I Found My Dad On A Dating App & I Haven’t Told My Mom

I never imagined I’d be caught in the middle of my parents’ relationship drama, but after discovering my dad’s profile while scrolling through a dating app, here I am. I was really shocked and I contemplated telling my mom but I couldn’t bring myself to do it and I feel horrible.

I feel like there are boundaries I shouldn’t cross. I don’t want to open up a can of worms, and that’s what I’d be doing if I got in the middle of things. It shouldn’t be a child’s duty to have to announce one parent’s infidelity to the other. Things are bound to slide into chaos from that point and I don’t think I’m ready to take on that responsibility.

I didn’t think it was my place to expose him. For some reason, I think my mom would feel better if she found out that the man she’s been married to for 25 years might be cheating on her from literally anyone but me. It’d feel less like a slap in the face or a judgment, and I think that the confession should come from him. It’s their marriage. He should be the one to tell her that he hasn’t been completely faithful to their vows.

It’s more complicated than it seems. Anything with two eyes passing through our house could see that things with my parents’ marriage are rocky and full of hitches, but somehow they’ve been together for a really long time and maybe there’s a reason. Maybe she gave him the freedom to do certain things or they decided to have an open relationship. There could be a logical explanation for why he’s on a dating app, and I don’t want to be the girl who cried wolf or blew things completely out of proportion by outing him. I’m not privy to the intimate details of their relationship, so there’s a good chance that I’m missing a key point of view that rationally explains what’s going on.

I don’t want to be the person responsible for breaking them up. It’d haunt me forever if I ended up breaking up their marriage, especially if they’re just buying time until they can blame the divorce on anyone but themselves. I want them to do whatever makes them happy and I want to believe that by keeping the secret to myself, I’m protecting and prolonging their happiness even it seems like I’m doing a dirty deed.

My relationship with both of them isn’t really great. Truth be told, I’m not close to either of them. Other than blood, we don’t have anything that ties us together. They don’t know what’s going on with my life and I try to reciprocate by staying out of theirs. The mother-daughter relationship between my mom and I has always been tenuous and I don’t want to add further strain on it. We might as well be strangers to each other, and strangers shouldn’t go around inserting themselves in other people’s businesses.

Talking about stuff is not my family’s strong point. There was never a culture of speaking up, expressing thoughts, or sharing emotions in our home. Growing up, I learned to repress everything and talk about nothing. I’m still finding it hard to break away from that habit. As much as I want to let my mom know what’s happening right under her nose, I don’t know where to begin or how to soften the words I’ll have to say.

I think my mom might resent me if I told her. I can’t shake the feeling that my mom would always hold it against me if I ever told her, not necessarily because she wants to but because I’ll always be connected to whatever happens after. When she thinks about the incident, my face is going to pop up every time and she might end up subconsciously blaming me for ruining her marriage or what was left of it.

I can’t look her in the face and break her heart like that. Despite my many disagreements and persistent refusal to see eye to eye on any subject, I love my mom and I don’t want to see her get hurt. How do you look someone you love in the eye and shatter their reality? How do you intentionally allow yourself to cause them pain even if all you’re doing is informing them of a misdeed? The guilt is always going to eat me up forever until I say something, but it’s nothing compared to the guilt and hurt I’ll feel if I rat him out.

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