A U.K. woman says she doesn’t know what to do after her father admitted to having an affair on her mother with another man.
“Last year my father told my mother he was gay and had had an affair with a family friend for 18 months,” the daughter recently wrote in to U.K. advice columnist Mariella Frostrup. “My mother wants a full explanation of what happened, who he really is, and what he wants. My dad feels responsible for my mum as he has been the primary earner during their marriage.”
The problem now, the daughter explains, is that her father doesn’t earn enough to support both himself and her mother independently should they get a divorce. On top of that, she says, “he doesn’t seem to see that his affair…was wrong.” And, as a result, the atmosphere in their home has become “poisonous.”
“For my mum,” she laments, “the idea of starting her life again on her own at the age of 65 with no income is insurmountable. I want to support her, and reach out to my dad, but he is finding it difficult to talk. He needs to admit that what he did was wrong. Can you advise me on the best way to support both of them?”
Never fear. Mariella Frostrup has the solution.
“Having an affair is certainly not to be applauded,” the advice columnist replies, “but if your father has waited this long to succumb to his natural desires then he also deserves your respect. I’m presuming he too is in his mid-60s and that’s a very long time to wait to express your full sexuality.”
She continues: “I sympathize with your mother’s need for an apology and to ascertain just who she’s been living with for the past four decades, but my suspicion is he’s exactly the man she thought he was. Secret fantasies and longings are part of being human and, though your sexual preference is an ingredient of who you are, it doesn’t offer the full picture.”
“I’d be very surprised if your father feels guilt-free about his affair,” Frostrup concludes, “but I also imagine those feelings are laced with a degree of liberation at summoning the courage to reveal himself in an honest way. The only way you can find out for sure is by letting him know you want to talk to him in a non-judgmental way to find out how he feels about the situation.”
What words of advice would you give to the daughter in this situation? Sound off in the comments section below.