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I recently discovered a $400.00 check written to my Father's mistress of 25+ years. I wasn't certain he was giving her money, however, now I know. I feel their relationship is highly inappropriate and am afraid he has been providing her with financial support throughout the years. My biggest fear regarding all of this is upon his death, she request a monetary payoff she claims he promised her.

How do I address this issue without ruffling his feathers?


All suggestions are appreciated!

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Caligirl: I read some of your past posts. You describe your dad as a hard driving man who was never one to show much kindness to his family. It sounds like he's no kinder now in spite of the help you have provided as care giver over the past two years.

It must be hard to be aware that he has a relationship with a mistress, more so if you wonder if he shows her the kindness that he withholds from his family. I can see how that question would cause resentment of the heart beyond your judgement of the morality.

At any rate, I don't believe you are in a position to change the course of his thoughts or actions. He may not be as sharp as he use to be, but if he is still competent, what he does with his time and money is his business.

It's interesting that your step-mom left him around 5 years ago and they are still only legally separated rather than divorced. Maybe it's an asset issue that drags on, but maybe your dad does not want to live with his mistress or she doesn't want to live with him.

Sorry this is the father you ended up with. Cattails.
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I am very sorry for what you are experiencing, Caligirl. It is hard to see our loved ones decline, and very hard to take care of them.

Since Father and Secretary have been "friends" for 25 years, it is an open question of who is taking advantage of whom. Perhaps it is a mutually satisfying relationship. It is also hard to know whether the recent check you saw is something new or has been happening occasionally throughout the relationship.

I do not at all approve of mistresses during marriage. The fact that your father is legally separated is somewhat mitigating in my eyes. But I would probably feel resentment in your situation. As his caregiver, I don't think it is your role to "reform" him or punish him, tempting though that might be. Yes, it is your role to protect him from being taken advantage of. But if she is in his will, for example, and has been there since before he began his decline, how is that taking advantage of him? In fact, it has absolutely no impact on him -- it impacts his other heirs.

If he has been providing some financial support for all these years, then I don't see how she is taking advantage of his dementia or ill health. We are not talking about a young gold digger who came on the scene recently and has used his befuddlement to get things from him. This is a close friend he has chosen to relate to for decades. That you and I think the relationship is inappropriate does not change that it is his choice, and was his choice before dementia set in.

I don't know the details of his marriage; I don't know why he decided to have an affair. Maybe just because men are pigs or maybe for reasons we can't comprehend. I think to try to stop or redirect this relationship at this point would be taking advantage of his weakness. It is something you couldn't/wouldn't do when he was well. To do it now that you have the power to do it feels very uncomfortable to me.

I'm sorry if this seems harsh. I can truly understand your resentment and concern about your own inheritence. I can relate to the moral judgment you are making. I think you should take the high road and make decisions on behalf of your father in ways he would make them if he were competent to decide.
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3pinkroses, Cattails and Jeannegibbs:

I am his medical power of attorney, trustee of his trust, his caregiver and youngest child. I have watched my Father's health decline drastically within the past two years, to the point that I am currently living with him in his home (easier for me to manage one household). 1 massive heart attack, triple bypass surgery, CHF, a recent stroke and carotid artery surgery have all taken a toll on his ability to be independent and his cognitive skills. He's just not as sharp as he use to be and that scares me.

This relationship, in my eyes, is highly inappropriate because it started during his marriage to my stepmother. This woman worked for my Father as his secretary for many, many years and their affair has continued to this day. He is still married to my stepmother, (they are currently legally separated), hence the reason why he will not live openly with this other woman. My stepmother told me in my early 20's of her discovery of this affair but never shared the details. I have pieced together most of this information on my own from conversations he has had with me about his, "friend".

My Father has been diagnosed with dementia, which has progressively gotten worse over the years with the many health issues and recent stroke.

I'm concerned because I truly do not want anyone to take advantage of his fragile state and I'm not sure what this woman's intent truly is.
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What is inappropriate about the relationship? Is your mother still living? Is he still married to her?

I assume that Dad has not been mentally incompetent for 25 years. Whether his decisions are appropriate or not, or moral, or ethical, or smart, he is entitled to make them. Is there any evidence that he is not competent now?
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There's an expression, "Men are pigs", and the first time I heard it, it was said by a man who was quite responsible, but knew that men often behaved badly.

This is a 25 year relationship your dad has had with this woman, so it started when he was 59. Where was your mother during this time? Maybe she passed away early or they divorced.

So what is their relationship now and why has you dad continued the mistress relationship rather than living with her openly? I mean it's been 25 years plus and they live separately. I wonder why that is.

Bottom line, he has a long time relationship with this woman and if he wants to give her money and has for all these years, then I guess that's his right. It's his money and his choice.

Why do you feel their relationship is highly inappropriate?

If you are worried about complications after his passing, I would agree with JaneB, if he has not provided for her in his will, then she has nothing.

I don't think you can talk to your dad about this without ruffling feathers. I guess you could ask him straight out, "Dad, I'm wondering if your friend is going to be mentioned in your will. I just don't want us kids to have any surprises or have to deal with a problem after you are gone. Could we talk about this now. I respect your wishes, but would like to know what's in store for all of us so I can be sure your wishes are supported." You might be opening a big can of worms here and it could backfire on you.

Think carefully about the pros and cons. Best wishes, Cattails.
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Caligirl - Are you the one taking care of your father? In support of you, be leary of this other woman and her intentions regarding your father. Does he have dementia at all? Do you or does someone have power of attorney and a health care proxy. These are important to have to protect your Dad. In my view, if you are the person taking care of him, you should have power of attorney and be designated health care proxy rep. to manage his care as he gets older.

I'm also saying this as my uncle left everything in his will to his girlfriend who most definitely took advantage of his situation. I won't go into detail, but he left my cousins whose Mother was deceased since they were young, with nothing. And they all four were in dire need. I'm just sayin. Take care.
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Thank you JaneB for your response. I kind figured there wasn't much I could do to control this situation but thought I'd put it out there and see if I received suggestions I haven't yet considered.

Having a sensible discussion is what I would love to do, however, my Father isn't easy to discuss these types of matters with. He doesn't take well to anyone, especially myself, questioning his decisions at 84 ... even when they appear to be inappropriate or reckless.
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The thing is, if he is competent to take care of his affairs, then he has every right to give her any money he wants...regardless of what anyone else thinks about it. You can speak to him about it, and maybe you should, but make it about the fact of her, rather than the money -- since it's the relationship itself that seems to be troubling to you. If he has provided for her in his will, she will be entitled to it, regardless of what you think. And if he is not, you can't be made to pay her off.
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