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'I caught my mom cheating and she claims my dad knows. Should I tell him?' UPDATED

'I caught my mom cheating and she claims my dad knows. Should I tell him?' UPDATED


"I caught my mom cheating and she’s trying to convince me my dad knows."

I’m f17 and until a couple of days ago, I thought I lived in the perfect family raised by my two loving parents (early 40s). My dad is an engineer who has been traveling a lot for the past year and my mom is in healthcare taking shifts in different times of the day. My laptop broke down and I asked to use mom’s laptop to finish a school project.

When I was working, I saw a couple of whatsapp web notifications pop up with sexual messages. I tried not to pay attention until I realized these were from “Pete” and not from dad. I could not believe my eyes and I felt like throwing the laptop in the trash and pretend I never saw it. After I collected my thoughts, I went back to the chat and from what I can see,

they met at least 4-5 times starting just a couple of months after my dad began traveling. I took photos of the chat history and went to my room trying to process; I couldn’t even finish my homework. From the messages, they were supposed to meet tonight, and lo and behold, just half an hour before the meeting time, she passed by my room to let me know she’s going to “work”.

The next day, I gathered my courage to confront her. I think she knew that I discovered her because the new chat messages have been read by me and I think I left the chat tap open before returning her laptop. I told her I knew what she was doing and that it was wrong. She sat me down and tried to calm me but I told her no way I would be calm and she said I will understand once I hear the explanation.

She told me that she and dad agreed to open their marriage shortly after he began traveling. To be honest, I didn’t fully comprehend so she explained what that entailed. She told me, it was completely physical and she would never have feelings for anyone other than my dad (the messages I read support this as they were only of a sexual nature) and that they agreed to only do it if one of them is away.

She closed by saying that this is adult stuff agreed between two loving adult spouses and I should stay out of it. I was dumbfounded and didn’t know how to react the whole time. I started reading online about open marriage and this is how I found this subreddit. It was consistent with what she said but it just didn’t make sense to me.

I don’t believe my dad would agree to this as his views are generally more conservative. Also, when he’s away, he’s more present with us than her as he video chats with us or plays online games with my two brothers almost daily. In yesterday’s call, I asked him why he has to travel a lot and he said this is hard but it is necessary to secure college money for me and my brothers.

He assured me that it will change soon. I asked him how can he bear being away from his wife for almost half of the year, he said since their relationship foundation is strong, temporary separation only causes them to miss each other more and value the limited time they have with each other. He asked me if everything is alright and I told him not to worry.

I honestly don’t know if I should believe her. Should I ask her for proof for the open marriage claim? I am mortified to tell dad but is that my only option to confirm? I don’t want our perfect family to be torn apart but would it be fair to dad to keep this secret? I’ve been crying non-stop since this revelation and don’t know what to do.

What do you think she should do? Commenters weighed in with advice and insight.

freshinthebox said:

Tell your dad. If he already knows then he wont care.

bittercupojoe said:

Tell your dad. It might be embarrassing for him, but if it IS an open marriage, they screwed this up by not being discreet enough. If it’s not, he needs to know. And, if it is, there’s a good chance that your dad already knows that your mom messed up by being indiscreet;

if he doesn’t know that, they’re not communicating the way they should be in an open marriage. A kid finding out this way should be a DEFCON 1 incident and your dad should already have been told by your mom.

Synn0289 said:

Call her out. If this was me I would say it like this. " I understand if this is how it is that's its non of my business but I want dad here to tell me the same also. If he confirms what your telling me I'll delete everything and act as nothing has changed. " Her reaction will twll you before you even have to go further.

P.s. if you have a trusted friend that will keep it to themselves or another safe place then keep this there as it's not hard for a perant to take your phone.

throwaway102225 said:

I would call her bluff, tell your mom to call your dad to talk about their open marriage and if she doesn’t you tell your dad what you know. If she’s telling the truth she will do so no problem. If she is lying she will make up some excuse as to why she can’t call him.

MariaInconnu said:

"Hey dad, is it true that you and mom have an open marriage while you're away? If you do, I'll drop this. If you don't, you should know that she's cheating on you."

Most commenters urged her to tell her dad.

A week later, she shared this update:

I thought this would be a good time to update you about how the situation progressed but it’ll be a long post. Reading through your responses, there were a lot of people recommending to tell my dad and others to keep to myself out or talk it out with mom. It took me a lot of time to think and decide that I want to somehow bring it up with my dad but that I wanted to wait to do it in person.

His next home visit was in 5 days after the original incident. While waiting for that, I was really uncomfortable with my mom and was thinking twice about any move she makes. She tried to play it cool, open conversations or suggest going out but I just tried to avoid her. Even if my dad did know, I was subconsciously treating her in a cold manner. This might have contributed to what would happen next.

On the night before my father’s arrival, it seems mom broke down. She came into my room when I was about to sleep and asked if we can talk. She started to talk about generic things and how hard it was for her to be almost a single mom for the past year with two teenage boys and thanked me for helping out with that.

Now I started to see her tear up while bringing up that she might not have been completely honest about the open relationship thing. Long story short, according to her, she suggested to dad a while ago to open the marriage but he didn’t give her a definite answer. Rather, that he will think about it and get back to her. She said that she asked to revisit but he keeps changing the subject.

So, NO agreement from my dad, that was clearly established. Now at least I know what to expect when I approach my dad. By this time, she’s completely sobbing and trying to guilt trip me about the consequences of disclosing the whole information to him. I felt sorry for her and told her the right thing to do was to come clean with him but she said she doesn’t have the courage to do it.

I said that I will do it if she doesn’t. She said she’ll think about it and we both went to bed; not that I could get any sleep that night after this. My dad arrived the next afternoon. Earlier that morning my mom sent in the family chat that she had to take an emergency shift, won’t be back until the evening, and apologized profoundly.

In the private chat, I told her what the hell she’s doing and she said she’s not ready to tell him and needs more time to find the courage. I told her that I don’t think I can hold it and act normal around him so he most likely will find out from me if she doesn’t do it tonight.

She sent several crying emojis then gave me the go ahead to talk to him and told me to update her if it is safe for her to come back home after I talk to dad! I don’t know what she meant, as my dad was never the violent type.

Over dinner, my dad was visibly displeased as mom never take shifts during his arrival. When we were alone, after having a lot of small talks, he was telling me that one of his co-workers is getting married next week so he’ll try to stay around to attend that. I used this as transition and told him that I came across the term ‘open marriage’.

I told him that after hearing and reading about it, I asked mom what she thinks of it and mom told me it would be ideal for her situation, then asked him what he thought about it. He was taken by surprise.

He said he doesn’t believe in polygamy (another term I just learned) and that if a couple feel the need for it, they should address the issue that makes them feel that way and if this issue cannot be resolved then polygamy would not be the answer. I asked if mom asked him for an open marriage he said yes but that he refused on the spot.

After that, he promised her that he’ll ask to take a local position (kind of a demotion for him) as he didn’t know this is how she felt especially since he didn’t take this job in the first place until she was okay with him travelling. He was actually just approved to move back to our city and will start the new job after the new year; he was planning to surprise my mom with the news.

I asked him when was the first time they talked about this open marriage proposal and he assured that it was only ONE talk that happened around 5 months ago (this is definitely after the time my mom first met Pete).

He started to pressure me about what’s going on but I was able to get out of the conversation as I needed some alone time to make up the two sides of the story. By looking at the messages dates, apparently my mom started seeing this guy (not sure if they slept together initially or not) then asked to open the marriage to give her legitimacy to sleep with him. When my dad refused, she did it anyway.

I was boiling and couldn’t think straight. I messaged her to please come home and that everything is fine, then I messaged dad screenshots of her conversation with Pete then I came here to write this update. I really don’t care about what happens next and won’t write another update.

Whether they separate or not, isn’t important to me anymore as I know life won’t get back to what it was anyway. The important thing is that I made peace with me carrying this burden.

Sources: Reddit
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