I suspect my mom is cheating on my dad - what do I do???

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-20-2010
I suspect my mom is cheating on my dad - what do I do???
Thu, 06-12-2014 - 11:46am

I’ll begin with a little history…

A few years ago my mother mentioned to me her desire to separate from my father, due to lack of love, irreconcilable differences, etc.  Basically she was falling out of love with him.

My dad had a problem with alcohol in the past which caused difficulties, but no physical nor verbial abuse, just difficulty to live with in an inebriated state.  He has since been sober for over 7 years.

Continuing on…

They are no longer affectionate with one another, even though it looks like my dad still tries.  My mom’s b-day was in March and he bought her a ring.  She returned/sold it and bought an iPad instead, without telling my dad. 

More recently, I have noticed she has been more protective with her phone (keeping it on her person, passcode, etc.).  I have caught her a few times going into an empty room and texting.  Also, when I was there last with my girlfriend, she excused herself to her bedroom b/c she wanted to go to bed, so we left.  But when I called her soon after to ask her something, there was the tone that tells you she was on the phone.  And she didn’t call me back after. 

**What hurts and bothers me the most about this is that my dad recently had open heart surgery, and unfortunately is dealing with complications as a result which is making his recovery very slow.  My mother is attending to his physical needs, but it’s clear there is a wide emotional distance, when what my dad needs the most right now is emotional support to keeps his spirits up while he is going through this.

Now I am stuck as to what to do…

Should I do nothing and just let it go, and hope my dad is getting the support he needs? Or that the two of them have had a talk and understanding that my mother might talk/see other people?

Or should I say something to my mother? If so, how do I bring it up?  Should be direct and upfront about what I see and interpret?  Should I write all of my thoughts and concerns down and have her address them to me with some organized thought? 

I don’t know if I should speak to my brother about this.  He is my brother from my dad’s previous marriage, so no matter what he would take my dad’s side.  I don’t want to create a rift or division in my family, but I don’t want to see my dad experience this, esp. in his delicate condition.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-04-2011

I know this may sound horrible to you but honestly, It is none of your business. It's between your mom and dad. If your mom is cheating, your dad may already know. You getting involved may make them feel like they need to do something when they otherwise wouldn't.

I know it is hard but stay out of it and stop taking sides. There is probably far more to their marriage history than what you may know so don't judge and be there for them both.

Avatar for ubergeek
Community Leader
Registered: 09-23-2010

The only thing I would be concerned about would be his welfare because of the surgery/recovery. Maybe just check with your mom to see if she needs help with him. 

Avatar for khatru1
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2004

I would also stay out of it. As was mentioned it could make things weird if they already had an agreement and he knew about it. If he doesn't know, it sounds like a really bad time for him to find out.If you just go to her, do you not mind things being weird between you two in that you know and she knows you know.

Maybe a good question would be what would you want to happen? Sometimes people do things and there is just no way for life to be 100% the same after. Not to defend your mother if it is indeed happening, but sometimes it really is impossible to know a persons life until you walk in their shoes.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009

Having lived with an alcoholic myself, I can understand that your Mom is "out of love" with your Dad.  BUT.......if she's cheating on him, and he finds out, that's not going to do him any good in his recovery.  If I were you, I would sit my Mom down and tell her what I'm thinking......that she's got someone else that she's interested in (don't even use the word "cheating") and ask her if it's true.  She may "confess", or she may deny it (even if you're right).  If she confesses, then ask her if she's planning to leave your Dad, or just have a "fling"?  You need to stress to her that your Dad needs her support right now, and once he's recovered totally, she should just go for a divorce if that's what she wants.  Divorce is devastating, but finding out about cheating is just as bad, if not worse.  If he was still drinking, it would be a different story, but the fact that he's been sober for 7 years says he's really trying, but if your Mom isn't going to meet him halfway, then she SHOULD get a divorce...but not yet.  She owes him that much.  You're in a hard situation, damned if you do, and damned if you don't...good luck to you and your Dad......

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-09-2014
All you're going by is suspicion. You have no proof. If its really bothering you I'd talk to her privately and tell her how I feel. Just prepare yourself if she tells you something you don't want to hear. If she does tell you she's cheating what are you going to do with that information? Your mother is doing the best she can with the best she knows how, under the circumstances. It puts you in a rough predicament because they are your parents but I'd talk to her first. She's probably not happy. She's only staying because of the kids and because of his health. Trust me I know how she must be feeling and although your father is sick she needs someone to love and take care of her also. You ever felt that she may have been feeling cheated on the entire time he was abusing alcohol? How many nights she felt lonely and not loved? If she's cheating just remember he checked out too. I'm glad he's sober now but sometimes wounds don't heal. The damaged is done and now she's just trying to survive and be happy.
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-25-2013

I would not bring up any suspicions of cheating. I would sit down with your mother and tell her it makes you sad for them that they seem to have lost their emotional connection. Tell her you want her and your dad to have the best lives possible, and ask her if she thinks marital counseling can help them to get back to a loving place with each other. Ask her if it's possible that she and your dad read some books on bettering their relationship. There are lots of those kinds of books at the library or bookstore. Ask her if there's something she wants from her husband that she's not getting. Tell her to communicate that to him, and tell her to ask him the same thing. Hope things improve for them.

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010

  It is none of your business what so ever.   Their relationship is not any reason to interfere with your value system.  if she has a lover it is no one's business, but hers.   Stay out of it compleatly.  


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010

You don't do anything. Your parents are adults, and have a lot of history that you probably know nothing about. Their sex lives, together or separate, are none of your business. Who knows, maybe they have an "arrangement". Its not a topic that most parents would discuss with their kids, or would want their kids asking about.

What do think you could accomplish by talking to your mother about whether she has somebody on the side? For whatever reason she stayed with your dad through his 7 years of alcohol and all the way until now, and is still nursing him through this health problem....its possible she would resent your concern for your dad's emotional wellbeing if she wasn't shown equal concern during those 7 years which had to be very difficult for her. Maybe you could change your perspective to think that its great that she is not divorcing/separating right now when he doesn't have the emotional or physical strength to deal with that.

If you think your father is lacking in emotional support then you could try to pick up the slack by coming to visit him often and take over some of his care.

Avatar for pater_familia
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2008

This is totally your business, it affects you. 

In Al-Anon they have the tree Cs. You didn't cause this, you can't controle this, and you can't cure this.

But it does affect you and it is your business. When my spouse was having her affairs, she told people and other people figured it out before me.   To this day, six years later, I'm still not happy with those people for not saying something. Other people knew about my business when I didn't. That is very, very hurtful. I could have stopped my spouse from doing a few of the most hurtful things had someone given me a heads up and they were ultimatly hurtful to her also. 

This is tricky stuff and they have put you in a bad place. The affair partners can bring desease, mental illness, and danger into your family and homes. 

I would talk to a therapist about what is happening and I would definatly express to your mother that you are aware of her behavior and express how it affects you. I would also tell her that secrets in families destroy families. Nobody, not you or your father deserves this. There are a million ways to address dysfunction in a marraige, an affair is the worst of those choices. 

my reguards. 



We have five kids. Our D-Day was in August, 2008.