My Mom Is Having an Affair and I Am Very Hurt

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I am 13 years old and very sensitive. I love my family and friends and I am especially close to my mom. Last summer, she went with her best friend on a trip for one week to visit a town in western france. During the fall, i noticed she slightly changed. She seemed a lot happier and was texting ALL THE TIME. Maybe I shouldn’t have but i was getting suspicious and i checked her phone the other day and saw a bunch of messages which clearly point she is having an affair.
My parents sort of got married not by choice but when my mom got pregnant with my sister out of wedlock, my mom, being from a very stict family saw no other choice but to get married. My parents never really loved eachother, they raised us like two friends. My mom has recently been very annoyed with my father and vice-versa.
I love my parents and I always feel a little caught in the middle. I know they don’t want to divorce because they know it would hurt me and my sister but this hurts me even more! Anyways i know my parents don’t love each other but i hate that my mom is doing this to our family. At least if she divorced my dad, but no she sneaks behind our back, saying she is going to have lunch with friends but I know she is going to see her lover.

Should I confront her? Should I talk to my sister or my dad? Should I keep it to myself? I don’t know, but I am very hurt by this siuation, I never accepted to even think she would do this although deep inside of me I knew it was happening. It makes me sick to think she can have a relationship without telling us, knowing how emotionally fragile I am. She knows something is up because I haven’t been able to talk to her or even look at her. But my mom looks so happy now! She hasn’t been in a while. Should I really break all of it? I considered following her to one of her “lunches” to be certain she is seeing someone… But isn’t that childish? I am desperate, please help!
Thank you.

A: I’m so sorry this is hurting you so much. But, yes, following your mother around and invading her privacy isn’t appropriate. As you pointed out, the situation isn’t simple. It sounds like your parents have tried hard to make the best of a situation and to put you and your sister first. It may be that now that you are older, they are starting to think about themselves a bit more. That isn’t necessarily right but it is understandable.

I see you trying hard to be fair. On the one hand, you understand that your mother may have reasons for what she is doing. On the other hand, the little girl inside of you can’t stand it that the family may be shattered.

No, you should not be the one to tell your father and sister. The loving thing to do would be to quietly and privately tell your mother what you think you know. There’s always the possibility that you have misconstrued the situation. It may be that your parents have an understanding with each other that you don’t know about. Before you do any “confronting,” you need to just share your thoughts and feelings. You can certainly tell your mother how confused, hurt, and scared you are. It might also be helpful for you to tell her that you feel like you are in the middle, that you love both your parents, and that the situation makes you feel like you are betraying your dad and sister. Ask her to get you out of the middle by talking with your father.

Then leave it to your parents. You are not a detective. You are not a counselor. You are not a judge. Your parents need to decide if and how they want to be married. Those are your parents’ decisions. You can tell them how you feel. But their feelings for each other are between them.

Your parents are each decent people who have done their best for a long time. They both love their girls. They’ve raised a daughter as sensitive and caring as you are. Although this is likely to be a difficult time for your family, it sounds to me like things will eventually be okay.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 17 Jan 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). My Mom Is Having an Affair and I Am Very Hurt. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/01/17/my-mom-is-having-an-affair-and-i-am-very-hurt/