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Need advice on "Dad Talk" - UPDATED


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Well, tomorrow is D-Day. My sisters and I are going over to my dad's house to go through the things we consider heirlooms (we've made a list) and my dad is very agreeable to that. The reason being is that I believe after one month of dating the first person he's been with other than my mom for 55+ years, he is feeling the need to divest himself of his main residence and possibly take off to Florida to live with this person in her other home (of which he's only seen pictures of). Now my Dad has always been a big talker, so who knows if any plan would ever get off the ground - this latest info is via my unfortunate younger sister, to whom he continues to go on and on about his new friend and their exploits...despite even my brother-in-law asking him to cease and desist.

Most of you guys know that our biggest concern is the lake house my mom so loved and made her own. Frankly, I don't care if dad sells their primary residence and moves, I would actually prefer it b/c it is no longer a real house to me without my mom in it. However, our mom wanted the lake house to be our legacy, and we all know Dad always resented it (for reasons too complicated to go into)...and as I mentioned since Mom is gone it has suddenly become my dad's prize in his large portfolio of chick bait. Well, in his ramblings to my sister, he mentioned "Yeah, I can sell the main house, I guess I only need one primary residence, and that can be the LAKE in the summer..." Assuming that he is serious about this person, I would think he would move her right in up there. I cannot tell you how unthinkable that is. It's like sacred ground to us, like being in a church where my mom's spirit is all around. The five lake houses next to us are all family (her aunt sold five lots to family about 50 years ago). My dad never appreciated that, he was always pretty jealous of her attachment to it, actually.

SO...my sisters and I are a wreck over this, and it really is our sticking point in this whole mess. We are meeting with him tomorrow at 5:00 to go through the stuff in the house, but we are going to talk to him about the lake and other things (unbeknownst to him). In all seriousness, we have agreed we cannot go up there if he brings her there. It's not about punishing him, it's about our emotional sanity. We need to convey this to him in a sane way, and I'm at a loss. I'm putting together a bullet form list, etc...but the reality is this is like a red button in a nuclear facility, just waiting to be pushed.

Any advice on how to approach this?

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I wish I knew what to say here,but I don't. THere is strength in numbers though so you ahve the advantage there. ALl i can say or do is wish you the best of luck in having this discussion with your Father...

And Hugs and Prayers also :wink::)

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Thank you, Randy, your hugs and positive thoughts mean so much!

I know that I sound like I don't get along with my dad, but somehow I've been able to compartmentalize all of this up until now, and love the dad side of him...but now it's all coming together in a big muddled mess...and I hate it. I hate how direspectful I sound when I write about him - but that's how I feel half the time. I managed to put together what I think is a concise "agenda" tonight and I feel a little better about going into this somewhat prepared.

My mom would want us to fight for this, I know it.

The reality is, I just want my mom...and I want things to be the way they were. Don't we all just want that? I guess we wouldn't be here on this board otherwise...

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From what you have said, your Dad never really appreciated the lake house as you guys have. Maybe you can approach it like this:

Dad, we know you have chosen to move on with your life and that is your choice to make. As siblings we have fond memories of the lake house and would like to relieve you of the property. What would you consider is the fair market value? We'd like to keep the house in our family for many generations and are willing to buy it.

Put the ball in his court. He may appreciate the offer! Good luck, I know this is so hard for you.

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I think you just need to tell your dad what you just told us. That your mom is there, that is where you feel close to her. That it would break your heart to lose it, that you see him there with the grand kids in the future. Is there any way the three of you can make an offer on the lake house, buy it on a land contract, or have him add you to the deed? I hope it all goes well. I live in my family house and I would hate to see it go out of our family to someone else.

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Glad that you will be able to get

some furniture and souvenirs from

the main house, sure your mother will

be there to help you in your choice.

The lake house should be for the family

and one way to make him think would be to bring

up the gain taxes that he would be responsible

because it takes five years before it could

be considered his main home.....part time

use may not cover him if ever he

wants to sell it to move to Florida

full time.

Or follow Ry's ideas for the lake house.

I know you are not doing this for money

but better put both view in front of

him and go from there.

Wishing you the best on D-Day.


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I don't want to be the bad guy here, but I don't understand what your dad has done to deserve this "intervention". He has agreed to give you and your siblings all of the heirlooms. And it sounds like he intends to keep the lakehouse.

I think you're upset that he is dating again and imagining the worst case scenario of what might happen in the future.

If he remarries, then you might want to talk about how his assets would be divided. But right now that seems premature.

Being a widower can be very lonely. I should think that you would be happy for him if he has found someone to enjoy life with. I'm sure he would wish the same for you.

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Hi Donnalee,

I wanted to respond to your post, I do understand how you construed my post...

What I've mentioned briefly in other posts but not in this one is that there's a lot of water under the bridge leading up to my mom's passing. They did not have a great marriage. Athough he was a great dad, he was a pretty lousy husband most of the time. There was never any abuse per say, but there was drinking in the early years, days of the silent treatment to my mom, and even a few Christmases when her stocking was empty and she did not get any gifts from him b/c he was "mad" at her. Then when he retired early, he kind of parked himself at the kitchen table with his computer and his remote control, didn't shower often and expected Mom to wait on him. And an example of an incident; Mom was an avid gardener, and at the lake house Mom made friends with a lovely man and expert gardener down the road (who was happily married), and after a few weeks my dad threw a fit of jealousy, sort of accused her of possibly cheating and embarrassed her so much that my mom just ended the friendship. She was mortified. Yet she was feisty and independent and she went out and was active, had friends and did her thing.

But finally (and I've told this story on this forum before), while she was sick she made her goal building an enclosed porch on the lake house. Bottom line is my dad refused to listen to her about it, he had already decided she was going to die in his mind, and could only focus on that. Also he finally had a little control over her and he resented the lake house, so why even consider it (whether he was thinking that consciously or not). They had a huge blowout and my dad told her she was spoiled and she'd always gotten everything she wanted. I cannot tell you how UNTRUE that is, the irony makes me laugh (bitterly). My mom dedicated most of her life to her family and for him, she was an incredible human being. After that fight, I saw Mom's feisty spirit kind of drain from her body, then she pulled it together, acted mentally fine (for us children) and went on to die soon after. She did this to protect us. In reality I believe she would have left him had she been well enough, that was the final straw.

The lake was her refuge, her home away from home, where she had family and friends and her old hometown and beauty. She made it hers, everything in it is HER. He never gave a hoot about it.

Sure, I don't love my dad dating - and yeah, the fact that he's now showering daily, uses toothpaste, has gone to the dentist and is on the treadmill every day since he started dating I find a bit ironic...since Mom made it known how much his lack of personal hygiene and his refusal to move bothered her in the latter years. And the fact that he calls himself a "hot property" among all the internet widows, etc. etc. - I don't know, just not real appropriate to say to your daughters. But you know, it is what it is, and I've actually started to accept that he's dating. However, my my mom was clear on her final wishes to us, which were to keep the lake house for us girls (and Dad, of course). She told my sister that she knew Dad would find someone else because he couldn't be alone and wanted someone to take care of him. She was very wise. But she always charged us with fighting for the things that she treasured and cherished. She worried so much about that.

So yeah, on paper this may not sound reasonable, and who says it all is - and I certainly understand what you're saying, I really do...and believe it or not, I'm not against my dad being happy. I guess we have one thing in mind at this point, after all that has happened...and that's to honor Mom's wishes and also preserve for us the things that are sacred. Because frankly they aren't sacred to Dad. I've learned from my husband and his widowed dad remarrying, that if you don't speak up, you'll have regrets. In that case we barely managed to salvage the treasured family pictures, everything else went in the trash, was sold in a yard sale or was given to her children...so I guess I'm a little jaded....

Just wanted to kind of present the other side of things, I can't say you're 100% wrong...but I felt the need to qualify all that is happening...thanks so much for weighing in.

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We had told my dad we were coming at 5:00 and we did. Had some small talk and then sat down with the list of stuff and started to go through it, figuring out which things he wanted to hold onto for now and which could go, etc. Somehow we got off into a conversation about his dating. My younger sister pretty much said that if it's someone he's just casually dating, we'd rather he wait to see if he has feelings for this person until he asks if she can meet the baby, bring her to family functions...this is emotional for us and our kids. etc...and her teenage daughter was VERY close to my mom and it would just stink to have a revolving door of "dates". My dad saw nothing wrong with wanting to bring these women around, he called it a male point of view vs. a female point of view, and said our kids are more resilient then we think. And that this was his life now. My question to him was, if you see this person pretty much whenever you want, why would you feel the need to bring a "date" to family functions? Why can't it be separate until you are serious about someone? In the midst of this emotional turmoil, I looked out the window and saw a woman walking down the sidewalk. I just stopped talking, b/c she looked just like my mom from afar, I said to my sisters, oh my God, look at that woman taking a walk, it's like Mom walking by. Same hair, same sunglasses, even the same color fleece jacket, very petite. Before we could say anything else she was at our front door. Yup, you guessed it, it was my dad's current friend. We were in shock, to say the least. I don't know if my dad planned this, I don't want to believe he did. She came in and stayed about 45 minutes, then left. It was surreal.

So then we brought up a few other things we wanted to talk about, like estate issues - durable power of attorney for health and finances should he become incapacitated, which I knew he would be very receptive to and just needed a little prodding to move on it. He was receptive and appreciative, and that went fine. Then we sat down to dinner, thinking we would bring up the lake after dinner since it might get pretty emotional. Before we could take our first bite my dad said, "Well, I think I'll address the white elephant in the room, and that's the lake." Before we could say anything else, he said, "I keep thinking I should sign it over, but only if I have visitation -ha-ha..." He's mentioned this before, meaning we would take over the property taxes (which are about $5K a year) and other expenses. The reality is that he will leave the lake house to the girls, and then he will give my brothers more of the monetery end of things. Something that he's brought up before, no surprises, no problem. I wasn't jumping for joy or anything, b/c he's said this before, and he may never get around to it, which is fine...the real issue is him moving another woman in up there. We love being up there with my dad and our kids, but the thought of another woman even sleeping up there is unbearable. So since we were all being terribly blunt thus far, I just jumped right in. I told him that there is nothing else we are so black and white about in terms of our feelings, that this is not emotional blackmail but it's truly about the way we feel and what we can handle emotionally. We went on and on about how sacred the place is to us, that it represents everything MOM, all of our memories, etc. In the end he said, but is this reasonable?, and I said, probably not in your opinion, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily wrong. It was a long discussion and honestly, I don't know what came out of it. He is thinking about all of this, but what my dad says, what he remembers from conversations and what he does are all very different. And I really feel his need to go up there and show everyone he's got a new woman will eclipse any real possibility of him taking our thoughts and wishes into account, even a little.

I will say, though, that my sisters and I were able to do this without being babbling, crying idiots, which I thought was impossible. :) And I actually stood up for what I felt and thought, and confronted my dad, which I've only done one other time (regarding my mom's funeral arrangements). I am by nature a very emotional person and I get fired up about things, but I'm not good at confrontations, so that makes for a lot of stomachaches and sleepless nights! Somehow when it was all over, and the ball was in his court, I felt better even though we may have a rough road ahead and things may get very hard with him. I think my mom would have been proud...she was never afraid to stand up for what she believed in.

I miss her.

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Regarding your dad not acting on doing something about the house - what about the possibility of you and your sisters having a lawyer draw up the papers that would be needed to change the lake house to your names. Spell out the specifics if needed - as in you are responsible for XYZ and your Dad gets ABC out of this, including time he can spend there and under what conditions - ie, lets you all know so many weeks in advance or whatever.

My point being, I understand a thing or two about being all talk. :) Maybe if you do the heavy lifting here, you'd have a better chance of getting him to sign the needed documents, rather than hoping he will take the initiative to go get the papers drawn up. Just one small suggestion.

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