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My Mother's said she's a married man's mistress. How can I respond and preserve our mother-daughter relationship?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Family, Health, Troubled relationships, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (29 August 2015) 3 Answers - (Newest, 30 August 2015)
A female United Kingdom age 30-35, anonymous writes:

Dear Cupid,

My mother told me recently she has been a mistress to a married man for the last 5 years.

She got involved with him when my dad was terminally ill and told me about it after he passed away. She is still seeing him and wants to continue doing so.

She has also said she is upset he wont leave his wife but is too in love to leave him. I'm unsure how to handle best this situation.

She doesn't think there is anything wrong in what she is doing-

I have tried reasoning with her about the effect on this guy's family, that he will never be able to offer her much companionship, other women will likely be wary of her etc.

It has made be distrustful of her and she keeps trying to drag me into this drama. I have tried to be diplomatic though and simply requested she does not talk to me about him but instead talk to her friends.

She has now stopped talking to me and I'm unsure why. It is really hurtful as I am an only child and she is now my only family.

View related questions: married man, mistress

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A female reader, YouWish United States + , writes (30 August 2015):

YouWish agony auntThat's a tough one. I'm sure it rocked your world to hear that your mom started the relationship before your father died. I have no doubt that your emotions about all of this are really complicated. I'm really sorry about the loss of your father, and it's tough that at a time you really need your mom, she's not dealing with her grief in a very healthy way.

You know full well that there is only heartache at the end of your mom's dealings with this married man. She's used him as an emotional salve in order to deal with what she's gone through, and you know that when the time comes and the relationship implodes, she's really going to need you.

She knows your disapproval I'm sure, but consider that this relationship is like her drug, and her addiction for this guy is causing her to become defensive and stubborn when it comes to justifying being with this guy. She knows it's wrong, but she HAS to justify it and deceive herself into believing there is nothing wrong. I'm guessing that if the tables were turned and she saw you in this situation, she'd feel differently about watching you throw your life away for a married man.

My advice? Stop trying to get her to talk to you about him. You've said all the words you can say about him. Now all you can do is step back and wait for the eventual emotional atomic bomb. Then be there for her when the fling between her and this other guy disintegrates. You two will find each other again, and she'll look on this as one of her biggest regrets.

She chose a cheating dog, who started using he when she was the most vulnerable, and the real person who's going to suffer is his wife. She *will* find out. You said that your mom is upset that he won't leave his wife? Eventually, she will demand too much of him and he will either leave, or she will become desperate and his wife will find out either through a deliberate act or a careless one. Right now, thousands of cheaters got exposed through Ashley Madison, so I say what I always say - it's not *IF* they get caught, it's *WHEN*.

Step back, say nothing more about it even if she tries to draw you in except maybe "If the situation were reversed and I was with a married guy, what would your advice to me be?" She'll answer with some sort of justifying BS, but it WILL make her at least think about the real answer.

When you get The Call, meaning when she informs you of the destruction of the relationship, then step in and show her a lot of love, time, caring, and support. Don't gloat or say "I told you so" or give her the silent treatment when she reaches out. Just stand back until that moment happens.

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A female reader, mystiquek United States + , writes (30 August 2015):

mystiquek agony auntI think you need to "agree to disagree" and don't discuss the matter. She's going to do what she wants apparently regardless of how you feel. She knows what she is doing and the more you try to talk to her about it, the more you will push her away. Tell her that you love her and you want her in your life. Agree that this one particular subject is off limits. You need each other and its sad to think this is standing in the way.

I totally understand what you are feeling. My mom started seeing a man 2 months after my father passed away unexpectedly. It was very hurtful to me but she wasn't about to stop regardless of how bad it looked. I have chosen to let her live her life and not think about that one part of it. She is my only mother and while I don't agree with things that she does, I do love her.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (30 August 2015):

Your mother needs some grief counseling. She has taken to extreme behavior out of fear of loneliness; and that fact she is a mature woman, she feels she has limited options.

It will take the whole matter blowing-up in her face for her to snap back to reality. She's a grown woman, she knows the consequences. You're her daughter no matter what she does.

Stay out of her personal-life and be her daughter. You don't have to be a part of the drama.

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