Worried about my dad

Worried about my dad

Dear globalcounselor,

I am 18 years old and I have been raised by my wonderful dad as a single parent ever since my mother died  when I was only 4 years old. My dad never remarried and as far as I know never had a girlfriend. He committed himself to looking after me and my two other sibling brothers who are older than me. My dad was our biggest cheer-leader and he is my best friend. I could talk to my dad like I would talk to a mother. He has been there, taking me to school on the bus, taking me with him shopping, taking me to gym classes and other extracurricular activities. I never once thought of him as a man. It was difficult for him when I brought home my boyfriend. It was something new for him and he scolded me in the ways of boys. Recently I lashed out at him when he tried to stop me from going out with my boyfriend. He thought I was seeing too much of this boy and I don’t think he likes the fact that my boyfriend is white. We are Ethiopians and with strong cultural ties to Ethiopia. He even made sure I spoke our mother tongue Amharic. In my anger, I told my dad to get a life and stop worrying about me. He turned to me and said  I think you’re right, I should get a life and get a wife now. You are all grown up and I promised your mother I would take care of our children  and she was able to die in peace. I apologized to my dad but I know I have disrespected my dad and I feel so bad. Something broke. Then, a month of so later, he started dressing up and going out and coming in later. I suspected that he may have found a girlfriend. Last week he brought an Ethiopian woman home and introduced her to us as a friend. She is no  stranger, we’ve seen her in the community. My brothers seem to like her but I find myself wishing she would go away and leave my dad alone. I don’t think she is good enough for my dad and worst of all I feel that I have pushed my dad away and into the arms of this woman who I feel is only going to come and complicate our lives and take my dad for all he has. My dad is accountant and we’re not doing too badly off. How can I let my dad know that this woman is not right for him.

Guilty

Dear Guilty,

Thank you for sharing your story but my answer is short and hopefully sweet. Leave your dad alone. He is a grown man and from your description of him he has been a great dad. He’s done what a lot of men would not do so be grateful he’s seen you through your most critical years. He is your father but he also is a man and he has needs. Let him be. I am sure if he finds out that this woman is incompatible with him he’would know what to do.  Be happy for him. With regards to your little hissy fit, most parents are resilient to their children’s insults and maybe that was indeed a wake up call for him to realize he could not live his life through his children but ought to get on with his own. He must be thanking you for that in his heart. It sounds like you and your dad has an easy rapport, so if after a while you can be objective about your dad’s relationship (let’s face it you must be a little jealous of another woman coming into your dad’s life – and that’s normal in these circumstances)  and if you see something that worries you, I am sure you can talk to your dad and maybe he will clarify things for you.  What a lucky girl you are to have had a father as you described. He is one special dad

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