My Elderly Father May Have Married A Young Gold Digger

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Dear Troubleshooter:

I am a homemaker in my 40s. About two years ago, my father, who is in his 70s, started dating a woman in her 20s, and apparently, they have gotten married.

My mother passed away 10 years ago, and my father is quite well off because he runs a real estate business. I objected to him dating this woman, and I told him that he’s being fooled, but he didn’t listen to me. Around that time, my brother became ill, so we did not discuss his relationship for a while.

However, after my brother passed away last year, this woman apparently moved in with my father. On top of that, he changed the locks to the house and they seem to have gotten married. I learned that he secretly introduced my young children to this woman, and he referred to her as his wife.

I couldn’t forgive him for introducing my children to her without my permission, so I emailed him, telling him as much. I feel like, at this point, I want to cut off all ties with him.

Should I just accept that it’s his life? I don’t think I can let it go, if they’re really married. My anger still hasn’t subsided, so I don’t feel like I can accept it.

— N, Saitama Prefecture

Dear Ms. N:

This isn’t exactly an easy situation in which you can say, “Congratulations on your marriage, dad!” is it?

From your point of view, this woman might only be after your father’s money and is making a fool of him. By saying that she’s “fooling” your father, you might be giving others the wrong impression of her, but I understand your wariness.

After reading your letter, however, it seems like the marriage is a done deal. So now, I think it’s more about what you want your relationship with your father to be like in the future. I understand that because of your father’s selfishness, you want to cut off all ties with him, but you shouldn’t keep him from seeing his grandchildren.

How about setting up some ground rules, such as not having your father see your children more than three times a week or not taking your children to your father’s house?

New rules can be made as new situations arise from here on out. Of course, it is important that you also meet him halfway if needed.

Another important issue is inheritance. If your father and this woman are officially married, your inheritance has already decreased. Issues related to this will come up sooner or later, so I suggest consulting a professional when it does.

— Soichiro Nomura, psychiatrist