How do I tell my parents about his affair?

March 1997

It’s been 2 months since JMF moved out, since the separation.  It’s been a few days since the news and I am still reeling that JMF has been having an affair for a year.  I begin to wonder and worry about how on earth am I going to tell my parents about his affair They are worried sick about me since I called them back in January and they continue to voice their need to see me.  I finally agree to fly to Knoxville and meet them in Pigeon Forge for a long weekend.

Wonder and worry are my friends for sure.  Affairs are not common in my family, non-existent.  How on earth does one talk about affairs with parents?  I speak with my therapist and she assures me that I will know what to do in the moment.  Give me the words for goodness sake!  I’m on my own.  I fly down, rent a car and drive over to meet them.

I walk into the house and before my Mom even hugs me, she puts her hands on my shoulders and squarely looks me in my eyes and says, “How old is she?”  I am shocked but I quickly answer, “I don’t know!”  So where did that come from?  My Mom is real?  She knows about these things?  How can that be?  I ask where Daddy is and she replies that he is out on the patio.

I walk out to the patio and sit down.  How do I tell my Father, my Daddy!?  I sit down and just tell him the story simply and succinctly.  Then I asked him a question.  I don’t know where this question came from but there it was.  “How is it that you never had an affair Daddy?”  He looks at me, smiles and with the softest face and loving eyes he said very slowly, “Sugar, I didn’t need to because I went fishing and hunting.”  And then there was silence!

And that silence was the sweet spot!  There was no judgement.  There were no reprimands.  There were no “he’s a dirty bastard.”  There was just silence, acceptance and the feeling of finding that sweet spot.

January 2017

As I look back on those first few months of separation, I can see sweet spots!  My heart is full of gratitude that both my parents reached out to JMF immediately.  I mean within 48 hours in January, to say that they loved him. Here’s the good news!  I was proud of my parents for that!  I just didn’t know to call it a sweet spot.  My Dad would call that “walking the high road.”

The other sweet spot was that my parents were finally seeing me as an adult.  It only took 46 years.  It didn’t happen when I received my BA or getting married, having children or receiving my M.Ed! It took this event to finally cross that bridge to being an adult with them and wow did it feel good.

Your thoughts?

What are your stories?  Have you ever had to tell your parents something uncomfortable, unpleasant?  When did you become an adult with your parents? Did you find a sweet spot afterwards?  I look forward to reading your stories.

My Mom and Dad.
This is my Mom and Dad, taken at their home, probably around 1998.

2 Replies to “How do I tell my parents about his affair?”

  1. Beautiful picture of you and your parents! My favorite line from this story: “And that silence was the sweet spot! There was no judgement. There were no reprimands.”

    What an interesting question to ponder, “When did I become an adult to my parents?” Moments spark in my memory. Calling home from VT to say that I wouldn’t be home that weekend… for my mom’s birthday. Gulp. (Sweet spot: neither of us died.) My mom asking me if I was in love with Steve and I said “Yes!” I think surprising us both! (Sweet spot: love!) Family meeting about a year after Hannah was born… too raw for publishing, but a frank conversation among adults for sure. (Sweet spot: realizing one of your greatest worries would not really be the worst.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful moment to finally being an adult to your parents! I was once engaged and had a large wedding planned. A month before the wedding I told my parents I wasn’t going to get married. I told my mom first which was easy, not scary. Then I had to tell my daddy. And you know what… he knew! He knew what I was going to tell him. I think that was the moment for me. And it gave me the strength to tell the one that really needed to know I was choosing not to get married!

    Liked by 1 person

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