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Dad cheated on my mom after 34 years of marriage


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A month ago my father (57 years) admitted to my mom (58 years) he had a year and a half affair with a woman he met during a business trip. They are now in the middle of a divorce, because he wants to move in with the b*tch.

 

My parents have been married for 34 years and have known eachother for 42 years. I’m in my mid-twenties and I had a wonderful (atleast that’s what I always considered) childhood. Both my parents were always there for me and they helped me where ever they could. I always thought of my father as a great and wise man. He made me laugh, cheered me up when I was sad and always had great advice for me and others. He sacrificed a lot to keep the family happy. Me and my sister always came first. You can imagine how immensely disappointed and betrayed I felt when he told me about his affair.

 

I had a feeling my parents marriage wasn’t that great anymore. My mom told me how much he had changed when he had his second heart attack two years ago. A doctor told him that he had way too much stress in his life and that he should think of himself more to avoid a third one. Boy, did he take this information the wrong way!

Now my mother isn’t entirely innocent either. About ten years ago my mother fell in love with another man she met on the internet. It never turned into a full blown affair, they only met once in real life, because both my mother and the OM (Other Man) realised that their families and spouses were more important to them than this infatuation they had for eachother.

 

But apparently my father doesn’t feel the same way for his family and that’s what hurts me the most. He has changed into someone I barely recognise. The OW (Other woman) was actually looking for a job close to our home town. They seemed to make plans to live together even before we knew about the affair! My dad gave my mom the cliché talk we all heard a million times before: That the OW is his soulmate (he never even used to believed in this concept), she understands him on every level, the marriage was dead years ago etc. Bleurgh! The OW even wanted to call my mom to tell her she is sorry for falling in love with my dad. Ofcourse my mom told my dad she could go to hell.

 

And he’s been saying even more strange things. I told him how much I missed him and he asked me if I wanted to come live with him. I shouted he was being a massive fool. Why on earth would I want to spend time with him AND the OW? If I ever saw her, I’d change her face into a bloody pulp.

 

Some short info about the OW: She’s 52, a divorced mother of two sons about the same age as I am. Apparently she was raped as a child by her own father (So…. Daddy issues?), used to get into a lot of fights at bars and has a lot of stomach problems. Yep, sounds like a real keeper to me.

 

The thing is, ofcourse I still love my dad. I have never in my entire life seen him cry so much as I have this last month. He feels horrible about what he is doing to my mum, me and my sister. But to him, the only solution to happiness is this OW. He almost feels entitled to it after all the sacrifices he has made for us, but what worth do these sacrifices have if this is the end result? He told us that he does not expect to live long because of his heart problems, maybe another 15 years or so. So that’s why he is so persistent to continue this road, even if he is destroying this family for his own selfish reason.

 

Up until two years ago my dad never would have fitted the cheater profile. He was a well respected man and I miss the old him so much. I feel utterly devastated and question everything about myself. I always looked up to my parents’ marriage, but it has all been a big lie. Part of me hopes that my father either suffers from a severe depression or a massive midlife crisis, something that can be helped with, with the right therapy. That way I won’t have to face the truth that my dad may actually not be the great man I always thought he was.

 

I just want to know what the opinion is of people here: Has my dad become mentally ill or has he just been a cheater all along? Can someone really all of a sudden become a cheater in their late 50’s?

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Sorry to hear this. All you can do is hope one day you view them as flawed people who did their best to be parents, but were not the best spouses to each other.

 

Hopefully they are talking to therapists to deal with this and not dumping it on you or trashing each other to you or hoping you'll take sides. Try to stay out of that part. It's ok to say "I can talk about this right now" to either of them if you have to.

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I am so sorry for your pain It must be very difficult.

 

I would hate the other woman, too. But, all of your anger seems to be directed at her. Your father had a commitment to his family, he is the one that is the most responsible in this horrible situation.

 

I think your father is human, and flawed like all of us - I DO NOT excuse his cheating in any manner. I think that it is incredibly selfish.

 

Have you considered counseling to deal with this?

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Parents are never perfect. And a lot of times they stick out a marriage until the kids are grown.

 

Cheating is a terrible thing. But he does have the right to end things with your mom. Ultimately, they are adults and their relationship is separate from you. You are not responsible for it, nor can you control it.

 

You also don't have to hang around the new woman. That's your choice too.

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OP:

 

"I’m in my mid-twenties and I had a wonderful (atleast that’s what I always considered) childhood. Both my parents were always there for me and they helped me where ever they could. I always thought of my father as a great and wise man. He made me laugh, cheered me up when I was sad and always had great advice for me and others. He sacrificed a lot to keep the family happy. Me and my sister always came first."

 

Thing is, OP, you are now an adult, and if I were you I'd keep out of this situation. You are not a marriage counsellor or therapist.

 

People disappoint us, and often. But your father in the 34 years of his marriage did his best for the family (as you say).

 

People do crazy stuff sometimes, mid-life crisis, I just don't know.

 

In 3D I have seen situations similar to what you describe.

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I am so sorry for your pain It must be very difficult.

 

I would hate the other woman, too. But, all of your anger seems to be directed at her. Your father had a commitment to his family, he is the one that is the most responsible in this horrible situation.

 

Agree with this. Your hatred and anger is directed towards the wrong person.

 

Cheating is a terrible thing to do, but I won't say that all cheaters are horrible, terrible people. I don't think there is a "cheater profile" either. I don't think you become a cheater like it's a personality trait. Sure, there are some people who are constant cheaters, but for the most part, I think it happens when people are really unhappy in their relationships.

 

We don't know the situation between your mom and your dad. Most likely their marriage has been so unhappy that your dad has been looking for an excuse or motivation to leave for years. Another woman is strong motivation.

 

I also understand how hard it can be though. When my parents divorced I felt very upset about it as well. But it gets easier. I was really upset at first, but now my parents are happier than ever without each other so I'm happy for them.

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"......he had changed when he had his second heart attack two years ago. A doctor told him that he had way too much stress in his life and that he should think of himself more to avoid a third one"

 

Some people take drastic action when they get that kind of news. It happens.

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Firstly, I am so sorry about this.

 

Secondly, you need to stay out of your parents' relationship. You need to establish/maintain relationships with them separately and do not be pulled into picking sides.

 

btw, if mom cheated on your dad first, its possible that he felt disconnected already from her. Sometimes when one party cheats, its only a matter of time before divorce is inevitable because the trust never comes back. He didn't leave her until he found someone else versus leaving her, which he had the right to do, at the time it happened.

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Your dad asks if you want to live with him. You should stay in the home you are living in, and being in your mid 20s, you should consider moving into your own place and not living with either of them. If you have graduated from college, you are old enough to have a job gainful enough to do so.

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I am sorry for the emotional turmoil you are going through.

 

It seems like as an adult, you have finally find out in a really rough way that your parents are just flawed human beings. Having said that, it seems that they did give their absolute all to give you and your sister both everything you could ever want, despite the fact that their marriage was in all kinds of troubles.

 

I think as much as this is a shock to you, you do need to look back and realize that your mother cheated on her marriage as well. Your parents' marriage has been broken for a long long time. This is not just about your father or the other woman. The issues between your parents have been going on for years and run deeper than they are willing to share with you. In short, don't be a hypocrite about picking sides. Both of your parents are actually similarly flawed in that they will look outside their marriage for fulfillment......and perhaps they are right.....in that for them, the marriage is over and has been dead for a long time and it's long past due they moved on from it. You and your sister are in your 20's and should be off living your own lives. Your parents both have paid their dues and are now seeking their own personal happiness in whatever form it comes in.

 

Given the background on both of them, I really hope that you are able to see that it's probably best for them to part ways. In fact, the biggest mistake they made is the facade they maintained all those years for your sake of a "happy" family when it was anything but happy. It was an error of judgment and not an uncommon one at that. They did what they thought was right, they were not so right, they are human and therefore flawed.

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To be honest, I got out of therapy last year. For very different reasons. After a very tough year at college, I suffered from depression. Luckily I got out of it, I was very happy with my life, but part of me ofcourse worries for a relapse.

 

Yes, my parents have been dumping their problems on me a for a little bit, unfortuantly. They realise they should not be doing that, but they can't seem to help themselves. Probably has to do with the fact that I'm an adult now and not a kid. My mother fell into my arms hysterically, crying her eyes out a few times and even my dad one day just started to cry when I hugged him. I did my fair share of crying as well, but that has been replaced with a lot of anger and hate. Not just to the other woman, but to my dad as well.

 

I agree that all my anger is mostly focused on her Hollyj. It just seems much easier to hate a stranger than your own father. She knew my dad was married, but that did not stop her from seeing him. So in my opinion they're both equally to blame. She should have stayed away and break all contact with him.

 

Ironically my dad suggested to my mother that she needed help because of her wrathful feelings. Are you kidding me?

I fear that my dad is blinded by the butterflies in his stomach and he won't realise what he has lost until he 'wakes up' from this fog he is in. He's going to lose a lot of money and be in debt because he wants my mother to have everything they own because of his guilt.(English is not my first language, so I'm not sure how to explain the financial situation.) He lost all the respect people had for him and the OW doesn't have any friends, she's a bit of a loner, so I heard.

 

He wants a better life. But the road he is taking now will have him end up in a small apartment with no friends, no respect and not a lot of money. All for this woman he knows for a year and a half. I'm not planning on visiting him or maybe I don't even want to see him, so he will end up with only one daughter. The OW doesn't have to make any sacrifices because her kids don't live with her anymore. He's trying desperately to have a good relationship with me, but so far I'm giving him the cold shoulder. I'm just too angry. (I'm not planning on banishing him from my life forever, I just want to make him realise what he is giving up. But we can't have a normal relationship when that OW is still in his life.)

 

One time I was going to a restaurant with him and my sister. I told him to please not talk about the situation we were in. I just wanted a nice dinner with my dad and sis. But he kept blabbering on why he did what he did and that the OW was a sweet woman and that he hoped our relationship as father-daughter would stay the same. I became so angry, lost my appetite and just stared at my plate for the rest of the evening with tears in my eyes. It's awful to hear your father talk about what a wonderful woman the OW was, the only time he talked about my mum was when he complained about the marriage. I told him how angry I was and did not talk to him for the rest of the evening.

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Wow. I did not expect so many replies so quickly! Thanks everyone for your advice and opinions. Sorry if I don't/didn't reply to all.

 

Some info about me: I indeed still live at home. I'm in my Master year of college (I study animation and I have a job in the weekends.) But I can't afford my own place just yet. My boyfriend and I are planning on living together as soon as I graduate. The annoying thing with getting a job in animation is that I'm not sure where I will end up. So we are waiting, until I know where I'm going to work after college, so that we won't end up wasting money on a house we'll only be living in for a year or 2.

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Listen Wolf.

 

It is very wrong of your parents to put all this on your shoulders.

You need to be upfront and tell them that. Tell them they need to talk with an objective third party (not you). It is most unfair. Tell him you DO NOT want to hear about this other woman. Don't even enter into any argument with your father. He is an adult and this is his situation.

 

At the moment your father is blinded, sure he may lose money, and all he has. But nothing is going to stop him on this downhill slide.

 

What dancingF said

 

"In fact, the biggest mistake they made is the facade they maintained all those years for your sake of a "happy" family when it was anything but happy. It was an error of judgment and not an uncommon one at that. They did what they thought was right, they were not so right, they are human and therefore flawed."

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He wants a better life. But the road he is taking now will have him end up in a small apartment with no friends, no respect and not a lot of money. All for this woman he knows for a year and a half. I'm not planning on visiting him or maybe I don't even want to see him, so he will end up with only one daughter. The OW doesn't have to make any sacrifices because her kids don't live with her anymore. He's trying desperately to have a good relationship with me, but so far I'm giving him the cold shoulder. I'm just too angry. (I'm not planning on banishing him from my life forever, I just want to make him realise what he is giving up. But we can't have a normal relationship when that OW is still in his life.)

 

I think you should absolutely visit your dad - go to a movie with him or lunch just don't go to his aparmtent that he shares with the other woman. When he starts blaming your mother, etc, rather than talking about the weather, current events or other safer topics, just say "Dad, I love you and I love mom. I want to spend time with you, but I will not allow myself to be stuck in the middle. When you start talking about divorcing mom or your girlfriend, I am going to change the subject. If you cannot talk about other things, I am going to have to leave". And stick to it. Its called boundaries. And then see your dad again and lay the same ground rule down the minute he starts blaming your mother.

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A few quick thoughts.

 

One, both of your parents are in the wrong. You really need to understand this. They both cheated. And they have shared too much info with you.

 

Secondly, what I think you are mistakenly assuming is that your father is better off married to your mom. Mom cheated a long time ago and I would bet the relationship has just plodded along ever since. I am not saying he's fine to cheat, but there are clearly two sides here.

 

Finally, I have a strong feeling you are going to end up where they are. You really need to move out on your own and WITHOUT your boyfriend. Learn to build a life and financial stability on your own. You need to clear your head and be independent and get some counseling if you need it. Without getting some independence and help, you will likely repeat your parent's situation.

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You really need to move out on your own and WITHOUT your boyfriend. Learn to build a life and financial stability on your own. You need to clear your head and be independent and get some counseling if you need it. Without getting some independence and help, you will likely repeat your parent's situation.

 

Yes. This.

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"But the road he is taking now will have him end up in a small apartment with no friends, no respect and not a lot of money. "

 

And I would bet good money his new situation will not last.

 

I can think offhand of several very similar situations in 3D I know of. All ended disastrously and destructively.

One acquaintance, in his mid-fifties, loving wife (very attractive), took up with a 58 yo separated woman with three adult children, nothing special, rather dowdy creature. Everyone thought he had gone stone mad, and he probably had.

She got every dime she could out of him, even a property, and turned out to be a fish-wife and a wrecker. All could see this, except him.

 

His health broke down, and he's a lonely, broken man.

 

Tough? Yes. But he took that downhill slide.

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Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I realise my parents are making big mistakes. I know way too much about the situation, therefore I am slowly starting to pick sides.

 

And thanks for the concern, but I wouldn't worry too much Ms Darcy. Even though I live at home, I take care of a lot of things myself. I'm not a big spender and I watch over my own finances. Animation is my second study, I graduated from Applied Psychology. But I always wanted to work in Animation, unfortuantly it took some time for me to get into this school, since you have to pass the test before you can become a student. I made sure I had a job on the side to earn some money for my own.

I surely don't want to become dependent on my boyfriend. That's why I believed it would be wiser to live together when I start to make some money for myself as well.

 

The only good thing that came out of this situation so far, is that my bf and I are even closer than we were before. My parents and I luckily don't share the same history. They met when they were 15 and 17 and married probably way too early (when they were 23.) My bf and I were good friends for years before we started dating. He's 29 and I'll be 26 (tomorrow, first time I'm not looking forward to my birthday, haha ). We know eachother through and through and we talked a lot about this. He supports me all the way through without interfering in the situation. In the back of my head I do now hope never to end up like my parents. I hope that when I marry, I will have the marriage I believed my parents 'had.'

 

As for my mum. She felt incredibly guilty about her own mistakes as well and in these last 10 years tried to make up for it. She still loves my father dearly. The thing is, my mum never went so far as my father did. That's why her mistakes did not anger me as much, because she chose for her family. We were much younger back then. What hurts indeed is this 'facade' they have been holding up apparently. I counted myself as the luckiest kid in the world with such wonderful parents (while realising they were just flawed humans as well.) But I never expected my father to be this flawed. Family is the most important thing in the world for me and I would give anything to see them happy, even my dad. But I can't accept the way he is validating himself. That the OW will make him happy (which I highly doubt she will.). He waited for another place to stay, he hates being alone, before leaving my mum. That's why I don't wish him this 'happiness.' I hope he does one day find happiness, but rather with a different woman than this b****.

 

PS: You people sure give some thoughtful advice. I really appreciate it. To be honest, part of me is wondering if it would be better if I lived on my own, even if it were for just a short time. But I am going to make sure I will become independent, atleast financially.

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Happy birthday. Make it your goal, even while in school to move out even if that means roommates, another part time job, etc. Living in the midst of this divorce drama unfolding will negatively effect you. Unfortunately as an adult you are getting too caught up in it.

I'll be 26 tomorrow, first time I'm not looking forward to my birthday, haha
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I was just about to remark on that Wolf.

 

"They met when they were 15 and 17 and married probably way too early (when they were 23.) "

 

Exactly.

 

You are admirable, have a good head on your shoulders, and may I wish you a happy birthday and much luck and success in the future.

 

I can understand you must feel, as if you are watching a train out of control heading for a wreck, and although thte brakes are there, the person does not wish to apply those brakes.

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I surely don't want to become dependent on my boyfriend. That's why I believed it would be wiser to live together when I start to make some money for myself as well.

 

You still should move out by yourself first, whether with a female roommate or solo in a studio apartment. There is a big difference in paying for your expenses (your car insurance, snacks, books, etc.) under mom and dad's roof and when you truly need to juggle everything alone (rent, etc.). Also, when you move out alone, your relationships with your parents and siblings change big time. You say your parents are regarding you as an adult - that doens't truly shift yet. Trust me, as someone a little older. Everyone needs to do this. Its a reflection on your ability to manage/not manage money by yourself. Its not a reflection on the quality of your relationship. When you are 40 and looking back at your 20s, you will be very glad you did. Even if you commit to just doing it for a year. And you can do it for another, also, if you want.

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Wow so sorry for what you are going through. It is really tough when the glass shatters and you see that your parents, whom you have looked up to, are flawed just like everyone else.

 

I can relate so much with how you feel, I went through a very similar situation with my own parents when I was near your age, though my mother didn't cheat as well. I totally understand the shock and pain you feel right now. And the resentment. And I get wanting to blame the other woman

 

I think that you have gotten some really great advice here so there isnt much else I can add, but I also agree that you need to move out and set some boundaries with your parents. It is not right for them to dump the baggage on you. It really will taint your feelings and prevent you from healing. I had to have the same convo with my mother. I don't think she realized how she was affecting me, but her anger just fueled my own anger. You may want to suggest she seek counselling.

 

You def should seek counselling, I never did and I regret that. Just to help you absorb and process what you are feeling. I get being angry at the OT, and you absolutely do not have to force yourself to make her a part if your life, but it's not her fault. It's easy to look past the fact that your dad chose to carry-on a relationship with her. I used to entertain thoughts that my dad's OT seduced him entirely and that it was all her fault. But, they both made a choice. It was a way for me to try to shield myself from the painful realization that my dad was complicit in the affair, and was every bit as responsible as OT for causing all the hurt and pain to our family. My dad married his OT and they are still together. Me and my dad are now estranged, but when we still had some contact, he never forced his wife on me, and she never tried. And i'm glad for that, at least. And maybe in time, when you have processed this, you will make peace with them and will be able to welcome her into your life.

 

I also get that you are questioning relationships now. I did that too. I felt so cycnical I decided to never date again and became celebate for several years. I just had no faith in people (men specifically) or relationships. My father also went to la-la-land with all kinds of talk about "soul mates" etc. And was basically acting like a preteen girl. I also really wondered if he went through some sort of mental...situation, depression? Mid-life crisis? I dunno. But he was different after. To the point that I didn't know who he was anymore. And didn't like who he became. Hence the reason why we are estranged. I really can't explain it, but it scared me at the time, so much that I felt that marriage was a waste of time.

 

I worked through all of this though on my own, but suffered a lot. That's why I really think you should get counseling. Don't go through this alone.

Edited by happpybear
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I think to Happybear's point, this will effect your relationships in ways you may not even understand. A therapist can help you through this.

 

But all of your anger and your thoughts about their marriage as the model you wanted for your life .... Those are ticking time bombs in your subconscious that you need help to diffuse.

Edited by Ms Darcy
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