Ask Brian: My dad's much younger new girlfriend keeps calling him 'daddy' and I want to vomit
Our no-nonsense agony uncle gets straight to the point of your most pressing issues
My parents are separated - after just over 20 years of marriage they decided to go their separate ways.
The split is amicable and they both seem much happier.
I’m trying to be really supportive but recently they have both got back into “the dating scene”.
It’s pretty traumatising when my mum tries to ask me questions about tinder but I can handle that compared to my dad's new relationship.
He started dating a woman who is 15 years younger than him - he seems besotted with her.
I find it weird that she’s closer in age to me than him. She’s also not the sharpest tool in the shed so I find it hard to respect her. She once asked me if I thought it would be safe to grill a chicken fillet in the toaster. Sometimes I wish I'd lied and told her it was.
But my main problem is how inappropriately affectionate they are in public - constantly kissing one another, giggling and generally acting like teenagers.
She also occasionally calls him ‘Daddy’ in front of me which makes me want to vomit.
I’m happy my dad is happy and don’t want to rain on his parade but how can I get him - and more importantly her- to stop acting this way?
I'll be honest - I don't even know your dad and I felt slightly nauseous reading that. I have no idea why she'd feel the need to call him that in front of you unless she enjoys secretly emotionally torturing you.
It's very difficult to process the breakup of your parents, but their return to the dating scene obviously makes the breakup seem all the more real.
The fact you can recognise that they're both much happier since the split is a massive positive and very mature of you - but their return to the dating scene unfortunately means there could be some bumps in the road ahead. There will be partners you might not like and even ones you do like, but don't appreciate their presence in place of your mam or dad.
You should remember it's a very strange new dating world for two people who have been off the scene for over two decades. I'm assuming they met and married in the mid 1990s, when most people didn't even have the internet to date on and the smartest phone you could buy would allow you to play Snake (look it up kids).
Fast forward to now and there's dozens of dating apps, catfishes and dick pics to contend with. It's a changed world. So while I understand the idea of your mam on Tinder is difficult, she probably really appreciates (and needs) the guidance.
Now for your dad and the new younger woman in his life.
Once again I really commend you for recognising that whatever you may think of her, the new relationship with this woman makes your dad happy.
But let's be honest - there's a limit to what we want to see. No one wants to see their parents frenching their new lover over brunch as you're chomping down on a sausage.
I think there's two ways you can approach it.
You can take a lighthearted, informal approach to it and next time something overly affectionate happens joke about it and tell them you don't want to see it. The message will hopefully be received without things getting awkward.
Ditto with her calling him daddy, lighthearted is probably the best first course to take. The back up plan here is to projectile vomit all over her the next time she does it, also another surefire way to ensure she gets the message.
Alternatively you could take the more formal route with your dad, sit him down and tell him while you're happy he's dating and in a good place, the overly affectionate stuff in front of you is difficult to cope with. He's still your dad after all.
I'd imagine he's unaware that he's making you uncomfortable, and would happily tone it down to put you more at ease.
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