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Sunday Confessional: My Entire Family Lied to Me

I'm the baby of my family with two older sisters. My Parents have been married for 30 years, and we've all been very close my entire life. I won't go into the details, but I recently found out my mom was cheating on my dad. I was utterly devastated and immediately went to my sisters to seek comfort. Surprisingly, they didn't react the way I was expecting. I was full of anger, but they seemed to be more understanding.

Eventually after a lot of prying and crying, they revealed that my father had an affair with some woman for nearly a decade. Apparently things had come out about five years ago when I was still in high school — I do remember a strange time during my junior year, but I didn't put things together. My sisters had talked about it with both my parents, but they had all decided not to tell me. Obviously my mom chose to stay, and I think the same will be said of my dad after this new turn in events, though apparently their relationship is more "open" then I realized.

Ever since my sisters broke the news to me, I feel like everything I had ever thought about my family was the exact opposite. I can't believe that my parents were willing to put our family through this, and I'm terribly angry with my sisters for collaborating with them to keep this lie going for so long. I have never felt more naive and hurt. They've all tried to contact me, but I feel so much hate towards them right now, I just can't let them in. I don't know what to do. Should I try to learn to forget their terrible betrayal and forgive them?

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TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
Ah, ingrained family loyalty. It really is a curse.
geebers geebers 9 years
I have to say that Looseseal makes a very valid point and I agree with her. It is easy to say to someone "you should forgive- you are inexperienced about life and this is something you should get over" and go on with your life. Put yourself in her shoes before telling her to get over it - I am sure she knows that her family is important and she understands the forgiveness is something that would be the right thing to do but that does not make it easy at all. To OP - take a deep breath and try to understand where your sisters are coming from. They did what any good family member would do to protect someone they love. You may not agree with your parents choices but they both have an agreement in their marriage that you must learn to respect despite your feelings about it. You and your sisters came out to be good people so remember that- they were not bad parents and they did something right. You are an adult now and cannot blame them for their actions as they no longer directly affect you and certainly should not be shaping who YOU are as a person at this point.
shannon_xo shannon_xo 9 years
always forgive family. I mean, they're your family.
michelle-c42934 michelle-c42934 9 years
Forgive; I'm the eldest of three girls and my mum told me she was having an affair a while ago, I think my parents have an arrangement now like yours. They go out separately all the time and leave me to stay in at night with my youngest sister (shes 7 years younger than me), my sisters ask where she is and I can't bear to tell them that shes having an affair. For me, I'm not ready to face that my parents aren't the people I thought they were, let alone have to explain it to my sisters. I'm completely against cheating, I never thought my mother was like that, at first I thought she might be having secret health appointments and was scared that she had cancer or something. It was probably difficult for your siblings to come to term with, but they shouldn't have kept you in the dark. But I go along with it and pretend its not happening because I don't want to face the reailty that my family is falling apart. I don't know how your siblings feel, but if they feel the same as me, then they are going through a tough time too.
gossipqueen gossipqueen 9 years
I am 100% against cheating...but your parents seem to have an arrangement. When BOTH parties know and are willing to work through it...it becomes something different....it's weird but it happens...and is up to them to make it work. If this is your reaction NOW...can you imagine what your reaction would've been in high school???? They obviously worry about you and how sensitive you are. forgive.
kiwitwist kiwitwist 9 years
I said undecided. Clearly you have to forgive them since they are your family and that is what you do. But I would be so hurt in your situation that I know 'not forgive' sounds like a great option.
Janine22 Janine22 9 years
Wow, your situation sounds very similar to mine. I am the 3rd of 3 girls and my dad cheated on my mom. They were together for 35+ years. This was a few years back, right now they are finalizing their divorce. But none of us really have much of a relationship with our dad now, it's really awkward. My mom never tried to hide it from us, in fact she wanted us all to confront my dad together. That's when I got the hell out, and it was a good thing I did because it turned really ugly. So it is sort of different that way. Don't be too angry with your sisters, they were probably just trying to protect you from the hurt. Although it obviously was not a good tactic. I understand the hurt and anger you feel about the cheating, it is a very difficult thing to go through. I think it is ok to take some time for yourself and try to get your thoughts together. But only your parents can decide what is right for their marriage, and maybe they didn't want you to know because they knew you would be hurt. I don't think anyone meant to hurt you here, in fact I think they all love you very much.
estellatresbella estellatresbella 9 years
One of the hardest but most essential life lesson is centered on forgiveness. Obviously the shock of the situation has led you to feel overpowering emotional shock, which has evidently evolved into feelings of betrayal. Your best bet is to simply, let go. By that I mean, confront the situation first and second, understand what it means to forgive those who have hurt you. If you choose to hold onto these feelings of resentment, you will not only hurt your family, but you will end up bringing even more unwanted pain upon yourself. It will extend its roots and grow into something dark and unstable. Believe me, it's not worth it. The pain that we encounter in this life, also brings great meaning to the moments of joy that we experience. Be strong, because there is always a light that shines bright after the storm has passed.
BeautiJunki BeautiJunki 9 years
Clearly you are sensitive and have not experience enough real life yet and that is OK, I too had my ideas of family perfection until I was 18 when my parent decided to separate and it shattered my world. It's like how can my world of safety and comfort come crushing down. It affected me more than my little sister and even when I brought my unrealistic ideals to my long term/marriage it took me a few years to get it right and not be a doormat. The reason they didn't tell you is to protect you from affecting the family you value and love. To your family it was the best decision and you cannot fault them for caring about you and trying to spare your feelings. They love you, period.
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 9 years
Forgive. You were too young at the time to understand the whole thing, and it was better to leave you out of it. It wasn't like they were trying to 'lie' to you or 'hurt' you on purpose, they were just trying to protect you and your views on your own relationships probably. Plus, as a parent, I imagine it is very hard to have to break these things to even your oldest children.
amandax076 amandax076 9 years
Reading this was like reading a diary entry from my life right now... my family hid my mother's current and past infidelity and now im struggling with finding the respect i used to have for my father for allowing her to disrespect him this way and still want her to stay and having any respect for her at all. It's a terrible situation and one that they are going to have to earn forgiveness for- give yourself time to heal, don't be pushed back into their lives too soon or too fast.
Lambsauce Lambsauce 9 years
Looseseal... I completely agree with you. I don't think the OP is overreacting or being childish at all. She just discovered a huge secret, and at the same time discovered that everyone in her entire family, the people whom she obviously greatly trusted and turned to when she was in trouble, was lying to her about it the whole time. I do not blame her one bit for being angry. So, OP, I do say forgive, but don't feel like you have to forgive RIGHT NOW. Learning something so shattering will obviously take time to get over. But don't shut out your family... I think you should discuss with your family, and make sure to remain calm (write out what you want to say if you have to), exactly what you are feeling--the hurt, the betrayal, the anger. You've got some great advice from the others who have already commented--I particularly like how Piksie said it--so please take note of it. :)
looseseal looseseal 9 years
hotstuff, haha, I sure set myself up for that one. *taking deep breath as recommended*
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
I think the point is that holding on to hostility affects you negatively. Whether or not your hostility is justified has no bearing on the way it affects you. As far as the sisters go, they were feeling then exactly how you are feeling now. Do you think all the decisions you are making based on this betrayal you feel are perfect? If not, then cut them some slack on the decision they made at the time. They made a decision to protect you that clearly was made with good intentions. So you wish they had done something different, I can understand that. But, I don't understand why you would "hate" them for doing something they thought was right. As for your parents, I can completely understand your feelings. One day, when you are a parent, you might better understand that parents are adults with their own hopes and dreams and imperfect people just like everyone else. If you felt they did well by you in all other ways, then I'm sure you will come to a point where that is more important to you than the mistakes they have made.
bluepuppybites bluepuppybites 9 years
Your family should have been more open with you, but they had good intentions. It's your family and you don't want to spend the rest of your growing years feeling angry towards them. It's just going to take time.
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
Looseseal, I can see why they didn't tell you either. J/K try to take a deep breath and not take the advice too personel, k.
looseseal looseseal 9 years
Also... it seriously pisses me off when people get all "well, you're so CHILDISH and SELFISH if you don't get over it already". Not solely directed at anyone here in particular, it's just something I've heard in real life from people as well. Get this: I got this lecture from the skanky MARRIED WITH ADULT KIDS piece of shit (and I don't call anyone "skanky" or "piece of shit" lightly) seeing my father on the side. The pure unadulterated gall, right? I don't think she at all realize the irony, either, of calling a twenty-something childish and selfish when she, at a ripe old age, is doing something that's just about the most childish and selfish thing a person can ever do. And apologies in advance, hotstuff, I'm not trying to pick on you, but the "of course I didn't tell you, look how you're reacting" excuse is something I got before from someone else, too. Imagine if someone were to say to you in a huff "Well, this is why I didn't want to let you know I killed your dog, just look at how you're reacting!" Not comparing the sisters to dog killers, just trying to express what it feels like to be on the receiving end of that old gem. Ah, and moving right along, the old "your parents' love life is none of your beeswax". Of course, of course, it's not like parents have a huge hand in shaping how their kids view relationships, love and marriage as adults. Okay, I'm not saying people should have veto power over their parents on the relationship front, but seriously, "it has absolutely nothing to do with you" is going a little too far the other way. Unless you cut them out of your life completely (not what I'm recommending here), you're gonna be affected in some way. I think on some level, we all know people have good intentions and that forgiving is the right thing to do. It's the "how" of it that's the tough part. It's a process, and different people might go through it at different speeds. In any case, words of gentle encouragement probably would be a bigger help than "just build a bridge and get over it, you big baby!" The OP still cares about her family and they care about her. They'll kiss and make up, it's only a matter of time. Take some time for yourself, OP, try not to sweat it too much, the forgiveness will come naturally. Feel free to PM me if you need a listening ear (or in this case, typing hands, hee).
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
Ehmmm, i don't know what to say. I mean, i can't relate for one since i can't stand my parents(and what they subsequently do). 2. this isn't about you so stop taking it personal. If you feel deceived over it, express it to the correct parties.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 9 years
You need to forgive in time for their hiding the truth. Maybe this is about you being the youngest one (you were in high school when the whole thing blew up) and they still try to shield you from that harsh reality. You've learned the hard way that your parents are humans with flaws who made their mistakes and choices. I don't envy your position because I know how high of a pedestal I still put my parents on. I don't think it's about you, but I understand how hurtful this can be for you and you need to forgive and hopefully learn to forget about this. Good luck to you. :hug:
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
You received some excellent advice. Truthfully, I can understand why they kept this from you. You referred to yourself as the baby of the family, AND you act like a baby. As an adult, you can't handle the truth right now. I can't imagine how you would have dealt with it back in high school. When you put on your big girl pants, FORGIVE. Perhaps you'll come to realize this situation is not about you. It was never personal against you. Also, maybe if you stop viewing yourself (and carrying yourself) as the baby, your family will stop treating you as such.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
I agree with Picksie as well. And remember forgiveness is for your benefit, not theirs. It's so you can heal and move on, it's about you not them, which is why forgiveness is so important.
lms lms 9 years
I think you should forgive. Your parents cheating has nothing to do with you and the fact that your sisters didn't tell you should not keep you from talking to them. I was raised in a culture where it is kind of expected for our fathers to have women on the side. That doesn't make it right, but it is kind of the "norm". I guess as a result of this I am not so "shocked" and appalled when people cheat. It really isn't about you. As long as your parents didn't expose you to it and your life wasn't strained as a result of it, I would try to let it go. You are an adult now so it shouldn't have such a great affect on you in my opinion.
looseseal looseseal 9 years
Something similar happened to me, so I feel your pain. Except I don't have the older sisters, and I wish I did so I'd have someone to commiserate with, so it must doubly suck that you have the sisters yet they're not on the same page with you. I swear, us adult children of cheating, cheating parents need to start our own support group. By now I've known for nearly two years and I'm still pretty angry about it (though it's more of a dulled-down sensation than when I first found out - time heals all wounds, it's cheesy but true). I try to direct the anger at the Other Woman (in your case, that'd be Other People), it's technically unfair, yes, but what-effing-ever, I'll be unfair if I want to in this case. It's pretty harmless anyway because I have no direct contact with her currently, and it makes it easier to get along with my father again. Unless you have some kind of mind wiping device, you'll never forget, but it's okay, because being mindful of these painful memories will keep you from doing something stupid in the future like getting involved with a man (or woman, if you swing that way) who has a family. It's not mine or anyone's place to tell you to forgive. You'll do that when you're ready. In the meantime, it'd okay to let off some steam in harmless ways like taking it out on a punching bag or writing lengthy diatribes. From experience, I have to say it's easy to do something stupid you'll regret when you're angry, though, so try to consult someone you trust (maybe even us sugars, too?) BEFORE doing anything that might be questionable. I say let 'em squirm for a while. Eventually your anger will dissipate and you'll miss your family, then it'll be easier to let them back in. You don't have to forgive right away when you're not ready, that'd just feel completely fake. Since you're close with your family, the forgiveness will come to you, no need to force it. Try not to worry about it, and do stuff that you enjoy for yourself to help yourself feel better. That's part of the healing process.
michelleannette michelleannette 9 years
of course you forgive your family. they were trying to protect you. you were in high school (a time that is naturally tough for a lot of people without having to worry about family issues) what would be different had they told you? would it make the situation any easier to deal with? talk to you family---now that there are no secrets it will be easier to have an open conversation. don't hold back and allow yourself to heal. also--your family is still composed of the same people you grew up with and love.
sarah_bellum sarah_bellum 9 years
I think I would probably feel and react exactly as you have, and I can't imagine you'll be able to get over it anytime soon. But it's important, as someone said above, not to burn any bridges. Give yourself awhile away from them to deal with your feelings and let your anger subside, but then call them in a couple weeks just to let them know you're dealing with things in your own way. You'll manage to get through this.
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