My Dad cheats

Dear Suzie, i have recently found out that my dad cheated on my mum when i was little. they dont know that i know. they seemed happy together until recently then i found out that my dad has cheated again but this time with my sisier in law! he also admitted fancying my neighbour. also my other sister in law has cheated on my brother! i really really love my dad to bits and dont really get on well with mum. i just dont no weather to tell her about him cheating because i am scared of them spliting up and i dont want to upset my dad cos he has never donea thing rong to me and i care bout him loads. i am also scared my mum will flip and wont believe me. i need help as ia m worrying about it and making myself ill.

You say your Dad has never done anything wrong to you. Depends what you mean by wrong, I suppose. I mean, look at yourself and your family. You’re worrying enough to make yourself ill. Both brothers have chosen to marry someone who cheats on them, one with her own father in law. Your father is prepared to cheat on his own son. And you don’t get on well with your own mother. That sounds to me like a pretty unhappy family, and when families are unhappy it’s the parents who are ultimately responsible.

Your father is cheating and it makes you miserable – you’re carrying secrets that no young person should have to keep. Your relationship with your mother has been compromised. That may be because she’s miserable with the man she should love and be loved by and she’s angry to see you blindly worshipping him. And what about your brothers? I suspect what influenced them to go into their marriages are their experiences with your parents, particularly their father – not very happy ones, by the sound of it.

So what can you do? It’s not your responsibility to repair your parents relationship or to look after them – they should be doing the repair and the caring. No, I don’t think you should tell your Mum about his cheating. I think you should tell him.

In your position I would tell him what a lousy example he’s giving, how miserable it’s making you, how sad it probably made your brothers and how awful it clearly makes your mother feel, and how destructive the whole thing is to the family and each individual in it; him included. I’d say it’s not for me to know the whys and wherefores of why he does it but that as his daughter I ‘d like to think it was about time he grew up and acted like a parent and an adult in getting his act together.

You love him because he’s your Dad, and I can understand that. But I think you need to recognise how truly appalling is his behaviour, so you don’t find yourself excusing what he does or following his example. You can love a person while recognising what they do is simply not acceptable.

I think you and your Mum could do with some support, to bring you together and to help you make sense of all this. Do you have a relative – and aunt or a grandmother – you can talk with? A teacher you trust? Does you school have a counsellor or member of staff there for pupils who have issues – most do, nowadays. Please – talk to someone about your feelings and get some help for yourself.

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