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Dad Told Me Mom Has Cheated on Him & Is Cheating on Him

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I found out very recently that my mom has cheated on my dad 4 times in the past. They’ve gone to counseling each time, where she denies her cheating until finally she admits it but blames it on him “not meeting her needs.” I didn’t want to hear this in the first place but you can’t unring a bell.

Besides the betrayal I’m feeling and undoubtedly what my dad is feeling as it’s happening again (this time its emotional cheating via an online relationship across the continent, complete with “I love you” texts and pictures exchanged), on top of that I’m living with them again in spite of being 25 years old because I had to move for a job opportunity which I took because they missed me and wanted me back in my home town.

I realized after a month of being back that my mom became more distant/used the excuse she needed introversion time, but she daily goes on a 2 hour bike ride, a 1-2 hour lunch, and then spends 3+ hours at night on her computer on the stupid game I introduced her to that she met this guy on.

I don’t know how to deal with my dad’s reveal to me, I don’t know how to act around my mom anymore, and I don’t know how to handle the fact that besides cheating on my dad, she’s also seeming to check out on being a mom (saying things like “I’ve raised you kids already, you don’t need me.” My sister knows she has a slush fund set aside that she’s kept secret from dad and we basically all think she’s biding her time before running, at which point my only coping strategy would be to write her off as no longer being my mom.

In the interim, to not go insane, I feel a need to keep the peace, pretend everything is fine, and give her the benefit of the doubt that she’s not going to up and leave and try and take half of everything. My parents, to my perception before all of this was revealed, have been “happily married” for 30 years. I don’t know if I should tell her I know or keep it secret and pray for the best. I also don’t know how to stop being hurt and feeling rejected over my mom not wanting to be my mom.

Dad Told Me Mom Has Cheated on Him & Is Cheating on Him

Answered by on -


It sounds like moving back in with your parents was a bad idea. These are not your problems. Your father told you about your mother, and now he’s expecting you to keep it to yourself. There’s no need to pretend that everything is fine. If you didn’t live there anymore, this would no longer be your problem. This is not to say that you would ignore it and act like nothing is happening but these are their problems to work through. It’s their marriage.

As for your mother no longer acting like a mother, you and your siblings are adults (from what is sounds like in your letter). The job of a parent is to prepare their children for the world, so they can make it on their own. That job usually ends around the age of 18, and then parents need to make the transition to advisor and friend. You moved out and were doing fine but decided to move back in. Your mother had moved on with her life and was doing things that interested her. The way she figured it, her job was done.

Understandably, it’s difficult to be in the middle of this type of situation. Your father should have kept that level of personal information to himself. It would have been better if he could have gone to a therapist to discuss those issues. It’s the ideal place to be dealing with matters of infidelity and other relationship issues. You might suggest that he talk to a therapist about these personal issues instead of you. Therapists are trained to know how to deal with these issues.

If you’re struggling with these issues, you might also consider consulting a therapist. It might help while you are living with your parents. It might also help you to clarify what you want to do with your own life. At 25, people are exploring what it is they want to do. They are thinking about their careers, developing their own relationships, and getting to know who it is they are and what they want to be. These are the developmental tasks that are necessary for healthy psychological growth and development. These are the kinds of things that should be the primary focus of your life at this time. Let your parents deal with their own marriage and relationship. They are going to have to figure out these things on their own.

I’m sorry you’re dealing with this problem. It’s not easy to be in the middle of these sorts of issues. Love and support your parents. Offer your moral support, but its best to try to focus on your own life. Good luck and please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Dad Told Me Mom Has Cheated on Him & Is Cheating on Him

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2019). Dad Told Me Mom Has Cheated on Him & Is Cheating on Him. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 12 Sep 2019 (Originally: 14 Sep 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 12 Sep 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.