I told mum of dad’s affair with barmaid, 25, and her reaction surprised me

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Dear Coleen,

Recently, I discovered my dad was sleeping with a girl my age – I’m 23 and she’s 25. I know her through a group of mates, although we’re not close friends. Apparently they met at the pub where she works behind the bar. It’s such a horrible cliché.

I wrestled with this information for ages before telling my mum but, in the end I felt she deserved to know and I felt disloyal keeping it from her. I was really angry with my dad and he was furious with me when it all came out.

The thing is, my mum didn’t react how I expected her to at all. She was obviously really upset, but she didn’t throw him out or get mad.

She wouldn’t really explain why, but just said marriages hit problems and that they needed to work things out between the two of them. And she added that it shouldn’t worry me and to let them handle it. 

I don’t know whether my dad is still seeing this girl – neither of my parents will talk to me about it, but I’m furious with my dad. How could he do this?

Coleen says

This is going to be hard for you, but I really think you have to respect your mum’s wishes and let them sort things out together.

We don’t really know what goes on in people’s relationships. Perhaps your parents have been struggling for a while and this affair is the result of that, or maybe your mum knew about it already. It is up to them to work it out, though.

It’s perfectly understandable that you’re angry with your dad for hurting your mum and you, but if he’s still living at home then you need to find a way to get along, even if it’s just for the sake of your mum and not upsetting her.

Focus on being supportive to her.

I’m sure they’ll give you some information when it’s there to give, but they might not be at the stage of deciding how to move forward.

You could explain to your parents that you’re confused about where things are at and suggest the three of you sit down together and talk about it honestly.

If you think you can remain calm and keep your anger towards your dad in check, then maybe that could be a good option.

Your parents might decide to stay together and work at their marriage and, if that’s the case, then you have to be really grown up about it and accept their decision, even if you don’t ­understand it.

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