My mom may be having affair

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

It was an ordinary night, and I was playing a game on my moms phone. After i have finished playing the game, I saw the text message inbox. I had never done this before, but i had an urge to see what was inside of it. So I looked, and there was all this text messages from this guy . I already knew exactly who he was. My mom had recently signed up for facebook, and he was one of her middle school friends. They were talking on facebook, as well as her other old friends too. I didnt expect to see the text messages that i saw. A few of them said, “Your in my thoughts, missing you.” Then others started to get sexual. Saying, “Im under the covers watching a movie with my girlfriend…wish you were under them with me” and, “i had a crazy dream last night,” and then all of this very sexual stuff. My dad had a small affair with my moms sister, and she was devasted. They almost divorced! Thats why I cant believe my mom would even do this. Im not 100% sure she is having an affair though…so the only thing i can do is keep looking through her messages to see what she says! Plus, I cant talk to her about it…because she will then know that I am snooping. Im only 13, and i really need help! what to do because im only 13!

A: The first thing you do is stop snooping. Having a secret like this will affect your relationship with both your parents and not in a good way. You are not a detective. You are not your mother’s judge. You are her daughter. You need to have a serious mom-daughter talk.

It does seem like your parents’ marriage is troubled. I understand why that would frighten you. You need to fess up to your mom about what you saw on her phone and tell her how much it scares you to think about your parents getting a divorce. You really don’t know what those messages mean so instead of accusing her of having an affair, focus on what is really worrying you – the possible breakup of your family. Apologize for invading her privacy and let her know how much you need her to comfort you and reassure you that things will be okay. (Things generally do come out okay, though not always in the way we expect.)

Yes, I know she’ll be angry with you for snooping. But I would rather have you deal with her anger than sit with your fears – or continue playing spy. Both will only make you miserable. Clear the air and let your mom be your mom.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

p.s. If you don’t know how to open up to your mom, you could just show her this letter.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Jan 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). My mom may be having affair. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/01/13/my-mom-may-be-having-affair/