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Penny Rayas, MFT
Penny Rayas, MFT, Therapist
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My dad, 59 yrs. old and divorced of 15 months, used to be a

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My dad, 59 yrs. old and divorced of 15 months, used to be a rough, grumpy, guitar playing dude before his divorce from my mom. It was NOT a bad break up and they still go out to eat alone together sometimes and visit each other. Confusing right? Now, he writes sappy, corny, love songs/poems and then emails them to my brother and I; wanting a reply on how good his writing/thoughts are. I want a mature father, especially since I am away in the navy. I've told him I don't like hearing things like this from him and my bro and I want our grumpy tough dad back, but he just kind of laughs about it.. How can I get my dad back? I don't want to hurt his feelings but I am done listening his teenage-diary feelings put into poetry. What is going on?! HELP! P.S. I am the oldest sibling, so my brother is relying on me to help resolve our issues with my dad.

Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Camille-Mod replied 12 months ago.

Hi,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX X am the moderator for this topic. I've been trying to find a professional to assist you, but sometimes finding the right professional can take a little longer than expected, as the professionals come online at varying times. I wonder whether you would like to continue waiting for an answer…hopefully it won’t take too much longer. Please let me know, and I will continue my search. If you’d prefer not to wait, please tell me, and I will cancel this question for you. Thank you!

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Customer: replied 12 months ago.


I would like to continue waiting for an answer yes. I also left out in the text that he receives testosterone booster shots, has diabetes, heart murmurs, and had a heart attack 5 yrs ago.

Expert:  Camille-Mod replied 12 months ago.

Hi,

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Customer: replied 12 months ago.
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Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 12 months ago.

Hello there, I would like to help you with this. It seams to me that your father is having a mid-life crisis. Sometimes after a divorce people try to find themselves and go through stages of change. I am sorry that your father is changing so much. Can you tell me how long ago did he start to change? I wonder what does your brother and you mother think about your father's behavior. I have a feeling that this change is temporary but I can understand that this feels like you are losing your father who is acting like a teenager. I understand that you do not want to hurt his feelings but you have the right to tell him that you are not interested in the happy silly poetry.

I would like to know what feelings his behavior brings up for you. Please fill this out blank.... You said you want your old father back what will happen if you don't get your old father back? What does it mean to you.

Customer: replied 12 months ago.


Thank you for your quick response! To answer your questions: The divorce was finalized in January 2012 but they had been talking about divorce/severely struggling for about 4 years. His "teenage" behavior started in March/April of 2012, so fairly quickly after my mother moved out of the house. What I meant when I said it was not a bad divorce is that in the settlement, my dad kept the house with most of the furniture(net worth 130k) and he wanted to give ALL of his retirement to her (net worth 220k). He was very generous in my opinion as far as settlement is concerned.


Anyways, next. My brother is bothered the most and asks me if he should tell him to stop or what he should do, if anything at all. We have agreed not to tell our mother because we didn't want her to view/treat him differently because of insider info per say. I believe I hinted to my mom a while back(8 mo.+) about his love poetry; and she said he has always been a sensitive and loving man. And that he truly enjoys playing the guitar and writing lyrics/poems, so he is probably just spending more time doing so. But this is different because he sounds more like an immature boy, almost to the point that I am reminded of teenage girl feelings.. I don't want to hurt his feelings because he doesn't have any true friends outside of his work colleagues and I don't want him to feel abandoned by the only people/family that he feels he can speak freely to.


I just found out this morning that he is seeing someone and he feels it is/can get serious like marriage. He had called me on the phone and told me he has been seeing her for almost 6 months and that she works in a separate department at his work. This shocked me, and I told him to be cautious and take things slow because it is easy once you have been alone for a while to really want to "throw it in 5th gear and floor it" with new relationships that seem excellent in the beginning. He said I was right and that he will keep that in the front of his mind. My brother knows about her, as of today, and my mother does not. He asked me to keep it that way. I don't like that he has jumped into a relationship, let alone a "serious" one so soon, however I know that my parents had a "cold" relationship for quite a long time. they haven't slept in the same bed in the last 8 years.


Honestly speaking, I just want him to be back the way he used to be. My brother and I are not the kind of family to disown or shut-out our loved ones and will never be capable of doing that to our dad. If I don't get my old dad back, I will just be unhappy about it and worried for him for as long as he remains this way. I think my brother feels the exact same as I do.


He has many medical issues but is an attractive man and very nice. I can see other women accepting his "medical baggage" and loving him; I just don't think it should have happened so quick. Maybe it just seems quick to me? Who knows.


 


Sincerely,


 


Customer

Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 12 months ago.
Thanks for letting me know about your father's behavior. My feeling is that this behavior will not last for long. You are right to be concerned about your father rashing into a serious relationship after his divorce. The interesting thing to me is that your role as a son and father have been reversed. You got the role of the father to your own father. You seam very mature and your father seams like a teenager. I am not sure if you can control or change him. I have a feeling that he will get hurt in this relationship and it is nothing you can do to prevent it. I guess from man to man you can adivice him to just date now and to figure out what type of woman does he really want. Ask him if he is really ready for a relationship that is that serious. That is all you can do. I think you have to protect yourself, try to see if you can change this dymanic because you do not want to be your father's father. Change the conversation to yourself when he talks about his dating and things like that. Tell him that you are happy that he is happy but not ready to hear about his dating yet. I know that you do not want to hurt him but you have to think about yourself first. Your father is being selfish and he stopped acting like your father. I think you have the right to tell him that you still need him to be your father and treat you like the son you are. Try to develop and relationship do things you enjoy to do with him away from his dating and other things. If I were you I would be worried about losing my relationship with him. Tell him that you love him and still need your father. Your relationship can be centered around activities and things you both enjoy and does not have to be centered around his mid-life crisis. I will search and give you some titles about books that deal with this subject
Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 12 months ago.

I will explain a bit about what I mean y midlife crisis. A midlife crisis is a time of life transition. The transition is termed a "crisis" in popular culture because symptoms of the transition can reveal themselves as abrupt changes. In men, a midlife crisis stereotypically manifests itself with a flashy car, a radical change in career or a younger girlfriend. However, less conspicuous signs include loss of libido, disrupted sleep, emotional changes. Your father feels like less of a man because society does not value people as they age. I think you can remind him how much your love him and how you value his wisedom. This is just a transition and usually men go back to their personality. He is trying to reinvent himself and make himself more desirable to the oposite sex.

I would say the best you can do is to focus on doing the things you always did with him such as going to games, fishing whatever father son activities you can do. Ignore his new fake self and try to be patient.

Penny Rayas, MFT, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 394
Experience: I have 20 years experience in the mental health field
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