You are here:

Adultery/Younger brother just found out...


Hi, I have a bit of a difficult situation, I am hoping to gain some clarity on. My parents separated and then divorced when I was 7 years old. My dad fairly promptly started dating and re-married. He passed away very suddenly when I was 12 due to a car accident. My younger brothers and I are fairly close with our step mom still, and still see her for birthdays/christmas/get togethers.

However, when I was 16, I found out that my dad had had an affair with my stepmom a year before my mom found out/they separated. I was infuriated, but I think at the time, unclear on how I should react/what I should have done.

I am now 22 and have not thought about it too much since. My brothers and I have always thought very highly of our dad, other than this incident he was an amazing guy. We had all planned on going out and getting tatoos in remembrance of him. His death shook us all and left a giant hole in our lives, as he was an amazing dad, and put his kids before anything else.

However, my youngest brother (19) just found out, by fluke, (a friend of my moms said something that caused him to ask about the divorce) that my dad cheated on my mom. He is not taking it well at all, as he has always worn his heart on his sleeve and not handled emotional things well. He even said he wanted to burn everything of dad's that he has. Our middle brother (21) does not know.

My mom is devastated, as she hadn't planned on telling him, and certainly not in that fashion, and doesn't want him to hate his dad, as he isn't even here for us to question or demand answers from. Dad went from being on a pedestal to being hated.

Is it bad for me to feel that it was better for my brother to have found out before getting that tattoo? I don't know why I don't "hate" my dad, I hate what he did to my mom, but deep down I believe everything happens for a reason. I don't know what that reason is. But maybe someday it will become clear. I still wanted to get a tattoo in remembrance of him.

I don't know what to say to my youngest brother, he is apparently appalled that I knew this entire time and still wanted to see our stepmom and how I could not hate her and hate dad. And then how do I/we go about bringing this up to the middle brothers, who should likely be told what's going on.

It's a crappy situation, made even worse by the fact that he passed away and this is all coming out now, 10 years after the fact.

Please help.


Hi Jay,

I totally understand how you are all feeling confused and upset in this situation, but how each of you handle it is entirely up to you.

Jay, the whole reason we are on this earth is to find happiness. That's it. Nothing else, just happiness. And the thing is this, we are all responsible for our own happiness and we all get to make choices that determine whether we are happy of not.

When someone gets angry or upset they are choosing to be angry and upset. Nobody makes us angry. We choose to hate someone. We can also choose not to hate someone too. It all depends on how we choose to look at it.

Your Dad didn't do anything to you boys. Nothing. He had an affair with someone else. None of you have any idea of the circumstances of why he did this - you weren't there. You have no idea. Also, see if you can understand this too. He didn't do anything to your Mum either. He chose to end his relationship with her. That's not doing anything to her. Now, if he had stabbed her with a carving knife he would have done something to her. But he didn't. Their relationship wasn't making him happy so he chose to try and find happiness in a different way. That's all. When we are unhappy, it feels really crappy, so we are literally driven to do things that make us feel better. This is all your Dad did.

He could have stuck with your Mum and learnt how to have relationships properly, but he didn't because he didn't know how to. You can't condemn him for not knowing something and be happy yourself. You can't condemn him for making mistakes and be happy yourself. You can't hate him when he is dead and be happy yourself.

So, you see. We all get to choose happiness. It really is a choice. You and your brothers can choose to hate your Dad if you want to but it won't bring you any relief from a terrible pain.

Alternatively you could say this. My Dad, for some reason, was unhappy in his relationship with my Mum. I wasn't there and don't know the full story or the truth of that, and now I will never know, and actually it is none of my business anyway. But he was obviously unhappy. All he did was try to find his own happiness. He didn't 'do' anything to my Mum. He just made a choice, the consequences of which meant my Mum had some different choices to make. She could have chosen to forgive him and have him back. But again we weren't there. My Mum didn't choose that.

Jay, it is all of your happiness I am caring about here, you, your Mum, your brothers. See that your Dad didn't do anything to any of you, he merely made some personal choices  to find his own happiness. And in order for you all to re-find your happiness about this, you can make some different choices too. Choose not to hate him. Choose to accept him for who he was. If you choose to believe that he made some mistakes, then accept him for the mistakes he made. Don't put him on a pedestal. Don't hate him. Just accept that he was a human being, prone to making errors, who was simply doing the best that he could at the time.

This way, you are choosing love over hate, peace over anger, forgiveness over blame and your happiness over self inflicted pain.

Hope this helps
With love


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Pete Uglow


Marriage, relationship, divorce, infidelity, cheating, surviving an affair, individual counselling, couples counselling, coaching, life-coaching, parenting.


Together with my wife Nikki, I run Real Love UK, the only fully certified Real Love coaching organisation outside the US - also the only Real Love coaching organisation anywhere in the world that specialises in healing the pain of marital infidelity.

10 Steps to Help Your Marriage Survive an Affair - An Introduction to the Amazing Power of Real Love. (Nov 2012)

Certified Real Love Coach

Past/Present Clients

©2016 All rights reserved.