A Devastated Daughter's Dilemma - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 05:23 AM Thread Starter
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A Devastated Daughter's Dilemma

Let me start by saying that I am aware this site is meant for adults with marital experience. I am an 18 year old daughter who stumbled upon this site by Googling advice, and after scanning many topics on this board, I feel like this community may give me some of the comfort and advice I need in this difficult time. In short, my father is cheating, and while my mother and I have known this for a while, I actually overheard him on the phone with his OW myself while my mother was at work, and I am devastated. This is going to be a bit of a novel, but I have a lot to get off my chest.

The nature of the affair is this. My parents have been together since their senior year in high school, dated for six years, married, and have remained married for a total of 25 years. My parents were separated for a year when I was around 4 because my dad cheated with a woman he met online, and I lived with my mother. They reconciled, and have been together since. Sometime in the spring of 2011, my dad registered with a classmates reunion website. My parents have no contact with their old high school friends, have never attended the reunions, and are never particularly excited to run into old classmates, especially my dad—so this makes me think he was looking for an affair. He then began an affair with the high school girlfriend he dated before he started seeing my mom, even though she lives on the opposite side of the country. That summer, while I was at a college prep camp before my last year of high school, he told my mother he wanted to take a break from his stressful job of remodeling our house to take a weekend to himself and visit some of his favorite outdoors and sporting stores that are found the next state away. This was over Father’s Day weekend, and I tried to call him several times throughout the 4 days he was gone, and I was always switched to voicemail. I was legitimately worried he had an accident. On his way home days later, he called to cheerfully to spin some story about leaving his phone charger at home. I thought this was odd, since dad is really tech-savvy and would have stopped at the nearest gas station to buy a replacement, but I didn’t think anything of it. The summer went on.

Weeks into my senior year, the affair was exposed. My mom told me all the details of her DD and the sleuthing she had done, even revealing the OW’s first name to me. The next night, she confronted my dad and with divorce, announced that she had already found a rental home and could be out by the end of the week. My dad had a complete break down and promised to end it. My mom and I stayed. Things seemed to settle back to normal, but the whole thing kept nagging at me, especially the fact that he flat out lied to me after ignoring his own daughter’s Father’s Day phone calls. Eventually the nagging went away, but the lie still stayed at the back of my mind. My dad even had a tearful dinner with me while my mom was away for a weekend and apologized for hurting us. He seemed very genuine.

I’ve started college now, 40 minutes from home, and my mother told me in confidence that the affair is continuing. My dad has even mentioned going to see the OW. While I’ve been home this whole month for winter break, I’ve observed a lot of troubling behaviors in my dad. He is normally excited to spend time with me by watching our favorite movies, taking day trips to antique stores, and completely talking my ear off all day if I let him (he is a stay at home dad). This month, even when we’re in the same house all day, he holes up in his room on his laptop with the door shut and I usually can’t get more than a few words out of him until dinner when my mom comes home and he suddenly becomes social for a few hours, before retreating to his room while mom and I watch TV and chat. It’s like he doesn’t even want to be involved anymore.

My mom says she still loves my dad, but she is tired of being treated this way. She’s biding her time until he goes to visit the OW, and she plans to be gone by the time he returns. My mother’s best friend is also in a tumultuous relationship with her cheating ex husband who is now cheating on the original OW with my mom’s friend, and my dad is the first to criticize the man for being a sack of crap.

I’ve spent my break quietly taking notes on my dad’s behavior, but I’ve found nothing that proves anything and I’m always hoping my mom is wrong this time. As I said, I concluded without a doubt that my dad has continued the affair when I overheard him on the phone with the OW this afternoon. One thing that particularly struck me was him telling her, “I’ll let you know if things start going downhill fast these next few months.” Like he’s looking forward to wrecking his family. It’s odd because he flat out told my mom he has no intention to marry the OW, or move to her state, nor can she move to this state because she has joint custody of her young son.

Obviously, this was the thing that brought my whole world crashing down. Ever since my mother told me months ago, I haven’t slept much more than naps between classes, I’ve dropped nearly 30 pounds, I’m constantly starting fights with my own boyfriend of a year, my hair is falling out, I have migraines and frequently vomit from worrying too much. I’m paranoid about everything. Every time my mom calls me, I think she’s telling me dad is gone. Every time my boyfriend doesn’t text me after class, he’s sleeping with another girl. I’m worried about homework for classes in another semester I haven’t even gotten to yet, I’m extremely tough on myself academically, I cry myself to sleep most nights, I have gruesome nightmares of my dad literally butchering my mom, and I can’t get good sleep unless I’m drunk or overworked to exhaustion. I even literally hyperventilate thinking about everything from nuclear war to money to how I’m going to pay my rent 4-5 years from now when I’ve barely finished my first semester of college. I haven’t told anyone but my boyfriend, who I have only talked to about this once during a raging drunken meltdown. I am so ashamed. I have even gone so far as to stay up for an entire night hunting the OW down, discovering her full name, address, phone number, photo, work information, work email, and paying for a background check on her.

I know this isn’t healthy. I move back in to school this weekend, and I fully intend to make an appointment with the psychiatrist on Monday morning.

I am very, very close to my mom—she practically raised me on her own for 10 years while my dad worked on the road—and after a rocky relationship in my early teens, my dad and I actually developed a great relationship. I feel like all of that is shattered now. I am completely revolted by him, yet I keep acting like nothing is wrong. Today he heard me sobbing in the shower and immediately ran upstairs to check on me, and I lied about the noise coming from the shower. This is even harder for me to take –because— we have such a great relationship now. He isn’t a bad man, believe it or not. He did everything he possibly could to help my mom when her car went out this month, including driving her to work in a blizzard for three days after he got out of back surgery. He drove two and a half hours to pick me up from an out of control party at my friend’s college. He really loves me, and I know in his way he loves my mother, and that is why this hurts so much.

I guess what I need right now is to share my story and find some support. I haven’t told my mom about the phone conversation. I’m thinking of writing my dad a letter telling him exactly how I feel about the situation and about how much he’s hurt me, because I really don’t think he realizes his relationship isn’t just between him and the OW. I plan to ask him not to contact me for a few weeks, and that I won’t be coming home for a while. I honestly do not see a foreseeable time when I can forgive him for this, especially as long as the OW is in his life. I am angry, ashamed, and embarrassed of him, and I don’t know how I can trust him again. I hate to give anyone an ultimatum, but I don’t desire to share space in his life with the OW. If he doesn’t end things, I am prepared to cut contact with him until I feel like I can forgive—and that is not an empty threat, nor one I’ve thought up in a rage. It’s something I’ve known for a year since I found out about the affair to begin with. I’m even preparing arrangements to pay back what he’s given me for college tuition by the end of the year.

I am so, so angry and hurt. I really do want him to hurt like this, at least for a little while. I also honestly feel like keeping myself away from him for a few weeks will be the best for me. I’m mentally exhausted from being slammed in the face with his lies every day since I’ve been home, and I honestly want to focus on getting myself help and not needing to pretend all the time. I cannot let my life get any more out of control from this.

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post #2 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 05:34 AM
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Re: A Devastated Daughter's Dilemma

hi there COnfusedDaughter, i wish those ppl on cheaterville or any father that plan to cheat on their family read your post.*hug*

you;re a smart girl.
you even said it yourself:
I honestly want to focus on getting myself help and not needing to pretend all the time. I cannot let my life get any more out of control from this.
you should focus to yourself, and your mom, too.
i can see that she's a tough woman, and i believe whatever the issue in your parents' marriage, you should leave it to them to work it out.
i don't know what you've been through because im not in your shoes. im not an expert or 'experienced' in this thing, but when you said you're tired and sick with all of the lies from your dad and you don't want to pretend anymore, so just don't.

get on with your life, focus. your dad isn't that loving dad. if he trully does love his family, he would not ever do all the cheating and lying

hang in there, *hug*

Love is a serious mental disease - PLATO || Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die - The Buddha
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post #3 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 05:45 AM
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Re: A Devastated Daughter's Dilemma

I am so sorry. I highly recommend you find a therapist at your university. My guess is they are free or close to free. There may even be graduate students taking on case studies like yours to fulfill practicum requirements. You need some help to get through this. Please find a therapist at school.
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post #4 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 07:15 AM
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Re: A Devastated Daughter's Dilemma

been there myself over 24 years ago (my father cheated on Mom and I was stuck in the middle like you), you can read about it if you click the link in "My Story"

while there's not much you can do other than take care of yourself and help your mother I do suggest that you read the newbie link as well in order to educate yourself about affairs

Newbies please read this
My story
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post #5 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 07:29 AM
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Re: A Devastated Daughter's Dilemma

Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
I am so sorry. I highly recommend you find a therapist at your university. My guess is they are free or close to free. There may even be graduate students taking on case studies like yours to fulfill practicum requirements. You need some help to get through this. Please find a therapist at school.
This is the best advice for you.

Truly sorry you're in the middle of all this.
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post #6 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 07:45 AM
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Re: A Devastated Daughter's Dilemma


You should not be carrying this all by yourself and holding it in. Start the therapy pronto. I believe you should have a heart to heart with your Dad and have the do not talk just listen moment. Let him know what you know and what you think of him. Let him know while you still love him you have lost complete respect for him you must let your Mother in on everything (You may choose to tell her first but you need to tell your Dad what he has done to your relationship before your Mom opens up a can on him).

You must begin taking care of yourself immediately and get this off your conscience. You should not be carrying this load.
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post #7 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 08:00 AM
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Re: A Devastated Daughter's Dilemma

I think writing the letter to your Dad is a good idea. You will be able to get all your thoughts and feelings across without any distractions or interruptions.

You're a smart girl. Take your time and express all your anger and hurt. It will help you to do this.

Mail the letter.

I think after mailing, you may want to take the "180" approach w your Dad. You can find links to the 180 here on TAM, or possibly someone will post it. I would, but I'm mobile at the moment.

Also, as others have advised, please get some IC (individual counseling) ASAP
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Last edited by old timer; 01-11-2013 at 08:04 AM.
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post #8 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 08:04 AM
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Re: A Devastated Daughter's Dilemma

Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
I am so sorry. I highly recommend you find a therapist at your university. My guess is they are free or close to free. There may even be graduate students taking on case studies like yours to fulfill practicum requirements. You need some help to get through this. Please find a therapist at school.
This is great advice above. Also the advice to have a heart to heart with your father is critical.

I think that you also need to really focus on yourself. As mentioned, start seeing a therapist so that you can begin coming to terms with it. Especially that it's not your fault!

Also, your health is key. Stop the binge drinking for escape. That has all the ingredients for disaster. Start working out instead... shoot for that exhaustion through bettering yourself. If that doesn't quite do it, please talk to your doc. He may choose to couple your exhaustive workouts with a low dosage of valium (etc) to help you rest. There is no shame in that- you need to help yourself.

Eat. While it may taste like sewage in your mouth, you need to force yourself to fuel the engine.

Lean on your boyfriend a bit. The only time you've discussed this with him was in a drunken rage and, well, that's really not fair to either one of you. You need his support, and he may be worried sick about what's going on with you. If he's worth anything as a man, he wants to help you. Let him.

While we are just strangers to you on an internet forum, many of us have faced our own demons. It will be hard for you, but you CAN get throught this.

Good luck
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post #9 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 08:36 AM
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Re: A Devastated Daughter's Dilemma

I have tried to type a reply up 3 times and each time my browser closes, I cant figure out if its trying to shut me up or not! HA!

I just wanted to tell you that reading your story brought tears to my eyes. I can feel your sadness in your writing and although it feels personal you have to understand that it is NOT! Your dad is hurting your mother which is hurting you but I can assure you that your dad is not doing it to you. If you were to tell your dad how you really felt Im sure that it would hurt him alot and maybe even make him think about what he has done and how it has affected you as well.

I have been with my husband for almost 22 years, since high school. We have a 16yo, 13yo and an 8yo. My H is a cheater and has cheated for years, though we are supposed to be in R at this stage there were years that he was absent from his relationships with my children and myself. I think hearing a daughters perspective is what made it hard to read. I often wonder what effects my husbands betrayal will have on my children so reading your story was hard.

Please start focusing on yourself, get into counseling, write your father the letter you wanted to write...tell him everything you feel even if its hard, be there for your mom when she needs you but focus on yourself and your education. Try to talk to your bf about your feelings so that when you are upset he can comfort you and dont take out your anger with your father on him. He didnt do anything to you (your bf) so let him help you!

Please let us know after you've sent the letter to your dad how he responds to it. Take care of yourself!!
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post #10 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 08:44 AM
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Re: A Devastated Daughter's Dilemma

CD, sorry you find yourself here. I wonder if you cut and paste and send what you said here to your Dad. That would probably drop him to his knees. I think if my daughter thought enough of me and showed concern, not only for your mom, but your dad as well and I would listen. In addition to all this, you are in college now and that adds to the stress, stress you don't need.

Infidelity is the worst thing in a relationship. It tears families apart. I hope for you and your mothers sake, he comes to his senses. To better understand this stuff read the newbie links,it's informative. I t explains a lot. Good luck.

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post #11 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 08:49 AM
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Re: A Devastated Daughter's Dilemma

I'm so sorry you are here...

You need to let your Father know that his affair is hurting you. His selfish actions are causing you anguish. Let him know how you feel in a letter. Be sure to tell him you are not taking sides, this is between you and him.

Try not to let this affect your relationship with your boyfriend. Not all men are cheaters. Please don't punish your boyfriend for something your dad is doing, it only leads to resentment.

Encourage your mom to come here (CWI) for support. I'm sure she can use it.

Please focus on you and school. Set up a therapy appointment ASAP.

Good luck.
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post #12 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 08:50 AM
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Re: A Devastated Daughter's Dilemma

Confused Daughter - sorry you are caught up in the middle of your parent's problem. You know yourself that your Dad and Mom love you. Even your Dad, despite his behaviour. So you had nothing to do with this - it is THEIR problem. Realize that your Dad has been in a long-term fog - his detachment from you is a result of the fog - and a result of selfishness which gets worse under the "fog". He probably doesn't even realize what his actions are doing to you. That is how damaging the fog is.

It's very important for you to realize that this is NOT your fault and that it is NOT your job to solve. I agree with others that you should visit your campus health center and seek therapy - just somebody neutral to talk to. I would also use this forum as a place to share your concerns, talk freely, and get feedback.

Reading your story is a lesson for me as well, so want to thank you for sharing. I have erred on the side of caution telling my daughters any details of my stbxw's split. I thought I might tell them when they're older - but am more convinced that it is not necessary that they know. I will continue to answer any questions they have honestly, but don't want them to shoulder any burden of my stbxw's and my problems. It is not their fault - just as it is not your fault. And my stbxw and I both love them unconditionally. That is all they need to know and all you need to know from your parents. Give your Mom support and the benefit of a doubt for telling you - this must be extremely painful for her. And work on yourself and your happiness. Hang out with friends, make new ones, learn, have fun - that's what University is all about.

Let your parents sort their lives out while you develop your own.
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post #13 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 09:08 AM
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Re: A Devastated Daughter's Dilemma

If you do a cut and paste to your father and he searches for it he will find that your mom intends to blindside him(which he deserves).
I was going to suggest you invite him here until I realized that.

Rewrite your post and send it to him. He needs to know the devastation he is creating.

I would also let him know that you will never be in the same room/place as his cheating affair partner.
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post #14 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 09:10 AM
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Re: A Devastated Daughter's Dilemma

BTW, if its going tobe a few days before you can see a counselor at school, see your MD. Unfortunately, they see this a lot and can offer you temporary help.

Eat soup and take care of yourself. Odd your dad hasn't noticed your weight loss. That's his loss.
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post #15 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 09:31 AM
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Re: A Devastated Daughter's Dilemma


Wow.....Your post hit home as I also have a 18yr old daughter, who is in her first year of college and a very simular situation to yours. I am crying here at my desk at work thinking how both of you have been effected by the problems of your parents.

I posted recently that my daughter wants to confront the OW, or write to her, and also has told me she is going to shame her by outing her to all her FB contacts. I have talked to her about this and what she hopes to gain from that, and now I understand she just wants some control over something that is so OUT of her control.

If it is ok with you I will PM you her email, maybe talking to someone else in the same situation and being the same age, could help you both. Her dad and I have been together for 18 yrs, and have 2 other children age 15 and 6. Her dad moved out on Jan 1st and is still in contact with the OW, but still comes around trying to see if there is anything left with me, I think. He may be in a MLC but not sure, either way he is causing so much damage, and seeing my daughter is not alone, and there are others out there like her, breaks my heart for the both of you.

Take care of your self and your mom......talk to people, and be open to forgiveness ...... as it is really a way to heal yourself more than anything....

Last edited by Lovingwife315; 01-11-2013 at 09:38 AM.
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