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My mom had an affair after 30 years of marriage...need advice.


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  #1  
December 20th, 2009, 12:21 PM
FirstTimeMommy09's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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My mom actually had an affair (which lasted a year) with my younger sister's husband a few years back. It destroyed my younger sister's family (the affair started 2 weeks after she gave birth to her 1st child). My sister is now divorced and getting re-married to someone else. I am just telling that part of the story for background information for the most recent story. I know you are thinking, "How could a mother do that to her own daughter?!" And believe me when I say that I have thought the same thing since the day I found out about it (3 years ago). Well, my parents went to marriage counseling because my dad had the amazing grace to give my mom another chance. Here we are, 3 years later, and my mom had ANOTHER affair with a man from work. Long story short, she divorced my dad in September of this year and is marrying the man she had an affair with on Christmas Eve. (I know, Merry Christmas to us!) I am a Christian and believe strongly in forgiveness because I know God forgives us every time no matter what we've done. Here's my dilemma, I have allowed my mom to be a part of my life as long as it is relates to my pregnancy, but that's IT. I told her that I don't want to hear the other man's name or anything about their lives together. She agreed to that, knowing that was the only way she would have any kind of relationship with me. I feel like she is always trying to get me to give in and manipulates me, thinking she can make me change my mind about meeting this guy. As a Christian, is it wrong for me to be handling the situation the way I am? Does forgiveness in this situation mean that I need to allow him to be a part of my life? I really have no respect for him OR my mother, but I feel an obligation to "keep in touch" with my mom. Am I doing the right thing?
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  #2  
December 20th, 2009, 12:34 PM
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Ouch that's a hard one. BUT me being the same type as person you are, I actually understand. You know what, she's your mom, unconditional love right? My father has done some rotten things (some along the lines of affairs, abuse etc) but he has never personally hurt ME, so I have forgiven him for his mistakes, He's my dad and I love him, I don't nessisarly respect him for his mistakes, but I respect him for much more. If I were you, I might even grin and bare HIM, but it'd be hard. My father left my mother for my (now ex step mom, and had twins like within that year) and I got past it, I was young though. It's THEIR personal life, it is what it is, but no matter what they are still our parents. KWIM? Lifes to short. That's just my oppinion.
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  #3  
December 20th, 2009, 12:50 PM
morebluethanpink
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I am soooooooooooooooo not a christian, so I can't say on that front.

My opinions may not be held by others. A few things. One, I do not, ever "feel an obligation" to keep in touch with ANY of my family members. Almost all of mine are degenerates; evil people who corrupt anyone they come into contact with.I have zero issues not talking to them (and I don't). This includes my mother. But of course, my family members have done MUCH, much worse things than having affairs. Well, there were those, too.. affairs that would make your head spin.. if only half my cousins knew that their "dad" is really their "uncle" and other "uncle" is really the dad.. but I digress.. I find the affairs by far the least of my concerns with these people.

Mmm.... It is my opinion that, as an adult, my parents' sexual life has nothing to do with me, as mine does with theirs. Neither do their relationships. Of course, we're coming from two different places. My parent's divorce happened 22+ years ago. Old news to me. I do love my dad, and want him to be happy. Whether I approve of who he's with or not.. if he's happy, isn't that what counts? He has been remarried for about 17 years. If he were to get divorced tomorrow and marry someone else, but was happy.. then who am I to say "I'm not going to speak to you because I don't agree.. even though it's your life and YOUR happiness." ? kwim? Just as if I chose to leave dh, if they tried to guilt me about it or complain about what I "should have done" I would tell my dad to shove it. MY business, not his. Of course, that is becuase it is regarding an adult relationship. My opinion would be different if you were saying your problem was you found out someone was molesting a sibling or something, kwim?

Perhaps your mom is in turmoil herself, maybe she's unhappy or trying to find where she belongs?

I'm not saying you have to have a relationship with this new guy. Or even your mother for that matter. If you really don't want to meet him, make it very clear and leave it at that. And if she brings it up then tell her in no uncertain terms you're not going to listen, not interested, thank you.

I guess.. to me, my parents relationships are really none of my business. And anything they do in it or don't do in it has no need for MY forgiveness. It has nothng to do with me! You have to work out where you're coming from. Why does this upset you so much? What are the reasons? Are you upset on your fathers behalf? Or did it ruin a childhood idealistic of "perfect marriage" that perhaps you thought htey had? (not saying they did, I'm just throwing out ideas..) or.. or what? You won't know which way to go if you cant first figure out where you're coming from.

Of course, I'm sure almost no one thinks the way I do. lol Just throwing out a different perspective.
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  #4  
December 20th, 2009, 12:52 PM
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wow what a painful situation for a family to go thru... we all pray for forgiveness & to be able to forgive... and yet when we give it, its hard to "forget" what had happened & even when your in the healing stages of that forgiveness that pain is always going to be in our minds... I know how difficult it is to always try to be the better person, to do the right things, but at least we know that we are the ones doing whats right... its not easy to say the least & over time, when the time is right, then you can move forward.. I would just keep things casual & explain how you feel to your mom & tell her not to rush things w/making you accept this man, when its the right time it will happen... You have to have time to heal from the betrayal to your family & she should be understanding to that... I'd imagine this man probably feels uncomfortable too, knowing that he is the other man & even though your mom is pushing it, maybe he's not ready either.... i dont know, but just give it time... then someday down the road maybe a brief encounter/in passing can be the ice breaker... keep praying... you'll get the answers you are looking for.
just my opinion, but its anothers view... its a difficult situation & exspecially at the holidays... good luck.
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  #5  
December 20th, 2009, 01:05 PM
Alicia W.'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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It's a tough situation. My mom and dad were married 24 years. A few years ago we all started playing an on-line game and my mom met someone on there. She had an "affair" with this guy (I used quotes because it was an emotional affair more-so than physical since she never saw him in person) and I found out about it. One night I was talking to her about it and my dad heard us and then it was all out in the open....

At that point my mom said she was unhappy (which was obvious to everyone anyway... they weren't a really great couple and all loving or anything) and that she needed time to think... We all knew she wanted to leave, but I think not only was the idea scary to her since financially neither of my parents would have done well on their own at the time, but my youngest sister was still living at home and they wanted to stay together for her to finish school at least. During this time my parents weren't fully together though, and shortly later my youngest sis moved in with my other sister so they didn't have to pretend anymore.

So after a while that affair ended but my mom already wanted out. And it wasn't long before she found someone else. Through all this my dad was the sort of guy to be very emotional and want to "fix" things.... but honestly he couldn't make my mom happy. Like I said, they just aren't right for each other. Finally they decided on a divorce, and my mom moved in with her boyfriend. My dad was very depressed for a while, but thankfully he decided to pick himself up and move on and is now dating a woman for about the last year which is pretty serious.

In the end now, everything is much better. I hate that everything happened as it did, but both of my parents are so much happier now than they were for a LONG time married. During the whole ordeal (which stretched on for a couple years all together) it was a VERY stressful time for all of us. Especially when my parents would want us kids to take sides... It got to the point that I pretty much shut them both out for the most part, and just talked to them once in a while... never mentioning anything to do with what was going on. And during the time my mom was dating her now bf and still living with my dad I was VERY against meeting him, being nice to him, or anything like that. I didn't want him trying to push his way into my family!

Shortly after my parents actually divorced and my mom moved in with her bf she got breast cancer and no matter how much respect I had lost for her she is still my mother and I knew it was time to let it go. I wanted to be a part of her life and if that meant accepting her bf then so be it. Now I have a good bit of respect for him actually for sticking with my mom through this past year when things have been so rough, and he really is a nice guy. I am accepting him as part of our "family". My dad has moved on, and is fine with the whole thing and I have even had all of them (mom, dad and their SO's) over to functions like my son's bday and our anniversary so it isn't such a big deal.

My point is... things happen, and though we don't agree with them it's not our choice. What matters is being there to love and support our family no matter what. The way I see it, it's not like my mom did anything TO ME when she cheated on my dad. He has every right to hate her (which he doesn't) or whatever he wants, but who am I to say anything... kwim? I would rather my parents were happy, which they are now.

And just in case it sounds like I condone it... I don't! I am fully against cheating, but like I said what's done is done and it wasn't my decision.

I should add... your situation is obviously different since your mom DID affect your lives directly with her cheating so I would find it harder to forgive her as well... but she's still your mom and eventually you just gotta let it go.
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  #6  
December 20th, 2009, 02:28 PM
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The only thing I have to ask is...is it really possible for you to have a relationship with your mom without her SO being a part of your life too?

Whatever you decide, it has to be what's best for you and your family, but I think wanting a relationship with your mom without a "complete" relationship would be very tough for you.

Best of luck. I don't envy your position at all. And noone can say what they would do in your position, because everyone handles situations differently.
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  #7  
December 20th, 2009, 04:01 PM
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It always sucks growing up and seeing our parents as people instead of just our parents. And although I've never been through a divorce of my parents, here's my honest opinion. I do not blame you at all for having no respect for her, especially because of the impact that kind of issue would have on your family, I don't mean to offend you but this is the way I see it.

I think you are right in the way you have agreed to let your mother be a part of your life. However, making her leave out details of her life with her new Significant Other is not. So many things may not go the way we plan, and although we may not like them, we still must accept their existence. So "honor" your mother to a limit... Be happy that she has found someone that has made her happy, and let it be. This doesn't mean you need to ask about him, or give her advice on her "relationship". But it does mean that you would care for her happiness. KWIM? Now I believe honoring her, does not mean (in mho) that you have to honor him. And I would not blame you if you chose to tell your mother that he is not welcome in your home or at your family events.

You say you feel obligated? Do you know why you feel that way? If you hold no respect for her, then I say rid yourself of the relationship.

So I believe you have to be the bigger adult in this case...If you only really feel obligated to "keep in touch" with her, and you really have no respect for her....Then I think it's time for you to decide:

As an adult, can I move on from this and be happy that she is happy to a limit and tolerate that which I cannot change?
OR
As an adult, is it time for me to be honest with her and myself and tell her that although I wish her the best I cannot in good mind continue a mother/daughter relationship with her?

It sucks to make choices that seem hard. But that's where I stand.
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  #8  
December 20th, 2009, 04:20 PM
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I think I'm in the minority, but if you want nothing to do with him, have nothing to do with him. Personally, I wouldn't want anything to do with him either... and I wouldn't forgive my mother for doing something like that to my sister and father, and then to my father again. Maybe I would eventually, but it would take a whole lot of time... because obviously, her satisfaction was more a priority then her daughter's happiness (and your sister had JUST had a baby- man, she would be out of my life so fast..) *cough*.

I do consider myself a very forgiving person. I am Christian as well. But some things.. they are just very difficult to forgive. That would be one of them. Do what you feel is right in YOUR heart, though.. nobody else's opinion matters.
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  #9  
December 20th, 2009, 04:35 PM
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That's a tough one. My bio mother and father divorced shortly after my youngest brother was born, 18 years ago. My mom and dad have a huge age difference between them and really only married because they got pregnant and my mom, at 17, wanted out of her home situation. So that happened and never really had any effect on me, negative or positive. They always got along fine after the divorce and I saw my mom on a somewhat regular basis growing up. My parents agreed that it would be better for my dad to have custody of us since he was in a better place to care for us.
When I was 8, my mother remarried (13 years ago). After she married him I saw her much more frequently and ended moving from my dads house in Oklahoma to her house in Georgia when I was 15. Throughout the years I did not have the best relationship with my stepdad, probably because I was young and resented him for some reason. I guess it was because he had some control over me and he wasn't my "dad". When I was 17 I figured out that he really wasn't that bad and started to really respect all he had done for my family and we began to have a really good relationship. At about the same time I gained respect for the man, my mom became unhappy. She had what I guess would be considered emotional affairs with several people and it really upset me, mostly because she was doing this all without my stepdad knowing and him completely supporting her, me and my older brother. Then theres a curve ball. After basically being married or in a relationship with a man her whole adult life, she decides shes gay. When I finished high school and moved out, she divorced my stepdad, moved out and began a relationship with not only just a woman, but the freakin next door neighbor.
It took me quite some time to be "okay" with that, as I still think its bs and a midlife crisis or something, but I deal with it. It upset me so much that I was put on anti-depressants by my doctor for about a year. I still dont know how she could have done that to a man that did so much for us.
It's really weird for me, as I still want to have a relationship with my ex-stepdad and all of his family, I grew up with those people. For the first year or so after the divorce I probably talked to my stepdad a whole lot more than my mom. But even weirder is that my mom still talks and sees my stepdad and most of his family on a regular basis. I guess its all really about just being happy.

Sorry to ramble, I kinda went off on a tangent there but I kind of understand the situation. Good luck in whatever you decide, my only suggestion is, if you had a good relationship with your mom prior to this, try to keep one in spite of her decisions.
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  #10  
December 20th, 2009, 09:57 PM
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Oh man, wow...I cannot for the life of me believe she'd have an affair with your sister's husband. wow...the other man, I can see..but her daughter's husband? Both of them deserve to go to you know where unless they repent, as far as I am concerned..anyway...that being said, I think I may just separate myself for a time and have minimal contact until I could come to terms with things. But man, I wouldn't even want my mom around my husband if I were you. Even if your hubby wouldn't do anything, doesn't mean your mom wouldn't try. She obviously has issues that need to be dealt with, and I honestly don't think I could handle them. I'd have to take a step back to get a clearer picture of the situation and how I felt.
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  #11  
December 20th, 2009, 10:11 PM
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I think you need to ask yourself if you can truely and honestly forgive her. Forgiving her doesn't mean you have to like or enjoy her new partner but it Forgiving her IMO does mean that you need to at least somewhat include him in the picture too. Be respectful say hi, invite him and her over. How would you feel if your mother had an issue with your dh and said you could only come over but not him? That doesn't really seem like you forgave the past KWIM? The new man isn't your sisters ex husband and he may very well be a very nice guy -- or he may be a jerk.. but if your going to truely and honestly forgive her then you need to let him and her in. At least thats my view.

We went through something very similar with my MIL. One day after almost 30 years of marriage she walked out and started living with this new guy. We didn't have anything to do with her for a long time but did come to term with things and did forgive her. Yes the man has faults but he honestly isn't that bad of a guy at all and we decided to give him a chance and just take it one day and one visit at a time. I wish you luck in whatever you decide.
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  #12  
December 21st, 2009, 04:52 AM
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Oh goodness - I hardly know what to say. I can't imagine how hard this whole things has been on everyone.

I personally dont' believe forgiveness requires us to do anything besides forgive. We dont' have to welcome that person into our lives, we don't have to act like we haven't been hurt...it is about not holding a grudge, not about being able to keep a close relationship....

I would imagine what happened with your sister is probably far more hurtful than this was & this just brings all that pain back to the surface.

Meet him when/if you want to. Define the relationship however YOU need to. As long as you aren't doing anything to "punish" her - I think you can't be "wrong"...as it has to be what is right for you too & it has to respect your comfort level & boundaries...particularly because you aren't the one that has caused all the hurt & damage...so you have every right to take your time & do what you feel is best for you.

Best wishes!
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  #13  
December 21st, 2009, 06:45 AM
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I'm one of those people who blames both people, so I wouldn't be speaking to either of them.

Does your sister speak to her? Wow, I can't even imagine.
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  #14  
December 21st, 2009, 09:14 AM
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I didn't read any of the other responses, so I may be dittoing someone else...

In short - forgiveness happens in your heart, and can be exemplified in your actions. If you've truly forgiven your mom you'll know it because you won't feel resentment any longer toward your mom. This other man is really not the object of your forgiveness because HE didn't betray your family or your father - your mother did. I think it would be right to be cordial and polite to him if you have to encounter him, but don't get hung up on worrying about your feelings toward him.

I believe that as Christians, we should be forgiving after Christ's example, but I don't believe that forgiveness equals tolerance of sin or wrongdoing. You can forgive someone and still believe what they've done or what they continue to do is wrong. You can let go of anger, hurt, and resentment and still recognize sin. God still calls a sin a sin, but he offers forgiveness if we have accepted Christ as our Savior. After accepting this, we ought to turn from our sin. Your mom was offered a second chance and sinned again. This isn't to say she still doesn't DESERVE your forgiveness, but I think it signals that she maybe didn't want it very badly, and really had no intention of turning from her sin. I think another thing you can offer your mom right now, in addition to involvement with your pregnancy and baby, is direction and prayer. Maybe invite her to church with you if you go (even if it means she brings the other man) or send her Bible verses that would be encouraging to her in email. If she's marrying this other man, it is likely too late to go back to the way things were in making it right - but she still has a chance to repent and be saved going forward. I think that would be a great way to show your forgiveness.

I'll say a prayer for your family. I'm sorry this has happened.
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  #15  
December 21st, 2009, 09:27 AM
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Since my DH has grown up and started his own family, he has had a few eye opening experiences to let him know just how terrible of a person his mother can be most of the time. He has struggled with it for a few years, but just this last year has been a break-through. He was baptized, and although had attended church off and on his entire life, just chose to take Jesus Christ as his Savior in the past year!! In doing that, he made the decision that he wasn't going to force a relationship with his mother when it was just that...forced. He doesn't like her or the way she is and he doesn't feel the need to incorporate her drama in his life. His statement is: A child is obligated to his or her parent until they are 18 years old because the parent "takes care" of them...the parent is the primary support for the child - food, clothing, shelter, etc. After that, there must be a relationship built between a parent and child with no obligation remaining due to the fact that the child no longer relies on the parent.

In your case, I would be the same way if my mother was to do this...especially if it had happened more than once. While I feel that you should forgive your mother for the heartache she has caused your loved ones, I don't think that you should forget. You can still allow her to play a role in your life and to spend time with your children without being her best friend, because trust is a very hard thing to earn back once it is broken.
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  #16  
December 21st, 2009, 05:41 PM
FirstTimeMommy09's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Thanks for the advice, ladies. I think I got overwhelmed with the opinions I was given because they were all so different from each other. I will take in what everyone has said and try to figure this out. I will also continue to pray about it and just try to do the right thing. That's all I'm trying to figure out- the DETAILS of what "the right thing" is in this situation.
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  #17  
December 21st, 2009, 07:16 PM
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I'd say the "right" thing is doing what feels best to you. Although it is my opinion that it's not worth holding in that resentment and anger when life is so short, there's nothing wrong with needing time to move forward either. I am sure if my mom wasn't sick I would have carried on for a bit longer with only talking to her on occasion.
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  #18  
December 21st, 2009, 09:01 PM
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I think if it was just the affair with that man she met (the one she's married to now) I'd say you never really know what goes on in another couple's relationship even if that couple is your parents, and maybe be open to her new H.

however I think your story is a whole lot more disturbing because of the affair with your sister's ex-husband (your mother's son in law at that time), and within weeks of your sister giving birth! It is such a huge betrayal on so many levels that to me it says she's a person without character, with very serious boundary problems, and any number of psychological issues. You describe her as being manipulative even now and frankly I'd be scared to death of that woman.

you don't owe her anything and whatever contact you want, it should be on your terms and your terms only.
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