Sometimes, You Just Need to Get the Crime Scene Tape Ready.

Dear Lisa,

Do we speak up or keep quiet while hoping people come to their senses?  My husband and I have been happily married for 18 months.  We both have large families so there are usually at least two gatherings every month just to share a meal, laugh, and talk.  Everyone gets along well and in a way that's the problem.

I have discovered that my mother is seeing my father-in-law.  They both have spouses who are alive and well!  To all appearances, both marriages are happy and intact so I don't know what this is all about.  I confronted my mother about it and she says she doesn't know what to do and she never dreamed this could happen to her.  I might add that she's extremely attractive and young-looking but so is my dad and he isn't cheating on her.  My father-in-law is a decent man and when my husband spoke to him, he said all this was like a bolt out of the blue and that he had never cheated on his wife before.

We appear to be the only two who know and it's a potential problem for us too.  You know, it's easy for either of us to say/think the other's parent is to blame for starting it all, etc.  It's only a matter of time before they get caught because we all live in a town that isn't huge and people know them.

Do we close our eyes to it?  Demand they stop?  Demand they confess?



Dear Shannon,

Sounds like you have a potential family feud brewing.  It’s no easy task to see our loved ones embroiled in bad situations.  But you have to remember: it’s their life, and their decisions to make.  It’s tempting to threaten to disown them or phone the producers of “Intervention”.  But this is their screw-up to make.  You can’t single-handedly reverse the cogs of love.

But what you can do, is to distance yourself from it.  You can tell your respective parents that you want nothing to do with their secret relationship.  You don’t want to hear about it, and you certainly don’t want to see it.  I wouldn’t say that you should close your eyes to it, but you shouldn’t give it any attention.  I realize this is difficult, but your options are slim.

Maybe the relationship will peter out.  Maybe they’ll get divorced and run away together.  Chances are that something will have to give at some point – but for the two to endure a family dinner every two weeks will be torture.

You have to remember that this is not about you.  If your whole town finds out, that reflects poorly on your parents – not you.  Their relationship is not within your control.  I’m afraid you’re going to just have to bear it – though I won’t make you grin when you bear it.

To me, the real question is whether or not to tell your father.  I think he has a right to know, but it’s not really your place to tell him.  This will really depend on your relationship.  It is probably best to just stay out of his marriage altogether.

This won’t be easy, but it will resolve itself in time.  Here’s hoping it gets settled sooner rather than later.

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