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I Found Out My Mum Is Having an Affair

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So, I have known for a while now but think I have been in denial. My mum would always hid away to answer a phone call, Which I noticed wasn’t her usual phone. Me and my sister’s never addressed it to be anything. I found the phone and looked at the messages, I know I shouldn’t have, and there were messages clearly stating that she was seeing someone else other than my dad. I haven’t told anyone as Im worried that they will say that I need to let my dad know and I don’t want to break up the family, and worried that they will judge me for keeping it a secret for so long, but she is having more and more of these phone calls, and i really don’t know what to do. (From Scotland)

I Found Out My Mum Is Having an Affair

Answered by on -

A.

  I would have a very different answer if you were very young, but at 25 I would confront your mother alone directly. Let her know that you are aware and that it is too difficult for you to keep this secret. Talk only about your own feelings — not about your mother’s behavior. You are the world’s expert on your feelings and you have a right not to be put it the situation where you have to keep a secret from your dad.

I know you say you don’t want to break up the family, but if you found this out how hard is it going to be for your father to find out? These things typically are only a matter of time before they blow up. Then you’ll be in the predicament of having known and kept it from your dad.

This isn’t about saving the family now — this is about taking good care of yourself. Don’t try to script this for your mom — don’t tell her what to do or not do. Just be clear that you having to keep a secret any longer won’t work, and she has to do something because you won’t keep this secret from your dad. This isn’t a threat. This is what you know to be true for you. If this continues the pressure on you will continue.

This is a very difficult situation but I would be as honest as you can with your mom and put the ball in her court. Set a timeline for her and don’t be afraid to remind her. She may not like it, but she’s put you in a terrible position and now it is time for her to deal with that reality.

As you get ready to do this I would highly recommend getting some individual psychotherapy. You may want to get this support immediately so that you have someplace to go as you deal with your mom.

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

I Found Out My Mum Is Having an Affair

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

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). I Found Out My Mum Is Having an Affair. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 26, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/03/18/i-found-out-my-mum-is-having-an-affair/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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