Last night I got home from a friend’s place around midnight. My mother’s car wasn’t in the driveway, which gave me a bad feeling, but I wasn’t sure what was going on. When I walked inside, I asked my father, who was in the kitchen, where she was. He began to cry and said he didn’t know and she wasn’t answering his calls. When he began to ponder where she could have gone and said he might go looking for her, I said, “What if she’s with her guy?”. He immediately asked me what I was talking about. We sat in the living room and I told him about the obscene text messages I had found last August from a man whose name started with a “J”. He asked, “J*** *****?”. I said I didn’t recall the name but knew it began with a “J”.
After a little more discussion and more tears, my mother walked in. My father immediately confronted her with this new information. She looked shocked (as she always does when caught in a lie) and said she didn’t want me in the room as they talked. So I went to the garage, lit up a cigarette, and called my brother, leaving a voicemail explaining the situation. After a little while, I was ushered back inside, where I sat at the dining room table as upstairs, my parents sat in the computer room and my father went through, month by month, my mother’s text messages to and from this man.
My mother, of course, doesn’t remember half of what my father asks her. She said she wouldn’t be able to afford health insurance and she’d be out on the streets. She said she loved my father. Yet she was still texting this other man for nine days after my father demanded she cease all contact. I kept my mouth shut throughout all of this, despite the urge to stomp up the stairs and call her out on her lies, her bullshit. After a while, she went to bed.
Neither my father or I could sleep. We talked for hours, going through all of what he knew of her affair. He said he didn’t deserve this. I said I know. He said he felt helpless. He said how he thought he could have worked through what he had known before (supposedly a 13-month affair, though now it seems like it was much longer), but now he doesn’t think he can. He doesn’t know what to do. He even called her a bitch, which I was glad for, because she is.
He told me how he would have rather have her divorced him than do this. He said that if I had showed him the texts a year ago, he would have divorced her (he even went and had a consultation with a lawyer not long ago, who told him, Yeah, your wife is having an affair, but if you divorce her, she still gets a ton of your money). He told me about how three years ago, her disdain and lack of support toward him and her saying, “I’m just not into you” drove him to nearly commit suicide, but somehow, even after writing a lengthy letter and planning it out, he stopped himself.
I have never seen my father so hurt. I never want to see him hurt like that ever again.
I stayed up with him until nearly 7am. I wasn’t going to leave him. And I told him no matter what, I would be behind him. I told him that I don’t know how the two of them will get through this, but I know he will.
I love my father more than anyone on this entire planet. I would do anything for him. My mother, however, has lost whatever shred of respect I had left for her, and any chance of forgiveness.
She texted me today, saying: “Z, I am so ashamed of what I’ve done. You, [your brother], and [your father] are the three most important people in the world to me. I was given everything I ever wanted and I ruined it. I was in a very dark, selfish place for a long time. I couldn’t admit to my children what that picture was even though it was obvious. I lived lie after lie. I hate what I was and what I’ve done to our family more than you know.”
In my depressed, angry state, I responded: “I find that very hard to believe considering how long this was going on for and how long you remained in contact with this man. I literally have no idea who you are and I have no idea how anyone is capable of such depravity and deceit. I should have told [my father] a year ago when I found it. I regret that. I’ve resented you for a year and I know this is hard to hear but that will continue.
You have destroyed an entire family. You had no regard for us and you hurt your husband, and children, more than you even realize. I think you need serious psychotherapy. You’re a pathological liar and I wouldn’t even be surprised if you were a sociopath. I have zero sympathy for you. I once did. But after I saw how much you hurt my father I have none to give and you will never receive my forgiveness. If it were me, you’d be gone. You’re lucky.
If I had the chance I would leave but I financially cannot and it sickens me that I have to live under the same roof as you and play pretend. Even if I could, I would probably still stay for my father because he needs at least one ally. I love you but I have no clue who you are. I cannot fathom your actions or thought process, or lack thereof.
You’ve gone years without consequences. I am totally appalled by you. You single-handedly destroyed your own family. There is no excuse. Bottom line. And I will never know if what you say is genuine or not.”
I don’t know what to do. My father has it much worse. But I don’t know what to do. It’s all like some terrible dream.