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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?

187 Answers
Last Updated: 01/28/2022 at 12:33am
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
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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
February 1st, 2020 10:31pm
While you may feel angry or upset with him now, you need to remember that his actions weren't directed at you. You may feel defensive over your mother but remember that that isn't your job either. It may be difficult separating your dads actions from him as a person and if you can't you shouldn't have to take responsibility for how he feels after. When I found out that my Mum had cheated on my dad, originally i was disgusted but over time i realised that while they were both upset short term they both became happier in finding new partners. Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to give but it can be the most rewarding
March 13th, 2020 10:47am
Ultimately it is your choice. If i was in your shoes, I would try my best to be subtle about it and cause as little pain as possible to both my parents. I never think breaking off the relationship is a good idea. A separation between a father and child is never good but the ongoing nature of the extramarital affair is an issue. You may not want to approach him directly so that you can get him to stop and keep the bond with him simultaneously. What then do you do? I would say find a way to let him stop wlqirhoit dirwctly approaching him.
March 18th, 2020 11:36pm
It must be extremely difficult to learn that your father is having an affair outside of your family. It is hard to imagine the situation and the factors that caused him to choose that. It is understandable that you feel that you need to end relations with him for the hurt that he is causing. However, your compassionate side understands that withdrawing love from him may cause him to feel even worse and fall into an even deeper hole than before. You need to try to keep into perspective who your father is to you, and the love and relationship that you have had. If he did some other bad thing, would you stop loving him? If possible, try to picture things from his perspective, would he ever want anything to come between him and his child, and the love that he has? You need to follow your heart. One thing I can advise is that showing love and kindness even to the most broken of people can heal them and make them good.
March 22nd, 2020 5:02am
I know how it feels as i too went through something like this. I then started to think that in the end, he has not done anything wrong to me and it's his relationship with my mother and they need to sort it out at one point. As kids we can help them sort it out but it's about them loving each other. I felt that it's their situation they need to manage and i felt i will not want to put him through the fact that i am leaving him As he has this affair. In the end i was raised up by both of them and i can't be taking sides. I love them equally only thing i can do is to make them understand. Love is something we can't force upon :)
March 29th, 2020 1:18am
You could have a talk with your dad about how you feel about is choice to cheat on Your mom. And open , honest face to face chat may be good for the both of you. However , you k ow your father best and know whether approaching him in this delicate subject would be beneficial Or not. He may become defensive and angry when you first bring it up. What happens between him and your mom is not a burden that you need or should carry. Their relationship is deeper than you may see as a child of them and it Ya be difficult To understand all the inner workings of this relationship
April 1st, 2020 4:20pm
hello this must be a very upsetting time for you do you want to tell me how this is making you feel I am sure you can get through this worrying time I am here when ever you want to talk its hard we love both our parents and don't like to see either of them upset. maybe give yourself some time before you address the situation with either of them when you feel ready talk to your dad about how you think this will affect your relationship then explain that you are worried . try to be kind to yourself and not worry I am sure things will sort themselves out
April 22nd, 2020 7:32pm
We can say that you have 2 inersides within yourself, the woman side that is feeling betrayed for what he did to your mother, and the daughter side, that loves her father no matter what. He will always be your father no matter what happens between him and your mother, they have a man-woman relationship, you have the daughter-father one that is indestructible. The problem is theirs (parents) to resolve, between them. What you have to do is speak with your mom also, after the storm passes, so she can answer you from the point of view of a mother and after as a woman and I'm sure you'll arrive at a resolve.
April 23rd, 2020 11:19am
I am unable to give you advice but I am here to listen and support you during this difficult time. I can tell you are really struggling with this and it is very hurtful to you for many reasons. I'm sorry to hear that your dad is having an extramarital affair. Not only is it hurtful to you but your mom as well. I'm sure he loves you a lot. I know you don't want him to be depressed either. What would you like to happen in this situation? What would resolve the hurt and pain that you are feeling?
April 23rd, 2020 5:38pm
That is a very tough situation. Children are frequently real victims in the complicated relationships of their parents, as they are often turned apart between mom and dad. Children often feel stuck and unable to decide what to do and whose side to take. You probably feel confused; you want to be supportive to your mom because she was betrayed, but you love your dad too, and you do not want to lose him. It is important to know that parents' problems are not your fault and not your responsibility. You don't have to choose between mom and dad; they both love you and care for you.
May 7th, 2020 7:38am
As difficult as this may be for you, I imagine it must be incredibly painful for your mother. Fortunately for you, you don't have to deal with the situation. It's simply not yours to deal with. It is never wise to involve yourself in another person's marriage. It's unfortunate that your mother is experiencing this. You have the opportunity to support and comfort your mother in whatever decision she makes regarding her marriage. You also have the opportunity to continue having a relationship with your father, who is human, and makes mistakes. Ask yourself if you would hold every other human to the same standard. Would you cut off contact with anyone who has an affair at any time? Or only your own father? Take these things in to consideration in your dealings with your father and remember that this isn't your battle to fight. You don't have to take sides. Relieve yourself of that burden. Best of luck to you.
May 8th, 2020 2:08pm
It can be hard from your perspective but sometimes just being there to support him and understand why he's having an affair can help. Have you tried speaking with both your parents to see what conflicts may be between them? Sometimes relationships dwindle because they think about how it used to be; what it was like when they first met and they realize how different it is now compared to then. They may just need to remember why they fell in love to begin with and work it through together. Relationships are hard and very complicated. It isn't always so black and white and we do all make mistakes. The first step is admitting the mistakes you've made. I hope this helps :)
May 16th, 2020 5:58pm
You know your situation better than anybody else I personally never experience this myself But, how about to start with thinking of what would you expect from your own kid would do, if you were in you mother or father's shoes. Consider the overcome and the impact on the relationship between you and your father and your entire family Listen to your heart, Do what you thinks is right, Do what always goes in you mind repeatedly, Your heart knows better than your brain sometimes. If necessary, make a note of Pros and Cons, if the result brings your more positivity, then you have nothing to stop you
May 23rd, 2020 4:36am
By being honest. How about talking to your father and actually tell him what's going on in your mind? You might feel overwhelmed by this and you don't know what is the right thing to do, it would be better if you talked about it with him. By showing him how you feel, you are acting mature, you are giving him the chance to talk to you and work out the solution for this together. By telling him how this affects you or how it affects your relationship with him will allow him to think about what he is doing and what he is planning to do next.
June 2nd, 2020 11:16am
That must be very hard for you to cope with. When our loved ones do something which is inappropriate, it's almost impossible for us to know how to react and what to do. Of course you're right about how you're feeling right now but we should always take a decision when we are not deeply affected by some feeling which is triggering and forcing us to make a decision. Let it be any decision. Not just this one. What your dad did has a great impact on your mother and you. For that you can condemn the 'actions' of those who do it. The actions Would have been appropriate/inappropriate but not a human. As if we start condemning people instead of their 'actions' we would also hurt our feelings. Everyone should have a room for growing and learning from their mistakes. You know that he loves you a lot but also you're hurt by his actions in this situation you must give yourself time to take a decision. Yes condemning a person's inappropriate actions is important so that they learn that they did something very unpleasant. :)
July 1st, 2020 11:16am
This is not an easy situation to handle, however not impossible. The relationship between your father and mother is actually between them. Of course you are a member of this family and it’s totally natural to feel how you feel about the whole situation and your father. Maybe you could try talk to him about that. If he can understand how you feel about this and be honest to your mom, things may be better. Think that how your father and mother communicate with each other is their business. You don’t need to feel worried about the bad decisions of your parents. I hope I’ve helped you. Good luck :)
July 2nd, 2020 5:31pm
Have you tried speaking to him, or how would you feel about that possibility, if it is an option? It may be that knowing that you are aware of the situation and how it is causing his child such distress may impact his behaviours. Of course, he might already be aware, or such a discussion may not be possible in your context. Only you can understand the full family dynamics you are dealing with, so in thay respect, you are the world's leading expert on you. What do you think would be the usefulness of this approach in your family?
July 17th, 2020 3:45am
This sounds like a very painful situation. You must feel conflicted between being loyal to you mom and not abandoning your dad. I can see that you are being very thoughtful of both your parents. What would happen if you sat down with your dad and talked to him about how you feel? I can tell that you really love both your parents. Broken relationships are really hard to deal with. You are doing great by not making quick decisions but trying to consider the consequences of your actions and being careful about what you say to your dad and also to your mom.
September 11th, 2020 2:46pm
Let your father know that your knowledge of his cheating and betrayal has caused you to hurt tremendously. Have a talk with him. Decide for yourself if you are able to forgive him after having that talk with him. He may have been a bad husband to your mother, but he may be a good father still. Also, have a talk with your mother and help her understand you feel hurt by your father as well and would never tolerate his action. let her know that you are not supporting his mistake but just that you still need a father figure in your life, even if he made a mistake.
October 16th, 2020 8:59am
Those situations are always difficult and painful, I went through the same problems so I get how you feel. I think you should talk with him and tell him how you feel about it, he probably already knows that, but talking makes everything better, if he loves you that much he is probably very sorry about what happened. Ask him what happened, why he did it, how does he feel about it now and also talk about you feelings and your thoughts. They are your parents, he disappointed you, but you don't have to chose between one or anothe, just because one of them made this mistake doesn't mean that all the love and good memories you shared until that moment were nothing.
October 28th, 2020 1:36pm
Clearly, he has betrayed someone who is most dear to you. Your feelings are valid. And you have all the right to refuse seeing him, if you just can't do it. But we all make mistakes. I think you should allow yourself to see your father as a human being with all possible faults. Parents aren't perfect. And your mom isn't either. I would suggest that you take your time but then try to find that place in you where your love for him is and thereby find the strength to see him again. I bet that this wouldn't just be good for his sake but also for yours, even if you cannot see that now.
November 6th, 2020 8:29am
hello, first of all i am really sorry that you had to witness something like this. i know how that feels. i really hope it gets better for you soon. i think you should try to talk to him about it, but it also depends on your relationship with your mom and how you are feeling. do you live with your mom and dad? are you hundred percent sure that he is having an extramarital affair? do you feel that what is happening is really unfair to your mom? (of course, it is.) do you know a possible reason why he would do this? either way, you should try to talk to him about it in a calm manner. see what he says. confront him. and maybe then you can think over it, and take a decision for yourself with a calm mind because taking impulsive decisions won’t help. come to a conclusion after talking it out. sending loads of love your way xx
November 11th, 2020 1:12pm
I am not sure whether you are a teen or adult. Regardless of whether you are a teen or an adult, you aren't responsible for your father's emotions and feelings. If you are an adult, you can break out with him and you needn't to have any regrets because of it. It is your life, your father is responsible for himself and for his feelings. If you are a teen, you can consider trying to set boundary to what do you need as his child from him and this part of relationship between you and your father can't be broken till you are 18. But regardless of it you can distance self from your father's deeds which have nothing with your upbringing.
December 12th, 2020 3:04pm
What you know about your father is that he loves you, as you said. You may not know in what circumstances this affair started, so your best bet is a ) not to judge and b ) continue to love him. Your role is not to take sides (even just to show support for your mother) and hold your comments to either parent. Extramarital affairs are not that rare, unfortunately. However, I am sure you must be struggling with this issue and 7 cups is the perfect venue to talk your heart out with a listener and sort your feelings that way.
January 27th, 2021 6:28pm
This is a difficult situation. On one hand, it is very evident that you care about your father's feelings, but on the other hand, he seems to be perpetuating an unhealthy cycle which appears to be negatively impacting both you and your mother. It seems like one of the prominent issues here is a lack of healthy boundary setting. First, your father, having crossed a boundary to have an extramarital affair (if your parents are monogamous and this was not something that was negotiated and consented to) is demonstrating a lack of healthy boundaries towards his marriage. Secondly, it is clear he has also breached a boundary of trust with you. Thirdly, while it is understandable that you would care about his potential feelings of depression if you end the relationship with him, this also shows that you may be having difficulty drawing a line between "his stuff" and "your stuff", otherwise stated, difficulty with boundaries. It is not your responsibility to get involved or pick up after your parents. When they make mistakes, it is not your responsibility to pretend like everything is fine, if you feel (as you evidently do) that it is not fine. But it is also not your responsibility to assert your opinions if it is between them. If you are still grappling with whether to end the relationship, consider that if you do not end your relationship with your father, it should be on your terms, it should be because you feel it is what you want to do. It should not be because you feel guilt for his emotional processes. He made the decision to have an affair, and the results of that should be his to deal with, not yours.
March 17th, 2021 6:05pm
Hi so nice to meet you! I understand that this situation is sticky and I cannot offer you advice but I can be an ear to your problems. This way the problem is less heavy on your chest. I would tell you to focus on how it’s affecting you and how it’s making you feel as an individual. I am going to be here active and will deliver you a prompt response if you feel comfortable enough to share this in more detail to a listener and we will offer you a shoulder to lean you. Hope i could help :)
April 18th, 2021 9:46pm
Situations like this can be difficult to navigate, and I'm sorry you are caught in one. I think you should first make sure he knows how you feel. It's clear that you still care about him, at least a little, given you are still worried for him. Thus, maybe open a conversation with him about it, and how he feels and how you feel. If you decide that the way he feels does not align with the type of father you want to have in your life, you are free and allowed to make that decision. It also does not have to be forever. People do change, and maybe he will be one of those people.
April 25th, 2021 8:03pm
Adult relationships can be complex. A cheating parent can be a nightmare, but in a situation like this, it's important to see your parents as individuals themselves. They can make their own decisions and bear their own consequences. You're not responsible for the decisions they make. Apart from being your mother's husband, he's also YOUR father. You have the right to pick without feeling guilty. If you believe that he loves you, you can choose to have a relationship with him. And if you choose to support your mother, nobody can blame you. What do YOU want? The decision is only yours. Your choice matters, and nobody gets to dictate what you should choose.
May 8th, 2021 2:56am
Thank you for reaching out! It’s really natural to feel conflicted, yet want the best for both your parents. I can imagine how overwhelmed and lost you must be feeling from everything that's been going on. When parents have extramarital affairs it can be very traumatizing and upsetting for the child. Dealing with a situation like this is very difficult and you've shown a lot of courage speaking about this. You've also shown how much you care for both of your parents and that's very admirable given the situation you're in. Would you like to reflect on how you came about knowing the truth of your fathers infidelity? Was it a confession from his part or did someone in your family find out? What would you feel comfortable in doing to help you make yourself and your situation feel better? What existing support do you feel you already have? FamilyLine is an example of a support organisation concerning family matters. You are welcome to communicate with anyone of our amazing listeners or therapists on our site for further support. The Relationship support room is open for group based communication every Thursday 24/7 to reach out to those going through issues related to family, friends or loved ones.
May 19th, 2021 8:11pm
I can understand the strong and conflicting feelings you are experiencing after the revelation from your father. From my experience, it's important not to make any huge decisions while you are grieving, if you have the option. You seem to care a lot for your father and are concerned about his well-being, despite his actions, and that shows a lot of strength and selflessness. I think it's important that you give yourself the space you need. It's possible that your father may feel depressed for a wide range of reasons during this time (including the consequences of his own actions), and you can't take responsibility for any of that. If I was in your shoes, I would take this time to get the care I would need for myself. Whether it's time to grieve the loss of your parent's marriage or the breach in trust, counseling, healthy distractions like hobbies, or spending time with others. Then, when you're ready, revisit the idea of whether you truly want to end your relationship with your father.
May 30th, 2021 5:01am
Hi, It's tough knowing about parents extra marital affairs. Whether it's father's or mother's it's too sensitive for children to handle. I would say it's not best to take a stand unless your relationship is not impacted. The parents are grown up and know what they want or don't want. You are not fully matured to judge their requirements mental or physical. So keep away from interfering on those things . Love is beyond marriage these days , you can't accept my idea unless you see it on reality. So love them as you do always, don't anger or show difference in your interest.