When Dad’s away…

My dad works abroad and my mom is seeing another man. Should I tell Dad?

Absolutely not, says our elder. Be kind to both your parents.

Dear EWC

I am an 18-year old girl. And last year, I just started studying in college taking up a BS Pharmacy course at a university. I would like to ask for help and guidance in a problem my siblings and I are currently facing. Just last year, we found out that our mom is seeing someone else. We found out about it from my mom’s sister, our aunt who told us about the other man. According to her, Mom has been seeing the guy for almost a year now. And my siblings and I never suspected or knew something like this would ever happen. When I found out about it, I was shocked but skeptical at the same time that maybe our aunt was just lying to us. But, one time, we caught our mom talking on the phone with the guy inside her bedroom, which was locked, and used a phone to record who she was talking to, and there we caught her speaking on the phone with the man. They call each other “hon”, maybe short for honey. It became my wake up call that this was really happening and that my mom lied to us.

I know my family isn’t doing well knowing that my dad is away. He works abroad and ever since I was a child I always heard my parents bicker and fight on the phone. And this year, they decided they wouldn’t talk to each other anymore. So when my father calls, he just talks to me, my older sister, and younger brother. But they never talked about getting a divorce or separation. And, I never expected my mom to do such a thing to us. We tried to confront her by asking her if she needed to tell or say something important. We even give her hints that we kinda know what’s going on. But still, she never cracked nor tried to tell us the truth.

And that as her daughter frustrates me the most. I don’t want to be lied to. Who does? And especially by their parent. So it frustrates me. Now I can see changes in how I act towards her. I became disobedient, disrespectful, and at times that she wants to talk, like asking how my day was, I just can’t find it in myself to reply. I think I changed because I just want her to know I’m hurt. I’m really hurt. All of us are. And I guess, by doing those things, I hope that she might confront us and tell us the truth and maybe even turn things around. But instead, she blames our father for what she has become.

What I am trying to ask guidance for is should we tell our father right now or when he gets home from work? And how should we deal with our mother? Should we confront her or not? Should I act all goody around her even if I feel don’t like I should? How will I solve this problem in my family? Because lately, I see myself just accepting things as they are but not solving it. And I want to solve it because I want my family together. Please help me and my family, we don’t know what to do.

Mama-Joan replies

I can understand how upsetting this situation is with your mother and father. At age 18, you are a fully formed adult with your own set of values, moral compass, aspirations, and goals. As an adult, it is your choice how you see the world and respond to life’s challenges. Therefore, the actions and attitudes of your parents won’t affect your future growth as an adult unless you let it.
Part of growing up is developing the ability to put yourself in another’s shoes and giving others the benefit of the doubt until you know the entire story. Frankly, children never know what goes on in a marriage between a man and a women, marriages are just too private. I think you need to cut your mom some slack. Let’s consider these points:
Your mother and father are estranged and have been for years. As their child, you don’t really know the reasons why they don’t get along or why they haven’t divorced. Because you don’t have the entire picture, you cannot lay blame.
Your mother is seeing another man. From my perspective she didn’t “lie” to you… she simply was protecting you and your siblings from a complicated relationship. That was the responsible thing to do under the circumstances.
Please try to refrain from making judgments regarding your mom’s and dad’s behaviors and try not to involve yourself in their issues and solve the problem, because it is beyond your control. You simply cannot control the behaviors of others, you can only control how you react to situations. Therefore, I suggest that you not speculate with your siblings and aunt about what you see and hear. Be polite and kind to both your parents because they are clearly going through a difficult patch. When you are interacting, ask yourself, “Am I kind? Am I fair? Is what I say true?”
You are at an exciting precipice in your life. As a pharmacy student studying at the university, you are growing independent of your family and have so many exciting opportunities ahead. Three years from now, when you look back on this period in your life, you will see it more objectively and many of the problems you outline in your letter should be resolved. I guarantee that you will be glad that you stayed out of the fray and treated both your parents with kindness, love, compassion, and understanding. Something, I suspect they both sorely need at this time.
My heart goes out to you. I know you can handle yourself maturely and be a guide to your siblings as well. Best of luck. I hope this advice is helpful to you. Please write again anytime.

Letter #: 433838
Category: Family

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