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My father is having an extramarital affair. Part of me wants to end my relationship with him for cheating on my mom, but i worry that he will be depressed as he loves me a lot. How do I deal with this situation?

186 Answers
Last Updated: 01/01/2022 at 8:32pm
My father is having an extramarital affair. Part of me wants to end my relationship with him for cheating on my mom, but i worry that he will be depressed as he loves me a lot. How do I deal with this situation?
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United States
Moderated by

Tracy-Kate Teleke, M.A., LMFT

Marriage & Family Therapist

I assist adults and couples in CA experiencing relationship challenges and interpersonal struggles including anxiety, depression, and a myriad of other life challenges.

Top Rated Answers
January 20th, 2018 2:11pm
First of all, do you want to take part in this issue? If so, think of the consequences of your actions, for you, for him and for your mother. Best case scenario, worst case scenario, side effects... Another course of action is learning about the person who your father is cheating with: does she know that him is cheating? Does she know what she's doing? Everything is a question and you have some answers. Think carefully before passing your judgement.
January 25th, 2018 11:27pm
If you feel you need to do it for yourself then do it. He knows what he did and later on he will regret. After this initial thing has gone by maybe later on you two can rebuild your relationship
May 11th, 2019 5:20pm
This has got to be one of the most difficult questions i’ve answered. When I was young, my father had us meet his sancha (the other woman), and it was so uncomfortable. We forgave him and moved forward, when all that concluded. I was too young to really understand what was happening, and no one talked about it with me, I just knew it felt wrong. If I found out as I got older, I don’t know how I’d feel about it. I think I’d moreso focus on my mom and build her self-esteem, encouraging her to remember her own beauty and empowerment... more than how I’d ‘punish’ my dad. Humans make mistakes, and humans can be so inconsiderate and hurtful- but focusing on those impacted by their disrespect, can help them rise again- and when you see them happy and thriving, the hurt you feel by what happened may dissipate. But truly, it’s up to you. What feels right to you. All actions have consequences, and how you choose to move forward are his, and soon, there’ll be consequences for yours too. That’s life, and there are no wrong decisions in life. Every decision has a consequence, and they impact our future. This is why it’s important to follow our intuition, and not our anxieties. This is honestly a very tough case, and I hope you take time to yourself to mend and process what happened/is happening. ♡ I encourage you to each out for support as often as you need it, love. TC
July 22nd, 2016 4:39am
It's rarely wise to insinuate oneself into another's private, intimate relationship. Your parent's privacy should be respected in this situation. Your mother may well know of your father's affair. Your best course is to remain loving towards both parents, and accepting of them as human beings, capable of doing both good and less than, in their lives. It is their marriage, and only the two of them understand the intricacies of their union. Love them in spite of their flaws, and refrain from judgment.
August 7th, 2016 10:59pm
Cutting your dad out of your life will only hurt you both. He same thing happened to me awhile ago and I cut him out completely and it ended awful. He became needy depressed and ended up breaking up with the woman he cheated my mom on with out of guilt. If your mom knows he probably lives with the guilt every day and what he did is not acceptable and though your loyalty to your mom is comendable it's their war not yours. Tell him how you feel but don't lose him over a mistake no matter how big.
September 4th, 2016 4:12pm
Although it truly sucks that he would do that to your mom it is just that something he did do your mom not you. His non parental activities aren't a reflection on his love and care for you.
September 4th, 2016 9:28pm
I know it's traumatizing, but the relationship between your parents are their business, not ours. I'm sorry, I know it feels that there's always something you could do about it, but in my experience, I know that their marital mistakes should be limited within their relationship, while your relationship with them should remain your responsibility. Trust me, sometimes that alone can fix things.
September 7th, 2016 6:35am
Don't end a relationship. Forgiveness is a hard concept but something that is not impossible. Don't let hurt from the past ruin your future.
September 15th, 2016 12:45am
How are you are feeling now? This must be such a hard time for you. You're showing a lot of strength by reaching out. If wanted, I will check our resources for a helpful guide to look over. I'm glad that you're sharing this with me, I want to be your support. Let's discuss what you read in the guide that I find, if you find that I am listening and supportive.
September 15th, 2016 1:14am
Have an honest conversation with your father, if you feel safe to do so. Tell him exactly how you feel and that the affair is hurting you. Because he loves you, he will understand. Maybe you will be able to hear something from him that will help you understand what he is going through as well. After all, marriage is hard. Before you just end the relationship, give it your best shot at resolving it.
September 15th, 2016 7:58am
Go to your mom. Let her know what's going on. It is definitely going to be hard, and there's a high possibility that your dad will be angry at you for awhile. But at the end of the day, you're his kid, making you his number one priority. It's worth it all the way.
September 23rd, 2016 4:36am
No matter what you still need both parents in your life you just stay out of it that's why you tell her
October 5th, 2016 3:42am
The part of this situation I will focus on is concern that someone in our lives will be hurt if we decide to stop associating with them. We always have to follow what is best for our own well-being, period. Regardless of what the unsupportive, damaging influences is: whether it is our environment, our job, our friend, our family or whatever it is: it is always okay to leave an unsupportive influence in the past and look for new supportive influences to replace it with. Having said that, I would recommend an open-minded honest conversation with both parents to at least announce that you are no longer associating with one of them. That conversation will give you peace of mind that you stood your ground; you do not even have to reveal the reasons for your decision if you don't feel safe to.
October 12th, 2016 8:54pm
Even if he had cheated on your mum, his wife. He is still a person, who is important for you. Yet, you may take an anger based decision which might regret. Take time to make up your mind and no decision is not changeable.
October 13th, 2016 2:15am
Talk to your father about how you feel. Let him know whats on your mind and remind him whats right from wrong
October 26th, 2016 7:44am
Have a chat with him about it and let him know how you feel and how his actions are causing you to want to end your relationship
October 28th, 2016 5:43pm
I'm very sorry that you have to go through that, but I don't think you should let your parents' relationship with each other affect yours with each of them. What your dad is doing to your mother isn't alright and you shouldn't support it, but don't cut him off because of it if he loves and cares about you a lot.
November 3rd, 2016 10:46am
Two options might be good for such a situation. Either don't interfere and just pretend nothing is happening and accept it, or simply talk it out, sit together and have a talk and try to understand your father's situation and feelings. Be open minded and don't judge. He is your father and he loves you, that's all what should matter for you.
November 4th, 2016 11:10am
Have an honest conversation with him about your feelings concerning his infidelity. You are not responsible for his behavior, but can provide the opportunity for the family to begin the healing process. Your parents may choose a different path. Be supportive of their decision and determine what is best for you in the interim.
November 13th, 2016 11:24pm
It is not fair to be put in a situation like this so I would put the decision in my father's hands. I would sit with him and explain to him that he and your mother, as parents, have taught you good morals while you were growing up and now you feel that it's time to show them what that means. Cheating is not right and by doing so not only has he hurt your mother but you as well. Just leave it at that. Expressing how you feel to him will help him see how his decisions have made you feel and if he apologizes for it or explains his behavior for it, then you'll know what to do from there.
November 20th, 2016 3:41pm
This is a tough question. As cliched as it sounds, time will help you make your decision. If you choose to remain in touch with him, and it seems like a chore to be in contact with someone who has let you down, considering ending the relationship may be something that will come up. I guess with time, circumstances change and sometimes you'll be in the situation where it's easier to end the relationship than it is now, helping you choose that. It could also go the other way, where you learn to forgive him truly and learn that it was worthwhile staying in touch with him. From personal experience, rash decisions may be something you'll regret later on so take some time to think about it :)
November 25th, 2016 11:06pm
Well your relationship with your father is different from the relationship your father has with your mother, and he may have let her down but it shouldn't affect you too much to end your entire relationship with him because he let her down as husband but not you as a daughter. Hopefully you can slowly learn to forgive him by talking to him about how you feel.
December 22nd, 2016 1:46am
Have you talked to your father about this? You are indeed caught between the proverbial rock and hard place as you probably feel angry with your father and guilty for feeling as if you're betraying your mother for wanting a relationship with him. It's very important to know that your father's affair is not your fault nor is it your burden to carry. If you love your dad and you want a relationship with him, then by all means, have that. Please do not allow yourself to feel guilty or ed a relationship out of anger. Take the time you need and really think of the road you'd like to take; not the one your father would want for you or the one your mother would want for you. Good luck!
January 22nd, 2017 3:43am
So sorry. His decision to have an extramarital affair must be hurtful to the family. I know many lousy spouses/people who are wonderful parents, therefore one issue shouldn't have to do with the other. I sense the love you have for dad and you shouldn't have to choose between parents. Grief is never easy, but unfortunately it is common. I suggest you seek family counseling to help you understand the loss. If he's a nurturing and supportive parent, ending a relationship should not be an option. Best Wishes!
January 26th, 2017 3:08am
While it is normal to feel protective of your mother after your father has cheated on her. What is important is how you feel and where you want your relationship with both your parents to go. The fact that he cheated is between the two of them, how it has affected you and what you want to do about it is between the three of you or just yourself
January 29th, 2017 6:13pm
Explain to your father that what he did was very wrong, and listen to his reasons. Explain to him that it will take some time for you to trust him the way you used to before he had an extramarital affair, and let him know that it hurt you a lot, but also let him know that you're his child. Maybe don't end your relationship with him, but explain to him what you're feeling.
February 16th, 2017 10:27am
Talk to your father. And, listen too. Once you better understand why he is having this affair you will be in a better position to choose your response.
February 23rd, 2017 4:21am
I would talk to your father about how this makes you feel. Know that he is making his own decisions and let him know that you are having a hard time with them. Let him know that a part of you wants to end your relationship with him because of his extramarital affair. Also let him know what specifically upsets you not just that it upsets you. Is it that your mom got hurt? Is it that he has been selfish?
February 25th, 2017 12:29am
I know that this must be hard for you, but you need to let this stay between your mother and father. It is hurtful to find out something like that, but it's not your issue. You're the kid. Stay out of it. If your mother doesn't know, don't tell her it'll be best if she gets it from him. If she gets it from you it will just be your word against his and it might put a split within you and your mom's relationship especially if you have no proof and/or evidence to back up these accusations. I am sure your mom is a smart woman and will figure it out on her own, but trust me don't get in the middle of it. It's not your place to do so.
February 25th, 2017 7:58pm
He'll always be your dad, even thought he cheated on your mom, you have to respect him because he gave you and make you everything you are and have.