Tuesday, January 22, 2013

End of the Innocence

On Friday my mother told me my father has engaged in a twenty year affair.  My father has told me and my siblings different stories about the state of my parents marriage and this third party so I don't know what to believe.  I have always considered my father the better parent and really my hero in life just after my husband.  To say I'm devastated is taking it a bit too far but I am very confused and sad for our entire family including the small children who will live with the shame to some extent for the rest of their lives.

What doesn't make sense is that my father was always around.  He's still around.  He has been what I consider a very devoted partner for my mother.  No child, no matter how old should hear what I've heard from my mother.  She's devastated but I think, is only making matters worse.  I think she's in shock.  They are not open to my advice.  I suggested they go to Retrouvaille because, believe me, many of those couple have survived affairs.  They know what the pain feels like.  But it's not really pain, it's insanity.  You lose all sense of reality when your spouse cheats on you.  However, my mother made it freakingly clear in a terribly articulate voice, "This is not a problem with our marriage.  It is your father's problem."  Sadly, this is not true.

So, I feel a tremendous amount of compassion towards both of them, mostly my mother although my Retrouvaille friends suggest I show love towards my father which I haven't been able to do the last few days.

OK, so here's the really dirty secret.  For at least eight years, my mother has been a d.rug add.ict.  Presc.ription dru.gs but dru.gs nonetheless.  She's been practically ho.me bou.nd for the same period of time.    I had tried to do an intervention about five or six years ago but my father would not participate and the interventionist said, "No spouse, no go."  Just last week I asked my father to take some action and he refused.  He always says my mother is too smart to go along with treatment.  Intelligence only gets you so far.

Secrets abound in my family.  I learn something new everyday about what random family member confessed to another but nobody knows if what was confessed is the truth.  I never had a perfect family but I thought it was pretty good.

I called my mother today to ask her, naively, how she was doing.  She said my father needed to see a geriatric doctor.  I asked her who would make the appointment.  "You or your sis.ter.  I've been cheated on for twenty years, why should I do it?"  My siblings, in my view, don't take as much action as me.  I won't detail the ridiculous issue they've chosen to focus on to distract them from real life issues.  I can't bring myself to actually type the words.  Believe me, it's crazy.  But my mother hung up on me and told me I'd said a horrible thing about my sibling.  I guess I'm in the dog house now.

I pray every chance I get.  It's practically every minute.  I resolved not to call them for at least a few days.  I thought about sending a card just to say, "I love you both.  I and lots of other people are praying for you."

I'm open to good advice.  It's been clear just how important God can be to a person.  If you keep God in mind, how can you do wrong?


  1. Oh, I am so sorry. So so sorry.

    The Man's parents dealt with a long-time affair as well, and my MIL had a very similar attitude (it wasn't a problem with the marriage, it was my FIL's problem/fault). While he is responsible for his actions, it takes 2 to make or break a marriage (as you know). I don't know how they worked it out, but they did. I do know The Man tried to stay as far out of it as possible, whenever his mom would start in on his dad, he would give her one warning and then either leave or just start talking over her until she got the picture. It wasn't easy, but I do think that was the best approach.

    Your idea of a card is a beautiful one and I think it's a place to start. You can count me in the people who will be praying for your entire family.

    St. Raphael the Archangel, defender of marriages, pray for this family.

  2. I'm praying for you and your family!

  3. What awful news for you to hear! I think the card approach is a good place to start and like Rebecca said to set boundaries when you speak to or spend time with either of them. My family is pretty dysfunctional so I try and stay out of the drama but I am there if anyone needs anything. I will pray for you and your family!

  4. Your mother is dealing with a tremendous amount of betrayal and this might make her addiction worse...so the sooner someone steps in the better. Is there a social service agency you can call to help you in this situation (one that is near your parents)? Maybe they lend advice or even pay a visit. Is there someone your mother is close too that can help (a sister, brother). You could even call her dr. Anyoen that can talk to her...eventhough she's hurting she's going to have to the take the necessary steps to recover. You can help facilitate that recovery...but she's going to have to want it too. I like the card idea as well...I'm sure your mother will appreciate your kind words and prayers.

    When my mother was not doing well herself...I called one of my older brothers to talk to her because she wouldn't go to the dr. I was concerned and when I spoke to her..we fought. My brother did call her and she realized that all I was doing was caring. Now my brother and other siblings check in on my parents more often.

    P.S. I don't know anyone who doesn't have some kind of dysfunction or drama going on in their families. Geesh.

  5. Ouch. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. And be the only adult in the room, to boot.

    Granted your mother's reaction is not healthy or helpful, but if he gets 20 years to have an affair, maybe she should get a month to pout? Not saying it's the path of the saints, but maybe expecting her to put on her big-girl panties is something that could happen soon...rather than immediately. (Of course, I don't know the timeline you already have.)

    Unless, of course, what she's saying is not true. People in difficult situations do twist a lot of things around. Of course, "twenty-year affair" isn't a matter of re-interpreting events. He did or he didn't. Has he denied it?

  6. I am so sorry that you are going though this and I will pray for your parents and your whole family. I just don't even know what to say...I am sorry this is such a lame comment. I am holding you close in prayer.