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Daughter Infidelity Advice

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annanew ( member #43693) posted at 6:52 PM on Thursday, November 18th, 2021

This is an infidelity board, but I'm going to give you parenting advice.

As charged as this issue may be for you, you need to neutralize it a bit. Is your love for your daughter dependent on her being faithful to her husband?

What if she were stealing money from her job... would you stop loving her? Or would you think "wow, something's not right in her head, she needs to get back on the right path, and she may need help".

She is not behaving ethically right now. You can tell her what you think of her actions, but it's equally important to tell her you still love her. ("love" NOT "support") Point out the potential consequences to her, and let her experience the consequences. Like you did when she was younger, perhaps.

Imagine in ten years that she has grown and is a different person. She will still remember what you said to her when she cheated on her husband. What is it that you want her to remember?

It's ok to show her your anger. But you also need to reiterate your love.

She's not going to snap out of it immediately, it might take her many years to see what she's done. Do you want to live in opposition to her until then?

To some extent, her personal life is "none of your business" and that is a GIFT if you can accept it. You can distance yourself from it. It's not your mess to fix.

I have a brother who has cheated on girlfriends. He knows what I think about it. And yet, he's my brother and my daughter adores her uncle and I would really miss him if I rejected him over that.

People can be good in some ways and bad in others. I presume you are not a "single issue parent". You don't need to reject your daughter over one issue.

So where do you draw the line? For me, it's physical danger and abuse. I think I would let my daughter know that if she's endangering her husband's life with unprotected sex, or by getting involved with someone unpredictable, or if she's exposing her daughter to anything sketchy.... that deserves a verbal smackdown.

A verbal smackdown, delivered with love.

Single mom to a sweet girl.

posts: 2448   ·   registered: Jun. 11th, 2014   ·   location: California
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WontBeFooledAgai ( member #72671) posted at 7:13 PM on Thursday, November 18th, 2021

Meanwhile, YES, as said earlier, please point your SIL to this site. The affair is NOT his fault, but ironically the betrayed spouses that were able to get their wayward spouses to 'snap out of it' were those who put their foot down. What he is doing--waiting for her to snap out of it, trying to "nice" her back, does not work.

[This message edited by WontBeFooledAgai at 7:20 PM, Thursday, November 18th]

posts: 333   ·   registered: Jan. 26th, 2020
id 8699106
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 lmanuel (original poster new member #79599) posted at 7:26 PM on Thursday, November 18th, 2021

I have messaged my daughter that I love her a few times since I found out and she says so she loves me too. I don’t want to abandon her either but I am disappointed and she hasn’t expressed any remorse. This is not the daughter and best friend I know. I feel like I don’t know her anymore. I know that is the pain talking but she isn’t making the effort on her end. I pray every day that she comes to her senses.

posts: 10   ·   registered: Nov. 16th, 2021
id 8699109
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ShutterHappy ( member #64318) posted at 7:55 PM on Thursday, November 18th, 2021

You can’t control what your daughter does, she’s a grown woman who makes her choices and will need to assume the consequences at some point.

What about her daughter? It can’t be good for her to live in a family with a remorseless mother and a father in limbo. Redirect the husband here and he will get help to get out of infidelity which will benefit your granddaughter at the same time.

Me: BH
Divorced, remarried.
I plan on living forever. So far so good

posts: 1477   ·   registered: Jun. 30th, 2018   ·   location: In my house
id 8699113
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Bigger ( Guide #8354) posted at 3:13 PM on Friday, November 19th, 2021

I can’t offer any other advice than what I would be offering your son in law.
Well... except for this: Maybe he would be well served if you pointed him to this site. To-date there isn’t anything you have shared that can in any way harm him or your daughter or their future paths – be it divorce or reconciliation. If you do this then be prepared for the inevitable posters that will call your daughter every conceivable foul term imaginable, and just focus on the already mentioned phrase: love the sinner and hate the sin. Some posters tend to have a hard time defining between the two.

You can support your daughter and guide as much as she allows without approving or supporting her decisions that are wrong – be it clearly wrong or wrong from your POV.
Keep in mind that a correct decision might not be one you agree with. Like she can decide to divorce her husband and that is one of the two possible "correct" decisions when dealing with infidelity, even if YOU think she should work on the marriage.

If I were in your shoes, I would encourage your son in law to have the following conversation with your daughter – HIS wife. It’s more of a dialogue but here goes:

"Wife. I love you and have always envisioned a life with you. I know we can improve and grow, and I would be willing to do that with you. However, I have realized one major thing - A key factor: I do not want to share you. I do NOT share my wife any more than I would expect you to accept me sharing my love and fidelity with someone else. I do not condone infidelity.

While you are choosing to be in infidelity, I am at best sharing you. I have already lost you and of two evils accepting that I have lost you is better than sharing you.

I therefore absolve you of any moral and ethical expectation there might be between me and you as husband and wife. You are free to be with OM, date OM, stay over with OM or whatever. But not as my wife.
I ask as a sign of decency and respect that you keep OM away from the home and are discreet about him around me, but that is totally up to you.

There is a process in place for how marriages are legally terminated. That process is fair, and I have all intentions on following that process as best advised by legal counsel. There is no rush – I’m not trying to get this over with ASAP, but I will start preparing and following through with the formal conclusion of our marriage.
It’s inevitable that there is pain, and I’m not really going to try to be your friend. But we can be good coparents and eventually have an amicable relationship.

If this isn’t what you want, then you have some time and space to let me know. But it must be very clear. If you tell me, you want this marriage and are willing to commit to accountable NC with OM then we could start the process of reconciling, but until and unless I get that clear message, I’m just assuming you have committed to infidelity. I’m not forcing you to do anything. It’s totally up to you, but I do know what I am going to do."

And then he walks away. Makes a sandwich or does some laundry. If his wife comes along and starts
"I cheated because you don’t talk to me" or "You never take me out" or "we are always broke" or "you have bad breath" or whatever good reason she has for her decision… his standard reply to (nearly) everything is:
"I am sorry you feel that way. If we were working on saving our marriage, then this is something we need to address. However, since you are committed to your affair there isn’t any gain for either of us to go down that path."

She asks him who get’s the house and who gets the Ford:
"I am too attached to this marriage to sensibly talk about the process of divorce. I will seek legal guidance and follow that advice. Want a sandwich?"

She offers him intimacy:
"aren’t you cheating on your boyfriend? I thought I made it clear I don’t condone or participate in infidelity."

She asks to do family activities:
"I don’t think it’s sensible to behave and act like a family when the reality is we are divorcing"

Basically, he detaches from confrontation. He simply accepts the facts as they are. Within a reasonable time if she doesn’t commit to R, he contacts an attorney and/or research how divorce is best attained.
I know this sounds harsh and tough but if you think it through logically: No matter what amount of pressure or screaming is applied if your daughter/his wife want’s out she will get out. This is a key-factor: your daughter can not be forced to remain in this marriage. What the above actions do is clarify what SHE wants based on what she’s offered. Your SIL is refusing the situation where his wife can have an affair and be unhappily married at the same time. He’s offering her the options of trying to create a happy marriage by forfeiting the affair OR the freedom to do whatever she wants short of remaining married.

I would also suggest that within a day or two of this monologue he stops hiding the infidelity. If friends, ask them over for dinner he should be clear: "Would you prefer I or WW come? We are in a tough place right now due to her decision to remain in an affair with (place OM name here) ".
When he exposes he does so as a request for help: "My wife is having an affair with OM. As you can imagine this creates an unsustainable strain on our marriage that can only end with her terminating the affair or us divorcing. I would appreciate if you could impact her to do the right thing because neither of us really deserve to be where we are."
Some will argue that exposure might make reconciliation harder, but IMHO harder is not impossible. What makes reconciliation impossible is infidelity. Exposure is the best tool to kill infidelity.


I know the above sounds tough, and, in all truth, it’s totally intended to create the conditions most likely to lead to reconciliation. It forces your daughter’s hand, while allowing your SIL a path out of infidelity. He can control his pace and it can prevent the arguments that the WS so desperately needs to justify the ongoing affair. It creates all the pressure infidelity, and its consequences should create on the WS to decide to do right. Unfortunately for your SIL that "right" can be to decide to end the marriage. If that’s the case, then IMHO maybe there wasn’t much he could have done anyways.

"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus

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id 8699266
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 lmanuel (original poster new member #79599) posted at 11:29 PM on Friday, November 19th, 2021

SIL is being distant to my affair daughter. Says he can’t stand looking at her. His focus is his daughter, my granddaughter which I’m grateful for. I’m still struggling with what my daughter did. She texts me pictures of my granddaughter but doesn’t ask about me but I don’t ask about her either. Everything is about my granddaughter. I hope my sadness lessens by Christmas so we can have a semi normal holiday. I’m struggling with forgiveness but she also hasn’t expressed any remorse or guilt about how this has affected the entire family. I know I will have to forgive so my daughter and I can maintain some sort of relationship but it will be different which hurts my heart.

posts: 10   ·   registered: Nov. 16th, 2021
id 8699389
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Felix12306 ( member #78827) posted at 7:42 AM on Saturday, November 20th, 2021

You have been given great advice. I wanted to ask, has she ended the affair or is it still going on?

BS Together for 15 years, married for 11. Dd 1/28/21 after a 44-day affair, only last week of affair was physical but didn't find that out until 6/18/21.

posts: 158   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2021
id 8699433
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Buffer ( member #71664) posted at 10:27 AM on Saturday, November 20th, 2021

As above ^^^
One day at a time.

Buffer

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 lmanuel (original poster new member #79599) posted at 12:25 PM on Saturday, November 20th, 2021

Again thank you for the great advice. I have shared the information with my SIL. He is implementing many of the 180 measures so I hope this helps with reconciliation. I know my daughter is in a "fog" right now and I can’t support her right now. It’s a sad situation. I’m sorry for dragging this thread on but I have a question. How did your immediate and extended family members of WS and BS handle the betrayal?
Thanks again for your support and advice.

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id 8699442
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jb3199 ( member #27673) posted at 3:53 PM on Saturday, November 20th, 2021

How did your immediate and extended family members of WS and BS handle the betrayal?

What you are going to find, most likely, is that this answer varies greatly from member to member. The old adage that 'blood is thicker than water' often comes into play, but so much of that has to do with the circumstances leading up, during, and after the discovery.

In my situation, I personally did not tell ANYONE initially. I am sure that it was shame/pride at the time. After further discoveries, when I was now on to the path of divorce, I divulged to both families why I was pursuing this path. My siblings(parents were deceased) were supportive, as I thought they would be, but I was also pleased with the way they handled my WW. She wasn't outcast, but obviously disappointed in her poor choices, and for hurting their brother. As for her side of the family, it almost went the same exact way. Her parents were also deceased, but her grandmother(who was a mother figure to her) always treated me like a son.....and, like you, was very upset for both me, my children, and her granddaughter's poor choices.

What would have happened if the divorce went through? I'll never know. But I was relieved that morality and fairness ruled over blood lineage.

But there have been hundreds(thousands?) of stories where there is a ton of buildup prior to discovery of an affair. Just imagine if you were constantly fed, by your daughter, how horrible a husband your SIL was. How he would emotionally abuse her on regular occasion, and her marriage is loveless. If you didn't see your SIL regularly, and didn't really know his character, who would you believe.....a SIL that you rarely see, or your own daughter? Waywards are very, VERY good at convincing themselves of some unbelievable stories, and they will press their narrative to anyone who will listen. Which is why she isn't reaching out to you---because she can't spin her story.

BH-50s
WW-50s
2 boys
Married 28yrs.(together over 30yrs.)

All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary Puckett
D-Day(s): Enough
Accepting that I can/may end this marriage 7/2/14

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Freedomfighter ( new member #79609) posted at 7:12 PM on Saturday, November 20th, 2021

How did your immediate and extended family members of WS and BS handle the betrayal?

I agree 100% with 1st paragraph of jb3199's post.


For me, I was BH @25. The day after d-day I sat down with each of the parents in person seperately to let them know what was happening and why the M would be ending without me fighting for it. My entire family rallied behind me. Her parents offered me support (more details below, asked me what I wanted/needed). An extended family member of WW left me a vmail to call if I could use someone to talk to, and I got a letter of well wishing from another months later. Of course, not everyone on WW side was supportive of me, but that is expected. I very much appreciated the gesture of those who were kind to me. None of this meant her family said they would cut her out or treat her badly.

In a closing discussion, I told WW that her new friends won't be there in 5 years, but her family will. I hope she listened, released her inner demons, and got the help she needed.

Generally, her family was/is great, and that helped me tremendously. I essentially told WW family I needed to close the chapter and move on with cutting all ties. No hard feelings left on them. I knew they needed to be there for her, and I knew it'd be hard on all of us if I was still in contact. I couldn't do anything to help WW even if I wanted to, she left me for AP and wanted D. I also had to look out for myself, she was emotionally abusive.

Her dad held the mortgage on our house and another home he helped us buy to renovate to rent, so I simply signed both over to him. My goal was getting to NC ASAP, and equity was in essence nothing anyway. I spent nearly 2 years renovating both houses on nights/weekends so I asked for 1 year living in one (while finishing up the work) without having to pay rent. Ironic to be improving a house that will presumably be the WS inheritance some day. I was essentially broke and needed to save money for a new place. I believe he would have been happy if I said I wanted to keep the houses, but he immediately agreed to what I asked for. I was gone 11 months from d-day, and I completed the work like I promised. NC started, although I did see her parents one time in town since. We talked briefly, and wished each other well.

I was young, no kids, and it was a short M so I was able to have a clean break and move on. Many others are not nearly so "fortunate" in this club.

Being kind almost always is best IMHO. Firm but kind. So is distance, but a child makes that so much harder...I would want to have a way to minimize contact if it were me as the BH in your case, and have as much time with my child as humanly possible.

I hope my story is helpful in some way even though I have no clue how things fared after WW was gone. The kindness I was shown by WW family was a blessing to me.

While I couldn't support a WS actions even being my own child, I don't see myself disowning my kid. I would likely offer early support to the BS, but encourage a period of maximum distance, indefinite if D is the eventual end. It is tough to see straight unless you step back and let go of wanting to control the outcome. No doubt it would be incredibly tough to be in the WS family, but family is family.

I wish you and your family the best in a very hard season. Nobody should have to endure such a personal betrayal including the families.

Happily remarried with 3 awesome kids

posts: 2   ·   registered: Nov. 19th, 2021
id 8699471
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ChamomileTea ( member #53574) posted at 2:39 AM on Sunday, November 21st, 2021

How did your immediate and extended family members of WS and BS handle the betrayal?

I only told my siblings and a few close friends, no parents on either side. I had my fWH talk to one of his brothers and his best friend, but that was it. My in-laws were up in their 80's and just didn't need the stress. They were already dealing with ailing health and cancer. My father was already gone, but my mother was an histrionic personality and honestly... I just didn't feel like I could deal with listening to her opinion every day. And that's what I should probably point out to you now though, because it came between us and she died with it unresolved. Even as things stood, I felt like the few people who knew were either judging me or living vicariously through my drama. It wasn't true of course. Not one person I shared with would ever do that. But at the time, I felt crazed, so hurt and so miserable that my reason just failed me. My belief that my situation had become some kind of morbid entertainment to my loved ones was crazy, but it felt real.

I never did talk to my mother about my fWH's cheating, but I was irrationally angry with her about it because underneath it all, I felt like she had abandoned me when I needed her most. And me.. in my 50's! We had had a rocky relationship in my childhood and even worse in my teen years. I do not say she was "histrionic" unfairly. But by the time I was an adult, I could factor in the poverty and abuse she suffered as a child and how it had stunted her emotional growth. My mother was a difficult woman, and one without a filter. She was also the bravest woman I ever met. We were close after I grew up and left home, talking on the phone almost every day. So, this really changed our relationship. I didn't want to talk anymore. I could only tolerate the phone for maybe ten to twenty minutes at at time, and I found it excruciating to be asked for small talk. I had no interest in everyday things. My world was in flames. And then there was that irrational resentment just bubbling under the surface. She couldn't understand where I had gone or why I had changed toward her, and I couldn't/wouldn't explain it. By the time I realized my error, she was gone.

At the bottom line, I'm not sure what to tell you. I think there's a reason why blood ends up being thicker than water when it comes to infidelity. In hindsight, there's nothing I could have ever told my mother that would have stopped her from loving and defending me. She was one of those ones who would help you hide the body if it ever came to it, right? Not easy to deal with and not always right, but fierce in her devotion.

You're in a tough spot because your daughter is clearly in the wrong. But she's your daughter, and when I look at mine, I can't imagine a day when I won't have her back, even if I have to stand up to her while I'm doing it.

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