My mother and I believe my father is cheating on her. We have gathered evidence over the past few months that shows he has been spending extravagant amounts of money in adult shops and various other stores, the purchases of which we have never seen.
I have accidentally overheard telephone conversations confirming our suspicions. My father has always worked out of town and will fly home on weekends, making it easy for him to cheat.
He has tried to make up for his transgressions by quitting work for a few months to spend time with my mother. He has recently started working in another city again and my mother believes he has begun to cheat again...possibly in their home town this time.
I have urged my mother to seek attorneys and counseling, but to no avail. I have confronted my father and all he does is deny, deny, deny. I live far away from my parents and have my own happy life, but it deeply pains me to have my mother call me in tears every month or so.
And although I know I can move on, it also pains me to feel as though I am losing a father that I used to be close to. Any ideas? Disapproving Daughter
Dear Disapproving Daughter
You've got to get your Mom to run. Although she might want to stay to try and work things out, explain to her that she's actually giving this whole situation approval if she stays (and doesn't continue to beat him over the head about it).
I know that you are only trying to help, but unfortunately this is a lose-lose situation for you, so you need to stay out of it.
This doesn't make your dad "father of the year", but it also doesn't make him a terrible father to you. And although it looks as though he's cheating, you don't 100% know what's going on.
All you are going to do is ruin the relationship you have with him by getting involved with your parents marital problems, and taking sides against him.
Your parents need to keep you out of it, no matter how old you are. This is between them. I know you are a good daughter and feel guilty living contentedly far away, but try not to let this weigh you down. Use your strength to focus on your own happiness.