It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in three sentences or less, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go. Today we discuss being a Baby Mama, meddling in your parents’ affairs, and dealing with jealous friends.
I definitely wouldn’t trust a guy who said he wants to marry you two weeks after you met him.
My mum and dad look reasonably happy and hug and kiss, etc. But my mum can have a bit of a temper and argues over lots of small stuff and she has put weight on lately. Do you think my dad is having an affair, and if so, what I should do? I really don’t want to break the family up and I don’t want them to get a divorce because my mum doesn’t work fulltime so would not be able to realistically look after herself, AND she doesn’t get on brilliantly with her parents.
— Worried about Mum and Dad
For all you know, “Adam” is a pet name your dad has for your mother, and even if it isn’t and your hunch about an affair is correct, you would be utterly incapable of cleaning up any mess your meddling might create. Since the stakes are so high, you need to do everyone a favor, butt out and mind you own business. Your parents can deal with their own issues, and surely there’s enough drama in high school to keep you occupied, right?
Unfortunately, you can’t force your friends to be happy for you, but you can force them to move out, which is probably what they resent most of all. Offer to help them find new homes, show excitement for the things going on in their lives, make an effort not to disappear into your couple bubble, and if they’re still acting like snots, thank your lucky stars that your future includes much more than living like a character from “Sex and the City.” Besides, in another year or two, your friends will most likely be settling down, too, and turning to you for advice and practical insight.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected] and be sure to follow me on Twitter.
KD September 23, 2011, 7:42 am
Wow Wendy, a little harsh on LW #2, “Surely there’s enough drama in high school is keep you occupied”. It’s a 15 year old who’s concerned about their parent’s relationship, give him/her a break about being upset/worried. Unfortunately, LW, there isn’t anything you can do that can help the situation.
Addie Pray September 23, 2011, 10:25 am
And as a follow up, to a 15 year old, her parents and her family structure IS her own business. At least at that age, it’s the only thing you know, and having something/someone shake that up is traumatizing. I don’t disagree with Wendy’s advice – there’s nothing the LW can or should do – but I can see how a 15 year old would agonize over this and feel compelled to do something.
Amber September 23, 2011, 11:48 am
Judi September 23, 2011, 2:45 pm
LW2, I don’t know whether or not you should confront your parents about your situation, but you should definitely see a school counselor who could help guide you through this.
Wendy, as a daily reader, I see so many letters where people write to you to get some kind of validation or are just completely delusional about their situations and need your tough love/no bullshit attitude. But LW2 is a 15 year-old kid who had an honest problem and needed better advice than some patronizing crap telling her to “butt out.” Your rude tone and unhelpful advice really bothered me (and obviously many others).
Wendy September 23, 2011, 2:47 pm
What was that you said about patronizing crap and rude tone?
Shadowflash1522 September 23, 2011, 2:53 pm
Easy, Wendy. I think her point is that, given the uncertainty of the whole situation coupled with the fragility of the 15-yr-old ego, perhaps “butt out” was more damaging than helpful.
Judi September 23, 2011, 3:34 pm
I submitted a reply to this but it hasn’t shown up(?). Anyways, I’m sorry I was rude Wendy, I really am a fan of your advice and site, and I shouldn’t have responded that way. But I do think it’s flippant to tell a 15 year-old kid who is worried about her parents marriage to just “butt out” and focus on high school drama.
EB September 23, 2011, 4:51 pm
Personally while I might disagree with the advice Wendy gave, I think it is important to remember that the LW sought out Wendy’ advice whereas Wendy is not asking us for guidance. I believe the purpose of the comment section is to voice our suggestions to the LW not offer unsolicited opinions about how Wendy should do her job.
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 5:01 pm
GingerLaine September 23, 2011, 5:03 pm
Excellent points, EB. I think it’s also important to remember that this LW is not operating out of a vacuum. If she wrote to Wendy, then surely she has read Wendy’s column & the comments (both of which often deal with much more adult discourse than what we’re having here today) before. Wendy is Wendy, and that’s what you get. I wouldn’t write to Dan Savage & be upset that his response contained profanity or dirty sex terms, right?
Christy September 23, 2011, 4:05 pm
I actually agree with Wendy (and her tone) here. It’s natural to be upset about your parents, but it’s also a little silly to think that as a 15 year old, you can help very much. She could HURT a lot, though, so butting out is probably the best thing. I remember being that age and discovering the huge amount of debt my mother was in and feeling worried and overwhelmed. But there was nothing I could do about it. I think what Wendy is tapping into here is the urge to, as a teenager, make everything a big dramatic deal, and the LW should avoid that.
PondLily September 23, 2011, 8:01 am
I have to disagree about LW#2. I would say the best thing to do would be to talk to a trusted adult like a guidance counselor or non-related adult friend who will be able to help you work out your feelings and your worries from an unbiased perspective. You could ask your dad what is going on, but it may not help things and he may react unpleasantly toward you if he feels like he is being confronted about his privacy, and potentially something scandalous that, if exposed, could hurt his family. It might not get you the result you want, and just add even more stress to your life. It is completely normal to be scared and concerned about your parents’ relationship, and obviously you saw something that you can’t just ignore or forget about easily. Please realize that whatever is going on with your parents has nothing to do with you, and there is no way for you to fix it, if in fact it is an affair. The best thing you can do is to focus on your schooling and your own emotions and the situation will work itself out in time, through your parents’ doing, not your own.
H September 23, 2011, 9:32 am
I agree. I usually agree with Wendy… but on LW#2 she was a little off. A 15 year is STILL a kid. I think it is completely normal to be worried about his/her parents. I definitely agree- talk to a guidance counselor. It might ease some of your anxiety over it.
Ktfran September 23, 2011, 9:56 am
Heck, I think if would be worried if I were in the same situation as this kid and I’m 31. And I would definitely do something about it. And that thing would probably be confront my dad. I take that back. I would talk to my therapist first to figure the best way to handle the situation. Then probably talk to my dad.
LW – i suggest talking to an adult you know and trust. Preferably now someone who is close to both your parents and will make it worse than it already is.
Ktfran September 23, 2011, 9:58 am
Edit last paragraph – preferably an adult you know and trust who is NOT close to both your parents. If there isn’t anyone, a guidance couselor perhaps?
I should have read before hitting submit. Oops.
ele4phant September 23, 2011, 11:41 am
Agreed. This happened to me when I was 24, and it was no less tramautic than if I was 14. Unfortuantly, Wendy is right that while the family is the business of the girl, the state of her parent’s relationship is in fact not her business. This was hard for me to understand when my parents’ marriage was falling apart, but I’ve come to see that its true.
LW, go see your high school counselor. Maybe they’ll advise you in how to talk to your Dad, maybe they won’t, but remember no matter what your parents love YOU, and they always will.
Sarah February 13, 2018, 12:03 am
That poor kid, LW2. I disagree with that advice. Yes talk to a grown up such as a counsellor.
Reality is this is the kids life! It sounds like his dad is being inappropriate and has the inklings of an affair. What a horrible position to be in. As a teenager living athome when my one parents affair blew up it was absolute hell. Hell. If the kid figured it out that quickly I’m sure the mom can too. Rough waters ahead.
the dad is a piece of shit.
Lindsay September 23, 2011, 8:04 am
LW1 should avoid getting involved with this guy. But I also have to mention that getting you generally don’t just get impregnated by a guy against your will. You have the option of using birth control, etc. Not that she should get with him, but it just sounded weird.
I assume that if LW2 called “Adam” and it had been her (?) mom, she would have recognized her voice. Anyway, I get that it’s meddlesome, but I’m not sure how I’d feel if I found out that my husband was cheating on me and that my children knew the whole time.
And, yes, it would be nice of LW3 to help her friends find places to live, etc., but at my age, if I’m living with someone who is dating someone seriously, I generally have in the back of my mind that they may decide to move in together. So, if the idea is that the friends are feeling left out or whatever, they should have seen this coming.
NOLAGirl September 23, 2011, 8:11 am
I was thinking the same thing re. LW1. You don’t just magically get knocked up. It takes two to do it. Not that I think this dude is a winner. Although, he could have been meaning his “I want to marry you” in the “I’m looking to settle down” kind of way. But yeah, if you’re interested, I’d say you can give it a shot, but please please please please please please (x infinity) if you are going to sleep with the dude, use some protection and some common sense (which as we learned yesterday is lacking in some folks)
SpyGlassez September 24, 2011, 10:33 pm
My thought on LW#1:
Marcie September 23, 2011, 9:47 am
I was thinking that too! He can’t do it to you unless you allow him (though we all know that there are circumstances in which this does happen against your will, unfortunately). Plus, if you have a kid, and he has two kids with two baby mama’s you might want to leave this guy alone.
6napkinburger September 23, 2011, 10:12 am
I totally agree. Such a weird way to phrase it. And in this country, for now at least, even if he did impregnate you, you could undo it with a pill, or a different pill, or a procedure.
Was the question “I’m afraid I’m going to fall in love and get pregnant, believing that he’ll marry me, and then he won’t?” If that is the question… just don’t get pregnant until you’re married, and only if you want to marry him and be a family.
But if he’s normal and nice, and just wants to date you and you’re interested, and you could consider settling down with a guy who already has kids, then date him. You can also date him without sleeping with him for a while, to see what his “intentions” are without getting impregnated.
Budjer September 23, 2011, 10:27 am
Two kids with two different women with no past marriages or any level of commitment at all is a huge red flag imo…I think it speaks a lot about his sense of responsibility and while I won’t call him an idiot it definitely makes you question his cognitive abilities…people are more than the 2 line snapshot a LW gives them though.
bittergaymark September 23, 2011, 10:59 am
Fine, sure. They can date, I guess. But not if she ever wants kids… Why? Because it constantly creates chaos… You know what? Once people have kids with somebody, that should be it. They can break up, divorce, sure, whatever. But no more kids… All these multiple daddy families just fuck all the kids up. Seriously. Enough, people. Enough!
CatsMeow September 23, 2011, 12:23 pm
One of my best friends married a guy who has 2 different kids from 2 different moms. He’s a really good guy – in the military, well-educated, good job, takes care of the kids, etc. My friend who married him comes from a family with half-siblings, step-siblings, and awesome stepparents. People can make it work, and the kids don’t always end up fucked up. In fact, my boyfriend has 2 siblings, and all 3 of them have different fathers (they were all born many years apart). He is one of the most well-adjusted people I know!
ANYWAY, if LW1 doesn’t want to get impregnated, there are lots of ways to prevent that! I think if the guy she’s considering dating seems irresponsible, then she should just forget about it. But if he’s generally a good guy who just happens to have kids already, and she’s ok with perhaps having a “blended” family in the future, then maybe she should give it a shot? ……. But probably not – I’m with Wendy in that a guy who says he’ll marry you after 2 weeks is super creepy!!
6napkinburger September 23, 2011, 11:26 am
I agree. I wouldn’t date the guy in a million years. But LW also has a kid with no husband/life partner (or so it seems… I didn’t get that she was “divorced” from the letter, either legally or separated from a committed life partner [for those who don’t believe in marriage but do believe in “real” commitment… I consider that Susan Surrandon got “divorced” (in quotes)]) and perhaps in her world this is how people roll. I honestly don’t know. I don’t think its fair for me to put my standards/expectations on someone in a totally different life situation (I am NOT saying this is what you are doing; I’m just commenting about me) and if everyone in your world has (as in, already has) kids that were produced casually, then there are probably good guys mixed in with crap ones in those situations. What if she’s in a community with a teenage pregnancy rate of like 60%? Maybe he had both kids under age 20 and is now 27 and a totally different person. I wouldn’t want my life to be that complicated but i live a pretty sheltered life; Lw has a kid and is considering dating him, which is something I probably never would have. You don’t lose anything by going to dinner a few times; that’s all I meant. If she doesn’t bang him, she can’t get pregnant and he can’t ruin her life before she gets to know him.
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 11:37 am
Its a reg flag, sure, but whats a red flag really? Just a heads up to be on the look out. People can change dramatically between 20 and 30 or even 15 and 25. That said, I would never date a guy with a kid (but me saying “never” has bit me in the ass before!). Just seems easier to start fresh, no ex-wives, hard feelings for the children involved, etc. Bear in mind, I’m a single mom and my parents are both re-married, one with more kids in the second marriage. As always, there are exceptions to the rule and I’m sure there are lots of happy children out there and SOs who have made great step parents.
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 11:53 am
Any input from you on this The Other Me?
Budjer September 23, 2011, 11:30 am
That’s fine and I don’t completely disagree. I think we just have a difference in what we view as critical information to assessing red flags.
6napkinburger September 23, 2011, 11:50 am
It’s weird because I really don’t think she should date him; I agree with you on the red flags. But then suddenly my argument got sidetracked, and I was saying to try it. When I really don’t think she should. huh.
CatsMeow September 23, 2011, 12:23 pm
haha I do that all the time
Budjer September 23, 2011, 12:29 pm
haha yea…I’ll get half way through a response and be like…wait…I just talked myself out of it.
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 12:31 pm
Same here! Worst part is I’m so stubborn I’ll just keep rolling with it. I’m sure I contradict myself on here a lot.
EB September 23, 2011, 8:09 am
I feel conflicted about LW2. Should she have gone through her dad’s phone ? no.
But now that she has, she most likely can’t forget what she has seen. That’s a pretty big secret for a 15 year old to have to carry .If she tells her mom, I don’t think it is fair to blame her “meddling” for the mess that ensues. In my mind, the father, being an ADULT and engaging in such inappropriate behavior, is the person guilty of jeopardizing the marriage, not his CHILD, the LW.
PondLily September 23, 2011, 9:48 am
The real issue is how the LW can deal with her own worry and stress since there is nothing she can do to fix the situation. If she needs to tell her mom, that’s completely within her realm of appropriateness because she is a child who is going through a huge issue, and that’s what parents are there for, to help their children, regardless of what the problem is.
EB September 23, 2011, 9:57 am
I totally agree; I just felt that this line ” you would be utterly incapable of cleaning up any mess your meddling might create” was unfair to the LW and insinuated that she was responsible for any fall-out if she told her mother. A 15 year old should not have to keep secrets in order to protect her parent’s marriage or worry that telling the truth might mess it up.
GingerLaine September 23, 2011, 11:08 am
You’re right – a 15 year old should not have to keep secrets. But it’s her fault that’s happening. A 15 year old is also old enough to know that if you have suspicions, you don’t go digging through other people’s things. If you snoop, you might actually find what you’re looking for. That’s why if you aren’t prepared to follow through (like the LW isn’t), you don’t snoop.
Seems like she’s learning this lesson the hard way. And I feel badly that because of her ill-advised actions, her own future relationships may be damaged by what she discovered. That’s young to have your faith in good relationships & good men tested. I hope that’s not the case.
EB September 23, 2011, 12:50 pm
“You’re right – a 15 year old should not have to keep secrets. But it’s her fault that’s happening”
I vehemently disagree. This is happening because the father sent inappropriate text messages not because his 15 year old child went snooping through his phone. He is 100% to blame for any stress or strain that this puts on his marriage.
GingerLaine September 23, 2011, 2:10 pm
Sorry. I can’t agree.
Sure, would she not be in this position if her father hadn’t been acting strangely as a result of… whatever it is that’s going on? I suppose she wouldn’t.
But she would DEFINITELY not be in this position if she hadn’t gone snooping through other people’s property. Him behaving strangely or suspiciously does not give her license to go through any of his things.
I definitely don’t think any of the fall out, whether she keeps the secret or not, is her burden to bear. Of course it’s her father’s. But as I said before, she would not be in a position of secret-keeping had it not been for her OWN actions, regardless of her father’s. That’s real grown folks talk.
heidikins September 23, 2011, 12:05 pm
Dislike. “A 15 year old should not have to keep secrets. But it’s her fault that’s happening.” Massive thumbs down. This is not a relationship between two adults who are free to move on at any time for any reason. This is a child finding out a really ugly secret about her father that, regardless of the fall-out, will affect her for for a long time.
I really don’t see how it would be more harmful to bring this issue up with either parent than to keep it bottled up, festering and coloring LW’s future relationships. How many times have you heard the “I can’t trust men because my dad cheated on my mom” story? LW needs to talk to her parents. They really should be the first, trusted adults she turns to. If speaking with some kind of guidance counselor first seems safer, great. But keep in mind school counselors are not only not trained in this kind of thing, they have very strict rules about what they can say or do to help in situations like this. Does it seem a little much to ask LW to seek out, and pay for a family counselor on her own? Yes. She’s 15, not 25.
LW, write down what you want to say to your mom or your dad. Re-read it several times to make sure it reflects your feelings and your concerns. Sleep on it. Read it again. Then you need to talk to the parent you trust the most. If you’re nervous, you can read it to your parent(s), or even just give it to them as a letter. Good luck, honey.
SGMcG September 23, 2011, 8:28 am
LW #1: He wants to marry you even though he barely knows who you are? Forget about protecting your heart from men who want to start a family with you when they have two kids of their own – how about protecting your young son from having a stepfather with guys that have potential malicious intentions. Follow your gut on this one LW – this guy is not for you.
LW #2: The thing all children have to realize about their parents at some time is that a parent is only a type of human being – they make mistakes, had their own lives before kids came into the picture and they have their own sets of desires to feel. Yes, sometimes these desires are that of a sexual nature and if the nuclear family you were raised in has not undergone any significant change and/or tension, as the child of that potentially sexual parent, do you REALLY want to start exploring what that entails? For all your thinking that your Dad may be having an affair without your Mom’s knowledge, the same can ALSO be said that your Dad and Mom may be swingers and they know about the other partner’s cuckolding activities. Yet whether they’re happy in their feigned monogamy through clandestine affairs or hiding a life of swinging style from their children who shouldn’t know about that, as long as your Mom and Dad still support who you are, help you get through high school (and maybe college) and love you through thick and thin – you, your parents and your siblings are STILL a family, whether your parents have a marriage or not.
LW #3: I think you need to give your friends a definitive move-out date for them to completely grasp the idea that you truly want to move on from your current living arrangement. As you are helping them find a new place to live, you also have to make sure to reassure your best friends that your friendship will still remain the same, even though you may not share living quarters together. Perhaps you should also take the time to schedule potential last hurrahs of nights-in-together and plan for nights-out accordingly.
Shadowflash1522 September 23, 2011, 9:20 am
I got the impression that her distress came less from her parents’ sexual proclivities and more from the violation of the sacred “family unit”. IMHO, what she really wants is for her mom to tell her that it’s ok, it’s cool, we’re still a family. Whether that’s because her mom knows about Adam and is ok with it or her mom *is* Adam, she after the reassurance that this unwelcome (but now unforgettable) knowledge doesn’t change anything. In her position, I wouldn’t be able to sweep it under the rug–I would want to know if I was living a “big, happy family” lie.
SGMcG September 23, 2011, 1:47 pm
I think the term “violation” of the family unit is a bit strong here – maybe a disturbance in the family isthe more accurate term. Yet last I checked, her mom is still her Mom and her dad is still her Dad. Whether or not they’re truly blissfully married or in denial and each having rampant sexual relations with others is really and TRULY none of her business.
Yes, she is a member of the family in question and may have a stake in the matter, but ultimately, this is all about the initial marriage between two people – and it’s not her job to be the marriage counselor. She also doesn’t have enough information to judge her Dad since she doesn’t have all the facts, nor does she have a duty to take care of her Mom if in fact it is an affair. In three years she’s technically an adult and has to take care of herself, and I would tell the adult the same thing I told the 15-year-old LW, “Do you REALLY want to start exploring what your parents sexual relation history entails?”
And LW, I truly get that it hurts since it involves questioning the foundation of memories you’ve developed with the people you love and who’ve raised you. I know some commenters have suggested talking about the incident to someone outside of your family – but it doesn’t really give you all the answers to all the questions you’re now asking and even the trustworthiest of adults can inadvertantly start a rumor that can’t be unheard. Even though Wendy’s advice is harsh, it really is the most pragmatic course in your situation LW – butt out of the state of your parent’s marriage and focus on the indivdual relationship you have with each parent instead.
Shadowflash1522 September 23, 2011, 2:02 pm
Again, I don’t think her parent’s sexual history is what this LW wants to know.
The “violation” comes in something like this: To her knowledge, her Dad loves her Mom, which he shows by being faithful to her. If he’s faking being in love with her, then maybe he’s faking loving his daughter, the LW. If he’s faking loving his kids and/or his wife, then the whole family unit (which is based on mutual love and respect) comes crashing down. Hence, the violation of the family unit by revealing that it is built on a lie. It seems like a ridiculous extrapolation, but this is how we blow things up in our minds when we don’t have the whole picture. It’s not something she can just talk herself out of.
She’s not interested in who’s sleeping with whom; she wants to know the truth about whether her family is as secure and loving as she was raised to believe it is. Put simply, she wants to know if her dad still loves her mom. Clearly, the old proof is no longer enough; these text messages have raised the specter of the possibility that at least one of her parents is faking (see above).
Shadowflash1522 September 23, 2011, 2:04 pm
Forgot to add: that’s just it though–her Dad is not her dad anymore. In her eyes se’s not the same man she used to call Dad, he’s a fallible human being, a stranger who appears capable of cheating on his wife. Sure, he’s still her biological father, but that’s a long shot from being the Dad she knows and loves.
Kerrycontrary September 23, 2011, 8:32 am
Yeh LW1 if you don’t want to get impregnated by a guy and then not have him marry you…then don’t get pregnant. I can’t say whether you should date this guy or not, but use contraceptives. I would suggest birth control pills plus condoms to protect from pregnancy and stds. If you are unaware of how to properly use contraceptives you can visit your local planned parenthood or visit their website for more info.
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 9:18 am
I’ll probably get yelled at for this but if she doesn’t know how to properly use contraceptives, after already having 1 baby, she’s got some serious problems and probably too dumb to be having sex.
Kerrycontrary September 23, 2011, 9:33 am
yeh, I’m of the opinion that it’s not that hard to NOT get pregnant. But, I have to realize that not everyone had access to a great sex-ed program like I did. There are literally people out there in the America who think “well if you have sex you have to get pregnant”. (16 and Pregnant season 2 anyone?). That’s why I was trying to suggest that she could learn about contraception if she didn’t have the opportunity to before.
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 9:40 am
Fair enough. It certainly can’t hurt to suggest she learn about it, regardless of whether or not *I* think she should know already! Another point-maybe its a good thing that some young people think they’ll get pregnant every time, scares ’em into using birth control more.
MissDre September 23, 2011, 2:20 pm
I have a friend who, all through school, fully believe that “you can’t get pregnant if you have sex standing up and you can’t get pregnant if you shower after”. Well, she’d had 4 accidental pregnancies. Sigh.
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 2:27 pm
So you’re telling me I just took a shower for nothing. Great.
callmehobo September 23, 2011, 8:38 am
Hey, LW 2,
I’m going to tell you that I was once a 15 year old in your EXACT SAME POSITION.
I think what Wendy is trying to say (which I don’t think she did a very good job- it is perfectly normal to be conflicted about this) as the child, it is NOT your position to “fix” anything in your parent’s marriage. I know you want to, and I know that you feel like you need to tell someone about what you found. Right now you don’t feel like a 15 year old. You feel like someone’s who’s job is to save their parent’s marriage. However, it’s not your job. You’re 15. It’s your job to worry about things like algebra and football games.
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that in general, your dad has been acting strange lately- strange enough for you to have an “urge” to look at his phone. He’s probably been sullen and secretive. Believe me, LW, if you are having suspicions, then your mom is probably having them, too. She’s just trying to be a good mom and not drag you into this (unfortunately, some mothers don’t do this).
I would suggest finding a trusted adult, like a school counselor, to talk to. This IS a big deal. Bottling it up won’t help you. Just please, PLEASE, realize that this isn’t your fault. Nothing you or your mother did could have stopped this (if it is an affair). And it isn’t your place to fix it either.
PondLily September 23, 2011, 8:49 am
This!!! Exactly what I was trying to say, but you were much more clear, straightforward, and precise. Hopefully coming from someone who has been there will help the LW realize that she is not alone and that her biggest concern right now is how to help herself deal with it without neglecting the things she is responsible for like homework.
Painted_lady September 23, 2011, 8:58 am
Seconded. Brilliant. I’ve been sort-of-but-not-really there (I thought my mom was having an affair but she wasn’t). I confronted my mom, and I have to say it was one of the most uncomfortable conversations I’ve ever had. I’m still embarrassed about it years later, and the thing I begin to realize now is how much more complicated my parents’ marriage was and is. Even though there was no affair, the reason I thought there was, was because of my dad’s actions, which I would never accept in a partner as an adult today (she had a male friend who was strictly platonic that my dad had forbidden her to see). Whatever the case is with your dad, your parents’ marriage in a lot of ways isn’t your business (obviously what you see them do is), and it most definitely isn’t your responsibility.
Talk to a counselor. You definitely need to work through this. As one of the oldest of a larger family, you probably feel a lot of undue responsibility to your family as a unit. Work through all this crap with someone you have no emotional dependence upon.
amber September 23, 2011, 9:11 am
couldn’t agree more. hopefully the guidance counselors at her school are good. the one i had was amazing. when crappy things are going i sometimes wish i could still go sit in his office and hear his advice.
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 9:22 am
Thanks for sharing this and pointing out that if LW was suspicious, mom probably was/is too, which should alleviate some of the stress of whether or not to tell. I know someone who went through this exact situation, but was in college. I felt so bad for the mother because she seemed clueless and here she is with her kids knowing things about her marriage that she didn’t. Awful situation to be in. The girl never told, but the marriage now has problems that are out in the open. I’d guess the mom maybe now knows or knew/suspected all along.
ReginaRey September 23, 2011, 8:53 am
I agree that if SHE got suspicious of her father’s behavior, there’s almost no doubt that her mom is, too. I’m going to bet that her mom already knows, or at least suspects. Knowing that may help take some pressure off of the LW.
Ktfran September 23, 2011, 10:10 am
Please read and pay attention to this string of responses. I think the advice is spot on. Your situation would be hard for anyone at any age to be in. Talk it out with someone.
MsMisery September 23, 2011, 8:40 am
He can't impregnate you and marry you w/o your permission. There is a MAGICAL THING called birth control! And unless he finds a voodoo witch doctor to join yous together in marriage while you are asleep, you don't have to worry about that, either.
anonymous September 23, 2011, 8:42 am
wow, wendy. i often get the impession that you are very harsh towards the LWs, though i do realize sometimes you need someone to tell you the truth like it is. but in my view, there was no need for you to be so rude to LW2! she’s a fifteen year old girl worrying about her parent’s marriage, and while it was wrong to look through her dad’s phone, she’s not likely to occupy herself with all that drama in highschool and just forget about it. i thought that was a very disrespectful thing to say to a concerned teen! that said, LW2, I think you should listen to Regina’s spot-on advice.
Flake September 23, 2011, 8:56 am
LW # 1, please read the previous letter “My Husband Keeps Having Babies With Another Woman!”. If you are not careful, that could be you.
LW # 2, when I was about 10 years old, I discovered, completely by accident, that I have a half-sister, about the same age as me. I never spoke to anyone about it. Then, about 15 years later, it turned out that my mom (and obviously, my father) knew about it, but chose not to tell their three kids. They acted completely normal and civil toward one another. That could also be the case with your parents. Your mom may know what’s going on, and choose to act this way for that sake of your family. If it were me, I would actually talk to your father about this, in an non-confrontational way. You can say something along the lines, “I discovered some information about you, and now I am confused. Please explain.”. You should remember though that your father may feel that he doesn’t owe you an explanation, and in that case, you should stay out of it. In case he is having an affair, you can tell him that while you think that what he is doing is wrong, you are not going to tell anyone, but should anyone ask, you won’t and shouldn’t lie. Another point, DO NOT BLAME YOUR MOTHER!!! People have affairs not because someone makes them, but because they choose to do so.
LW # 3: your friends are acting like jerks. Unless they have concrete reasons why you shouldn’t be happy with your BF, tell them that you are growing up, whether they like it or not. You can help them with the move if you like, but you don’t owe them anything, except same courtesy they are showing you.
Gwen Soul September 23, 2011, 11:18 am
I was actually in the position where I had to speak with my Dad about his cheating after I found out. It was one of the most traumatizing things of my life and I was in my twenties. He got defensive and denied it and acted hurt I could even consider he would do such a thing.
So talking about it with the father may not be a good idea, I really don’t know what the best thing to do in this situation is, and there really is no good answer. Of course no matter what the age, a child really has no control over their parents’ marriage, but it is hard when you have two people you love who are hurting each other.
Annie September 23, 2011, 9:03 am
If LW2 were an adult, I would agree with the advice. But at 15, your parents are pretty much the most important adults in your life, and I can totally understand the LW being upset about possible trouble in their marriage. It has huge bearings on her everyday life. Whether or not she says anything should be up to her, it depends on whether she would rather pretend to know nothing and keep the peace, or bring up the issue and risk s%#& hitting the fan and/or finding out a lot more about her parent’s sex life than anyone would want to know.
heidikins September 23, 2011, 12:18 pm
There is so much research about how a solid, trusting relationship with a girl’s father will be the basis for good male relationships the rest of her life. (Obviously, it’s not the only way to have a healthy adult relationship, I’m just saying there’s a strong correlation.) So why are we collectively counseling her to bottle it up, ignore it, pretend it didn’t happen? What kind of long-term affects will that have?
I totally agree that as a teenager, LW’s parents should be the first ones she turns to for help, and–and this is really important–they need to also be her advocate. They are sexual beings, yes. But they are also responsible for the well being of their child, it is their responsibility to protect her. If she is hurt or confused or scared, shouldn’t they know? If she was your daughter, wouldn’t you want to know? Wouldn’t you want her to trust you enough to say “hey, Mom/Dad, I’m worried. I’m scared. I don’t know what to do. Please help me understand this.”
ReginaRey September 23, 2011, 8:18 am
I’m also conflicted about LW#2. At 15, I wasn’t an idiot and I knew my parents quite well. I know that my mom would have WANTED to know if I had discovered something like that.
That said, LW, there’s a good chance your mom already knows and is keeping quiet for the sake of you and your siblings – it COULD explain the changes you mentioned. She could possibly be stressed and depressed, and could be putting on weight and exhibiting a short temper because of your father’s affair.
I think this should be your discretion, LW. If you don’t want to keep this inside and you feel the need to tell your mother, there’s a right way to go about doing it. Perhaps sit down with her privately and explain exactly what you saw. Try to stay calm and collected. Your mother may confirm that she already knows, or you may be breaking news to her. I don’t think your mother will be mad at you, but she may ask you to behave a certain way AFTER having this discussion, and I think it’s important that you listen to her. If she asks you not to tell your siblings, listen to her. If she asks you not to mention this to your father, don’t. Follow her lead, LW.
I’m sorry you’re now in a very adult position that most 15-year-olds shouldn’t have to deal with. Think for a while about what you want to do, what you think you should do based on how well you likely know your parents and family, and try to be as mature and composed as you can throughout the process – you don’t want to bring any undue heat on yourself by acting overly spiteful, hateful or accusatory. Good luck, LW.
Kerrycontrary September 23, 2011, 8:38 am
I also think that LW2 needs to realize that if her dad is having an affair, it is NOT her mother’s fault just because she argues about small stuff or put on weight. The father is responsible for his own actions and cheating is a reflection of the relationship as a whole. I think something teenagers have trouble understanding is that affairs are not just about sex. They are usually about one person trying to fill an emotional void left by their current relationship.
ReginaRey September 23, 2011, 8:51 am
Oh, absolutely. I think that’s why this will be so hard for the LW. At 15, it’s going to be difficult to absorb all of the complexities that go into adult relationships and affairs. It’s important that she not place blame on EITHER of her parents – her mother for somehow “causing” it or her father for straying. Her parents likely have had relationship issues or difficulties that she’s NEVER known about or been privy to. I think it’s critical that she, as best she can, just remember “I don’t know everything about my parent’s relationship. I can’t judge or place blame.”
Shadowflash1522 September 23, 2011, 9:10 am
With both of you on LW2. At 15, the last thing I would have wanted/needed to hear is “butt out”. I’m not 12, this isn’t some gossipy secret, it could really hurt someone I care a lot about. At the very least, I would say get it off your chest with someone you *absolutely* trust– an adult, mature friend, cousin, your dog, whomever; that will help with the burning need to tell someone, anyone.
Then consider the things KC and RR brought up: maybe she already knows, maybe not, but this isn’t a blame game. You didn’t make your dad have an affair/incriminating texts on his phone, nor is it simply about sex.
Lastly, there might be a way to *subtly* nudge your mom towards the best possible option: seeing the evidence for herself. If she’s Adam, or already knows about her, no harm done. If this is the first she’s hearing of it, she can see exactly what you saw and draw her own conclusions. Just ask her if she’s looked at your dad’s phone recently. You’re a teenager–if she asks, you can just use the infamously cryptic “no reason” and move on 🙂 It’s a little P/A, but this is a very fine line to walk.
oldie September 23, 2011, 10:21 am
I disagree about telling the mother or steering her towards the evidence. LW indicates that her parents appear to get along fine and doesn’t indicate that her family is dysfunctional. Why mess that up and lose a two-parent environment for the LW and younger sibs?
I had a family friend who was having an affair. The wife knew, but chose not to acknowledge this knowledge. One of the children informed the mother and with the secret out in the open, pride forced a divorce. It was not in the best interests of anyone in the family, although the father came out quite well.
Shadowflash1522 September 23, 2011, 11:38 am
My attitude is, the LW isn’t the one messing it up. Her father is.
Her mom will find out one way or another–these things have a way of coming out. If her pride is going to force a divorce it will happen sooner or later. Things are already broken here and I for one would rather have it out in the open where I can see it than spend my life waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Snooping is an age-old discussion here, but the point is that something learned cannot be unlearned. It’s done. She might as well put it in the proper context. Plus, this way there never has to be a confrontation. Her mom can feel free to ignore her snoopy daughter; or, if she has suspicions (which is probable, as other posters have noted) then she can investigate without her teenager’s wild theories getting in the way.
P.S. I am so sorry for your family friends. Divorce is no fun. But, I am unsure how one of the children finding out translates to “well, since everybody knows I can get a divorce now”. It sounds like that was something the mother wanted for a long time, and that she was unhappy well before the kids got involved.
katie September 23, 2011, 8:01 pm
well then its a would you rather game- would you rather live in a nice comfortable two parent household that you know is a complete and totaly sham, or live with divorced parents who aren’t lying and cheating on each other?
its like a catch-22, basically. what a shitty situation.
ApplePancakes September 23, 2011, 1:52 pm
Very good advice RR and Kerry. The LW should not have to be dealing with such an adult situation, at such a young age. It is a shame that her father has put her in this position. It will affect her, and she should be able to depend on her parents to be the ones she can go to in a deeply troubling situation like this, but her father has made that so difficult. He is an adult and should not expect his child to be responsible for covering up his poor decisions. I just hope she is able to find help, whether that’s through her parents or another trusted adult, to process everything that she is probably feeling right now.
Sarah February 13, 2018, 12:16 am
@reginaray it *IS* the dads fault because he made the choice to cheat. Let’s not blame the mother or ‘relationship’ problems for driving him to cheat. The mom is experiencing those exact same relationship problems and (as far as we know) isn’t cheating.
Personal accountability. It’s a thing.
theattack September 23, 2011, 4:40 pm
I’m with you completely, RR. But I would add that depending on their family dynamics, if the LW tells her mother, she may want to make sure her mother doesn’t mention to her father that she (the LW) already knows. It might come off to him as taking sides, which could put a rift between the LW and her father.
OR go to her father first and tell him what she knows and inform him that she will be telling her mother. Say that she wanted him to know because she didn’t want their father-daughter relationship to suffer, and that she hopes he can understand her difficult position and the choices she’s made.
Budjer September 23, 2011, 9:24 am
LW 1 – Going out on a limb and suspecting it’s been a while since a man has shown interest….I’ve been there (with women) and as tempting as it is to go with it you need to pull yourself back and think logically/rationally…you know full well this guy is likely not a good fit and more than likely trouble. Put this one back in the pond and keep yourself emotionally ready for when you meet a quality guy.
LW 2 – Tough situation…I don’t know what I would do. I guess if I had full proof I would probably confront my father, but I’m 25 and don’t have the same relationship with my parents that you do at your point in life. I like the advise of talking it out with a counselor, but please be VERY careful who you trust this information too. (Especially if you live in a small town)
P.S. Don’t snoop on anyone else’s phone…
LW 3 – Another commenter discussed feeling like your situation is inevitable when you get to our age so they would expect that as a roommate and bow out gracefully….I’m pretty sure most people feel this way in their mid to late 20’s….we aren’t dorm buddies or college girlies anymore.
As other LW’s have undoubtedly shown an inability to see their situations clearly I want you to ask yourself if your roommates are really upset about having to leave…or actually just thinking you are crazy for ring shopping with your BF…who we have no background information on….except that you are pushing your 30’s (no age clarification means you are probably closer to 25 than 30) and have lived with your roommates for 3 years which likely means you have been dating your bf less than that. I don’t care what you choose to do with your life, but make sure you are reading your friends intentions clearly. Of course, I could be full of shit too.
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 9:29 am
Great advice for LW 1 and 3. Hope they see it.
ReginaRey September 23, 2011, 9:30 am
Totally unrelated, but…I’ve been curious as to your age for a while haha. I’m surprised you’re only 25! Then again, I’m only 23. But your responses reflect a wisdom and maturity that made me believe you were a bit older.
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 9:34 am
There was some mention of wondering ages of the commenters recently. I too often wonder that, and what kind of upbringing they had/profession they are in. The Other Me was wondering how old I was the other day because of a music reference I made. Anyway, its great seeing such mature twentysomethings. Refreshing!
TheOtherMe September 23, 2011, 11:12 am
@LBH> I wondered because of the musical reference but also because of the avatar I had in mind for you. Not sure if my original idea was such a good fit anymore 🙁
Also, I wonder about pretty much everyone’s age over here.
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 11:16 am
I’m still super curious what it was…and now why you think it wouldn’t be good anymore.
TheOtherMe September 23, 2011, 12:47 pm
@LBH, It was a funky 3d Pinocchio… and I wanted to add the “NO” sign around it… to symbolize honesty .. like your screen name
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 12:55 pm
bittergaymark September 23, 2011, 11:22 am
Actually, you all sound 25 to me. That’s not a bad thing. But as somebody who is older than 25, I gotta say that your posts ring quite true and very much on point for your ages…
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 11:24 am
I’m not 25. Regina was saying that to Budger, who is 25.
bittergaymark September 23, 2011, 11:28 am
Ah. Sorry. Something about the way posts follow one another on here often make it confusing as to what is addressed to what…
Budjer September 23, 2011, 11:28 am
Just curious what distinguishes us from sounding in our 30s? I’m happy to be sounding my age though – means I’m taking life at an appropriate pace. 😛
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 11:32 am
My guess would be, and I SWEAR I’m not trying to be insulting to anyone, would be that you don’t sound bitter and jaded. Which of course is a really, really good thing. I personally think you and RR have a really good, smart head on your shoulders from what I’ve read on here.
bittergaymark September 23, 2011, 11:54 am
For once, you’re not far off. But the truth about becoming jaded is that only an idiot could not. Why? Simply because so many of the things you were once really optimistic about — for me it would be saving the planet — simply don’t pan out at all. Look around, the environment has only gotten worse and worse.
Hey, I am still very involved in this sort of work. But it’s frustrating. Because, frankly, I honestly don’t think that any of all the hard work we did ever truly made a difference. It simply didn’t. And that’s a bitter pill to swallow. And now, even Obama — the guy I was admittedly never gung ho about, but voted for and believed in at least a little bit — is open to loosening the hard won environmental regulations… Then there’s the Tea Party. Good Lord! God help the planet if those fools get any power because it will be drill, drill, drill! And spill, spill, spill. They are going to shamelessly use the economy and the need for jobs as an excuse to give corporations a blank check to pollute everything and everywhere. (Meanwhile, no jobs will even be created anyway…) I’m not making this up. They themselves talk about how they can’t wait to do this all of the time. I couldn’t stomach the Tea Party Debate last night, but they definitely touched on this the week before…
bittergaymark September 23, 2011, 11:40 am
A whole host of things, Budjer. A lot of your references. Some of you are a bit quick to jump the gun on issues. The occasional lack of seeing the bigger picture… But mainly, many of you have that wonderful idealism that unfortunately fades as one gets older and more realistic.
Yes, I must confess that everybody my age (in my vast, vast circle of friends) was a heck of a lot more optimistic in our 20s than we are now. That said, it was much easier then to be more optimistic. The world was simply a much better place! Heck, the only reality TV was The Real World!! I kid, I kid. But seriously, it was A LOT easier to have faith in the world in the 1990s as the economy was booming, booming, booming! For a while everything was going so gosh darn great!
Plus as you age, more and more bad stuff randomly happens to good people you know. I’ve had a recent batch of scary cancer deaths where everybody who died — and that’s what really is freaky, all three of them died. (Very quickly, too. In under four months!) All three had good insurance. The best health care. Nobody ever smoked. They rarely drank. They generally took great care of themselves — i.e. still had the fit bodies of their 20s… And yet all three were cut down in their prime by bizarre never before heard of before (by me) cancers. It changes how you view the world. It really does.
Plus, so many people I know are underwater with their houses… Everybody I know is either jobless of working way below their level… It’s crazy! I feel for you 20somethings. I really do. You all must enter a much bleaker “real world’ than I did after college.
bittergaymark September 23, 2011, 11:43 am
PS — What was REALLY scary about the cancer deaths — and I don’t know how I omitted this fact — is that the oldest was only 43…
Skyblossom September 23, 2011, 12:05 pm
It’s looking like one of my high school classmates will soon be a widow. Her husband has cancer and is going downhill rapidly, so rapidly it’s shocking to me and I’ve seen people with cancer. There were only 33 of us in my high school class and she will be the first to lose a spouse. It’s a tragedy when a life is cut so short and I’ve been wondering if their house is even paid for or if she will be left scrambling to get by on a single income and two daughters in college.
bittergaymark September 23, 2011, 12:09 pm
So sorry to hear that. It really IS scary. My previous experience with Cancer was my grandfather, who died of it, sure. But after 8 or so long, good years. Most of which he was pretty damn healthy. I was a kid, then, too. So it seemed like he had cancer forever, you know? I remember being almost surprised when it finally killed him at 82. But suddenly, all these young people I know got it and were suddenly nothing but urns of dust in a matter of mere months. It’s SCARY! Something is going on with all this cancer. Something in our environment is clearly making us sick.
Skyblossom September 23, 2011, 2:50 pm
We’re in our upper 40s so he’s pretty young and has gone from looking normal and healthy to an emaciated death camp survivor in just a month. I’ve never seen anything so fast and then I think about how expensive funerals are and how they will be paying the total deductible on their health insurance and think of all of that on top of the stress of watching someone you love die.
Budjer September 23, 2011, 11:47 am
I get you…and I will try and live blissfully as long as I can!
On a side note – I enjoyed the real world a lot when it first started too haha…granted I had to watch those as re-runs during their “marathons”. Also…Nirvana was on the radio…life was better then.
bittergaymark September 23, 2011, 11:58 am
Plus, back then Madonna was Lady Gaga. Which was so much more exciting because what she was doing was actually new and fresh… Not to mention truly daring! Standing up for gay rights is pretty much a given if you are an artist in 2011. In 1985? In the midst of an AIDS crisis that Reagan didn’t even so much as mention in his Presidency — mainly because it was, “Hey, killing all the right people.” Now THAT! was daring. That truly took some real balls. And that is why I will always cut Madonna a whole lot of slack.
lk September 23, 2011, 2:19 pm
Madonna is my hero. I love her so much.
bittergaymark September 23, 2011, 9:48 pm
I trust you have the Celebration DVD? Those videos are amazing! Two dvds worth of them, and only one of them is truly a trainwreck… the WHO’S THAT GIRL video… Madonna supposedly HATED this clip and you can see why… It’s hilariously like a bad Michael Jackson video (he made good ones, too) with annoying little dancing kids… Just a trainwreck! But the other videos are fascinating to watch as they are pretty much in chronological order and the transformations of Madonna from one clip to the next are jawdroppingly fabulous!
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 12:01 pm
Ah, now I’m reminiscing! Puck & Pedro, Nirvana…Keep the blissful life and positive outlook. Bitterness and being jaded gets you nowhere but miserable. Trust me.
ReginaRey September 23, 2011, 12:00 pm
It’s funny to be grouped in the “wonderful idealism” phase…because even at 23, I find myself to be pretty damn cynical, pessimistic and realistic…at least about my own life. I find myself annoyed at times by the complete lack of maturity, foresight and common sense of those in my age group (or at least…a whole LOT of my age group).
bittergaymark September 23, 2011, 12:05 pm
I think that’s probably because you are 23 in this era of economic chaos… I am very serious about how I can totally see how much more daunting it is to enter the real world now. Back then, nobody was unemployed for years and years… Nobody. That said, I also think that reality TV has dumbed down much of your generation. Not slamming you here, but agreeing with your beefs about your generation. I really do think that Generation X of the 1990s were much deeper, which is surprising because we all were kids in the 1980s…
ReginaRey September 23, 2011, 12:34 pm
You’re right about a lot of that. Though I was BORN cynical and have questioned idiocy my entire life…the economy doesn’t help. Also – social media has taken a toll on my generation (and even more so on those younger than me). The constant need to be seen, heard and validated for every TINY thing that you do is beyond frustrating to me.
Budjer September 23, 2011, 12:21 pm
I agree with that too. Haha it’s SOOO HARD not to be cynical and pessimistic…but I think some of our issues are some of the things BGM touched on….the economy sucks…a bleak scraping-by future was immediately a reality for many us right upon graduation and with the increase of tuition costs (mine went up over $10,000 PER YEAR from when I started to when I finished) a lot of fresh grads are in a real limbo phase post graduation…not to mention the popular culture of our generation is mostly hogwash and I can’t name one main stream band that I am proud my peer group supports and bred.
Cynical case #1: U of R sending me alumni donation requests while I’m still paying for well over half of my education loans that seriously dampen my ability to save any money for a house, etc….it’s like…go fuck yourself! Talk to me when I’m 52!
amber September 23, 2011, 12:37 pm
i work for a university and they just recently sent this flyer out about how we can donate via payroll deduction straight to the university if we want to. i was like wait, what? no, i don’t want to give part of my salary back to you thank you very much.
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 12:39 pm
I remember reading an article once about a guy who was suing his college because he didn’t get a job after getting his degree. If only…
6napkinburger September 23, 2011, 12:40 pm
Add on $200,000 in grad school debt. House, ha. I already pay a mortgage (and then some)… on myself.
Budjer September 23, 2011, 12:42 pm
That’s why I didn’t go to grad school…I didn’t like Chemistry enough to go get a PhD and the only way I was doing grad school was if I was getting tuition paid with a living stipend = phd program.
ReginaRey September 23, 2011, 12:35 pm
Haha, yeah I got that call too and promptly hung up. U of R…which U of R, out of curiosity?
Budjer September 23, 2011, 12:40 pm
Budjer September 23, 2011, 12:48 pm
Sorry to disappoint!
ReginaRey September 23, 2011, 12:45 pm
Haha ok thought you meant University of Richmond and was going to be excited that you had gone to school in VA! Whoops.
Joanna September 23, 2011, 6:18 pm
Hey I live in Rochester!
bindle September 24, 2011, 9:49 pm
I went to U of R too! Graduated in ’07 and started hearing from the call center almost immediately. Anyways, just wanted to say heeeey=)
Budjer September 26, 2011, 8:47 am
I was 07′ too! small world.
bagge72 September 23, 2011, 11:38 am
Yeah, earlier on when DW started, without having actual pictures of everyone, most people on here seem a lot older than their actual age has been revealed to be! I felt like I was young on here at first, and now it turns out I’m one of the older ones on here at 31! Being that old makes me want to cry sometimes!
bittergaymark September 23, 2011, 11:44 am
Eh, wait till you hit 35… 😉
TheOtherMe September 23, 2011, 12:44 pm
or 40 Cough-cough
bagge72 September 23, 2011, 1:27 pm
Wasn’t there a picture of you on the Frisky? Or was it on here? I would never think from that picture you would even be close to 40! I don’t think Mark looks 35 either from his picture on the “His Take” articles.
TheOtherMe September 23, 2011, 2:09 pm
It was on on TF (Reader Revealed) which was also where a lot of people were surprised that I wasn’t a man!
but, thanks 😉
bittergaymark September 23, 2011, 8:10 pm
Thanks! Especially because (sadly) I am NOT 35. Nope. I, too, am actually the oh-so-dreaded big 40. Yikes. There. I admitted it. Hadn’t quite planned on doing that… Though all those 1985 Madonna references earlier could easily have sounded some alarms anyway… 🙂
bagge72 September 23, 2011, 1:25 pm
Ugh 35! I don’t even want to talk about that! Haha, 35 is still a pretty good age, and I’m excepting being in my 30’s more, and more every day… I think.
ForeverYoung September 23, 2011, 4:37 pm
Y’all are crazy. I can’t wait to be old so my pessimism doesn’t seem so out of character. You gotta embrace your age, it’s by like the perks of 23 are worth it!
Budjer September 23, 2011, 11:48 am
My best friend at work just turned 34 so you’re still good.
TheOtherMe September 23, 2011, 12:50 pm
Maybe we can add sex & age to our screen names like:
do you know how many people on TF thought I was a man because people called me T.O.M for short ?
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 12:56 pm
I love that idea.
McLovin September 23, 2011, 1:28 pm
I third this!
“Hello. My name is McLovin and I’m very curious about everyones age, sex, occupation and relationship status.”
bagge72 September 23, 2011, 1:29 pm
I will start this off if anyone would like to know.
Bagge72(M)31-from South Shore MA, and I work in Finance in Boston, and part time in Retail! Don’t want to Hijack this thread to much so if somebody starts a thread on this I can provide more info!
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 1:34 pm
Def read that as you being 72. I second your new thread idea. Wendy-maybe the weekend thread could be Introduce Yourself.
TheOtherMe September 23, 2011, 2:53 pm
First names too ?
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 2:59 pm
Yes! …and social security numbers and atm pins! hehe. To be honest, I wouldn’t even know what to do with a SS# if I had one. I’m looking forward to the open thread.
Wendy September 23, 2011, 1:31 pm
Hey, how about we make this weekend’s open thread about our ages and such. That way we don’t take over this thread and the advice the LW needs to hear. Sound good?
bagge72 September 23, 2011, 1:38 pm
TheOtherMe September 23, 2011, 2:10 pm
Oups Ok Wendy! sorry !
AndreaMarie September 23, 2011, 1:09 pm
Age can be so irrevelant when it comes to friendships. It comes down to how you see the world. I’m 27 and my best friend at work just celebrated his 52 bday!
Budjer September 23, 2011, 9:35 am
I spend way too much time in my head drawing correlations between cause, effect and consequence because it’s essentially what I do for my job…
Also it’s mad easy to tell people the right thing to do when you are an outside observer…haha…I can’t say I make the best choices in my own life!
Budjer September 23, 2011, 10:19 am
Clarification: The “Right thing” is a subjective term.
TheOtherMe September 23, 2011, 12:45 pm
BTW I feel I am missing out on 80% of the comments without the notifications 🙁
CatsMeow September 23, 2011, 1:20 pm
I thought Budjer was older too for some reason.
MELH September 23, 2011, 9:29 am
I was in a similar situation in high school. My mom had a pretty serious alcohol problem. Obviously, my dad knew about that and urged her into treatment. After several slip ups and finding her still drinking, my dad told her he just didn’t think they could remain married if she continued to secretly drink and not take her recovery seriously. To my dad and my younger sister, it seemed like she finally listened. But I was more observant and quickly discovered she was still drinking, she just got better at hiding it. So I had a choice. Tell my dad, which I knew would likely cause serious problems if not end their marriage, or keep my mouth shut.
In the end, I chose to keep my mouth shut. I did confront my mom on several occasions, but she would just deny, even when I had hard evidence. (i.e. claiming the bottle of wine in her car was “non-alcoholic” wine….i realize they do have non-alcoholic wine, but this was not it). Was it hard to know this and keep it from my dad and sister? Yes. But I felt like it wasn’t my place to get involved, and I felt confident that eventually my dad would catch on. Which he did.
What I wish I would have done is talk to either a guidance counselor or therapist who could have helped me sort out my feelings, because I did feel lost and confused and my friends, as supportive as they tried to be, were of little help. My advice to you is to not say anything, if you noticed your dad is being weird, your mom will eventually notice too. It may take more time, or she may have already noticed. Either way, just let your dad’s behavior be your mom’s problem, and seek out an unbiased adult you can trust to sort through your feelings for confusion and betrayal. Good luck!
mcj2011 September 23, 2011, 9:51 am
LW 1 – I agree that is probably not the best choice for you. Keep looking
LW2 – a little harsh Wendy, she’s a child. I think she should confront the father and perhaps speak to a guidance counselor.
LW3 – don’t feel bad about moving forward in your life, it’s a good thing, your friends may take a minute but they’ll be right behind you. Good luck!
soandso September 23, 2011, 9:54 am
LW2 – I really wouldn’t say or do anything if I were you. I’d actually forget about it. Worry about other things.
theattack September 23, 2011, 5:10 pm
That’s definitely not possible.
Meredith September 23, 2011, 10:13 am
For LW#2, when someone is an adult with this problem you give them “put on your big girl panties and butt out” advice. Problem is at 15, the LW is pretty much still a child–not really capable of approaching an issue like this like a 25 year old woman would. Wendy was right, LW, you are not capable of solving this problem on your own so please don’t try. As children and teenagers, we tend to see our parents as these infaliable beings, and it can really rock your world when you discover something like this that forever alters your perception of your parents(in this case, your dad). I do think it’s a good idea to talk to a school counselor about this. Your friends your age probably wouldn’t be able to offer you very solid advice, but an adult would. I wouldn’t necessarily confront your dad on it or reveal what you know to your mom, I think it would create a bigger mess. I’m sorry you have to go through this, I’m sure it’s very stressful and confusing for you. Things like this have a way of coming into the light on their own–if you can find the evidence then your mom can too.
amber September 23, 2011, 10:30 am
LW3 i think you might want to take a step back and remember that even though you’re getting old you still lived with your friends for 3 years and they may be sad that this ‘era’ is over and that everyone is moving on. it’s a little easier for you because you have all this excitement to look forward to. i’m saying this because i was you about 5 years ago, sure i was a little sad that i wouldn’t be living with my friend anymore but i was so excited for my lease to end and to move in with my bf that i sort of forgot that my friend was sad b/c not only was she losing a roommate but she wasn’t as excited to be moving on. sometimes a little compassion goes a long way in making transitions like this easier. remind them that you’re sad to be losing them but excited to have the mover for girls night,etc. unfortunately my friend and i fought terribly over this at the end of our lease and we’re no longer friends. i think it could have been different if we both had someone saying hey stop look at this from her perspective. instead we both kept our blinders on to the others feelings and couldn’t understand where they were coming from.
amber September 23, 2011, 10:42 am
and yeah i didn’t mean to say the LW was getting old, i am though since i lost track of what i was typing….i meant to say getting older and ready to move on….
Kate B September 23, 2011, 10:34 am
As others have said, LW1, if you don’t want to be a babymama, then don’t. He can’t make you pregnant if you don’t let him, not legally anyway.
GingerLaine September 23, 2011, 10:41 am
I think Wendy’s advice is spot on for LW#2. I’ve seen that a few people are saying they disgaree & that perhaps LW should tell, and I cannot abide by that.
The problem is that the LW doesn’t KNOW anything. The LW may THINK they know something, but they don’t. The LW did not see dad with someone else. Didn’t catch him talking to that person. And also doesn’t know their parents’ sexual relationship. What is she going to tell mom? “I found some things on dad’s phone (you know, when I was COMPLETELY INVADING HIS privacy) that look like they could be signs of him having an affair.” Is that kind of uncertainty worth creating an awkward family situation or creating distrust that may be completely misinterpreted? For all the LW knows, maybe mom also knows about it too. It is NOT the LW’s place to be involved in this.
If you MUST say something, talk to DAD about it. Tell him that you saw what was on his phone, you apologize for snooping, and now that it can’t be undone or unseen, you had to confront him on it. If Dad knows that one of his children knows, he will either A) confess to his wife B) put a stop to the affair C) tell the wife they need to keep their monogamish-ness (that’s a Dan Savage-ism) or outright open relationship under better wraps.
And honestly, I find it highly unlikely that a 15 year old notices Dad’s goings-on & scret-keeping before Mom does. Possible, sure. But highly unlikely. LW, you gotta mind your own business here. Your parents’ adult relationship does not need any child interlopers. And stop going through your parents’ things.
Skyblossom September 23, 2011, 2:59 pm
The snooping is far less serious than the infidelity or at the very least, flirting, that dad is doing.
GingerLaine September 23, 2011, 4:04 pm
Whatever her dad is doing is something she can’t control. But the snooping is on her, and making excuses for it doesn’t change the fact that she is at least partially responsible for the situation she’s in. Her actions have consequences too, regardless of the consequences of her Dad’s.
She’s not an adult, and I hate that she had to learn this adult lesson this way, but sometimes that happens when you do things that you shouldn’t. Same goes for Dad. There is an explanation for what LW found on his phone, but sometimes when you leave your things laying around, people make assumptions about what they find OR find out things you’d prefer they didn’t, and that’s what happens when you leave your personal business out.
He didn’t have to be having this exchange with whomever. He didn’t have to leave his phone available to his children. But he did and those actions may later prove to be mistakes. But they’re his to make & learn from. She didn’t have to invade his privacy to see what she could find. But she did, and that’s her mistake to learn from. His mistake didn’t force hers, and it’s not her responsibility to snoop into his infidelity/flirting/whatever it may be. If she was suspicious, she could have avoided all of this altogether by talking to him or to her mother.
I disagree that the snooping was less serious. It wasn’t hers to do because she is a CHILD. If it were her mother snooping and finding these things, and confronting the father on them, then yes, I might agree that whatever he is doing is more serious than her snooping. But I believe a 15 year old forcing herself into her parents’ issues is a LOT more serious than the unproven, unknown actions of her father. Especially if he’s not cheating, doesn’t that make her transgression a much more serious issue? How do her parents trust her now that they know she’s willing to invade their space to justify her own ends?
Christy September 23, 2011, 4:25 pm
Definitely agree with your last paragraph! At 15, you’re able to think like an adult in some ways but you’re still likely to make everything all about you. The problem is that whatever her father is doing has nothing to do with her, and the only reason she thinks it does is because she stuck her nose where it doesn’t belong. She has to stay out of it.
Landygirl September 23, 2011, 11:10 am
LW…..what?????? Sew your legs together, do whatever you have to do but don’t sleep with this guy.
LW…I’m very sorry about what is going on.
LW…Your friends are probably jealous and too lazy to want to move.
On a side note, since I am an advice column slut, I was reading Dear Margo this morning a letter that appeared on DW was there, but a watered down version of it (bride didn’t invite gf to a wedding because someone the bf had a fling with was going to be there). I liked Wendy’s version better. I think DW is my favorite advice column.
LTC039 September 23, 2011, 10:16 am
LW#1: How old are you? You’re a mother? You seem to lack emotional maturity if you are actually taking it seriously after two weeks. Slow down & def. re-evaluate this guy. Your child needs to come first.
LW#2: I have to disagree with Wendy. If I suspected/found something either of my parents were doing smg wrong behind the others back, I would def. not be able to keep it to myself. I know you’re only 15, but you obviously called “adam” & I’m sure had it been your mother you would’ve recognized her voice when she answered. I’m not going to tell you what to do, but if it were me, I would say smg. Yes the damage will be grave (depending on how your parents handle the situation-they may choose to work on things) but to me, it’s better than knowing my mother is being stabbed in the back by my father & he is getting away w/ it everyday.
LW#3: Your friends are sore that the “party is over” they’re prob not as ready as you are to grow up, & you making all these changes is a reminder of that. Just treat them gently & w/ compassion, but if they continue to be rude ab things, then distancing yourself may be a better option.
Tracey September 23, 2011, 11:35 am
LW#2: You shouldn’t have snooped, but what’s done is done. What you should do is tell your father what you saw on his phone. Apologize for snooping, and assure him you won’t do it again. Then tell him what you saw made you unhappy, confused, and hurt because you didn’t understand what you were seeing Then let it go.
Do not ask him what it means or if he’s having an affair. That’s none of your business.
Do not tell your mom – or anyone else besides a counselor – what you found. That’s your father’s responsibility and no one else’s business. (I’ll get to the counselor in a minute.)
Do not go snooping on his phone or any of his personal belongings again. His phone is his personal space and he’s entitled to his privacy. (Think about it – do you want your dad snooping in your phone?)
If your Mom asks you about your Dad’s phone, behavior, or anything on a personal level, tell her that she’ll have to ask him. Do not get in the middle of their intimate affairs. It’s not your place – you are their daughter, not their mediator.
Finally, talk to a counselor about how to deal with what you’ve seen, and what you need to do to continue to have a healthy relationship with your family.
Good luck to you.
theattack September 23, 2011, 5:15 pm
I disagree that she should play dumb like she doesn’t understand what’s going on. She’s 15. She’s not confused. If she wants her actual concerns addressed, then she needs to present what her actual concerns are, whether or not they’re her business.
ReginaRey September 23, 2011, 10:36 am
Also, I never addressed LW#1, which seems to be necessary. LW – the language you used in your letter makes me very wary. You said that you were “scared” that because he impregnated two women and didn’t marry them, he might do the same to you. You also demanded what his “intentions were with you.” The tone of your letter, and the language you use, seems…off. Instead of happy and excited, you’re scared and defensive and combative. This is either a reflection of your inner wariness of this person, or a reflection of your overall relationship with men in general – it seems like you don’t realize that you have a CHOICE about who to date, about whether or not to get pregnant, and about whether or not to eventually marry someone.
Either way, I urge you not to get involved with this man. In addition to not being able to commit to others in the past, he’s jumping on the marriage wagon WAY too quickly. He’s probably saying what he thinks you want to hear, or what he thinks will get you to start having sex with him. Stay away – he sounds like a less-than-honorable person. Concentrate on your son, and on yourself. I might suggest talking to a therapist or counselor – the fact that you wrote as if you had no choice but to eventually be impregnated by and marry a person you’ve known for only 2 weeks reflects a warped and unhealthy view of relationships.
AndreaMarie September 23, 2011, 12:01 pm
LW1- As another commentaor mentioned, they way you described your situation is kind of…off. Your letter made sense up until your last sentence. From what I gather you are asking if this guy, who has shown no ability to commit and little care for bringing children into the world, is worth your time. He might be great to date and spend time with but this is not going to be the guy you are going to buy a house with a white fence and build a life with. No to address the rather weird things in your letter. When you mentioned if he could do it do you……that’s pretty straight forward…I’m sure he could, as he’s done it before, but it’s completely within your control to NOT have a child with someone you are not married to. And as far as asking his intentions…why ask that? Most men that ask a woman out’s intentions are to date that woman. And for him to say marry you??? after 2 weeks?? I think you need to find another man to date.
LW2- Sheesh this is heavy. You are a child being confronted by a very adult issue. I say this, you don’t know the private nature of the relationship between your mother and father. They could be in an open relationship, they could be swingers, this “adam” might be someone that your parents brought into their sex lives. There are endless possibilities and honestly, their personal relationship is not your business. Their relationship involves you as much as they are your parents and raising you. Their personal, sexual, relationship, which started before they had you, os not really your business and you probably don’t want to know about it. So I wouldn’t snoop into it anymore. Beyond that, you shouldn’t confront your mother with this information. Even if he is having an affair, you don’t know what your mother knows and what she has chosen her actions to be. I agree you should maybe talk to a counselor. You are probably dealing with some heavy feelings and it might be good to get them off your chest and talk about it. And also, if your father IS having an affair, it’s not you or your mother’s fault. Having arguments or gaining weight do not justify infidelity.
LW3- Maybe your friends are just sore because this is forcing them to confront their own futures and where they are in their lives and where they want to be. You are moving into a new stage in your life and they are dealing with the fear they might have of “growing up” and the changes that are going to come now that one of the girls is moving on the life dynamics of the life as you’ve known is going to change forever. Give them a set date that they have to move out, then they will take finding a place seriously. Also, like Wendy said, stay involved in the friendships. They probably fear that you’ll drop off into couple’s land never to be heard from again.
soandso September 23, 2011, 4:27 pm
Yes, imagine how embrassing it would be for the parents to admit their 3 some with “Adam” to their 15 year old…..no, no, no….don’t do that to your parents LW, please don’t say anything!
silver_dragon_girl September 23, 2011, 12:06 pm
I agree that she should talk to her dad about it. Not in a confrontational way, but I think that
a. He deserves to know that his privacy was violated
b. She deserves to get this off her chest at least a little bit
The tricky part is going to be going into that conversation with no expectations…that would be really difficult for most adults, let alone a 15-year-old.
It’s always rough when you have to grow up and realize that your parents are just people- separate people- rather than a cohesive “unit” that always knows and does the right thing. My parents separated for a while when I was 19, and it was rough to see them separately, and wonder if my dad was dating anyone else. It was hard to go home and visit and see them apart. It was especially difficult when they would talk to me about the other parent, or about what was going on.
Now, I’m not saying this is going to happen to your parents, but I think it will help you, in this situation, to remember that they ARE individuals, with their own lives. Talking to your dad about this does not mean you are obligated to discuss it with or tell your mother. Alternately, if you talk to a counselor about it first and decide not to tell either of your parents about it, I think you should do what you can to move on and not dwell on it.
EDIT: This was supposed to be a reply to Tracey. If it posts on its own, it’s obviously to LW2. 🙂
Shadowflash1522 September 23, 2011, 12:17 pm
Very good point about talking to her dad and his privacy. I hadn’t thought of it that way.
Shadowflash1522 September 23, 2011, 12:13 pm
I can’t help but wonder if LW2 hadn’t mentioned her age, would Wendy have given her totally different advice? She probably would still have advised the LW to let her parents work it out on their own, but really the “high school drama” comments were a tad unnecessary (in my opinion, of course).
Nick September 23, 2011, 12:15 pm
#1: Why not hold off on the “dating” and use it strictly as a casual sex opportunity? I’ll bet a single mother of a 3yo could use some no strings action. Get on the pill and use condoms, and don’t get attached.
#2: yuck. I would suggest you and your dad go out for a walk or ice-cream and hit him with it, because while Wendy is right that you can’t fix this, you indeed do have several dogs in this fight. “Dad, who is ‘Adam’ on your phone and why are you exchanging racy txts with her?” “I’m sorry for snooping, but I was worried and now I’m even more worried.” This is his problem, make it his. Take it from there. Relax, it may be nothing and you may be over-doing your concern. Try to become at peace with the not knowing. Serenity prayer. Yes, snooping sucks, so stop it. In this case, what’s done is done. And of course if it were done when tis done then twere well it were done quickly. Don’t let it fester. Do it today. Talk like you ssume it is some misunderstanding he can just clear up.
Also, I work with a guy who has a great saying– he who asks a foolish question is a fool for 5 minutes, but he who never asks is a fool for life. At a higher level, I urge friends to deal with their problems rather than stewing.
Good luck. [Wendy, maybe this letter is a little more than a short take?]
#3: Why not take the ladies out for drinks some place memorable and lay it on the line? ‘Ladies, this train is leaving and you’re my best friends. I want you on board.’ Change may be inevitable, but it doesn’t mean we have to embrace it immediately all the time. If they are friends, they’ll probably get on board. Then of course, set a date collaboratively for the big move.
soandso September 23, 2011, 4:29 pm
KID: “Dad, who is ‘Adam’ on your phone and why are you exchanging racy txts with her?” “I’m sorry for snooping, but I was worried and now I’m even more worried.”
DAD: Adam is your mom and I’s “special friend”….
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 4:31 pm
odds of that being the case-slim to none.
katie September 23, 2011, 8:19 pm
i would rather know that my mom and dad have three somes then wonder for my whole life if my dad is an unfaithful bastard
Painted_lady September 24, 2011, 12:42 pm
Or: 15-year old: Dad, who is Adam on your phone? I saw the racy texts and pics. I’m concerned.
Dad: Your mother is going through menopause and has zero interest in sex anymore. I have a really high sex drive, and after a couple of years without sex I told her I couldn’t do it anymore and either we split up or I started seeing someone else. She loves you and your brothers and sisters enough that she said she would stay with me until (name of yougest) is out of high school. So I have permission to have sex with other women, but in 10 years we will be splitting up.
I’m not saying a dad would say this much. But there’s a million reasons confronting him might result in more information she wishes she didn’t know. Plus more secrets – can’t tell her siblings. Or even that the mom has agreed to turn a blind eye to his affairs provided that no one else knows about them, and now there’s that burden to bear. I don’t know either of your parents, LW2, so I can’t speak to what’s going on in their marriage, but I’m so sorry your dad was careless enough to leave his phone out and unlocked. My students are your age or close to it, and I keep my phone password protected for that reason. I have a few things on there that I wouldn’t have understood at 15, and every once in awhile one of my students wants to snoop. If he’s having an affair, he’s being careless as he obviously knows there are eight other people who might have occasion to take his phone who SHARE A HOUSE WITH HIM.
Calliopedork September 23, 2011, 1:14 pm
Maybe i’m harsh but I dont think wendy was off in tone for lw2. 15 is old enough to know what is and is not.her business. Her fathers messages were.not her business and she knows that. She should butt out and pay attention to her own life and stop trying to.involve herself in her parents marriage. If she must talk to someone a counselor would be appropriate but she should keep it to herself. If there is concrete evidence.the dad is cheating, her mom will find it. Growing up has to happen at some point, some people due to their own choices.just have to do it sooner.
GingerLaine September 23, 2011, 2:23 pm
Co-sign. Just like how at 15, I was not party to my parents’ finances, medical records & conditions, legal dealings, and other ADULT business, LW has no reason to be party to her parents’ personal relationship. The relationship they have with their children and the family unit as a whole is an entirely different beast from her parents’ emotional & sexual relationship.
When I was a teenager, my mom noticed what she was sure were fingernail scratches on my dad’s back. She photographed them while he was sleeping, and then showed them to me to see what I thought. I will never forget my reaction & how even to this day I regret having been pulled into in that situation needlessly, and the way that it complicated my relationship with my parents. It was never resolved for me because it was personal between them, should have stayed that way, and ultimately, they worked it out between themselves. Without ME.
If there’s no reason to be in this (and it being none of your business is the biggest reason EVER), don’t be in it.
AKchic September 23, 2011, 1:28 pm
LW 1: Avoid guys who think that they want to marry you after two weeks. They probably said the same things to “Baby Mama” 1 and 2. You see how that turned out. You have a child to think of, and you are doing the right thing to be suspicious of this “guy” and his intentions. He is trying to charm you like a high schooler in order to get in your pants. Don’t let him. Find someone more mentally mature.
LW 2: You cannot unsee what you have seen. You meddled and snooped. Do you have a Great Dane that you have helping you? No, well, you are no Mystery, Inc.
What you are though, is a teenager with a problem. You need to confide in an adult. “Adam” can be a male who has a live-in girlfriend or sister, or even a wife, or could be code for a girlfriend, or could very well be a couple that your father is with. Hell, for all we know, both of your parents are swinging with “Adam” (and his girlfriend/wife).
I think you need to have a private meeting with your father. Tell your father that you want to go out for a meal together, just the two of you. Maybe a picnic or something. Anything where it’s just you and him. Explain to him that you know what you did was wrong, but that you were worried and thought that something was wrong and you wanted to help. Tell him what you saw. Tell him that you are confused and want to know what is going on. Let him come clean.
Yes, this does now involve you because of your snooping, but ultimately, this is between him and your mother. It’s not your fault if your father was unfaithful. It’s not any of your business if your parents happen to have an “alternative” sexual life. You just wanted clarification so you could move on. What he does after he comes clean to you is his business. If your mother is in the dark, then yes, she should know – but he needs to tell her, and you need to stress that to him. Give him a deadline in which to come clean to her. She is a strong woman (after carrying, birthing and helping raise four children, one of which is apparently very caring and concerned of her parents’ wellbeing), she can take care of herself and can work full time should she need to, not to mention spousal support and child support if she were to get full custody.
Don’t dwell on it and do try to keep busy with school and extra-curriculars. Make your parents proud of you.
LW 3: Your friends are both jealous of your apparent ease of growing up and resentful of the fact that you are a reminder of the fact that they will HAVE to grow up at some point. By continuing a roommate situation and not living on their own with mates, they could artificially delay the mental process of growing up. You enabled that. Now you aren’t anymore. You became a surrogate parent in that aspect. Now you are forcing them to grow up mentally and they don’t like it. It’s not your fault that your friends are mentally stunted and liked it. They will come around in a few years. Enjoy what you are gaining by them having to leave and take flight.
CatsMeow September 23, 2011, 1:48 pm
LW1: You have a kid and I think it’s great that you’re putting yourself out there right from the start – wanting to know his “intentions” before you get involved. It’s smart to know if he just wants to fuck, or if he’s looking for something more serious. Since you’ve got a kid in the picture, you probably crave stability. Follow your gut on this one – I’m getting the feeling he’s not particularly responsible or stable, and probably not the guy for you if you want those things for yourself and your child.
LW2: I agree with Wendy not to “meddle” – however, you already have by looking through your dad’s phone! Putting myself in your shoes, I think that if I found this information at your age I would keep it to myself out of fear of breaking up the family. However, don’t keep it bottled up – I think it’s a good idea to talk to a neutral adult or counselor about what you’re feeling. My dad had an affair, so I know how you feel (ALTHOUGH – you don’t exactly have “proof” at this point, just suspicions). I agree with the other commenters that there is a strong possibility that your mother already knows about this, or at least strongly suspects it. If I were you, I would stay out of it.
LW3: Maybe your friends have legitimate concerns about your relationship? They’re probably bitter about having to move out, possibly jealous as well. That said, I think it’s worth itlisten to what they have to say – just keep in mind that if they say not-nice things about your relationship it COULD be that they have ulterior motives.
And Wendy, I think some people might be perfectly happy to live like Sex and the City characters! I don’t think single and childless is all that bad – not everyone wants the same things out of life, and I believe that there are people out there who are not just merely content but MORE happy being single than being in a relationship.
Ktfran September 23, 2011, 2:05 pm
A few days ago, a lot of you were telling a woman, who messed around with someone she met at a bar and later found out he might be married, that she should tell the wife.
Now, some of you are telling a 15 year old girl, who – I admit – wrongly snooped, to pretend nothing happened? Really? Yes. Her parents are people too. And yes, they have a right to privacy. But they are also responsible for the well being of their children.
I usually don’t take too much stock into what people are saying and realize people have different view points, but this doesn’t sit well with me. It’s a young girl. Show a little compassion.
Oh, and earlier heidikins brought up very valid points about a family unit.
oldie September 23, 2011, 2:18 pm
A lot of people also said that the woman who messed around with the man she met at a bar should not tell his wife.
Given the comments above that the mother likely suspected something before the daughter did, I feel even stronger that the LW should keep silent and not risk blowing up a family that, while seemingly not perfect, is functioning, if only for the sake of the kids. LW snooped and now knows a secret that is painful to keep. She doubtless feels an urge to talk to her mother or confront her father. For the sake of her younger siblings, and even for herself in the remainder of her childhood, she needs to remain silent. The risk of blowing up the family is too great. If she tells her mother, as the daughter of my family friend did, her mother will not thank her for it and then she’ll be carrying the guilt feelings of having touched off the firestorm that led to divorce and her younger sibs growing up in a broken home.
I’m sorry she snooped in her father’s phone and is now burdened with the secret, but confronting her parents is very unlikely to improve things. It is hard to imagine how telling them what she snooped upon can end well.
A September 23, 2011, 2:38 pm
I feel for the LW. You’re 15, you expect something is wrong with your folks and your stomach drops as you fret your world may fall apart- who as a child wouldnt snoop, and your Dads reaction, knowing what you might have found was not exactly full of sympathy.
Now seeking advice your getting critisized by people for snooping, and educated on all the different sexual lifestyles that your parents might inhabit as possible explanations for your Dads behaviour – welcome to the world of swinging and open relationships. Anything else we as a group would like to educate this 15 year old in?
What kind of 15 year old really has an understanding of what a marriage entails and even more so about open relationships and the sexual life of ones parents.
LW you need emotional support and you need adult guidance in this adult situation. There have been suggestions above, guidance counselors, therapists, a trusted cousin etc please choose one. and let someone help you and take some of this burden from your shoulders and as everyone keeps saying ( and it should be re-inforced) this is not your fault and whatever happens from here, will not be either. Unfortunately parents as adults weave very tangled webs and kids get caught up in them. You are not the architecture of this and I hope you find someone who can help guide you through this minefield. Reach out.
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 2:41 pm
Excellent point about what the commenters are exposing her to. Obviously, teens these days can find out about a million disturbing things on the internet, but still. I’m curious why so many people are offering the idea of swingers/open relationships. That is not the norm. It just isn’t. Let’s not let the kid think it is.
Skyblossom September 23, 2011, 3:18 pm
I agree. It’s possible the parents are swingers but if dad was doing this with the knowledge and consent of mom then he wouldn’t be acting in a manner that caused his 15-year-old daughter to feel something wasn’t right. It’s his sneaky behavior that caused concern in the first place and gave the daughter the gut feeling that something was wrong. Dad is obviously at least flirting in an inappropriate way with someone and who knows if anything else has happened. Dad is risking the integrity of the entire family and the stability of all his children and everyone seems most concerned that his daughter snooped. Snooping is irrelevant compared to infidelity and destruction of a family and all of the misery it causes. The situation is beyond the control of the LW but she will be directly affected, probably quite negatively, by her dad’s actions.
Christy September 23, 2011, 4:36 pm
“if dad was doing this with the knowledge and consent of mom then he wouldn’t be acting in a manner that caused his 15-year-old daughter to feel something wasn’t right.”
I disagree with this. People can do a bad job of open relationships and swinging. Just because mom agrees doesn’t mean he isn’t hiding something or they’re totally comfortable with it. They could still be working it out. The bigger point is many people are assuming the dad is doing something wrong and we don’t know that.
lk September 23, 2011, 3:38 pm
I agree that the whole tone of this discussion is probably overwhelming for LW2.
I really, really agree that LW2 should speak to a trusted adult who is *not* close to either parent & preferably who is completely outside the family.
Good luck! I know it’s a big part of your life, but your parents’ relationship is not your responsibility & no matter what happens, the whole world is full of people to support & love you for the times when your family seems like a strange place.
dez September 23, 2011, 2:44 pm
“For all you know, “Adam” is a pet name your dad has for your mother”
I honestly feel like Wendy didn’t even read this letter, unless the above was intended as some sort of joke. Poor LW states pretty clearly that Adam is a well-known friend of her father (I would assume this means the family has met him, or at least hears of him often), that she called his number and a woman answered (clearly not her mother, as she’s 15 and certainly lives at home), and that there was a sexual picture of Adam on her father’s phone (so presumably it IS, in fact, a male. surely LW would have specified if not).
I think heidikins advice is spot on. She’s fifteen and witnessing one parent betraying another. She shouldn’t have snooped, but she did and now she needs someone to talk to. Personally, I would confront the father first, before involving the probably clueless mother. She could even try talking to her elder sibling, depending on the strength of their relationship. Either way, you can’t ask the poor girl to just unsee this.
kali September 23, 2011, 3:53 pm
Is anyone else here hoping and praying that LW1 is a hoax? I mean, they’re talking marriage after two weeks?
Plus I hear they’ve recently discovered the cause of pregnancy and several ways to avoid it! She might look into that. Love does NOT equal babies.
GingerLaine September 23, 2011, 4:40 pm
Egads! I can avoid pregnancy?! What is this magic you speak of? 🙂
uyzie September 23, 2011, 4:15 pm
I can’t remember if I’ve ever seen Wendy retract or amend a piece of advice before, but I’m wondering if she just might do that on this one (given the high number of people who think she was harsh on LW2–myself included.) I am usually totally in step with Wendy and I still think she’s one of the best advice-givers around, but even so, even the best people have off days or make mistakes sometimes.
Can any of the other DWers recall a time when she’s changed her tune about anything? I can see how it might be nice to hear someone we respect so much admit that maybe she was a little off, but then again, it could also set a bad precedent on the site for doing that more often than warranted. (And of course, there’s also the chance that she doesn’t think there was anything wrong with the advice at all.)
PS- It was a little weird writing that, knowing that she sometimes reads the comments, but addressing the rest of us DWers. I didn’t know whether I should directly address her or not. Wendy, if you read this, can you let me know what your preferred site etiquette is? I feel like I’m talking about someone when they’re in the same room…
soandso September 23, 2011, 4:43 pm
Wendy’s advice is her advice. She wants the girl to mind her own business and worry about other things. I don’t think she will write that 5 different ways just for us.
Wendy September 23, 2011, 4:36 pm
I did once retract advice and publicly apologize to a LW. I felt my advice was wrong in that case. However, in this instance, I stand by my advice.
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 4:58 pm
Curiousity killed that cat, but I’ll ask anyway-which column was it? If you don’t mind me asking
Wendy September 23, 2011, 5:00 pm
It was a long time ago before this site existed. Back on TF. It was a young woman who wrote in about her cervical cancer.
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 5:08 pm
Oh, I probably didn’t read it then. Thanks for answering!
Susan September 23, 2011, 4:54 pm
Not that I have contributed much to this column, sadly it will be the last day I will ever read it again.
I have always liked Wendy’s answers, sometimes funny, sometimes harsh – when they needed to be. Most all of these letters are from adults, who all know better, but to answer a child who wrote to you asking for help, to put her in the shortcuts column and then demean her in the way you did, is not right. Yes at 15, she knows better than to snoop but she is friggin 15 years old, not 20, not 30 and defiantly old enough to handle this. So instead of helping her, you chose to be rude and nasty.
LW 2 do not listen to Wendy, please god don’t, listen to the others who gave you good and solid advice, talk to a trusted adult or this will eat you alive.
Good bye dear wendy. Some of you might call me dramatic, but as a mother of a child not much younger than this, I would hope that if he/she turned to some one in a time of need, they would help them, not belittle them.
soandso September 23, 2011, 5:23 pm
It’s words on the screen. If you read it in a rude way it will be rude. Wendy isn’t rude. Wendy is smart, clever and direct and a lot of times she confirms the answer the LW already had. Read it in that way. The LW is pretty much asking Wendy if it is okay for her not to say anything.
lets_be_honest September 23, 2011, 8:03 pm
So so true about how you read/interpret things on here! Someone “re wrote” a letter the other day and sounded so different with a nicer tone.
oldie September 23, 2011, 5:41 pm
It is easy to misjudge a ‘trusted adult’ and pick someone who will either blab back to the parents or gossip to his/her friends and associates.
Wendy September 23, 2011, 5:54 pm
Yes!! That’s exactly what I was thinking. Terrible advice to talk to any “trusted adult” who may have his or her own emotional investment or interest (even in a gossipy way) in the marriage of the LW’s parents. Good advice to speak to an unbiased school guidance counselor though.
Calliopedork September 23, 2011, 6:26 pm
Personally I think you would be glad if someone told your child to mind their own business in this situation. I would. A 15 year old may not be 30 but she is not a baby and doesnt need to be coddled(sp) about her bad choice. Minding her business would have kept her out of this situation, and it will keep her from making it worse = good advice. Drama seeking, snooping, making things about you that arent = things more appropriate within high school walls.
theattack September 23, 2011, 9:29 pm
Yeah, telling her to mind her business in the FUTURE is good. But what’s done is done here, and now she has to deal with it. After knowing something like this about her parents, she can’t just put it aside in her head, and trying to do so will cause issues for her. Regardless of whether her snooping was right or wrong, his fault or her fault, there’s no a new issue that takes precedence. Even at 15, her parents should help her heal from this, and they do owe her at least a short explanation about it for the sake of her mental health. It doesn’t have to give away all their business, but she has to know SOMETHING.
bluesunday September 23, 2011, 5:56 pm
This is a great thread for a thumbs down button.
Mary September 26, 2011, 5:47 pm
For LW2, something similar happened to me when I was about 12. My parents were briefly separated and I found an incriminating email of my dad’s. I never said anything until last week actually (almost 10 years later). Eventually my parents got back together and I also found out (without ever talking to them) that my mom knew about my dad cheating. To this day I think I was right not to tell anyone IN MY FAMILY, but I should’ve told a friend or someone I could talk to back then. When I actually talked about it with my boyfriend, I realized that it’s something that concerns your parents and their relationship, not you. You really shouldn’t worry too much about it because there’s really nothing you can do. It’s something that they need (and probably will) resolve on their own, and the only thing you can do is make yourself available for anyone in your family that may need to talk, be it your mother or a sibling. I’m sorry you found out about this but there is really nothing you can do.
j September 27, 2011, 3:22 pm
Wendy, as far as LW2 goes, as a 15 year old, his/her parents’ relationship IS his/her business. Kind of harsh. I found out at 15 that my dad had been having an affair with a woman he told that my mom was dead and his kids were 3 and 4 years old. My mom was very much alive, I was 15, and brother 18. To brush it off as “meddling” when its as huge of an issue as it is, COME ON. And to suggest that “Adam” may be a pet name for their mother, the LW said there was a “sexual picture.” Pretty sure it’s not their mom.
GinGee September 30, 2011, 2:20 pm
Letter Writer #1: What is with this wishy-washy attitude? Is there a shortage of men in your area? If so, you are better off moving, IF you want to be in a relationship with a good guy. By the way, the Fella cannot get you pregnant unless you consent to it.
Letter Writer 2: This is between your parents, and what do you hope to accomplish by confronting your father? Your comment that the mum has gained weight is a tad snarky, are you blaming her for Poppa’s choice to stray?
Letter Writer #3: Buck up. The room mates, in my opinion, are more irked about their being booted out of YOUR Home. They will either get over it or get under it.