My mom has been the other woman for almost 30 years...
I am having a hard time trying to sort out my feelings regarding my mother, who is in her early 60's and has an ongoing relationship with my father, who has been married for over 40 years. A little back story on the situation...
When my mother was young she married out of high school to a man in the Navy. Together they moved to Spain and had two children, my older brother and sister. After 11 years of them being married, my mom found out that her husband had cheated on her and got another woman pregnant. My mother divorced this man, the pain of the infidelity too much to handle.
About 5 years after divorcing, she met my father. After two years of dating, she got pregnant with me. Between when they met and when I was born, my aunt had her suspicions about my father. My mother had never met his family, been to his house, work etc. Something seemed "fishy". So my aunt hired a private investigator who revealed that my father was married with 5 children! Thinking my mother would leave, they presented her with this information. Not only did she not discontinue the relationship, but 2 years later, she gets pregnant again with his baby!! The whole while long, she has to chase him for child support while living off of her retired mother who had a home where she was living rent free. Apparently, when my mother filed for child support through the courts and he was sent paperwork, his children saw the papers and showed them to their mother (who doesn't read/speak English). Being from a traditional Catholic upbringing, she did not divorce him, she continued taking care of him the way she thought she should.
Over the years, it was my mother and grandmother who raised my siblings and I. My father had zero involvement with us kids...BUT...both of them decided to continue THEIR adulterous relationship. Not caring about the fact he was married or the fact that he never wanted to visit us kids. I have harbored a lot of hurt since I was able to fully understand the situation. Not really towards my father, but towards my mother for letting this happen! How could she!?
Once I was of age, I became curious about my 5 half siblings that I did not know and sought out a relationship. Things started off great, and I was even invited into their family home to dinners, birthdays etc. But every time my father was present, he wouldn't speak to me, showed zero interest. This really didn't hurt my feelings, because he had proved in the past he didn't care...I was only in it to build a relationship with my siblings. I wasn't about to bang my head against a brick wall, known as the relationship between my mother and father. After about a year, I started hearing from my half siblings that my father was very unhappy with the fact that my younger sibling and I were having contact with them. My father and his wife were planning their to have their vows renewed (hypocritical in my book) and the siblings had invited us. When my father discovered this, he threatened to cancel everything unless we were uninvited. I'm sure he was worried about his wife or other children finding out about him still having a relationship with my mother, but I was not there to start up trouble. As a mature adult I was only trying to reconnect with my siblings, I didn't care about him.
The siblings questioned me as to why I thought he would be reacting this way, and I said I could think of one reason. Finally, I did open up to them about the fact that I knew our father was still seeing my mother. I explained how they would have their routine Sunday afternoon dates, and would speak on the phone late at night. When they confronted him about it, he lied telling them that I was lying and hated him and that was my motive - to break up their lovely family, which couldn't have been farther from the truth. After this happened, I spoke to my mother about what was going on. I told her everything. I told her about the things my father had said/done and how they all seemed to be very happy. That she should really consider ending the relationship because essentially she was the other woman and enabling him to be adulterous. She of all people should know how it feels...right? WRONG!
She defended him to the end. Saying I didn't know anything about their relationship and had no business intervening. I didn't see it this way. My feelings were hurt. I was hurt that this was happening, I was hurt that my own mother didn't believe me, and I was really hurt thinking that because of no fault of my own, I wasn't going to be able to continue a relationship with my half siblings.
Over the years, and since I myself have become a mother I continue to be more and more frustrated over the situation. While, she is an adult as am I, I still feel it is my place to speak my feelings on the situation. I feel that since it is my mother and father that they should be more concerned about building healthy relationships with their own children, rather than invest all their time into their own adulterous ways. My mother has given me more and more push back on the subject as the years go on...telling me that I am being selfish by not wanting her to be happy with him. There were even times where he has led my mother to believe he was divorcing his wife after she passed, (citing she was terminally ill - which after I met them, proved to be a lie) and since I've been an adult he has claimed that he was moving out and spoke about marriage with my mother time and time again. Two years ago, she even went as far as to buy a wedding dress (when she was homeless after my grandmother passed) and even had the nerve to ask me to stand up in the wedding...obviously I turned her down, and that created another rift in our relationship. Despite these issues between my mother and I, I invited her to live in my home because I couldn't handle that she was homeless. Believe it or not, she completely disrespected me by inviting him there when I wasn't home. She even went as far as to invite him over when I was home, and she would greet him at the door and the two would run upstairs to her room right away. He would never speak to me or even acknowledge my existence. Not even a Hello.
I guess what I'm looking for is for my mother to be happy, and not with him. I can't understand why she could be content with being the other woman for almost 30 years. What hurts most is thinking of what I will remember her by when she passes. My mother who could have done so much with her life, but settled for being mistreated and disrespected by the person she claims loves and understands her most. She completely disregards mine and my younger sibling's feelings and emotions on the situation. It has definitely caused a divide in our relationship and how I view her. How can I respect her when she can't even respect herself? Maybe I should just let things be because I do realize I am not her parent and we are all adults, but I feel somewhat entitled to my opinion since I am their child. I have chosen to not be a part of it. I have even told my mother to not speak of him to me and to not share any information whatsoever regarding myself or my family. My mom can't understand this. She thinks I am being childish and rude.
Please give me some advice, I want to know if I am being insensitive or what I can do to help my relationship with my mother.
Maybe after her 11 year old marriage, your mother was deeply depressed and felt unloved. Then she met your father, and felt like she has been given another shot at love. But then got tied into an unhealthy relationship, where she was the other woman, but she remains hopeful that he'll leave his current wife (or something along those lines) to be with officially with her. Maybe she's waiting for that chance, and that's what she can't let go of.
I think she needs help realizing who she is as an individual, and how to be happy by herself, without anyone else there. Can she feel happy just sitting by herself, or does she need your father there 20/7 to make her happy? And that's the thing, I think you just want to see who your mother really is as a human being. I guess it's like when you tell a kid "You're unique and special on the inside, and no one else is like you." Sometimes we forget that, and try to cling onto others, and forget what makes us one of a kind.
Maybe get your mother to think of the relationship this way. What if your father's wife passed away - would your mother feel glad knowing that she waited over 30 years for another woman's death, in order to nab him out of her cold hands? Would that really make her happy, or make her feel guilty? Or what if your mother was the one who passed away? Would your father continue to live his perfect life in his perfect marriage like nothing happened? Would he even visit your mother's funeral?
I suggest that you not purposely try to break them appart, since your mother will just end up hating you and blaming you for the break up, and I don't think you want to go that direction. You could try to work things out.
I mean if you don't like your father's unexpected visits, you could tell your mother that she could go anywhere she wants to, but the only thing she can't do, is invite him into the house. I think that's fair for both of you, because she can go to the park with him or something, and then when she goes home, maybe you'll have some time to chat with her. I don't know. But if she doesn't listen to you and keeps bringing him over, then tell her that she can either find somewhere else to live, or pay rent? I dunno...
I hope this helps ya. Take care.