Mom is having an affair

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I found out my mom is having an affair, what do I do?
My family lives in Rome, and I go down to visit once in a while during breaks. a few days ago I found out my mom is having an affair through her skype chat that she forgot to close on our computer. It has all these details including the fact that she’s knowingly keeping it from me. She wrote that she didn’t want me a part of her personal life, at least not yet. not only did that hurt me, but a message about meeting him in Florence finally clicked when my mom told me she was going away next week, but wouldn’t tell me where or with whom. I don’t know what to do. a lot of websites say just to leave it alone, but I’m a single child, and extremely close to both parents. My mom is my best friend and I feel constantly sick knowing that this is going on. Please let me know what to do, I feel helpless.

A: What a dilemma! I thank you for writing us here with the question. This might fly in the face of what you have read, but the truth is trying to keep this secret is not going to be easy and is likely to erupt down the road. Since your mom was careless and left her chat open I would tell her you saw it and that her carelessness has put you in a difficult position. Let this be your mom’s issue to deal with. She has made choices that she must now cope with. You not telling her means that you will have to carry the family secret. This is likely to create great stress for you, and most likely will come out in the future.

If you do not feel this is doable I would make an appointment with a family counselor, explain the situation to him or her and get some guidance. You may also make e appointment for you and your mom to go together and talk to her about what you found.

I am definitely not in favor of keeping the secret. It puts you in the middle and creates difficulty for you. It is likely that you will resent your mom and feel uncomfortable around your dad if you try to keep it. Every family event is likely to haunt you, and when the issue comes out (which is very likely –if you found out, your father is likely to as well) it may strain your relationship with your dad if he knows you knew.

If your mom is having an affair there are problems between your mom and dad. By talking to your mom you are putting the issue where it belongs, not taking it on. The find help tab at the top of the page can help you find someone in your area.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 28 Apr 2011

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2011). Mom is having an affair. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/04/28/mom-is-having-an-affair-2/