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My father's chronic infidelity - ignore?

(12 Posts)
drainedbrain Sat 10-Oct-09 11:02:11

I believe that my father has been serially unfaithful to my mother but I ignore this, as she does/ Tbh I don't feel it is any of mu business and I don't have anything to contribute anyway. However I hate hearing obvious lies from him and having him missing from family occasions.

Last night at midnight I got a text from him which I sensed wasn't for me. It read like a needy lover asking for reassurance that he wasn't being dumped. A sort of why haven't you been in touch, I'm worried, am I paranoid? No sign off, just a kiss. Lately he has been "helping" a neighbour with the same first initial as me.

Part of me wants to say "I know what you are up to, you are nearly 70, why can't you grow up and treat your wife with respect?". It does interfere with my relationship with DP because I have to work at not fearing the worst. Sorry I'm droning on but feel quite isolated over this ridiculous family secret.

mathanxiety Sun 11-Oct-09 03:56:44

Have you told your DP about all this? Nobody is forcing you to keep this secret, it's a choice you've all been trained to make. Is there any way you could approach your mum? Sometimes you get absolutely no thanks for opening such a hornets' nest, but if it's affecting your own relationship, then maybe it's time to take the plunge. Have you ever spoken to a counsellor about all this?

stuffitllllama Sun 11-Oct-09 04:32:56

This isn't advice, just what I would feel and do.

I would not say anything to your Mum but if I were you I would find it very hard not to let him know that I know. Perhaps it IS a situation for more control but I would find it hard not to say something, especially if he is missing from family occasions.

I would challenge him hard on why he's absent and imply very strongly that I knew what was going on and he should shape up at least to show more outward respect.

drainedbrain Sun 11-Oct-09 17:01:15

Thanks.

DP does know and is supportive, we talk about it, he sees my father as a very flawed but still valued family member (as do I, though I have more bitterness, mood dependent). I don't think I will say anything to my mother as I think she survives by denial and I don't want to threaten that. My father is very controlling and if confronted about his behaviour gets very, very angry and defensive. Just makes my mother suffer more. Won't change and won't admit he is wrong.

I have had very good support from MH services in the past, which helped me to distance myself from my parents' bizarre world. But getting the text (and also weird cover up phonecall!) didn't help with the whole distancing myself thing! I think there is just an element of grieiving for the supportive, involved father I would have liked to have, but don't. But I have essentially come to terms with that. i just needed a bit of a rant.

Thanks for replying because, although this stuff must seem minor compared to some other problems, it is the tip of an iceberg of a strange and isolated upbringing which I have analysed so much I am bored of it!!

Hassled Sun 11-Oct-09 17:12:10

This doesn't seem minor at all - it's very hard to respect a cheat, and respect is usually at the heart of a relationship with a father. And then throw in the lack of respect he's showing to you and your Mum and it's no wonder you're upset about it all.

Have you ever talked to your father about it?

Heated Sun 11-Oct-09 17:37:02

My father was a serial cheater. Took my younger brother to see a "cousin" of his - who was in actuality the woman he was having an affair with when my mother was pg with him. I mentioned this "cousin" in front of my grandfather at a family gathering and my father looked horrified...I looked innocent. He knows not to lie as I will call him on it every time and it matters not if we have an audience.

Your father is using your protective feelings for you mother to keep you quiet. You could tell him he is the family joke, it's only out of respect to your mother that no one says anything, but you, dh and the grandchildren refuse to be party to his deception.

allok Sun 11-Oct-09 18:29:12

Oh bloody hell. My df was a serial adulterer - but due to health reasons and drugs he had to take to stay in remission it also meant he had a really bad short term memory. Because of this I knew of lots of his infidelities. I found out about them from about the age of 11. My mum did - it made her bitter and finally after 22 years of marriage he got someone pregnant and marriage was over. I was relieved.

If you're mum is tolerating all of this then it's not your business to highlight anything to her - but you might want to make it very clear to your dad that you don't like being mistaken for one of his ows. It's also very uncomfortable to be approached as his daughter as an extra marital lover. Not nice.

I know I didn't like it - the drugs my df takes has side affects and means he only gets my name right in one of 10 attempts - the other 9 names are ows.

Agh - I see how you feel - just make it clear to him that it's not on that he's dragging you into his extra marital affairs in error and you don't want it.

Very sad but not much you can do except protect your boundaries and be the best daughter you can be to your mum.

RubysReturn Sun 11-Oct-09 18:34:10

I once bumped into a family member with his other woman. It was awkward. I never said a thing. I suspect your mum probably knows after all these years.

Obviously he is dong a wrong thing, but I would offload somewhere safe and deny all knowledge.

Can of worms imo

drainedbrain Sun 11-Oct-09 22:31:25

Sadly I don't respect him very much.

In the past I've tried to talk to him about it but he just stonewalls. It is frustrating and pointless. I can only stay sane my accepting him as he is. The alternative is to cut him out which I don't want.

Allok - lots of recognition there! My father has a child with one of his previous OW, though that wasn't enough for the marriage to end in this case! He has mental health difficulties and proposed Narcissisitc PD and is heavily medicated. Have been called by known OW names a few times...

Thanks everyone for letting me offload. So necessary. DP is very understanding but I don't like to be a complete childhood obsessed cliche!

zipzap Mon 12-Oct-09 00:01:48

Have you been in contact much with your father recently?

Could you reply to the text at face value, or even a 'silly billy I only saw you a couple of days ago, what do you have to be paranoid about?' then at least he will realise you have seen it... might give you an opening for a discussion with him if you want it and at least make him a bit more careful in the future...

Heated Mon 12-Oct-09 21:40:17

Or: "Unfortunately I believe you have got the wrong woman. Drainedbrain."

But sound off as much as you want DB. Took me nearly 20 yrs to come to terms with my father, we actually have a really good relationship now.

But your father sounds a piece of work. Your mother is very fortunate to have you by her side and your father, don't know if he recognises it, is lucky too to have you for a dd.

howdoo Mon 12-Oct-09 22:03:14

I don't have any experience of this, but couldn't you just tell him what you think of him, but not enter into any dialogue? He may not like it, but you are just stating your feelings and then walking away. You won't be able to change him, and as you say he will get angry if confronted, but can't you just send him a text saying exactly what you said in the OP, or what Heated said, and then just leave it?
I am assuming that on some level he will be mortified that you know. His anger and controlling behaviour are because he KNOWS he is in the wrong. So let him be angry - you know what is going on.

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