms or your dad's wife's place in the decades to come.

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  37. My mother died unexpectedly in her fifties. Before we left the hospital, a female acquaintance who worked there gave my dad her name and phone number. He was bowled over by relentless female attention. After less than a year, he married a nice woman, but one who has little interest in our side of the family.

    Their failure to build relationships with grieving children BEFORE marriage really made future relationships difficult. The unpleasant truth was that my dad's comfort and pleasure came before his love and concern for his children. We asked him to move in with us, to wait one year before remarrying, tried to make sure he was well occupied and taken care of, tried to get him to understand that he would be able to make better decisions if he waited awhile. None of it worked, he did as he please. In fact, he actively avoided his children, probably because it made the grief harder to bear. We all have a decent relationship with our dad and his wife, but there is very little closeness there. They spend massive amounts of time with her (relatively) needy family and we get duty visits for holidays and birthdays. It makes us sad.

    I also agree with Tracy M. I heard over and over how happy my dad had been in marriage to marry so quickly. What I thought every time I heard that was, "wives must be completely interchangeable." That didn't do a lot for my self-esteem or marriage. It is like a match to fire to say that to children in this situation.

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  38. Young or old, never-married, divorced, or widowed– anyone contemplating marriage should give the new relationship the gravitas it deserves. Horniness or loneliness do not seem like good reasons for hasty marriage after the death of a spouse. Close companionship and friendship are always good substitutes. Sex (and in LDS land, that means marriage!) often clouds issues and prevents clear thinking.

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  39. I don't know what to say, except my heart breaks for you and your siblings. i can't understand making that kind of decision.
    I can not understand sacrificing your children for your own happiness in such a risky venture.
    I hope you can find a way to find peace.

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  40. Wow. This discussion has been very interesting, and a little surprising, to me. I never would have thought that there would be such strong feelings about older parents re-marrying. (I think it's an entirely different situation when there are still minor children at home.) My husband and I are both very near retirement age. Because of some serious health issues, it is most likely that he will outlive me by many years. We have talked about it, and, though I don't like the idea of another woman sharing my husband, I love him and know that he wouldn't last more than a few months single. He struggles when I am gone for a week to visit grandchildren.
    The strong emotions of this discussion make it clear to me that I need to talk to my children, NOW, about accepting another woman into their lives. It is likely that another wife will take their father away from them to a certain extent, emotionally and perhaps geographically, but I think he would die a slow emotional death were he to live alone for very long. That's just the person he is.
    One thing I can tell them for sure though is that at our age, it most definitely is NOT about the sex.

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  41. anon for this one – Maybe you might also want to talk to your husband about this. He is an adult and he is capable of considering the feelings of other family members. While he has the right to do what he wants and marry when and whomever he chooses, does he really want to do it in a way that would devastate and hurt his children who have just lost their mother? I would hope that he imagines his future including his children and grandchildren.
    By all means have conversations with your children too. Consideration on all sides usually gives the best result.

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  42. President Hinkley hated his first stepmother.

    President Kimball hated his first stepmother.

    (They both had two.)

    Joseph Smith once made some comment about how there should be a "mourning period" before a spouse remarries; and then his brother Hyrum's wife Jerusha died, leaving five small children who needed tending. As Hyrum was a very busy man and seeing as how it can be very difficult to care for five small children alone, Joseph "informed Hyrum that it was the Lord’s will that Hyrum should marry Mary Fielding, the English convert from Canada. Thus, just three weeks after his sad return from Missouri, Hyrum married Mary on 24 December 1837. Later Hyrum said of this event, 'It was not because I had less love or regard for Jerusha, that I married so soon, but it was for the sake of my children.'" (Ensign, Feb. 2000) And– you will be shocked, I know– she didn't really have an easy time being a stepmother.

    My conclusion: if I marry someone who already has children, even if one of those children is destined to grow up to be a prophet, I'm pretty much doomed to have my stepchildren hate me. Or, at least, they will at first.

    That said, this woman does seem like bad news, from the description you've given. Parents who don't choose wisely are always going to be difficult to deal with. After years of fretting over my parents' decisions with which I don't always agree, I've finally come to the conclusion that treating them as I (expect to) treat my grown-up children is an excellent course: which is to say, respect their agency, encourage them to be as wise and good as possible, and realize that since we really are different people, it's not the end of the world if they do things that make me cringe. I may be disappointed sometimes, but I will never stop loving them, and I will do whatever I can to try to help them feel that, because I think that feeling loved always helps people make better decisions.

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  43. sc (comment 43) — you're making the claim that President Hinckley "hated" May Green Hinckley? What is your source for this claim?

    His biography stated that "he and the other children were upset by their father's decision to remarry, but they eventually came to accept their stepmother: 'I don't know that it was easy for her to step into our family, but she did it well. We all respected her. We all loved her.'"

    May and Bryant were married well over a year after Ada died, and his children's ages ranged from 38 to 12 years old. (This included six living children from Bryant's first marriage to Christina Johnson and four children from his second marriage to Ada Bitner.)

    I have never read or heard anything but kind and loving comments about May Green Hinckley.

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  44. This is a really tough situation. I think there isn't always an understand of the real work of grief and the role of time in it. Remarriage require a different balance. There are larger family systems already in play and finding out a good way to negotiate that before forcing a new relationship is critical.

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  45. "President Hinkley hated his first stepmother.

    President Kimball hated his first stepmother.

    (They both had two.)"

    Though I do not know about President Kimball's situation (but will likely research it soon now that my curiousity has been sparked), I agree with Researcher disputing the comment about President Hinckley and his feelings for his stepmother May. She served as a General Primary President, and seemed to be well respected and well liked from all I have read about her. I would love a source for the comments about both President Hinckley and President Kimball having such strong negative feelings for their stepmothers.

    Back to the OP…Pray for peace. If you truly don't feel right about it after prayer, I would lovingly and respectfully make your feelings known to your father. And then if he chooses to marry her anyway, do your best to love and support and forgive him without burning bridges. I feel for you, and wish you the best. You are in a tough situation.

    And for what it's worth, I too have heard that statistically speaking, men who remarry quickly after becoming widowers enjoyed very strong marriages with their first wives.

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  46. If you read Pres. Hinckley's biography by Sheri Dew there is a part where it talks about how Pres. Hinckley was very upset with his Father for wanting to get remarried but that he eventually got over it because he saw that it was making his father unhappy.

    From reading his biography and hearing his remarks after his wife died I would say that Pres. Hinckley fell in the camp of people who shied away from the idea of remarrying for himself and his loved ones.

    Anyway, I do understand that people are lonely after their spouse dies but I don't understand getting remarried. For me I want to be married to my husband not just married to someone. There would be no suitable substitute. I know a lot of people see it differently.

    As for the author's situation. I really feel for you. I have heard so many horror stories of these type of second marriages. I wish you the best of luck. I think a pre-nup would be awesome but I could imagine your Father wouldn't go for it. But I would at least follow the advice of gathering your mom's things before the new marriage. Good luck and just do your best to love your dad.

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  47. I dunno. According to two 70+ year old remarried widowers I know, sex was, indeed a factor in remarriage decisions. Why not get a pet or a best friend, otherwise?

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  48. I see that I used stronger language than I ought to have. I apologize for making the situations seem more dire than they must have been.

    Thank you to "Researcher" for getting the quote I was thinking of for Pres. Hinkley.

    I now have in my hands the biography of President Kimball, published in 1977. Pages 50-62 talk about Andrew Kimball's remarriage after Olive's death, and upon re-reading them I find that, indeed, President Kimball refused to criticize his stepmother; "he explained…'it would be unfair to her' to emphasize the hard things and forget the good." (p. 52) Which can hardly be characterized as hating, and again, my deepest apologies.

    As to May Green Hinkley, I know that President Hinkley loved her in the end! That part is wonderful! Sister Dew leaves no doubt, in that biography, that May Green Hinkley was a wonderful person well-worthy of love. My point in citing all of these stories is that it is extremely natural for children/stepchildren to feel some unhappiness at the remarriage of their parents. To me, it does not diminish my testimony of President Hinkley's divine calling OR make me feel badly towards his stepmother to know that he wasn't very happy about his father's marriage to her, at first. It makes me feel like it was, indeed, an inherently hard situation, and that President Hinkley had the strength of character and graciousness to work his way through that.

    Clearly, President Kimball also worked his way through whatever difficulties he may have had with his stepmother. To my reading, the fact that he refused to criticize his stepmother and even was willing to give some lovely compliments (which he did) does not seem to imply that it was all smooth sailing from the beginning. It does imply, again, a strength of character and common sense which I find to be worth emulating, far more than if he had never had any trouble (probably because a life with no trouble is one I have a hard time relating to).

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  49. The key is that he has worked closely with the woman he is remarrying for twenty years. I'm not sure that the bond they have will transfer well into marriage or what it will do to their work relationship.

    The problem is that It’s hurtful that my dad chose a woman who was been consistently unkind to my siblings and I over the past two decades

    A secretary who acts that way is displacing and displaying unprofessional behavior. Which suggests other issues as well.

    Even the ones expressed in And did he slap you when you said that, or disown you on the spot? If not, you’ve got a really wonderful and patient dad. I might have.

    What you are really saying is that you care more about what other people think than your dad’s happiness.

    I feel for you, but I don't have much in the way of advice, other than to be surprised that a secretary has treated family that way or interacted with them that way, none-the-less for twenty years.

    I don't know your complete situation or all the details, there is too much, and not enough, to be able to give you an answer.

    Bless your heart.

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  50. “I heard Dr. Laura say once that the most happily married men are the ones who re-marry the quickest after their wife dies. Why? Because she creates such a huge void with her passing that they’re anxious/desperate to fill it.”
    I think this is true especially pertaining to the men in our culture.

    In my opinion, marriage has been over-romanticized. Essentially, marriage is an order, and the family, a vehicle back to heavenly Father. If you look at marriage and the family in those terms, when people remarry after a loss they are not creating anything “new” they are expanding and edifying upon their eternal family. This concept also helps me understand/accept the principle of polygamy more.

    Thank you for this post. It hits home for our family.

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  51. I realize that I was a bit harsh yesterday, as I was thinking about it from dad's point of view, not the OP's. I thought about apologizing, and I do wish I hadn't said that about slapping (although honestly I would have been tempted). But I do stand by much of what I said including "What you are really saying is that you care more about what other people think than your dad’s happiness."

    That is absolutely how it struck me. Many of the assumptions in the OP ("mock her memory and damage his good reputation") are only about what other people think, not an absolute truth or reality.

    And it seems to me that "other people" get only so much say in what we do with our lives.

    I am sure I am oversensitive on this issue because if my husband and I cared about what people think more than about what we wanted, we would NOT have married some 30+ years ago. His parents thought I wasn't good enough for their returned-missionary son. My siblings thought he was just too weird. And we had only known each other for about 7 months when we married.

    But it's like they say in that movie LEGACY, somewhere between the obedience and faith and so on, we are allowed some joy. And it has been joyful, and I would never counsel someone else not to marry if they thought it was best for them.

    The irony is that I have been helping take care of those same elderly parents who thought I wasn't good enough.

    If there were children still at home, that's a whole 'nother thing and of course the children should have more input. But if the children are grown? I guess I don't see it. (And it makes me wonder what kind of control you think you are going to have over your own children's marriages.)

    Sure we all affect one another, and should try to be considerate, but at the cost of our own happiness? That's where I draw the line.

    There are compelling reasons for an older couple to want to marry quickly. Or do anything quickly, for that matter, while they still can:) I see marrying someone you knew for 20 years as a bit healthier than marrying someone you met on the internet, etc. And it doesn't mean you had an "emotional affair" beforehand. A lot of older people marry family friends later in life.

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  52. To the OP, I don't believe that your father's remarriage indicates he doesn't miss your mother. I think the opposite is true. It seems that your mother's death has left a deep void where he doesn't believe he can cope without someone else to help fill it.

    And to SC and researcher, that was a great exchange. You both handled it so well. I wish we could see more exchanges like that, civil and respectful.

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  53. I also cringe when I hear that men remarry quickly to fill a void. I would like to know that I, personally, was missed–not just my wifely duties of various kinds.

    Also, theologically, isn't that a huge decision to make? Wouldn't that make the husband a polygamist in the nExt life? Not only does a new widower have to think of implications for this life, but there's the afterlife to consider. If it's not about the sex, I say get a pet or a best friend. If it is about the sex–cool, more power to you, and tell naysayers to mind their own business 😀

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  54. I think it's horrible that a parent would marry someone who has been consistently unkind to his kids. Has he even thought about the fact that all family events are going to be strained? That this spouse might try to separate him from his family? That's one thing my dad has mentioned as a factor to not get remarried–it there are other kids and grand kids in the mix what happens at Christmas and Thanksgiving?

    I honestly don't think someone who has lost their spouse is in the correct frame of mind to even begin dating for a year, much less remarry someone.

    And I think announcing "the happiest day of your life" to your children when their mother doesn't even have a headstone yet is reprehensible. Isn't that sort of like when a parent ups and leaves the family for his/her own happiness, leaving a trail of devastation and trust issues in their wake?

    I am so thankful that my dad loved my mom enough to wait until he can think clearly to even think about dating. And I'm thankful that he has told his kids that if he is ever ready, he will look for someone who fits into our family and encourages him to spend time with his kids.

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  55. I don't think we should unromanticize marriage either. (#53). Sure marriage is an order and a way back to Heavenly Father, but it is so much more than that. Hopefully, we marry the person that is just right for us and we give ourselves utterly and completely to that person. I don't see how you can do that with more than one person.

    I would be devestated if my husband ever remarried. I wonder if some people think that is selfish of me. Of course I would not want him to be sad or lonely but if he remarried and then his affections were divided and mine weren't – how would that work?

    I love my husband. I don't just love being married. You can't just replace the person you love more than anything with someone else. If my husband ever died I could not imagine ever feeling comfortable being with someone else. My husband would still be my husband and I would be with him again.

    I know it is hard. When someone loses a spouse it is soooo hard. My dad passed away suddenly 8 years ago. My mom has not remarrid. I know she misses him dreadfully but she has filled her life with her children, grandchildren, her callings, friends, geneology, and a new found desire to study the gospel in depth. Even with keeping busy I know she is lonely and sad and that is the tragedy of losing a spouse.

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  56. I've read every one of your comments and cried over many of them– both the sympathetic and unsympathetic. #27 put it best when she said, "I think this is one of the life situations where anyone who has not experienced it should not be judgmental about how anyone else deals with it. Watching my mother die before I was 30 was agonizingly painful. Watching my father remarry such a short time later brought back all of the pain of our mother’s death."

    A few of my friends' had experienced the death of a parent and I thought I was sympathetic, but I had no idea of the excruciating pain, the depth of mourning.

    In response to Naismith, although my feelings and those of my siblings are selfish we are even more worried about my dad entering a marriage that we believe would be abusive and would make him extremely unhappy. As difficult as the timing is, if he had chosen a nice woman or a woman we thought we bring him happiness, our response would have been quite different.

    I am not opposed to my dad remarrying; I want him to be have further adventures and opportunities. But he is not emotionally healthy right now. He is struggling with even small decisions like what to order for dinner at a restaurant or whether to go to work (thus, the blank headstone) and is no position to make an ETERNAL decision. I agree with everyone here that no one should make any major decisions during the first year of grieving.

    And yes, I know it's supposed to be a compliment to my mother that he wants to remarry so quickly, but may I suggest that we stop saying that to people? As Michelle #38 said, "What I thought every time I heard that was, “wives must be completely interchangeable.” That didn’t do a lot for my self-esteem or marriage. It is like a match to fire to say that to children in this situation."

    I want to thank so many of you for your sympathy. This was especially sweet from Stephen M., "I don’t know your complete situation or all the details, there is too much, and not enough, to be able to give you an answer. Bless your heart." The disadvantage of writing anonymously (and I really need to for now) is that I can't give the whole story or too many details w/o revealing my identity. I thank those of you who have given me the benefit of the doubt.

    Finally (I'm writing too much, I know), this entire discussion illustrates our lack of dialogue on this subject. I found it interesting that #41 said, "I never would have thought that there would be such strong feelings about older parents re-marrying."

    My information about remarriage has primarily come from friends and friends of friends who are struggling with their parents remarriage.

    But wicked stepmother horror stories and whispered conversations are not the best way to learn about remarriage. If we could talk about it more in our society, people could avoid common mistakes. If we talked more about a one year grieving period or if people shared their struggles with sharing family time and holidays it would be beneficial. We can help each other!

    I have an older acquaintance who remarried and broke her childrens' hearts. She has expressed to me her regret in the WAY she remarried– not the actual marriage but the way it was presented to her children and the toll it has taken on their family. Maybe we can stop whispering in the halls and have constructive conversations.

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  57. I think there is a slight difference between an obligation of a parent and an obligation of a child. A parent has spent years building a family. You don't just stop that when you are all adults. Children still look to the parents as the head of the family although eventually the parent does relinquish all of it.
    I will take my role as a mother seriously for the remainder of my life. I would be very careful in remarriage so that I do not destroy the family that I have spent my life building.
    That said, I truly believe that it is only fair that a parent gets to choose her/his own spouse for remarriage and the children should do their best to support it.
    Perhaps this father was the kind of father that always left it to the mother to handle things that kept the family together. When his wife is gone, he is perhaps uninterested in continuing what she had done. If he doesn't realize that grown children need a little emotional support after their mother's death then he will probably lose out on a lot of other things in the family because he is not willing to step up and be a father and/or grandfather without his late wife to smooth the way.
    My husband and I are traditional role parents and I know that there is much I do that is invisible that facilitates strong family relationships. I do think he is not clueless, and he is younger and more aware than previous generations, so I would hope that he would realize that he needs to make efforts to have good relationships with his children and grandchildren, whether he is a widower alone or remarried.

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  58. Heathermommy, I think you bring up some good points and shared feelings that many women have. And many of them I have felt too. And I, and hopefully others, would never call you selfish.
    Let me put a plug-in for my husband as I often do. 😉 I am a woman who adores her husband. My husband has done more for me than any man, besides the Big Guys upstairs. If I were to die tomorrow, I would want him to remarry. Absolutely. Because he needs a helpmeet and I’m sure he could be a helpmeet to someone else because he sure has helped me.
    I don’t think his love would have to be divided in this life or even the next life. I say this because I imagine heavenly Father’s love as being undivided. Think of a bottomless well to draw from rather than a pie. 🙂 And since our objective is to become god-like in all capacities, I think the ability to love entirely is included.

    My mother-in-law died right before I met my husband. Eight months later my father-in-law remarried. A Year after that they divorced. Within the next year he was married to his current wife. Honestly, his actions disturbed me to the point I needed to pray about it. Hence, the "zen" approach to the topic.
    I agree with other posters that this is one of those personal matters that one has to make peace with it in their own way.

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  59. As difficult as the timing is, if he had chosen a nice woman or a woman we thought we bring him happiness, our response would have been quite different.

    I have been mulling over this post for days, and the part that makes me most sad is not the remarriage (or even the hasty one…even though it is quick, I have seen that happen more than once and not always be a bad thing in the end). The part that leaves me most uncomfortable is that the woman hasn't been respectful for all these years to the siblings. Just increases the risk that a hard situation (I think remarriage is often hard on the children, regardless of their ages) could be all the harder.

    And then to read that your dad doesn't seem to be handling life in general well…that is concerning, too, for his sake and for yours.

    A suggestion that may sound strange but that just came to mind, fwiw, is maybe to put his name on the temple roll. ??

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  60. If it’s not about the sex, I say get a pet or a best friend.

    This seems very odd to me…as though a marriage where sex isn't the primary motivator might as well be replaced with a pet or a best friend?

    I think it's near impossible to 'consider the next life' because we really don't know much about how marriage itself (just one marriage) will work in the next life — or what family will look like either. I think we need to be careful not to impose too much of our limited mortal understanding on the next life.

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  61. I think that your dad should do what he feels is right. If you and your siblings are all adults living your life as you see fit, then he should do the same.
    You still have your companion, he doesn't. He probably still has desires (not just sexual) like you do and doesn't want to be alone. It's his timetable not yours that's important.

    My advice,be kind and respectful to her. She's not a new mother but someone who makes your dad happy. Try to see him as a fellow human being. I know you're grieving the loss of your mother and your parents as you knew them, but you are an adult now and should be able to find a way to manage the change in a positive way.

    If my husband passed away and I didn't want to be alone I don't think I would really care what my adult children thought. They are busy with their lives and any interference would be selfish on their part. I would hope they would want me to be happy and would set aside their negative feelings.

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  62. Scattered by nature, this might sound harsh, but your comment makes you seem insensitive to your children's feelings. Even when children are adults, they are still *your children* and that fact always complicates emotions—no matter how old one is—when parents remarry. Even though I was thirty-one when my parents divorced, their divorce affected me deeply; I was still their child. The poster has legitimate concerns about the woman her father is remarrying and it is making this situation much worse. If you were, on the spur of the moment, marrying a man who had been unkind to your children, who seems abrasive and difficult to get along with, all while you were still mourning the death of your husband and unable to make even the simplest decisions, I doubt your children would easily be able to "set aside their negative feelings" and "find a way to manage the change in a positive way." That may eventually happen, but to expect your grown children to separate themselves to such a degree that they could just wish you well, to discount their feelings (while they are still grieving the loss of a parent!) and consider them to be "selfish" because they are concerned and upset, seems like selfishness on your part. If you truly expected this of your adult children, then you would also need to expect not to be automatically included in family gatherings. A decision like this, one so important and with so much impact on family dynamics, does affect how adult children interact with their parent, whether that parent likes it or not.

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  63. Amen, Melissa M.

    As one who has just lost a parent, I'll witness that the impact is profound. A person's very identity is tied to their parents' relationship and when the status of that relationship changes an "identity crisis" can result no matter what the age.

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  64. Angela T.

    I get you are saying but that analogy does not work for me. There is a huge difference betwen the love a parent has for a child and the love you have for your spouse. Of course I could love a gazillion children but druly deeply, commitedly, only love one spouse. We are counseled to become one flesh with our spouse and to make them our #1 priority. That just doesn't work if you have 2 or more women who are supposed to be your #1 priority. To me one of the reasons that my relationship with my husband is so special is because we give ourselves only to eachother.

    So many people remarry and I know that my view isn't a popular one.

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  65. Melissa and Michelle,
    It wasn't my intention to come across as insensitive and I assure you I'm not. My mom passed when I was 12 yrs old, so I know the pain of loosing a parent and the other one wanting to remarry. My father didn't marry again and died 6 years later when I was 18. As an adult I felt sad he ended up alone and wonder if he would have lived longer had he had a companion. I wish my kids had had their grandpa and maybe a step grandma when they were growing up.

    I think the writers father could have presented the engagement in a more sensitive way and maybe chosen someone the family could accept, but he didn't. He chose someone whom he has known for a long time. Someone HE is comfortable with and can see spending the rest of his life with. Maybe he is feeling some joy for the first time in a long time. We don't know, but maybe his wife was sick for years and his transition to being alone has been taking place for this period of time. Loosing a parent and loosing a spouse is NOT the same.

    I was bothered by this statement:

    "We’ve tried to explain to my dad that remarriage this soon after mom’s death would mock her memory and damage his good reputation."

    I would be mad if my kids said that to me. I don't agree that it would be a mockery or damage his reputation. That just seems overly dramatic to me.

    Non of us knows the whole story of the writer and we're only getting her side. All we can do is judge it from our own perspective/life experiences. Some comments will appear harsh and some more sympathetic.

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  66. Wow this sounds so much like my own life. My parents had a tumultuous relationship, which ended in divorce when I was 28. It was a long time coming and needed to happen. My mother was very abusive, and my father was very passive. Just a couple months later my father became engaged to another woman and a few days later my mother took her life. When my father first introduced us to the woman he was dating we were so happy for him. And we liked her, although she was quiet and didn't really let us get to know her. But we were happy for him and a chance at new beginnings. We could see she made him happy. When my mother died we were all shocked and upset and turned to our father for support. She was resistant to that, which caught us completely off guard. All the sudden she had soemthing to say? And before long we were hearing things like we needed to "grow up" and let him have his life. He began to withdraw more and more. We began to realize how many of the same personality traits she had as our mother. And the rest is history. I am currently not on spekaing terms with my father at all and it is heartbreaking for me.

    So, in reference to your questions, at least from my perspective:

    What do you think is an appropriate time frame to start dating after a death or a divorce?
    6 months to a year

    How can I watch my father kneel across the altar with this woman, share a home with her, create a new life, with my mother’s dying moments seared across my eyes?

    I understand why this is so difficult for you. The dynamic of the family at the time of loss has a huge impact on what is an appropriate response. There definitely needs to be a healing time for the family as a whole, not just as individuals, in a situation like mine or where battling an illness was involved or soemthing similar like that. If it wasn't just old age that took your mother's life; if it was not expected; then timing is definitely an issue worth considering. This has impacted not only my/our relationship with my father but each other (siblings) as well. We have all healed in our own time frames and have learned that sensitivity to not being in the same place at the same time is crucial.

    I hope that helps and I hope you find peace with this soon. hang in there.

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  67. I sometimes feel sorry for people who can't be alone because of its sanctifying opportunity. I was single until I was 32, and found this experience to be challenging, but ultimately rewarding. It gave me the chance to grow closer to God than ever before. I was able to stand back and observe other peoples' marriages, noticing behaviors and actions that brought happiness or misery, respectively. I was also able to serve in unique ways that strengthened my family. As a result, its always bothered me when people rush into relationships just because they can't stand to be alone. I'm speaking generally, of course. I see widowed individuals do this too often, unfortunately and it can harm their families. I guess I just want to offer my experience that singlehood can bring sanctification and consecration if we allow it.

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  68. "I also once heard someone say that when a man remarries quickly, it was a testament to how happy he was in his marriage. I think that means that he was so in sync with living with a partner and sharing a life together that he desires to find someone to share with."

    This view, most likely, was started by a man.

    I have worked in grief support for nearly 10 years and this is not uncommon. Men, in general, are not comfortable experiencing the deep pain of grief. They have spent their lives at work and busy doing "things." Women, in general, are more social and build relationships throughout their lives. When a wife dies, the husband does not have an emotional support network to journey with him through the grief. I wife, again generally, does. To fill this voin, men quickly remarry – often to younger versions of their wife, or to the opposite – as if to remove reminders of the pain of the loss. Unfortunately families get lost in the mix.

    When my mother died, my dad instantly began talking remarriage. We tald him to wait at least a year (grief takes time) before making any buig decisions. At the end of the year, he moved closer to my sisters and has the emotional support he has needed to deal with his grief. It has now been six years and remarriage has never come up. In my opinion he was lonely, but not in need of a wife. Had he remarried, it could have been disastrous for all involved. He is now happy and fulfilled.

    Grief is not something you can sweep under the rug. It needs to be expressed. When remarriage occurs, if the grief is not dealt with – it has the potential to be expressed toward the children or new spouse.

    If he truly loves this woman, he can wait a year to marry her.

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  69. thank you Allie and Gilgamesh. You've expressed such important thoughts.

    As you said, Allie, there is value in being single. There is value in finding yourself. And Gilgamesh, you are so right, my dad has spent his life 'doing things.' He has many, many acquaintances but few true friends for emotional support. As children, we do the best we can.

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