Virginia Ironside's Dilemmas: My 67-year-old father is besotted with a 25-year-old woman

My brother and I looked her up on the internet and found she’s been in prison

Share

Dear Virginia,

My 67-year-old father, a widower, is besotted with a 25-year-old Chinese girl. He’s lent her a lot of money, and is talking of marrying her. My brother and I don’t trust her and we looked her up on the internet and found she’s been in prison for fraud. But when we told my father he said he knew about that but she’d promised she’d turned over a new leaf. Is there anything we can do? My brother has a special-needs child and is worried that when my dad dies, his money – which is considerable – will go to this scheming girl and not to us.

Yours sincerely,

Jane

Virginia says...

Love, as you know, is blind. I’m afraid there is no way you’ll be able to convince your father that this woman is a con artist. He’s old, he’s flattered this young girl wants to be with him, he loves the sex and the companionship, and he’s prepared to pay for it. He simply doesn’t want to believe that she hasn’t reformed. I don’t believe it either, and I think she is probably out for every penny she can get – house, pictures, your late mother’s furniture and jewellery (if there is any). It’s unlikely you’ll get so much as a look-in.

Did you never fall for someone unsuitable when you were young? And did everyone not say: “Jane, you’re mad, he’ll never marry you he’s only in it for the sex/he’ll never commit?” till they were blue in the face, and did you take a blind bit of notice? Of course not. When in love we can’t see and we can’t hear. Love is a siren’s call and we’re impervious to the warnings of others. It can be like a terrible drug and although I know how lovely it is, I have to say that it’s best to make no decisions at all while under its influence.

And if your father did realise what was going on, what then? He’d be broken-hearted: do you want that?  There’s very little you can do at the moment except, perhaps, ask him to make some kind of trust fund for his grandchildren. I don’t know how easily you can talk about death or wills in your family, of course, but it would be sensible for him to start, at this stage, handing some of his money over to you and your brother anyway so that, if he lives another seven years, you won’t have to pay death duties on it. And I certainly think you could ask for anything your mother left him, now. At least then, you will be sure of getting something. Perhaps you have a friendly family solicitor who could start dropping hints to your father – though bear in mind that it’s always possible to change a will and with pressure from this temptress I don’t think it would take much.

Now, however, is the time to get cracking on getting some advantage, before this girl has completely got her hooks into your dad. And if everything slips out of your grasp, comfort yourself that there are two advantages. Your father’s last years will be very happy and you’ll be sure of having some help in caring for him in his old age.

Virginia Ironside will appear in ‘Growing Old Disgracefully’ at the Edinburgh Assembly Rooms on 12 August

Readers say...

He needs love

You’ve said you’re worried about what will happen to your dad’s money when he dies. You haven’t given any indication you’re worried about how he’d feel if this woman broke his heart. If you only have misgivings because you might not get his money, then quite frankly, you don’t deserve it. Perhaps your dad has realised this, and is trying to wring whatever happiness he can from life before the inevitable happens.

Have an honest conversation about what is best for him. Show him that he doesn’t need to turn to a 25-year-old stranger to get love and attention, and that he can get it from those who love him in return. A happy person is much less easy to prey upon than an insecure one.

Lindsay, by email

Put her to the test

Suggest that your father should put his assets in your name (with the ability to access them any time) and tell his beloved. That way he will know if she is true or not. Even if he won’t agree to this suggestion, tell her that you have reached this agreement with him and that he won’t admit it to her for fear of losing her. You won’t see her for dust.

Alan Tanner, Glasgow

Next week’s dilemma

Dear Virginia,

Our son is taking drugs. He’s still at school – only 17 – and he’s into ketamine and cannabis, and he often comes home completely out of it. We’ve talked to him, we’ve asked the mother of a friend who is now mentally damaged as a result of it to come and talk to him, and even his own contemporaries are worried about him. But there seems to be nothing we can do. A friend has suggested we kick him out onto the streets, but neither my wife nor myself could bear to do that. Some of the time he seems fine. But is there anything you can suggest?

Yours sincerely,

Brian

What would you advise Brian to do?

Email your dilemmas and comments to dilemmas@independent.co.uk. Anyone whose advice is quoted or whose dilemma is published will receive a £25 voucher from the wine website Fine Wine Sellers

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Payroll Officer - Part Time

£12047 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Part Time Payroll Officer required for t...

Recruitment Genius: Event Management and Marketing Admin Support

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Evening Administrator

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...

Recruitment Genius: Lettings Negotiator

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Central London based firm loo...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: I'd champion the young and hold a cabinet meeting on top of Ben Nevis

Bear Grylls
 

i Editor's Letter: The five reasons why I vote

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot