I haven’t posted why I’m on SI, so I thought it time.
A couple of years after my father passed away at a ripe old age, my sister and I were in my car along with our mom. If I remember correctly, the topic of discussion turned towards mortality and getting closer to death.
At that point our mom blurted out, "I had an affair for half of my married life to dad." Mind you, our parents were married for 60 years at the time of my fathers death. Although they argued a bit, it appeared that they had a solid marriage.
My response was immediate - what, how could you? My mom was giddy in answering. Your dad didn’t really like sex and I did. My A was with a French man who lived in the neighborhood but was unknown to your dad, or anyone else for that matter. Just me.
She went on - you know your Dad had an affair of his own. He would speak to our mutual friend _______ on the phone almost every day in the house right in front of me (well prior to cell phones). I told him that I thought it was inappropriate, but he continued. He may even have had sex with her, but I can’t confirm that. Her husband knew of all of these calls but didn’t care a bit.
As I expressed my disbelief to my mom, as my sister sat next to me in the car dumbfounded, my mom said she could tell us a lot more stuff if we wanted to know. I said absolutely not. I asked why are you telling us this now? My mom replied that she thought we would want to know, as she probably had only a few years left. I said I absolutely did not want to know any more, and it was left at that.
My sister later told me that she found some very old condoms in one of the suitcases my father used for his work travel (he travelled a lot for work). She thought little of it at the time, but in light of our mom’s unsolicited confession she wondered what kind of relationship our parents actually had.
This entire episode completely changed how I looked at my mom moving forward. I knew absolutely nothing about the subject infidelity, so I dove right in, first reading Esther Perel’s books and listening to her podcasts - I suppose we need to thank her at a minimum for being an entry point for many uninitiated into the world of infidelity. From there, I read papers, studies, read on Reditt snd the plethora of other infidelity websites, until I landed on SI.
Although I wasn’t directly touched by infidelity, I nevertheless feel that I was cheated on - my mother cheated on me snd my family. And, to make things worse, in the brief discussion in the car, there was not a hint of remorse or guilt, just blame shifting and entitlement. She was giddy about her cheating.
The entire episode caused me to reflect on my mother as a person. She was a SAHM. She was a good mom by all measures. But I also realized that my mom is a narcissistic, and has been her entire life. This fact totally helps put her cheating, and how she felt about it, in perspective.
So I read on Si snd elsewhere to help try to make sense of the trauma I have endured due to my mom’s infidelity. After having done all of this research, I truly believe that I have experienced trauma from this.
As for my sister, I don’t think she gives any of this a second thought. She shares some personality traits with my mom. This experience has so moved me, that I avoid talking to and seeing my mom as much as humanly possible.
Fortunately, my wife of 33 years (we’re both 56) recognizes this and has taken the reigns. She calls my mom once a week and arranges get togethers with both my mom and hers (both moms are literally ten minutes walk from where we live).
I’m blessed in that we have a marriage most are envious of. Our love and passion for each other has grown each year over the past 33 years, and for that I am extremely grateful. However, a great M takes a lot of work, and I put in the work. I do research about this work, and put it into practice. My wife recognizes this, and jokes that I research everything, which is true.
My wife also feels that she owes this to me - reaching out to my mom. Her father passed away from Alzheimer’s almost 8 years ago. She did not like her dad. I didn’t like him so much either. In his condition, he needed someone to take care of him in a 360 kind of way. I took that on, from hiring the home health care company, liaising with the aides, paying his bills, dealing with Medicare, buying his food, taking care of his estate, visiting with him in his home many times without my wife being present to keep him company and meet with the aides in person, etc.
I looked at this like my job. I was emotionally detached from my father in law, so I was able to dispassionately care for him, not only as a human being, but also as an an act of service to my wife. This is her love language, while mine is physical touch. We both pay attention to our love languages, and actively do these things as part of the work to make for a happy marriage. Despite not liking my father in law, I took on this role for six years, despite having a busy full time job, a child, and a social calendar. And now, my wife is paying that forward with my mom.
I don’t feel that I like my mom anymore due to infidelity. It’s sad. She complains that I don’t call her enough, but does express her appreciation for my wife’s outreach. I guarantee that my mom has no clue that her cheating and disclosure of same has irrevocably changed our relationship forever.
This is my infidelity story.
11 comments posted: Sunday, June 4th, 2023