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Can anyone relate to having divorced parents because of infidelity, and the parent who was cheated on feels betrayed by you because you have a relationship with the parent who cheated? How do you handle it?

likehelpful
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YES. This is my life. I have a super strained relationship with my father, but even still my mother hasn’t talked to me in two years, after deciding not to come to my wedding, just because I went to lunch with my father before my sister’s college graduation ceremony. She also told everyone on her side of the family not to come to my wedding, and they did. It’s absolutely insane. I ultimately just decided what she does amounts to narcissism and emotional abuse. I’m feeling much healthier and emotionally stable since she cut ties with me. All that to say, the parent who is guilting you shouldn’t be putting their emotions onto you. They are the parent. They are supposed to love you no matter what.

like

Oh gosh. I’m sorry you had to deal with that. I think I’ll ultimately have to do the same and it’s sad to think one or both of my parents won’t be there for my wedding or big life events, but I can’t live like this anymore. I’m glad it’s worked out for you!

I stopped speaking to my mother for this reason. My parents are still married which is the most troubling part, but my mother fully expected me to side with her and deny my father a relationship with me. The jokes on her. My dad was the only emotionally available parent I had growing up and my mom’s martyr complex and narcissism ruined my early adulthood. She stepped over the line this year by involving my spouse in her campaign against my father and I said “enough.” Let her be the victim if she wants, I’m not exposing myself or my kids to that any longer.

likehelpful

It is hard, but it gets easier. I’ve never felt more mentally secure (ha, during a pandemic with my kids at home trying not to get fired while my partner reports to work at a school) because I don’t have her constantly over my shoulder trying to control everything. My father and I actually got into a related scuffle, so he’s in a major time out right now until he can get evaluated for cognitive decline. (Pretty clear signs of early onset dementia). I’ve found the subreddit /JustnoMIL helpful for understanding that my boundaries aren’t inappropriate, her reaction to them is. Good luck to you!

helpful

My parents separated when I was a sophomore in college and their divorce was finalized in 2016. I didn’t speak to my dad for an entire year after I found out he cheated, but we’ve since reconciled and have a better relationship than we did before everything happened. My mom’s parents also got divorced because of infidelity and she didn’t have a relationship with her father after that, so she expects the same of me. She can’t fathom that I want to have a relationship with my dad and that he and I have worked out our differences over their divorce. I ultimately just want my parents to be happy which they are now that they’re not together. It’s causing huge issues within our family as she spirals and has emotional breakdowns at any mention of my dad or my brother or I spending time with him and his girlfriend. She’s clinging to the idea that we are still a family unit even this long after the divorce. How can I make my mom understand that me having a relationship with my dad is not a betrayal to her?

likehelpful

I’d hate to say it, but you’re probably better off having a relationship with your dad than your mom. She sounds manipulative and unconcerned about anyone except herself. Probably a factor that lead to the cheating.

like

Yep. This is the source of drama in my life. It’s been 18 years and is still one of my biggest struggles. My struggle is also internal as I want to have a relationship with my dad but I still resent that he lied to me as well about the cheating. He is remarried but I don’t acknowledge her existence and my dad doesn’t bring her around (my ground rules I set after she literally swung at me and I ended up punching her - only time I’ve ever been around her). Strangely enough this has actually allowed my parents to get along pretty well. They attend all occasions for grandkids, etc happily. My siblings have chosen to have a relationship with his new wife and I know it hurts my mom when their kids will ask my dad where she is. I have been honest with my kids about why they are divorced and that he is remarried and that it is my issue why they don’t know her and as they get older they will be free to choose for themselves if they want to know her.

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My dad cheated on my mom for yeeeaaaarsssssss when I was a child and while they divorced 12 years ago my mom is still pretty bitter about it. When divorce happens especially to adult children you just realize that YOU are in control of your relationships with your now single /individual parent. You decide how often you want talk or visit where you’ll be for holidays and who you want to spend your birthday with. It’s about finding balance and harmony with those relationships individually because they are not 1 parental unit . This may be a hard pill to swallow for the parent who is “left out” when they are “left out” but that’s really not your burden or your guilt to carry. You did not decide to cheat on your spouse and you should not be dealing with feelings of betrayal from someone else . You have two parents and you only have two parents - you will not get another dad or mom (even if one of them gets remarried you’re an adult now) you are simply trying to have a meaningful respectful relationship with each. To be forced to choose between the two or have to cater to one of their feelings of “betrayal” is not okay. I get that your mom is hurt and sad but those are feeling she has that are caused by your dad not by you. You did not cheat on your mom. For her to project those feelings onto you leading to a negative relationship with your dad is unfair and not okay. I know cheating sucks I know she’s a victim of sorts but you were not her husband and she cannot expect your relationship with your father to suffer. Your mom could fall in love again she could get remarried and live her best life - if you let these feelings of guilt and betrayal impact your relationship with your dad you might lose him or at the very least put your relationship with him at risk for the future .... again your mom can find love again but you will not get another father . Good luck !stand your ground ! Also remember parents are people who had kids they aren’t perfect, they are human. They make mistakes but they also love you deeply and probably unconditionally- try to remember that when your dealings with the fallout .

upliftinghelpful

Extremely well said! The guilt is a big part of it for me so thank you for the affirmation that it’s not my burden to carry. Really appreciate your insight!

Its irrational for her to think that way. He is still your dad and will forever be your dad. Without not knowing much, he seems like a dad that was there for you and made a mistake on his marriage and paid for it. If you have established a relationship with him and forgave him for what he did then your mom needs to respect that. But obviously she is still hurt and honestly the thing that I can think of is trying to get counseling for both of you. It will help her understand how you forgave your dad and maybe help her make peace with what happened. At the end what it is that (opinion based on what I have seen before in my family) she wants to equate the same level of pain/hurt/betrayal that your dad did to you and your brother as the one she suffered from her partner. And this is not possible. Hers runs deeper bc it is partnership that was disrupted by infidelity. Yours is a lesser culprit bc it was not done directly to you (although he did it to your family unit but not especially to you) and you have a different relationship with him bc after all he is your dad. You might not idolize him that much anymore but he is still your dad

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Hit the nail on the head. She doesn’t understand that it’s so different because he’s my dad and not my partner. I’ve offered to go to therapy with her to work through everything but she doesn’t see any issues with her perspective on the situation and tries to psycho analyze me and continuously plays the victim even though she’s the one being manipulative. It’s exhausting. I appreciate your insight!

I cannot relate, but just came here to say how much I admire the strength of those of you who have posted on this thread. I have other things to deal with that are hard, but couldn’t imagine this. Kudos to you all for getting through it, and also who said they aren’t subjecting their kids to it. 💜

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Have this experience but have another view on it. I think it’s unfair for a parent to ask a child to pick sides, but this changes if your mom raised you. If your mom predominately raised you, I could see how she has a legitimate reason to be upset at you having a relationship with your father.

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