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Talk to father about getting possible affairs in order

Talk to father about getting his possible affairs in order

Q: I was recently at my parents' house, and I went to check my e-mail.

When I opened the browser, I found that my father had not signed out of an e-mail account that I did not know existed. I caught a look at the previews of the messages, and, from what I can tell, my father is having some kind of extramarital relationships. Now I don't know what to do. Do I tell my mom? Do I tell my dad that I know? Please help me.


A: Tell your dad what you stumbled across and how you stumbled across it, taking care not to draw any conclusions from what you've found.

It's not a great solution, it's just the least bad of three bad solutions: (1) tattle on Dad; (2) leave Mom in the dark; (3) give Dad a chance to clean up any messes he's made.

The downside of this choice is obvious, since you have no guarantee that your father will do the right thing by your mother. However, you also don't know exactly what that right thing is. For all you know, your father has your mother's consent.

That's why I believe — and people do disagree vehemently on this, particularly now in the Age of the Virus — that the two extremes of telling all and not saying anything both put you smack in the middle of the drama, where someone with your factual but limited knowledge doesn't belong. You don't know what occurs between your parents in their private moments, you don't know what your father is doing with other people, if anything — and you know too much to stay silent without it being a lie of omission to your mother.

An added advantage of letting Dad handle it is that you can change your approach, and get more involved as circumstances dictate. By contrast, if you tell Mom everything, that's it — there's no changing course.

If your father is indeed having affairs, and if it would be a blow to your mom, then the impact of the blow is a valid consideration, too. You want to give their marriage its best chance, which the tell-Dad option represents. Think of it this way: Would you rather find out about an affair from your spouse after s/he chose to end it, or from someone other than your spouse while the affair is still going on? Splitting hairs sounds better than splitting parents.

The skinny on being singled out and targeted by rude people

Q: With the obesity problem America is having, why is it that "society" says it is not nice to make a comment about a fat person because it might hurt their feelings, but that it is okay for a fat person to make comments about a thin person, calling them anorexic or bulimic?


A: As far as I know, society says both types of comment are rude. But maybe this is just the "society" I've constructed in my imagination to keep me from crawling under my desk and crying all day.

Still, humor me: Let's say singling out others for the sole purpose of making one feel better about oneself is rude. That definition renders immaterial the specific trait being scorned.

Talk to father about getting possible affairs in order 12/16/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 12:58pm]
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