I’m not really sure what to say so I’m just winging it. I’m an only child. The other day I was on my mom’s phone when she got a text message. I accidentally clicked on it, and a conversation between my mom and this guy came up.

I read their conversation, and it was graphic and lustful. They were talking about “doing it” one day this week. Right now I’m feeling betrayed, sad and angry at the same time. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read all those texts.

I mean, the woman that drives me to school every morning and the one who spends a ton of money on my Christmas gift is having sex with someone other than my dad. Well, my stepdad. I’ve never met my real dad so I don’t know who he is.

I hate my mom right now, and I don’t know what to do.

~ Erica

Erica, people who minimize the effects of adultery claim it is no one else’s business. That’s ridiculous. At a minimum it affects the adults involved, the children, the relatives and the friends.

A person who has been cheated on feels betrayed, sad and angry. What is usually not mentioned is those are the same effects of adultery on a child.

As one woman who became involved with a serial adulterer told us “…the tangents of damage and pain that have been caused by his behavior have become serious reverberating ripples throughout all of our lives, and have, without question, left permanent scars on our souls.”

There is nothing private about adultery. There is privacy in a steadfast marriage, but there is no privacy in adultery because the constant marriage connection has been broken.

None of this is on you. Your mother made choices. If she hadn’t done what she did, you wouldn’t be in this position. She put you in this position.

Her cheating created an open loop, and open loops weigh on us. The unspoken questions in your letter are, how do I live with this in silence? Do I tell my dad? Am I supposed to betray one parent to protect the other?

Close the loop.

If you tell only your mom, she will try to make you complicit in her secret or threaten you. If you tell only your stepdad, your mom can say you went behind her back and claim to be the injured party. Sit them both down at the same time, and tell them how you are feeling.

~ Wayne & Tamara

All The Options

I’ve been divorced 17 years. We were married 25 years, and I raised his four sons. When I divorced, my ex gave me an annuity and told me I would be taken care of for the rest of my life. I accepted it.

The stock market crashed twice during those years, and I ended up having to live on the principal. I am now 64 and it has run out. I will be destitute in four months, barely able to afford my apartment rent. Both my parents are dead. I have no other family.

He is very wealthy. He has three homes. He is a multimillionaire. Should I ask him for financial help?

~ Ruth

Ruth, many good people feel bad about asking others for anything. Many good people would rather drown than call for help from a lifeguard.

An old saying is desperate times call for desperate measures. But calling your ex-husband for help is not an act of desperation. It is the most rational thing you can do.

You shouldn’t hesitate to ask, but you should realize the solution to your problem may involve a mix of things. His help, help from others and work. Call him and ask for aid in mapping a way out.

By asking for help now you also incur an obligation to help others in the future.

~ Wayne & Tamara

Send letters to: [email protected] , or Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield MO 65801.

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