Do I Tell My Father My Mother is Cheating?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. For the past two years my mom has been talking to this guy, A LOT! My dad has had his suspicion about them, but he get himself to deny it. I was looking through her cell phone and saw some of the messages were to him, and let’s just say they weren’t messages you are suppose to send to a man when you have a husband. My mom also goes on travel a lot with her “job” but I believe she is really going to see him! Plus, I eased dropped on their conversation and she was telling him that she loved him, that she couldn’t wait to see him, and even worse, at the end of the conversation she said “I love you.” I just cannot look at her the same way, I want to scream, tells someone, but I’m afraid she will lie. People will probably believe her over me, because, lately I’ve been going through some trust issues with my dad.

So, what should I do? Tell him or let them live their normal lives. I don’t know what to do… should i tell a friend and see what their advice is? Please respond when you can, this is very appreciated!

A. If you were in my office I could ask many questions regarding the situation but you are not.

The goal for you should be to improve the situation. Telling your father may or may not be the right thing to do. Would it lead to a divorce? What would your father do if he knew? Would a divorce be better for them? Would telling your father make the situation worse? These are all matters you should be trying to judge in this situation.

Also consider whether your father deserves honesty. What would your father do if he found out that you knew but you did not tell him?

If you believe that your father should be made aware of the affair, go to your mother with an ultimatum. Say to her that you know about her affair and that she has twenty-four hours to tell your father or you are going to tell him. She may say “okay I will tell him” and then you won’t have to. Or she may say “I just ended the affair” and then the two of you may decide that it is better for your father to not be told.

I can’t be specific because I don’t know all of the specifics of your situation but I think it would be best to approach your mother with the information you have. Give her an ultimatum and hopefully the two of you will be able to find a solution that is best for the whole family.

Unfortunately, you are in the difficult position of having to essentially “referee” your parents’ relationship. It’s a challenge but keep your goal in mind; do what you can do to improve the situation and try to avoid doing anything that could make it worse. I wish you luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 Nov 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). Do I Tell My Father My Mother is Cheating?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/11/03/do-i-tell-my-father-my-mother-is-cheating/