How to deal with a parent’s infidelity

no matter how steely i ostensibly try to be, i can’t shake off the uneasiness and sadness of discovering an affair, and how it could devastate the other parent.

im vacillating between sadness/slight despair and numbness. and i could sense an impending meltdown.

it’s so obscene discovering things that could break a person, especially someone you love.

i could fairly grasp how dreadfully common cheating is, and how it isn’t our responsibility to bear (self love is the best love stuff) etc but something still feel amiss.

what can i do to cope? how can i face these complex nebulous emotions?


How did you find out? Does your other parent know?

I get what you mean about that uneasiness. My parents were divorced as well because of an affair (or at least that was what I was told to think).

I feel like once that trust is broken, it might be hard to for your parents to rebuilt that trust between them.

I guess the (reasonable) thing to do is to talk to the other parent and see what they think. Would they be in denial or would they confront the other. Ultimately it’s their fight, not yours but you can be here to support both of them respectively. I hope they don’t make you choose sides, that’s probably even more heart wrenching.

No matter what, they’ll still be your parents (no matter what they do). You might have to make a decision in future whether to agree or disagree with their actions after hearing their reasons. But till then, I think it’s about finding out more (and prepping yourself emotionally to do so).

I don’t know how it’s like for you but I feel more anxious if there was no conclusion. I wouldn’t like to hide things from anyone, makes it very hard to interact especially if y’all are still living in the same house. The earlier the air gets cleared, the better I think.

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appreciate your thorough and analytical reply jaws. i agree that it’s ultimately their battle (they may choose to come clean if they wish to do so), so im keeping this discovery to myself haha, bc the innocuous party here will be devastated though not surprised

an open discussion would be ideal and mature if the person involved doesn’t cling on their defensive rage mechanism for life. low key TW:domestic v if it were to happen.

since mediation is off the table for now, i’m expanding on your advice on finding out more and being emotionally prepared to do so—i’d like to work on what i can control—my wellbeing.

any tips on that—to release all that pent up sadness. it is what it is (maybe pouring one out can help idk not alcoholic but i think this occasion calls for it)or are there other ways to go about it?

cheating’s so common that i can get a little nonchalant with my view:

cheaters can have so many reasons/excuses to do what they do. it’s still inexcusable and it’s a shame to resort to such a callous way of communicating zero consideration/respect for your partner.

but i’d like to understand the depths of healing from infidelity (how are you truly healing/coping) so i could better support others instead of generalising/compartmentalising their struggles…as i did with my own.

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It’s a good question, perhaps some of the therapists here could share better tips.

But in my own humble opinion, time heals everything. All that anger, frustration, shame etc disappears over time. I used to hate my dad and had all the “what-ifs” in my head but over time, I’ve stopped hating him.

I never really healed from this but I guess I got busy with life and this just really wasn’t a priority anymore. He’s got his own (other) family now and whenever I see pictures, it still does bother me slightly. I just try to focus on other stuff that is probably more “worthy” of my energy and time.

Not trying to shrug you off here but I guess for you, it’s worthwhile reading more stories to see how other people manage situations like this. Maybe that’ll give you inspiration and hopefully some sense that you’re not alone too.

Some related stories:


thanks jaws for linking resources ( i was about to ask) and honesty!

i’m going through the same emotions and it’s comforting to know it’ll eventually get better—that my other priorities would eventually crowd out the myriad of confusing and overwhelming emotions/thoughts i’m having.

i’m proud of you for arduously reclaiming your life (can’t imagine the amount of pain that shapes the wisdom you now have), that gave me strength for the challenges ahead

i’ve been scouring everywhere for advice - therapist podcasts and all to understand even from a cheater’s pov which made me feel exasperated but it is what it is.

redirecting that focus back onto myself is undoubtedly the best i can do—lots of workout, journaling, meditation, reading, doing fun things :sleepy: but i’ll certainly experience recurring bouts of anger and sadness (keeping it real)j

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Hi @oklol,

Thank you for reaching out and sharing your feelings. Discovering a parent’s infidelity can be incredibly unsettling and painful. It’s completely understandable to feel a mix of uneasiness, sadness, and numbness, especially when you’re concerned about how it might affect your other parent.

Your emotions are valid, and it’s important to give yourself permission to feel them, in fact that is the first step to healing… You’ve described a profound sense of loss and conflict, which are natural reactions to such a discovery. The uneasiness and sadness you’re experiencing are part of the grieving process. Grieving isn’t just about death; it’s about losing something important to you, like the trust and stability you believed existed in your parents’ relationship.

Grieving often involves stages such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It sounds like you’re experiencing a mix of these emotions, and that’s okay. It’s normal to vacillate between sadness, despair, and numbness, and to feel on the brink of a meltdown.

You’ve done a lot to manage these emotions already, and that’s commendable. If what you’re doing is helping, that’s fantastic! Keep it up. If you’re comfortable, could you share whether your current coping strategies are working for you? Sometimes, simply talking about what you’re doing (as you decide) can help reinforce those positive steps.

It’s also crucial to keep in mind that even though this situation affects you, you have no control over it. The responsibility lies with your parents, and your primary focus should be on your own well-being.

It’s great that you’re already doing things like working out, journaling, meditation, and reading. These are all excellent ways to manage your emotions. If these strategies are helping you, that’s wonderful! Keep it up. If you find that your current methods aren’t enough, consider reaching out for additional support. Sometimes talking to a trusted friend, family member, or therapist can provide much-needed emotional support.

Here are some additional strategies that might help you manage these complex emotions:

  1. Physical Activity: Keep engaging in exercise. Activities like yoga, running, or even a simple walk can help alleviate stress.
  2. Creative Outlets: Engaging in creative activities like drawing, painting, or playing music can provide a healthy way to express your emotions.
  3. Support Networks: Talk to trusted friends, family members, or consider joining a support group. Sometimes, sharing your experience with others who understand can be incredibly validating.
  4. Professional Help: If you find your current methods aren’t enough, consider seeking support from a therapist or counselor. They can offer strategies tailored to your situation.

Remember, while you’re part of the situation, you’ve already done a lot at this stage. It’s important to focus on what you can control—your well-being. If none of these strategies help you cope well, consider seeking professional help to navigate these emotions more effectively.

We’re here to listen and support you. Please continue to share your thoughts and feelings as much as you feel comfortable.

Take care…

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I’m proud of you for sharing your experiences so vulnerably here too. I’m sure you’ll come out of this episode stronger. I agree that there will be times where you’ll feel the anger and sadness but just remember how you overcame it in the first place and it’ll get easier.

After all, life’s too short to be unhappy :muscle: :muscle: