Dear Coleen: How can I make my dad see he’s acting foolishly?

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Dear Coleen

My dad has his own business and works a lot in eastern Europe. He got divorced from my mum five years ago after having a midlife crisis and a disastrous affair with a colleague. But he’s learnt nothing from it.

Now, aged 64, he’s hooked up with a Russian girl who, at 25, is five years younger than me. They’ve been dating, which in itself sounds ridiculous, for about six months.

I suppose none of us in the family thought it was serious and hoped it would fizzle out, but last week he told my brother and I that he’d proposed to her and she’d said . He popped open a bottle of champagne and expected us to toast his forthcoming nuptials, but we were both totally dumbfounded.

It must have been obvious from our faces that we weren’t about it but neither me or my brother had the heart to say anything at the time – plus I think we were both too shocked!

Since then we’ve been stewing on it and getting more and more stressed and angry about it. I’m sure my dad is just a meal ticket for this girl – there are nearly 40 years between them! But he just seems blind to it. We’ve met his fiancee a couple of times, but she never says very much and just sticks close to my dad. She’s very pretty, but I can’t understand why my dad thinks they have a serious future together.

My mum thinks it’s hilarious and that he’s an old fool – she washed her hands of him ages ago – but as his daughter, I feel I need to tell him how I feel and warn him about what he might be getting into.

Coleen says

Well they say is blind, so maybe lust is blind too! Actually, I’m sure your dad – a savvy businessman – knows exactly what he’s getting into. The age gap is more like a chasm, which even he can’t ignore, and I’m sure he also knows what other people are thinking.

First of all, if it’s his money you’re worried about, you don’t know what kind of financial arrangements he’ll put in place, he might get a pre-nup drawn up. The bottom line is, it’s his money.

And secondly, if what you’re worried about most is your dad’s happiness, then there’s every chance that this girl will make him very happy and they’ll have a nice life together.

I think it’s fine to voice your concerns, but make sure you do it in the right way.

Don’t go in all guns blazing telling him he’s being an idiot. Go out for lunch or a coffee to about general stuff as well as his upcoming wedding and ask him what he thinks about the age gap. Is he worried about it all? Open up the conversation and see what he says, then you can get across your worries.

But don’t fall out with your dad over it. If he seems obviously and genuinely happy, try your best to be happy for him. You never know, you might even get to like his fiancee!

* More of our agony aunt Coleen Nolan’s advice on your , family, and relationship problems

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