Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Your Turn: “How Do We Keep My Dying Father’s Mistress Away?”

Beauti of India

My father was diagnosed with testicular cancer about three years ago and we were recently given the news that he has a matter of months to live. My parents had an arranged marriage before they moved to Canada. Around twenty years ago my father started an affair with a Canadian woman. It is an open secret in my family, but the rest of our community doesn’t know.

My brother and I had a happy childhood in which our father was always there when we went to bed and when we woke up. He never missed any holiday or event in my life. His mistress, though, has become more and more tiresome. She showed up uninvited to my and my brother’s university graduations and tried to come to the celebrations and introduce herself to us and our family. At my elder brother’s graduation, she was my father’s girlfriend; at mine, his “wife.” Of course, she is not legally my father’s wife, and my father has sworn there are no children between them.

His mistress has for the past fifteen years tried to reach out and connect with my brother and me, through Facebook and Christmas and birthday cards. She sent presents to both our weddings, signing as our “stepmother.” We have both refused contact and acknowledging her. I sent the present and cards back.

My father has said since his diagnosis that whatever my mother says is what he’ll do. I assume he feels guilty for the years of pain he caused my mother. My mother does not want that woman anywhere near the funeral or the hospital, and she has barred her from visiting or contacting my father. The hospital staff have been made aware.

Recently, the mistress ambushed me outside the hospital while I was with my young son, begging to see my father. I ignored her but that left me having to explain to my son what had just happened.

She will not be invited to attend the funeral or visitation or to see my father as per my mother’s request, which my father has agreed to. I have no empathy for this woman as it has been made quite clear to her over the years that she is not part of the family and her presence is unwelcome.

What my brother and I are concerned about is how to keep her from contacting us or our mother or other members of our family about information for our father. We don’t want to involve the authorities because it will become messy, but so far she is persistent and we are not sure how else to proceed.

Do you have any thoughts or advice on how to proceed? — No Love For His Mistress

***************

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92 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Ron March 17, 2016, 12:19 pm

    I know you want to support your mother, but your approach to his long-term mistress seems cold. With the mistress coming to past family milestone events, it’s unclear whether your father attended those events with his mistress or with your mother. It is also unclear whether or not your parents are separated. She has been your father’s mistress for a very long time. Clearly they must love each other. I don’t know how much love was involved over time in your father’s arranged marriage, but a lot of his emotional life is tied up with this mistress. I’m not sure how I feel about the morality of this, since I am very opposed to the morality of arranged marriages. Yes your father cheated on your mother for a very long time, but I also think people are entitled both to some romantic happiness in life and to their own choice of lover/partner. You obviously condemn this other woman, but your father was also a big part of that relationship. I am sorry that you are losing your father to cancer. That is a terrible thing to go through.

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover March 17, 2016, 12:36 pm

      The father agreed to this though. If these are his “final wishes”, he wants to go out trying to make reparations to his wife, then they should abide by them. I agree with you on arranged marriages, but the thing is, being a mistress doesn’t automatically make you part of the family, and the mistress has no right to push herself in. It would be one thing if she just wanted to see the father. But over the years she’s been trying to insert herself into a relationship with the father’s kids which they don’t want. And introducing herself as the father’s wife at the daughter’s graduation?? That is way way way beyond the line, so I can see why the rest of the family doesn’t want her around.

      I feel sorry for this woman, and for the mother, and for the father. It’s a crap situation born of a tradition I strongly disagree with. But it’s the situation that exists, and has to be dealt with, and the mistress has no standing to try to become part of the family. Especially once the father is gone.

      LW, I don’t really have any advice though. Do you have any idea what your father has said to her about this? Does she know she’s not welcome at the wake or funeral? My guess is that she’s going to show up anyway though, and if she does your family will have the choice of dealing with it gracefully, or causing a scene. And there’s no way you can stop her from contacting people for information, beyond talking to her and asking her not to. If she doesn’t agree, then there’s nothing you can do unless you want to take legal recourse. Even that probably won’t help, since she’s not doing anything illegal. You’d need a restraining order or something to make her actions illegal, and I don’t even know if her behaviour actually warrants one. I don’t think so. Which means you’re stuck just asking her to please not to. It’s really all you can do.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy March 17, 2016, 12:42 pm

      The LW isn’t asking whether she should ban the mistress or whether doing so in moral or not. It has already been decided, with there father’s agreement, that the mistress — the woman he cheated on his wife with for 20 years — will not be allowed in the hospital or at the funeral. Personally, I think that’s fair. If the father wanted to commit to the mistress and truly make her part of his family, he would have by now. He did not. She should not get family benefits like visitation rights. So, she’s losing someone she loves. Tough shit. You know who else is losing someone they love? The guy’s family. Their wishes should be respected.

      If it were me, I would alert the mistress that she is unwelcome at any and all places where the family will be present. If she wants to pay respects to the man, she will have to do it in a way that does not interfere with the family’s good-bye and grieving process. I would tell her that if she comes near the family again, a restraining order will be filed. Yes, that may get messy. But explaining to a young boy that his grandfather has been cheating on his grandmother for 20 years and the mistress is so batshit she crashes family events and calls herself a “wife” or “stepmother” is messier.
      This woman. God.

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      • avatar

        wobster109 March 17, 2016, 1:47 pm

        Seeing as the parents have an arranged marriage, can you imagine how the father’s community would have reacted to a divorce? The father ‘s human frailty kept him from making a clean break. No need to punish the mistress for that. She and the father may have considered themselves spiritually married. Isn’t that worth something?

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        RedRoverRedRover March 17, 2016, 1:55 pm

        If that were the case, and he thinks of her as his wife, then he’s being pretty horrible to her by agreeing to the terms he has. It sounds like he also hasn’t tried to integrate her into the family the way stepmothers usually are. She’s the one who’s been pushing, if the LW’s story is accurate. It seems like this has been the story of their relationship, that he’s held her at arm’s length throughout. If she couldn’t accept that she should have left, frankly. Instead of going around the dad and reaching out to the kids directly, which is so insanely inappropriate.

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      • avatar

        suzyinthesky March 17, 2016, 2:17 pm

        I agree. I think possibly the father, in facing his mortality, is struggling with some feelings of guilt towards his (estranged) wife and children and is trying to make amends. And possibly has some blinders on, keeping him from seeing that he is now hurting the woman he has been living with for the past 20 years or whatever.
        I honestly think the family is being petty and mean.

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      • avatar

        Jess March 17, 2016, 8:42 pm

        The family is absolutely NOT being petty and mean. Regardless of the mistresses ‘feelings’, she failed to recognize this man’s family was more important than her lust . She very actively, for 20 years, from their perspective , tore their family apart. They watched as their mother went through the pain of the infidelity, and the fact that this woman had the audacity to ‘reach out’ to the kids… are you joking me? She has to be insane. The only petty people are the father and mistress. How despicable and disgusting.

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      • avatar

        mertlej March 17, 2016, 2:44 pm

        Fine, don’t punish the mistress for that. But you can hold her accountable for her loony tunes behavior, like constantly pushing herself on his kids when it is clearly and unambiguously unwanted. Or, crashing family events when she is not invited. Or, styling herself this guy’s wife and the kids’ stepmother. That is 100% on her, and she clearly doesn’t give a shit about respecting boundaries.

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      • avatar

        snoopy128 March 17, 2016, 3:22 pm

        I can also see that maybe the father didn’t enforce those boundaries with her. Hell, maybe he encouraged it? So, I disagree, that’s not necessarily all on the mistress.

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      • avatar

        Ron March 17, 2016, 4:22 pm

        As I read the letter, it is unclear whether the mistress ‘crashes’ family events or rather the father escorts her to these events. If she just shows up on her own and introduces herself as the father’s gf or wife, then clearly that is beyond awful and this woman is to be shunned. However, that’s not how I read the letter. Rightly or wrongly, it read to me as though the father brought his mistress to the family gatherings, that the father and LWs mother were at least functionally separated but not divorced, and that the father had basically moved on with his life with this other woman, who is much more than a mistress. I guess it’s a matter of how you read this sentence:
        “Of course, she is not legally my father’s wife, and my father has sworn there are no children between them.” To me this suggests an awfully close and publicly close relationship, as if he even lives with this woman. Also the talk about the father not missing any of the kids life events suggested to me that in the later years he was coming to them from outside of the family home.

        It is amazing how differently the same words can be interpreted.

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      • avatar

        mertlej March 17, 2016, 5:10 pm

        Hmm, true, although I was focusing more on this language: “My brother and I had a happy childhood in which our father was always there when we went to bed and when we woke up. He never missed any holiday or event in my life. His mistress, though, has become more and more tiresome. She showed up uninvited to my and my brother’s university graduations and tried to come to the celebrations and introduce herself to us and our family.”

        To me, that says (1) the father lived at home. He was there every night, every morning, for every birthday, major life event, etc. (2) The mistress was not invited to the major events in the kids’ lives, yet showed up anyway and tried to “introduce herself”. So, the father lives at home, the woman is not invited or welcome at any of these events, but shows up anyway and tries to force an intimacy or relationship.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 17, 2016, 7:44 pm

        I assumed that if he was there when they went to bed and there when they got up that she was insinuating that he wasn’t always there while they slept but gave the appearance of being there. She is saying that he was there for their waking hours and their important events. If none of the neighbors new about the mistress he was trying to be discreet which means that her showing up and introducing herself probably wasn’t what he wanted. He may come from a culture where having a mistress is common but probably the mistress is never a member of the family or treated like a member of the family. A mistress would be a woman who is kept discreetly on the side and always remains discreetly hidden. If that is the situation he would probably not want her at the hospital or at the funeral.

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      • avatar

        suzyinthesky March 18, 2016, 7:50 am

        Good point about the father wanting to be discreet. The mistress, not being from their culture, probably has trouble understanding it. I still think the family shouldn’t bar her completely from even saying goodbye, though.

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      • avatar

        Kelly L. March 18, 2016, 9:19 am

        I read the letter as he was always home when they were children, but that he is now living with the mistress and she’s his current SO in all ways but legally.

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      • avatar

        Anonymousse March 17, 2016, 6:12 pm

        Umm, LW mentions her arriving uninvited at numerous family events, the parents are still married and he feels guilty for the pain he’s caused…and she ambushed the LW outside the hospital in front of the LW’s small child….

        In what sense is any of that behavior okay, or to be emoathisized with? She sounds really unhinged. It’s one thing to be part of someone’s life and social circle, but who would repeatedly insert themselves in situations where they aren’t wanted over and over again? It’s messed up.

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      • avatar

        Anonymousse March 17, 2016, 6:17 pm

        Empathized**

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    • avatar

      Terry March 17, 2016, 1:44 pm

      I agree with Wendy’s comment below that this woman has tried to insert herself into the life of this family even after being given clear signs that she is not welcome and that the family’s wishes should be respected for once at least during this terrible time. I think her advice below about warning her about a restraining order is solid.
      I would also just like to add something about arranged marriages. I understand that they may be hard to understand for people who have not seen them in their personal lives, but as a person whose parents and almost every other adult family member had an arranged marriage, I can say that they are not that different from other marriages because they include the same experiences both good and bad. My family members are as happily married as any of our neighbors and friends who did not have arranged marriages. Yes sometimes people cheat, but have you noticed how many people contact Wendy about cheating that are not in arranged marriages? Cheating can happen in any kind of relationship and I would be cautious when blaming this particular scenario on the institution of arranged marriage. There are so many other possible reasons this man cheated. Just because it is not what you want for yourself does not mean that it is innately wrong or implausible in a happy life.

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    • avatar

      Letter Writer for Mistress March 17, 2016, 4:25 pm

      My parents have never separated and she was never invited to any of our family events.

      The moral issues are not something that can be really discussed. Regardless of your feelings about arranged marriages, an arranged marriage is still a marriage and my parents have been married for over fifty years. My father has a mistress who is not a part of my family and not invited into our lives. My mother does not want that woman in my father’s last few months as she would like to reserve it for just our family, something my father of sound mind and body-to combat the other comments whom said it was just the family’s wishes- agreed to.

      Sleeping with my father does not give someone a relation nor a right to be part of a family.

      My father has half the blame in this situation, yes. But that woman has never and will never be a part o the family, nor is she considered as part.

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      • avatar

        Been there March 17, 2016, 8:10 pm

        My MIL did not want son’s almost ex wife and had her removed. It was at a church so you could do that. It was quiet; no one made a scene.

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      • avatar

        Jess March 17, 2016, 8:52 pm

        You are absolutely correct, but I don’t think Terry was excusing anyone’s behavior.. simply just saying that infidelity cannot be solely pinned on the concept of ‘arranged marriages’ because it happens in all marriages.

        She isn’t apart of your family. In fact, she is someone who very actively (and knowing full well what she was doing) tried to destroy your family. She should not be anywhere near your family at this time. In fact, she should cut her ties with your father now and move on with her life.

        I am so so very sorry to hear of your father’s illness. I am glad you still have many fond memories of him and despite the tribulations your family has been through, you are obviously a strong unit. Be grateful for that. I wish you all the best LW <3

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  • avatar

    Portlandia March 17, 2016, 12:38 pm

    First, let me say how sorry I am for your fathers illness and diagnosis. I would talk to your mother and see if she would grant this woman one meeting to say goodbye to the man who has been in her life for many years. It sounds to me like she is grieving and looking for closure. I would see if your mom is willing to give that to her. If she is then be very clear and let this other woman know this is for goodbye and the funeral services will be for family only and she isn’t welcome.
    I don’t think you and your family are handling this wrong, you have made it very clear she isn’t a welcome addition to your family and she seems to have disrespected that many times over. while I don’t think you need to welcome her with open arms maybe a little compassion isn’t out of the question.

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    • avatar

      artsygirl March 17, 2016, 2:39 pm

      I imagine if they give the mistress any leeway she would run a mile. She has already crossed various lines by crashing family events and calling herself his ‘wife’ and signing cards ‘stepmother’ to the LW and her brother. She honestly sounds batshit crazy to me, but then staying with a man for two decades as a piece on the side is also insane.

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      • avatar

        Anonymousse March 17, 2016, 6:13 pm

        Absolutely batshit!

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  • avatar

    Essie March 17, 2016, 12:48 pm

    I agree with Ron. I completely understand your anger and your desire to heap blame on this woman. Your father did wrong, the mistress did wrong. They both caused pain to your family. And it sounds like your parents reached some kind of understanding about the affair that allowed them to stay married.

    And your grief over your father’s impending death is making everything harder, I know.
    I just lost my dad a very short time ago; I get it. But what does the anger and blame and what happened in the past matter now, with only months left in your father’s life?

    To answer your question directly, the only way to keep her from contacting your family is to take out a restraining order against her. And even that won’t prevent her from contacting you, it just puts penalties in place if she does.

    I think the better way is to allow her some closure. Let her visit your father in the hospital when your family won’t be there. Let her say goodbye to the man she’s loved and shared her life with for 20 years. That would probably bring your father peace, too.

    In order to arrange this, I would have a friend or family member discuss this with her calmly. Explain that while you know she loved your father, and you want her to have the chance to say goodbye, her presence is causing his wife and family great pain, and she is not welcome at any family events, nor do any of you want to have contact with her now or in the future.

    As for the funeral, again, I agree with Ron that the kinder path is to let her attend. If your mother is immovable on the subject, you can discuss the situation with the funeral director, they deal with this all the time and know how to keep unwanted visitors away.

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  • avatar

    saneinca March 17, 2016, 1:21 pm

    LW, you should ask your father to write a letter to his mistress where he should confirm that he wants no contact from her. ( may be she thinks that it is his family who is stopping her from seeing him)

    Thereafter you only need to say you cannot talk to her as per his wishes . But do inform her when he passes away. That is the decent thing to do.

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    • avatar

      SasLinna March 17, 2016, 1:25 pm

      Yes, this. It sounds like the mistress hasn’t heard directly from the father that he wants her to stay away. She may be under the impression that he wants to see her and that it’s his family who is preventing that.

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    • avatar

      for_cutie March 17, 2016, 1:33 pm

      Yes, this is how I think is best to proceed. If not a letter, then a phone call so she can hear his voice and know it is sincerely from him.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy March 17, 2016, 1:34 pm

      Oh, this is good.

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    • avatar

      TheGrumpapotamus March 17, 2016, 2:08 pm

      I really agree with this. Even though LWs father is dying, he isn’t off the hook for getting this woman out of their lives. As a last act of kindness to all of the people he’s done wrong (including the mistress herself, if you’re inclined to sympathize with her) he needs to end this relationship himself. It shouldn’t be on his children, grandchildren, or wife to end it for him.

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      • avatar

        snoopy128 March 17, 2016, 2:35 pm

        So far, I feel like the father is passing his responsibility onto others. Instead of finding a way to allow his family and mistress, who do not get along, to both find suitable ways to grieve and say goodbye, he handed it over to his wife (probably knowing how she would choose to treat the mistress). That’s a pretty sad thing to do to someone you have loved for 20 years. I think it’s fair to ask your father to please inform the mistress of *his* wishes.

        It would also be incredibly kind and compassionate of you to try to find a way to allow the mistress to grieve and say goodbye to your father (whether that happens in life or after his death). Some of her behaviour seems off (calling herself your father’s wife, or your stepmother), but honestly, a good chunk of that was on your dad to re-iterate appropriate boundaries (which he didn’t do).

        Whatever you choose, you need to set boundaries and inform her of them. And put yourself into her shoes for a moment. Imagine a loved-one was dying and you were barred from seeing them or being updated. How would you feel? This is such a tricky and emotionally difficult situation in the midst of a really tough time. My sympathies to you, LW, but I also ask you, if you have the ability to at this tough time, to have empathy.

        And finally, if you want to know how to reinforce those boundaries, everyone has said it already –>Legally. Restraining order. However, those options a)don’t stop her from doing anything, only give consequences, and b) don’t allow her to grieve in the way she might need to.

        Another option–>tell her where she is not welcome, but set up a space for her to grieve on her own. Then, tell her she only gets that space (perhaps a last visit? or time with his body after death?) if she respects your family’s wishes of staying away at the hospital or funeral.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna March 17, 2016, 3:14 pm

        Yes, this is essentially a mess the father has created. It sounds like he just abdicated any responsibility by saying that he’ll do whatever his wife wants. Before, he didn’t draw the necessary boundaries with his mistress (letting her come to the graduations etc.), now he’s not drawing any boundaries with his wife and letting her decide everything. Understandable given that he’s terminally ill, but still a huge mess.

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      • avatar

        TheGrumpapotamus March 17, 2016, 3:46 pm

        Exactly. This is just one more way the father is making his poor decisions his family’s problem. He owes it to everyone involved to resolve this issue once and for all, not dump it on his children to fix.

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      • avatar

        T March 17, 2016, 3:51 pm

        But….. isn’t it the family that is stopping her from seeing him? I’m guessing he didn’t reach that decision on his own without immense pressure from the family. He maybe gave in only now that he doesn’t have any fight left in him. It has the feel that what the family is doing now is guilting and coercing a dying man to change his wishes. He spent 20 years with this woman — it may be fairest to both of them to say goodbye to each other.

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      • avatar

        saneinca March 17, 2016, 4:20 pm

        Here is the deal. In his last days the father is choosing to have his wife and children around rather than the mistress. ( he might well have chosen his mistress if that was what he wanted) So it is up to him to tell his mistress his decision and not leave her hanging around.

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    • avatar

      Letter Writer for Mistress March 17, 2016, 4:30 pm

      Thank you for this suggestion. I will see if my father will want to; after what happened to myself and my son, he seems to be preferring to pretend she and his affair never existed

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  • FireStar

    Firestar March 17, 2016, 1:46 pm

    I don’t agree with the others. You sign up as a wife you get privileges of family. You sign up as a mistress you get nothing. Calling yourself a wife and step mother doesn’t make you so. The husband chose to give his wife the power to determine his last days. He could have chosen to say bye go the mistress, to have doctors inform her of his care. He didn’t. Too bad for her. Sorry LW. With someone as brash as this you are going to have to get authorities involved. Tell the funeral home she is not welcome and ensure they have appropriate security on the day of the funeral. If accosted again then tell her any further attempt to harass you or your family will trigger a police investigation into her ongoing harassment. And then get a temporary restraining order. Sorry for your pain right now.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 17, 2016, 4:45 pm

      I agree with you. The mistress chose a man who wasn’t willing to get a divorce to be with her. She knowingly chose to be with a married man for twenty years. She can’t expect to be treated like a member of the family since she has never been a member of the family.

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  • avatar

    wobster109 March 17, 2016, 1:54 pm

    Sorry, I’m with the mistress on this one. She’s no 3-month fling. She’s been devotedly, fruitlessly, lovingly committed to your father for 20 years. All the while doing her best to treat you right: caring about your milestones, sending you wedding gifts. All while enduring snub after snub, ignored and given the cold shoulder. Even if you wish she’d leave you alone, try to appreciate the intention behind it. Tradition and social pressure kept your father in an unhappy marriage. You may hate the relationship they had, but after 20 years you know it was real. Can you appreciate her even a little for making your beloved father happy over the last 20 years?

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    • Stonegypsy

      Stonegypsy March 17, 2016, 2:07 pm

      Agreed. Clearly a divorce wasn’t an option for whatever reason, and this is a long term relationship. I understand that this family is grieving, and I feel for them. I can’t imagine how difficult this whole situation must be. But holy shit try to have just a tiny bit of empathy. This woman is *also* losing someone very very important to her.
      I’m guessing the father agreed to go along with whatever the wife said because he is dying and he doesn’t have the energy to fight with his family who clearly hates this woman. I feel like it’s every bit as cruel to him to not let her say goodbye as it is to the mistress.

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      • avatar

        suzyinthesky March 17, 2016, 2:20 pm

        I agree with you both!

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      artsygirl March 17, 2016, 2:31 pm

      While I get what you are saying, the LW is under no obligation to the mistress since in the 20 years that she has made the LW’s father happy, she has made the LW and her mother equally unhappy. Ultimately the situation should be between the father, the mother, and the mistress and the LW should be able to bow out.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna March 17, 2016, 3:03 pm

        Honestly, it’s even simpler. It’s entirely up to the father whether he wants to see her or not. The mother only has a say only insofar as it’s important to the father to keep the marriage going. LW is only part of this because the mistress has chosen to contact her to get to the father. This is something that LW has every right to stop – she has the right to be left alone by the mistress. But if the father changes his mind and wants to see the mistress after all, the family doesn’t have a right to stop him.

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      Northern Star March 17, 2016, 3:19 pm

      Nope. The woman chose to be a mistress for 20 years, and that’s on her. She rudely butted herself into her married lover’s children’s business multiple times, LYING about her (non)position in the family. She’s grieving, but that’s NOT a stranger’s problem—and that’s exactly what the LW is to the mistress. A stranger.

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        snoopy128 March 17, 2016, 3:27 pm

        The father also chose to have an affair for 20 years, failed to set appropriate boundaries with the mistress and did not think ahead about to deal with the situation in the case of his death. It’s not the LW’s job, but the father’s lack of action has resulted in this situation where it is now falling the LW and the rest of her family.

        Sure, LW might have overstepped bounds, but she didn’t create this mess alone.

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        snoopy128 March 17, 2016, 3:28 pm

        oops* mistress overstepped bounds, not the LW!

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  • avatar

    artsygirl March 17, 2016, 2:19 pm

    LW – It sounds like you are in a rough place. My deepest condolences on what you and your family are going through.

    I can understand your worry regarding your father’s mistress’s attempts to insert herself when she has been told she is not welcome. I think Saneica’s suggestion regarding a letter or a phone call is a good one, but I would add that you should not be the person who suggests this to your father. Since you are obviously close to both your parents, you should absolve yourself of trying to negotiate between the various parties in this situation. You stated that the affaire was an open secret in your family, could you ask an uncle or a friend of your father’s to broach the subject? That way you will not have to deal with this woman that has disrespected your mother and can just focus on your family.

    Regarding the funeral, if your father decides not to contact her I would also make it explicitly clear to the mistress that she is not invited through a letter or email (again if someone besides you, your brother, or your mother could write it that would be preferable). I would also inform a family member (say a cousin or uncle) to be on the look out and willing to escort her out if she shows up. Finally you can also look into hiring a security guard for the funeral. It might sounds extreme, but I know someone who did this for a wedding when they assumed a distant family member would show up in order to cause a scene.

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  • avatar

    blink14 March 17, 2016, 2:21 pm

    Wow this is a really tough one, and I feel for your parents and for the mistress. Your parents did not get to choose who they married, and had your father met this woman in a different life, he may have married her to start with. I’m assuming that in your community/culture, divorce is probably highly frowned upon. Both of your parents were controlled by their own parents/families/communities into their marriage. Your father having this long term affair doesn’t mean he doesn’t care for your mother, but it does mean that the marriage wasn’t right for him.

    Given the amount of time they have been together, it seems so cruel to not allow them a time to say goodbye to each other. Would your mother be willing to give them some private time to before he passes away? I understand that she doesn’t want the mistress at the services, and I understand that you (and your brother I assume) don’t want her around, but also think of your father. He clearly loves her, and why further his suffering by not allowing them some final moments together?

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    • avatar

      Northern Star March 17, 2016, 3:21 pm

      The LW’s father made this decision himself. He doesn’t want to see the mistress before he dies. I see no reason the LW is supposed to convince him otherwise.

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      • avatar

        blink14 March 17, 2016, 3:28 pm

        He said he’d do whatever the LW’s mother wanted him to do, its not really the same thing.

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        Northern Star March 17, 2016, 4:18 pm

        Then he chooses to honor his vows to his wife at the expense of his lust for his mistress. That’s the dad’s choice. The end. The LW has a bad relationship with the mistress, and the woman is a straight-up liar. The LW is under no obligation to intercede on her behalf. The mistress certainly didn’t think about the LW’s feelings when she was boinking a married man for 20 years. The LW doesn’t have to think about hers. They have no connection.

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        Ron March 17, 2016, 4:36 pm

        Oh, please! Lust for his mistress? The guy is dying of testicular cancer over the past 3 years. It’s probably been well over a year since this poor guy has been able to get it up for anyone. Testicular cancer generally means they suppress testosterone. What we are talking about here is love and a long period of liking, not lust.

        If I were to cheat on my wife, that would be a horrible, disgusting thing to do, because we mutually chose, on our own, to marry and we always had the possibility of divorce if we were unhappy. This poor guy had no choice in whom he married, and for sake of his families ‘face’ and adherence to his culture’s customs, no opportunity for divorce. Also, in many of these cultures, infidelity is not viewed as the huge moral lapse that it is in our society. This man was always there for his family and acted not to embarrass them. I think he is still acting to save embarrassment and a giant fight, but would like to see his mistress again, before he dies.

        Those of us in our time and culture can easily forget what a huge blessing and right it is to have full discretion to choose our own spouses and to have divorce available as an acceptable out from a bad situation. This letter illustrates how truly awful the alternative is, and yet that has been the condition of most humans over time. It was bad for men, but far worse for women, who were basically passed along as property for the father’s/family’s advantage.

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        RedRoverRedRover March 17, 2016, 8:08 pm

        It’s actually possible the father had a choice. He may not have had the choice to get married, but he could have been able to choose the person he got married to. Depends on the culture. It’s possible the mother did too, but not probable.

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        Northern Star March 18, 2016, 1:12 pm

        Oh please yourself. The “poor guy” might not have had “any choice” but to cheat on his wife for 20 years (disagree with you, but let’s pretend I do). A Canadian women (i.e. with choices out the wazoo) deciding to be a mistress for 20 years—and trying to insert her stupid self into the lives of the CHILDREN of the man, who rightfully want absolutely nothing to do with her—has zippo excuse for her actions.

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        wobster109 March 17, 2016, 3:40 pm

        If only it were as simple as what the father says, now that he’s sick and tired. I heard a terrible story of a man (a friend’s friend). He had specific burial arrangements that were his stated wish for 40 years before his death. It conflicted with his family’s religion. On his deathbed, while he was drugged up on painkillers, his family talked him out of it.

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        Northern Star March 17, 2016, 4:22 pm

        Yeah, it’ll be REALLY sad if the mistress doesn’t get to hang around the hospital room to remind the wife and children of their husband’s/father’s unfaithfulness. Sorry, I have little tolerance for this woman who hurt a family for 20 years and now wants to be even more in their faces at the end of the road, when it’s most difficult. Who cares about her.

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        karenwalker March 17, 2016, 8:41 pm

        The father does.

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        dinoceros March 17, 2016, 9:38 pm

        I have trouble making the other woman out to be the bad guy when she’s not the one who took vows.

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        Northern Star March 18, 2016, 11:16 am

        I don’t. She knew her married lover had a wife and kids. She did what she wanted anyway, damn their feelings—and in fact deliberately HURTS them by shoving her unwelcome and unwanted self into their milestone celebrations. If the dad is too spineless to tell his wife, “I want my sex partner here at my side while I’m dying!” then he’s showing how he prioritizes his mistress. Too bad. But that’s what happens when you screw a married man. You’re disposable. The mistress is finding that out at a very late juncture.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 18, 2016, 11:33 am

        I don’t feel sorry for her either. She knowingly chose to have a relationship with a married man who had no intentions of leaving his wife. She chose to be a mistress and tried to act like she was a wife. She was never a wife and she knew it. She has wasted 20 years of her life on a relationship that was never going to grow beyond what it was at the beginning. From beginning to end she has been a mistress. Now he has ended it. The relationship is over and done. He has chosen to not include her in his final months. Either partner can end a relationship without the consent of the other partner. That’s what he’s done. She needs to accept the fact that he has chosen to not include her in this final part of his life and he’s finished with her. Their relationship is over.

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        snoopy128 March 18, 2016, 11:59 am

        But as it stands right now, she has no idea that he’s chosen to end their relationship. All she knows is the family isn’t allowing her in. So yeah, either person can end a relationship, but they actually have to let the other person know it’s over.

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        Northern Star March 18, 2016, 1:14 pm

        The dad may owe something to his mistress (although she’s a mistress, so… no, he doesn’t). The LW and her mom/siblings owe ZERO. They don’t have to consider her feelings or worry about her wellbeing. She didn’t care about theirs. They can return the favor.

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      • Stonegypsy

        Stonegypsy March 18, 2016, 1:32 pm

        No, he doesn’t owe it to someone he chose to be in a relationship with for 20 years to treat her like a human being and give her some closure? No, this woman doesn’t deserve to be treated with any empathy at all?
        Her moral failing, in your eyes, precludes her from any right to say goodbye to someone she’s loved for two decades?

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        Northern Star March 18, 2016, 2:38 pm

        The dad made his choice to abide by his wife’s wishes at the end. If you’re a mistress, you don’t get the heartfelt goodbye and “I love you forever” statement. You get a disappearing act and, if necessary, a restraining order if you are disgustingly classless enough to show up near the man’s grieving children and their mother.

        And I stand by my statement that the LW and her family owes the mistress nothing. Did she treat those kids and the wife like human beings with feelings when she screwed their father/husband for 20 YEARS? When she showed up bragging about it at their graduations?

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    Stillrunning March 17, 2016, 3:37 pm

    I’m sorry about your father and hope the comments here have helped.
    Your father and his friend had 20 years together. I think allowing her time alone with the father is a compassionate thing to do, with the understanding that you’re doing this for your father. Banning her from the funeral also seems right. It would create drama you don’t want when you’re saying goodbye to your father. Plus, with her inappropriate attempts to portray herself as a stepmother or wife, I’d be afraid she’d introduce herself as his “real wife.”
    She’s made overtures to his family and been rebuffed. Arranged marriage or not, that’s the price she pays for being with a married man.

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    keyblade March 17, 2016, 3:51 pm

    Dear No Love for his Mistress,
    I’m very sorry your father is dying. I’m sure you are feeing many things at this time. A lot of people are making comments about the legitimacy of arranged marriages. Clearly your father cares about your mother, deeply. If after three years of cancer, your father has chosen to have her by his side and abide by his wishes, it is his relationship with her or perhaps his personal beliefs about marriage and family which should be honored.
    While your mother’s choice to bar a long-term mistress from the hospital and funeral might be controversial, it is a privilege her husband has granted her.
    I think it is easy to get caught in societal narratives when mistresses are brought up. Perhaps in mainstream Canadian culture, where love and affection are presumed to precede an analytical decision to create a family and share a life, there is a temptation to determine whether the mistress has the right to be included within family. But perhaps your parents bought in to a different culture where the choice to find someone compatible who shares the same goals and commit precedes lust and affection. In such cultures the love between spouses and within their family might exist compatibly with a side “arrangement” because the side arrangement might be considered a superfluous indulgence that don’t threaten or overlap with the family in the grand scheme of things. I don’t know.
    It’s clear your mother did not fully accept and embrace your dad’s mistress. It is understandable that you have an instinct to take her side. But I think maybe you can accept your mom has been granted the right to shut the mistress out without having to decide whether it is right or wrong. You can also accept your mom’s wishes without taking on the responsibility of resenting the mistress or keeping her in her place.
    The mistress seems to have bought into the idea that she has a legitimate place in your family. She has pushed on boundaries aggressively. I can understand why you would resent that, especially when you are already feeling so vulnerable and you had your son with you when she confronted you.
    Ultimately I agree with SaneinCalifornia. Your father should contact is mistress on your behalf and ask her to leave you alone. I’m reluctant to put this on a dying man but ultimately these are the choices of his life. If you feel the need to explicitly explain to her one time that you don’t resent her relationship with you father but you have no place for her whatsoever in your life or your family, then you can do so calmly through Facebook or whatever.
    After that I would back away. You sound like you love your mom and deeply wish to be supportive of her during this painful time. Give yourself permission to do it without taking on the damage of her marriage which she might still be feeling. It’s going to be okay. I’m sorry for the pain you and your family are feeling at this time of goodbyes. My condolences for your upending loss.

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      keyblade March 17, 2016, 3:53 pm

      Please forgive the awful grammar.

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    dinoceros March 17, 2016, 6:04 pm

    I’d probably just mind my own business. Let the other woman know that you don’t want to talk to or see her, but let everyone else do their thing. If your dad is deferring to your mom, then I’d let her handle it. Maybe that’s selfish, but the three of them got themselves into that mess. The other woman stuck around, knowing she would never have a real place in his life. Your father not only had a very long affair. Your mother stuck around despite all this. They all literally should have seen this mess coming. I’m not saying this in a spiteful way, and I feel for all of them. If you all can’t keep her away, then yeah, you might need to get the authorities involved. Not a ton of options here.

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    Terry March 17, 2016, 6:15 pm

    I agree with Wendy’s comment above that this woman has tried to insert herself into the life of this family even after being given clear signs that she is not welcome and that the family’s wishes should be respected for once at least during this terrible time. I think her advice above about warning her about a restraining order is solid.

    I would also just like to add something about arranged marriages. I understand that they may be hard to understand for people who have not seen them in their personal lives, but as a person whose parents and almost every other adult family member had an arranged marriage, I can say that they are not that different from other marriages because they include the same experiences both good and bad. My family members are as happily married as any of our neighbors and friends who did not have arranged marriages. Yes sometimes people cheat, but have you noticed how many people contact Wendy about cheating that are NOT in arranged marriages? I think all of them. Cheating can happen in any kind of relationship and I would be cautious when blaming this particular scenario on the tradition of arranged marriage. The tradition of arranged marriage is more than often misinterpreted in this country and I think that is because it is different from what people know so they don’t understand it. Many people who are “opposed to the morality of arranged marriage” do not really understand it. I do not believe arranged marriage is immoral because I know way too many people who live happily in arranged marriages, and way too many people who have CHOSEN to have arranged marriages. Just because it is not what you want for yourself does not mean that it is innately wrong or makes a happy life implausible.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 17, 2016, 7:48 pm

      I think the statistics show that on average the happiness level in an arranged marriage increases over the years and the happiness level in a chosen marriage decreases over the years and that arranged marriages pass chosen marriages in happiness in just a few years.

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        Terry March 18, 2016, 12:06 pm

        I’ve heard that as well. Aziz Ansari fan? I haven’t honestly researched it and don’t know how true it is.

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      RedRoverRedRover March 17, 2016, 8:11 pm

      I think it’s because so often “arranged marriage” is used as a euphemism for “forced marriage”, particularly for the woman. I realize not every culture is like this, but there are still many that do it this way. It gives arranged marriages a bad name. It’s one thing if both parties decide that they’d like their parents to find them a spouse, and they get to meet them and give a yes/no. It’s another if they have absolutely no say in the matter, especially since that’s generally only true for the woman, who is basically handed over as a piece of property.

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        Terry March 18, 2016, 12:04 pm

        True, it is often used interchangeably with forced marriage, but that’s part of the problem and part of what people from families that have this tradition are tired of hearing. When you say the situation is “born of a tradition you are strongly against” what exactly are you against? I’m just asking because you seem willing to talk about it and I want to know why people have such strongly opposed opinions on arranged marriage. Are you against arranged marriage or forced marriage? Do you think it is worthwhile to even make a distinction? Do you think that one can exist at all without the other?

        There are still many cultures in which women who do not have arranged marriages are treated like property and are severely restricted and subordinated. I have a friend whose family came from a poorer background in a particular country and her mother was not allowed to leave the house without permission and an exact report of where she was going and another one entailing where she went when she got back. Her parents did not have an arranged marriage. She could pick the guy but this was, as far as we discussed it, a norm where she was from.

        Arranged marriage is being tied to multiple problems and factors like socioeconomic status, gender inequality, ethnic marginalization, lack of education, and general inequality and lack of resources. These are all packaged together and labelled as “Arranged Marriage”. It’s strange how the problems experienced by people who are in marginalized communities are being blamed on one of THEIR traditions rather than the actual disenfranchisement.

        If you want further proof that arranged marriages can exist outside of the disenfranchisement typically associated with them, here are a few examples from my life.

        My cousin had an arranged marriage to a man who turned out to be a total creep and terrible guy. She divorced him and my family supported her. She then had ANOTHER arranged marriage to a man that she has been happily married to for eight years and has two children with. The strange thing about this story is that it happened to a colleague of my mother’s as well. The situation was almost exactly the same except neither of the colleague’s marriages were arranged.

        An older White American couple around the block that is very well known in the neighborhood recently told everyone that at around seventy years of age and almost fifty years of marriage they were getting a divorce because they couldn’t stand it anymore. The wife revealed that the husband had been having an affair with another woman since they were in their thirties. This came as a shock because everyone thought they were happily married. When asked why she stayed, the wife said it just wasn’t as acceptable in the small town culture and during her lifetime to get a divorce. Sometimes social pressure to stay in a marriage is more of a generational issue than anything else like arranged vs not arranged marriage.

        I know a family friend who dated a lot in his twenties and decided to ASK his parents to arrange his marriage because he had decided that was the right way for him. This is despite the fact that he had the choice to have a not arranged marriage. They did and he has been happily married for three years.

        Problems in relationships are not necessarily linked to arranged marriage. I don’t think it is better, I just don’t think it is wrong. I also think that we should stop deeming some cultural traditions as innately wrong and thereby making it impossible for modernity and equality to exist without crushing cultural traditions.

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        RedRoverRedRover March 18, 2016, 1:43 pm

        Personally I don’t consider it an arranged marriage if the parties had a say in the matter. They may have been introduced to suitable people by their families, but they still made a choice. That’s not fundamentally different from western-style marriages as far as I’m concerned. Like I know someone who in her community, what they do is basically “advertise” themselves as looking for marriage in the church newsletter. People contact them, they meet them once, and they decide if they want to marry them. Works the same way regardless of gender. She considers her marriage “arranged”, but it was arranged by her!

        When it’s literally arranged by the families and one or both parties have no say in the matter, that’s where I have a major problem with it. Really I think the term “arranged marriage” is so generic as to be useless. We should be calling them forced marriages or choice marriages. But of course cultures who use forced marriage don’t want it to actually be called that, so we call them “arranged”, as if that describes at all what’s going on.

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        Terry March 18, 2016, 6:13 pm

        So I think your answer is that you don’t think that arranged marriage and forced marriage are different. “She considers her marriage “arranged”, but it was arranged by her!” That’s the point. That’s how many people in arranged marriages have met their partners. “When it’s literally arranged by the families and one or both parties have no say in the matter, that’s where I have a major problem with it.” Again, that’s the point. When they are not asked for their approval, it is FORCED marriage. Many people who have arranged marriages have them arranged by their families and are asked for their approval. It was ARRANGED by their parents. This is what they describe as their cultural tradition of arranged marriage and you cannot change the name of somebody else’s tradition so that it makes more sense to you. When you describe cultures using it as a cover up for forced marriage, I disagree. They are often upfront about the forced nature of it and even if they aren’t, it is not the arranged part that is wrong so it cannot be used as a cover up. There are also many times when a person will go to their parents and say that they have found someone and their parents say “Okay, we will arrange it”. To reiterate my appoint, arranged marriage is not inextricably linked to the bad things that surround it sometimes. Also, not that I condone it, but I do know people who had marriages where they did not have a choice in the person they married, but were happy to marry anyone their parents chose. That was the tradition they knew and they were happy with it. I would also be sensitive to their experiences as well. If you want a more comedic approach Aziz Ansari does a short bit about it in his special “Buried Alive”. Thanks for the exchange.

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        RedRoverRedRover March 18, 2016, 6:23 pm

        I’m not telling them to change what they call it in their own language, but in english the differences are not reflected. Regardless of whether the marriage is forced or not, it’s called the same thing, arranged marriage. All that does is reflect badly on the marriages where there was choice, and help to hide the ones that were forced. What is the value in that? The different situations have been inaccurately translated into english, all I’m saying is that different english words should be used to describe the different situations.

        And you’ve still managed to misunderstand me – I do think there’s a difference between a marriage where the people are forced and one where they made a choice, regardless of how they were introduced. But lumping them together and calling them the same thing makes no sense. That’s my entire point. It’s not that *I* don’t think there’s a difference, it’s that they are literally called by the same english word. The english language doesn’t think there’s a difference.

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        Terry March 23, 2016, 3:33 pm

        And you’ve still managed to misunderstand the concept. “But lumping them together and calling them the same thing makes no sense” Exactly. That’s what I said. None of the people of these cultures are lumping them together and calling them the same thing. None of these people are saying that all of the problems that happen in their communities INCLUDING forced marriage are due to arranged marriage or are the natural byproducts of arranged marriage. People like you who do not take the time to understand what exactly they are strongly opposed to and put it under the banner of arranged marriage are the ones lumping the problems together.

        “Regardless of whether the marriage is forced or not, it’s called the same thing, arranged marriage. All that does is reflect badly on the marriages where there was choice, and help to hide the ones that were forced. What is the value in that?” In some places some laws say that rape cannot really exist within a marriage. We know that’s not true. Should we stop calling marriage by its name to prevent people from hiding bad actions under its name? Regardless of whether the marriage is abusive or not, it’s called the same thing, marriage. Marriage is not the problem. Rape is the problem. Some marriages are abusive, just like some arranged marriages are forced. We don’t try to change the name of marriage to prevent marriages from being abusive. Similarly, the things most people are against like gender inequality are not going to be fixed by calling arranged marriage something different.

        “It’s not that *I* don’t think there’s a difference, it’s that they are literally called by the same english word. The English language doesn’t think there’s a difference.” What makes you think these people aren’t saying “arranged marriage” in English? Many of the places where arranged marriage takes place are English speaking and actually have the concept of arranged marriage written in English in their legislation. It’s not that the English language doesn’t see a difference. If people decided to call forced marriages arranged marriages, then that wasn’t the problem of people who have arranged marriages. If people believe arranged marriage is bad then that’s due to an already preconceived notion about it that is perpetuated by people who decide to be firmly against something they don’t understand. Its bad name, or the lumping together of both arranged and forced marriage, was created by people who did not take the time to understand it in the first place. I wasn’t going to get into a very technical analysis of the English language but okay. When you arrange a party for a friend are you forcing a party for your friend? When you arrange for a ride to meet you at the door are you forcing a ride to meet you at the door? When you arrange a deal with a business partner are you forcing a deal with your business partner? The two words have obviously different definitions. The English language does “think there’s a difference” between these two words so translating a concept and saying the English language doesn’t know how to define it without using both concepts is plainly incorrect. And I know the word that would be translated from another language and if you want an almost exact translation of it then it is “a marriage that is arranged”. The perception of the arranged part was completely brought about by people who didn’t care to know what that meant and wanted to assume that everything from that culture is the same. It would be like if a friend of mine whose family doesn’t practice arranged marriage was getting married and instead of saying “congratulations” I said “So when is the divorce? I know a lot of marriages in America end in divorce. I don’t want to have to buy you anything too permanent. Maybe a nice jar of pickles that will expire before the window of your marriage is up. Because you’re definitely getting a divorce. That’s how those kinds of marriages work. And you are like every other person like you.”

        “The different situations have been inaccurately translated into english, all I’m saying is that different english words should be used to describe the different situations.”
        To reiterate the point, no they have not been inaccurately translated into English. Again the proper translation would be “a marriage that is arranged”. Arranged and forced marriage are completely separate concepts that have been lumped together by people who don’t care to differentiate, or, quite frankly, know what they’re talking about.

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    Kate March 17, 2016, 8:12 pm

    Everyone is so focused on the fact that the letter writer’s parents had an arranged marriage, but I don’t really think it matters. After fifty years, I’m sure the parents love one another and it’s really not on us to judge the quality of their marriage. But I also don’t agree with the the other side of things, which says this woman is basically getting what she deserves. Twenty years is a long time, and I’m sure they loved another as well. I think if there’s any room for compassion for this woman, it should be considered. Of course “room” for compassion would mean that: (1) this woman isn’t actually crazy but only disliked (ie, she would respect boundaries if you tried to make a gesture to respect her need for an update/contact), (2) there is any possibility that the letter writer’s mother/family would allow for a visit or even just a medical update to get closure, and (3) the letter writer has any interest in opening herself up to being compassionate to a woman she deeply dislikes. If none of this is possible, the letter writer is only one person trying to manage an impossible situation with a lot of different people, and I think the letter/phone call idea is a really good one. I’m so sorry that you and those close to your father are going through this, I can’t imagine how hard it is for you.

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    Katie March 17, 2016, 8:42 pm

    I dunno. This makes me sad. No one wins, and everyone is left with varying degrees of crappy feelings. I can say this, in my life I have never regretted being kind. Intruding mistress or not, I’m sure she is in pain too. But you’re right, right now you and you’re family have to come first.
    LW, take whatever measures you feel like you need to take to not make this already difficult time any harder. If that means taking legal action, so be it.
    I wish you peace and comfort. LW.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark March 17, 2016, 8:52 pm

    Hell hath now fury like a bitter woman who did nothing for twenty years about an affair and is now at long last trying to play the fucking victim — when she isn’t even the one dying here. That so many agree with this shocking, bitchy move by the family would have once astounded me. Those that are fucking forced into shitty marriages get a pass from me. Sorry, folks. I bet the wife was no saint either. Hopefully, her death will come with fitting karmic retribution… Whatever. They both made this bed — but only he has to die in it.

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      saneinca March 18, 2016, 12:38 pm

      Well the mistress is not innocent either and chose to hang around a guy who never committed to her. And if you believe in karmic retributions, the father had his. So will the mistress too for causing pain to a family.

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    jlyfsh March 18, 2016, 9:31 am

    This is up to the father to deal with and unfortunately as someone said above he didn’t think to plan for something like this in the future. Maybe saving face and having extended family/friends/the community not know about his affair was more important to him than his mistress. He should never have left this decision up to his wife. It would feel like a slap in the face if I was in that situation. He needs to let the mistress know what his wishes are. It’s easy to blame the mistress, but the real person to blame here is the husband.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom March 18, 2016, 5:14 pm

    With the additional information provided by the LW stating that the parents never separated and the mistress was never invited to any family events and including the original information that the neighbors never knew that the dad was having an affair I think it is safe to assume the dad has always lived with the mom and has cheated on her in a manner discreet enough so that the neighbors would never see it. A man like that, who doesn’t want people to see or know that he has a mistress, isn’t going to want to have her at the hospital. Having her show up at the hospital breaks the image that he has carefully maintained for twenty years. He isn’t going to give that up for the mistress at this point in his life. The mistress should have realized long ago that he was never going to integrate her into his life. Her showing up at his children’s events and signing herself as their stepmother and calling herself his wife was a way to try to make it obvious to everyone that they were together but it seems that it didn’t work. She was pushing the relationship to be public and he didn’t want that. He wanted a discreet affair and her showing up at the hospital isn’t discreet. The mistress should have realized long ago that in public he would pretend that she didn’t exist. The hospital is public and as far as he is concerned she doesn’t exist.

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      Ron March 18, 2016, 8:35 pm

      Yes, with the added information, I agree with your interpretation.

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    Baccalieu March 19, 2016, 4:32 pm

    I feel the same as Katie. This situation makes me sad. I don’t find it in my heart to completely condemn anyone here: not the father, the mother, the LW or the mistress. The mistress certainly seems to have been somewhat delusional to think that she could style herself as the father’s wife, and she undoubtedly chose to stay in a situation that would be unacceptable for most of us, but it can hardly be doubted that she genuinely cared for the man. If she is crazy or mentally ill, then surely she is still more to be pitied rather than attacked.
    If a good friend of mine were dying and because of a dispute with his family I was barred from seeing him or taking part in any funeral services, I would probably accept it (particularly if I knew my friend was going along with it) but I certainly would feel very bad about it. While acknowledging that the family has the right to avoid contact with this woman, and bar her from any sort of formal memorial, it would be a very nice and kind gesture (but maybe too much to ask) if they tried to allow her something or at least didn’t hold her efforts to get around it against her.
    I do agree that the response of the mistress to that to that might be to “take a mile”, but she seems inclined to take a mile anyway. In answer to the LW’s specific question, “How can we stop her?” The answer is you can’t other than by getting a restraining order. And getting one may prevent you from pretending that the affair never happened.

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    Steph March 21, 2016, 9:08 am

    Even if she was publicly his mistress, she would be his “girlfriend” … As a girlfriend you get no rights. You do not get to visit someone in the hospital without the family’s approval. And the family isn’t approving. So whether she’s a secret mistress who pushed her self on the guys family or was invited to these events with the dad, that still doesn’t allow her to just pop into a hospital and visit without approval. And the family isn’t approving.

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    hazel March 21, 2016, 11:38 am

    The death of a loved one is very hard indeed, and in the aftermath it is almost inevitable to feel intensely guilty about anything that you could have done for the person you lost that you failed to do. It is the most gut-wrenchingly awful emotion. If you think it would ease your fathers’ heart in any way to see this person- for all of your sakes -let him.

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      keyblade March 21, 2016, 1:13 pm

      Hazel, I think this is unfair. This is a daughter who is not responsible for the choices her mother has made to bar her father’s mistress. Nor is she privy to the details of her parent’s marriage nor the private discussions they have had over the last twenty years or even the last three when her dad realized he had cancer . There is no mention of her being in any position of to make choices on behalf of either of her parents. I think her relationship with her father is enough for her to focus on at this time without trying to get her to take on guilt for situation of which she has limited knowledge and no true control over. I sympathize with the mistress desiring closure. But I think the most the lw should do is to ask her father to contact the mistress so the mistress will stop randomly approaching her and trying to get her involved. I hope her father does call his mistress and I hope the mistress receives some level of comfort from it and gets to say goodbye. But this letter writer does not deserve to be filled with guilt and confusion and pushed to take on her father’s former girlfriend’s processing during the letter writers remaining time with her dad. The dynamics of getting involved in her parent’s marriage at this late an hour and at this late of time would put this letter writer in a position where she can’t win and would take her away from the emotional work she needs to do for herself at this time. Just my opinion.

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    hazel March 21, 2016, 5:10 pm

    I amn’t saying that at all she SHOULD feel guilt- she’s just trying to protect her mother, after all. I just fear that she will. The guilt after someone dies is irrational and unbearable, and once someone has gone there is nothing you can do to change things. Absolutely, I don’t think she’s doing anything wrong, and I surely don’t mean to put guilt on her. And if she lets the father contact the mistress as you suggest that is more than enough, he has had his chance to say goodbye.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 21, 2016, 6:32 pm

      In one of her updates she says that her dad is trying to pretend that the mistress doesn’t exist so I doubt he wants to see her.

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      keyblade March 21, 2016, 10:55 pm

      “And if she lets the father contact the mistress” I didn’t get the impression that this daughter is preventing or allowing her father do anything. If this man was able to maintain two relationships for the twenty years preceding the last three, I’m inclined to agree with Skyblossom that he could contact his mistress if it was what he wanted. But I don’t think the letter writer needs to go through all of this speculation.

      Honestly, I don’t think she needs to worry about trying get a restraining order for her mom or put too much thought into this mistress. If the mistress contacts other relatives, it will be okay. Even if she shows up at the funeral and someone turns her away or they don’t, it’s going to be okay. If the letter writer just focuses on her dad and family there is nothing this mistress can do to fully ruin the funeral with her presence. Still, if letter writer chooses to explore options, that is her choice. There is no script.

      I understand that there might be irrational guilt (or anger, resentment, numbness, and so on). Still, I think worrying too much about what she might feel could keep her experiencing being with her dad in the time he has left. I realize the irony in trying to predict this. I hope she will have supportive people surrounding her while she grieves and she will be able to move through her feelings as they come.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 22, 2016, 6:22 am

        Besides, she is going to be seeing her mom after the funeral not the mistress. If she tried to or did arrange for her dad’s mistress to come in for the sake of the mistress then she would see her mom’s grief and hurt and anger about that after the funeral. That kind of emotion can go on and on. Nobody should assume that the guilt would come from not inviting the mistress in. This LW should do what she feels is best for her family. After the funeral the mistress will be gone and I doubt she will feel any sense of guilt over her. She is far more apt to feel guilt for causing pain to the people she loves than to a stranger who tried to intrude into her life.

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    hazel March 22, 2016, 3:40 am

    I am now concerned that my advice might be upsettting to the LW and have tried to remove it, but can not do so- if someone could tell me how or do it please do so. Sorry.

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