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Teenage Problems/My dad cheating with girl from my work and it upsets me

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Question
I'm 28, from Minnesota, United States, and have two sisters, 21 and 19, we're of Danish-American descent.

Recently I found out off my friend [a girl in work] that she's been having an affair with my dad.
What she said next was the kicker - she told me she's pregnant, and that she wants to marry him, and they're in love!!!
I feel sick, disgusted and upset - and I told my mum about this yesterday.
I noticed she'd looked a bit fat, but thought that was just festive overindulgence.

Unusually, she didn't kick him out, or file for divorce, but said she wanted to work on the marriage, after all, 'it's for better or worse and I will not give up...' in her words.

This girl in work's 24, and younger than my mum, which makes me feel sick.

She said she's keeping the baby.

How will I ever cope?

thanks,
Rae

Answer
Hi there Rae,

Thank you for taking the time to write to me and I hope that I can help.

Firstly, it is never nice to find out that a parent is cheating on the other one especially if you are the person who has to break the bad news; which you did. It is also not nice to find out that the person that your dad cheated on is someone that you work with and cannot really avoid seeing. That said, your dad will always make his own choices and rightly or wrongly, he is responsible for any decisions he has made and he will have to take responsibility for any consequences; including having a new baby.

I know it is hard for you to deal with and cope with but if your mom has taken the decision to work on the marriage and keep things polite and civil with him, then you need to support your mom and let her support you. It must be a difficult time for her as well as you and your sisters, so it is important that you all stick together and support each other as best you can. Your mom will always be your mom and your dad will always be your dad, it just may mean that if things continue between your dad and this girl from work that they may not be together physically. Either way, whatever your dad has done, it is all of your individual decisions about whether or not you should forgive him and/or move on.

You might find it strange that your mom has chosen to stand by him and try and work things out; but she may be trying to do this because she loves him and she does not want to see her relationship break down into nothing. It might be an odd reaction considering what she has heard but her reaction is understandable in her situation. You and your sisters however, might have a different view on it and take a longer time to understand what has happened and why; either way, you need to support your mom with her decision, even if you do not agree with it and you all need to support each other until you know exactly how you all feel.

Your dad has hurt not only your mom but all of you and he has probably dented the trust that you all had in him. That said, for whatever reason, he has decided to have a relationship with someone else that is going to end with a new child being bought into the World. There is little anyone can say to him that will make him realize the severity of his actions or what he has done until the baby is born; because it will hit home that he has been a little bit silly and quite selfish. He is still your dad and although you may not understand his relationship with this girl from work, do not be tempted to let yourself be lost in all of this and lose sight of the fact that he is still your dad.

You will not be able to avoid the situation at work but you can try and avoid listening to what this girl is saying to you about your dad and her ambitions to marry him. Politely tell her that you do not want to talk to her about your dad and change the topic. If you are friends or colleagues anyway, change the topic to something about work or something mundane. Try and keep your friendship separate from her relationship with your dad and although this will not be easy, it will help you to be able to manage working with her and your emotions easier.

Your dad has a lot of making up to do to you all but the person that he has hurt most is your mom and if she is prepared to work through this, then you have to ask yourself if you can or want to do the same.

I hope that helps.  

Teenage Problems

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Daryl Taylor, BSc (Hons) Psychology, PGDip (pending certification)

Expertise

My expertise covers everything and anything to do with growing up, being a teenager or a young adult or being the parent of one of the pre-described. I can cover issues on identity, sexuality, love, relationships, families, drug/alcohol abuse and anything and everything in between.

Experience

I have volunteered for AllExperts.com for over ten years now, but even before that I was trying to use my experience to help others by working with Advice4teens.co.uk, Teenadviceonline.org and even Lycos and Ask Jeeves. My experience comes from being a teenager primarily but this lead me to work with young people from the age of 13. I have worked front line, face to face and over the telephone, e-mail and webchat for a government department called Connexions UK (aimed at young people aged 13-19); as well as being student counselor in New York, a Peer Mentor, a student teacher and working for my school, college and University to help raise the aspirations of young people. My life has not been easy and I have been through my fair share of issues; so there is little that I haven't been through in reality opposed to just reading it from a book or from my academic studies. I have been featured as a case study as achieving through adversity for a number of magazines and I have featured in a couple of books on both sides of the Atlantic; even though I am UK based.

Organizations
The Albert Kennedy Trust

Publications
Relationships: Cathy Senker, 2012, Raintree The Dean and Chapter Positive Nation GTEN Television Aim Higher

Education/Credentials
BSc(Hons) Psychology Post Graduate Diploma in Multidisciplinary Design Innovation Basic Counselling Skills Effective Listening Skills Mental Health First Aid

Awards and Honors
Outstanding Student achievement Adult learner's Award

Past/Present Clients
Allexperts.com Advice4teensuk.org Teenadviceonline.org lycos.co.uk askjeeves.com Connexions Direct

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