DEAR CHRISTINE: Can’t forgive cheating dad
I AM A 15-year-old girl and I need some advice. I am not from your country but my father recently had an affair with a woman he met when he went to a back to school event. Like him, she is also married. Apparently, he asked her to marry him, but she said no, so he decided to come back home. He has left us twice before, so my home isn’t very stable.
My parents got married at a very young age and have been together for 26 years. My mother says she doesn’t want to get divorced, because she is still in love with my father and thinks that “a two-parent home is better than a one-parent home.” She may be right, but even my family and other friends agree that one stable parent is better than two unstable parents.
Now that dad is living back home, he expects me to act like nothing happened — that we are “one happy family.” I can’t do it, and I’m still very hurt. What should I do?
Your father should not pretend as though nothing has changed. Since he left home on a few occasions, it goes without saying that you have every reason not to trust him and surely, you cannot pretend that everything is fine when it’s not.
What happens the next time he runs off? If he is serious about making amends and sorting out this family issues, I believe he’ll get counselling for the entire family and try to mend all the bridges which he has broken over the years.
Your mum also has to take a stand, it is one thing to love someone, but foolishness isn’t love. If she throws out the welcome door mat each time he comes running back from his months of infidelity, he will continue to treat her like a door mat. She is also opening up herself to all kinds of possible sexually transmitted diseases.
You’re yet young and time will heal. In the meantime, do not disrespect your dad, but let him know how his lifestyle has affected you and your relationship with him.
Don’t wait too late to say you care
So many times we wait until people have passed to the great beyond to express our love and appreciation during a eulogy, a special song or poem at their funeral service.
I recently had the opportunity to witnessed how a good friend cried and cried at his wife’s funeral. He treated her very badly before she died and regretted every unkind word he had ever said – not to mention the affairs he had.
I thought long and hard about that and composed a letter to my wife who was dying from cancer. In it, I made reference to happy events in the past, and thanked her for taking me as her husband and staying involved in my life. My wife and I cried together. She died a short while later, but she lives forever in my heart.
Christine, please urge readers who are in similar circumstances to do the same. I cannot stress the feeling of peace I have knowing I told my wife how much she meant to me – while she was still alive.
Thanks for this timely reminder. I am sure your letter will touch the hearts of many – men, women, boys and girls alike.