should i tell my mom?
Hi, I'm 14 years old and a year or two ago I caught my mother cheating on my dad with one of their friends. The guy doesn't even live in the city anymore but she's still with him. I had no idea what to do so I kept quiet and I distanced myself as much as I could from her. At the same time, a boy in my class found out (and told everyone else) as I was telling my then best friend who also left me... But yeah. My mom caught me having a nervous breakdown and I ended up telling her that I knew. She talked me into not saying anything and I accepted. I know it's been a year but I am still so conflicted over it. My parents don't fight too much or anything so I guess I was scared to ruin that. I told myself that it was for the best not only for my family but also because my dad doesn't have any family. But now I feel like I did it because it was the easy way out and it's turning out to be not so easy because every time I'm alone with him I feel so guilty and so pathetic and I have no idea what to do so I guess my question is should I tell him? Or should I just keep quiet?
Let me share some wisdom that my dad told me when I was little: “You are allowed to break bad promises.” What your mother asked of you was most definitely a bad promise. You are absolutely allowed to say something. You are under NO obligation to keep this secret, especially if it's having such a negative impact on your mental health.
I understand you are young and worried about your parents. I understand that you feel you don’t want to rock the boat, so to speak, but the truth is, your mother is the one who rocked it in the first place. She has put you in the role of steadying it because she continues to rock it by seeing this guy. Please understand that you are not responsible for your parents’ marriage; that is your parents’ responsibility and that’s it. I have a link to a valuable post about not rocking the boat that applies to dysfunctional families of all sorts: https://www.reddit.com/r/JUSTNOMIL/comments/77pxpo/dont_rock_the_boat/
I don’t know how this affair began, but all I know is that cheating usually isn’t just “one bad mistake;” most of the time, it’s a series of choices. Mom has to sneak out to meet up with this guy, so she has to come up with a plan to do so. She may have to lie to you and dad about where she’s going. She may have to intercept the mail so dad doesn’t see the bank statements and question any purchases she's made. What I’m getting at is she has to plan this stuff out, which requires time and effort. She deliberately strays farther from her marriage and violates those vows every time she makes these choices. I’m not sure what kind of relationship your parents have, but if mom is not happy, she has to say something to dad and they have to decide to work on it or divorce/separate. Cheating just makes everything worse.
This article comes from Ireland, but I think it can help you make more sense of your own feelings: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/when-a-parent-has-an-affair-1.55206
It talks a lot about the negative impacts that infidelity can have on kids of all ages.
It’s perfectly normal to be angry or upset over all of this. It’s okay to be mad at mom and to feel sorry for dad. It’s okay for you to say something; none of this is your fault. Your dad will understand why you kept quiet because you’re just a kid; he can’t expect you to disobey your own mother because you’re supposed to listen to her. But this is one of those cases where you don’t have to because she’s asking you to do something very wrong.
If you want to tell dad, do it soon because it sounds like this gossip is spreading like wildfire and dad is likely to find out through the grapevine- which is MUCH worse than you telling him. The sooner you do it, the better it’ll be. Find a time when the two of you will definitely be alone for a while. Can you and dad go to the store together? Go for a walk with the dog? Find a time to talk when mom won’t be home for a while so she doesn’t interrupt your conversation. Here’s how you can tell him: “I have to tell you something. I”m sorry for not saying anything sooner, but I think you’ll understand why it took me so long. I caught mom cheating on you with so and so. I know that she’s still cheating with him. She made me promise not to tell you.” Let dad process it. He may deny it or he may break down and cry. If he denies it, tell him more about what you saw. Tell him, “I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true; my classmates are making fun of me for it! They all know.” He may dig his heels in more, but guess what? It’s not your job to convince him at that point. If he breaks down, give him a hug. Talk to him more about how you feel about it all. He should know so he can support you and look after you.
I hope your dad is able to get in contact with a therapist or a counselor for himself. Ask him if he could help you find a professional; you’re dealing with a lot right now. I think dad will understand. Feel free to show dad the articles I linked; they should light a fire under his butt to do something about all this, whether it’s divorcing mom and/or finding therapy for both you and him.
I’m so sorry you’re in this mess. :( None of this is your fault, okay? You are not a bad person; you are just a kid caught up in some serious drama that’s not even your fault. Please be kind to yourself.
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