Hello Rene,

I think my dad is having an affair but I don’t know whether I should say anything…

The other day I saw my dad at a restaurant in town with another woman. At the end of the meal he kissed her on the lips – and they walked off hand in hand.

I’ve not said anything to my dad and he doesn’t know I know. My mom and dad argue a lot already and if I say anything I’m worried that they’ll break up. But I feel like I should tell my mom.

What should I do?

Terri, 14

Hey Terri:

Oh man, I am so sorry to hear this. I’m not passing judgment and of course there could be more to the story but I just hate that kids have to grow up so fast nowadays. I remember when I was about ten years old my neighbor’s father had an affair with a woman who got pregnant as a result. I felt so bad for the kids because not only was there turmoil inside the house, they also had to deal with the whole neighborhood knowing. I think her father’s actions were very selfish because he wasn’t just cheating on his wife but on the whole family. But not everything is black and white as is often the case with these things and much of life. Having said that, here’s what I would suggest.

KNOW THERE COULD BE MORE TO THE STORY: I’m not sure how much more or if something is not as it appears. But the fact remains it’s good practice for us to get the entire story before we jump to conclusions.

TELL MOM OR DAD OR BOTH: In order to get the whole story you need to go to the source. I’m not sure whom you feel more comfortable telling or with whom you have the better relationship but you need to say something. You know how sometimes you carry around a secret for a long time and it makes you want to explode? Or it corrodes you, like it’s eating away at you from the inside? That’s what I fear will happen here with you. This is a big, adult issue and you as a teenager do not need to try to handle it on your own. There is one other option. If you feel you cannot tell either of your folks, confide in an aunt or a close family friend.  They might be able to help.

IT WILL ALL WORK OUT: I know you are hanging on to this fear that if you say something it will make an already bad situation worse but the truth is sometimes things need to be out in the open to get better. Think of it like a broken bone. You know it hurts, you know something is not right but until you take an x-ray of it and examine it closely, it’s not really going to heal and in fact could get worse. So while I know you feel bad and worry you will betray your dad or that the fighting between your folks might get worse, saying something could be the best thing for the situation, whatever it is.

I want you to remember this. No matter what happens, even if your parents split up, remember they love you and will work very hard to make sure their problems don’t impact your life. There is no reason you should have to carry this burden alone so tell someone and let the adults deal with those big problems.

Good luck honey!

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