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You Asked: My Dad Had an Affair While My Mom Was in the Hospital

Dear Sugar,


A year ago, when my mother was diagnosed with cancer, she told me that she suspected my father had been cheating on her for some time, and a few months ago, my mother passed away. My brother still lives at home with my dad and was angry when he found evidence of my dad's affair. I was pregnant with my first child and decided to try and clear the air. I had my dad over for dinner and confronted him about the affair and, of course, he denied it.

Just yesterday, he showed up at my house with a hickey on his neck. He tried covering it up and I didn't say anything. My brother found out the girlfriend's name and that she's about 2 years older than me, 35, and my father is 60. My brother suspects they've been seeing each other for over a year.

I can't bear the thought that he was so disrespectful to my mother while she was dying in the hospital, and I can't believe that he continues to look me in the face and lie about it. I wouldn't mind if he decided he was ready to date, I certainly don't expect him to be alone forever, but maybe in a year or so after the dust has settled.

I'm concerned about the relationship he'll have with my new daughter because I have lost respect for him. He'll be retiring soon, and I imagine that she'll be moving into my family home and taking vacations with my father's sizable pension. Of course it's his business, but it makes me sick. Do I confront him again and see if he can be truthful? Do I forget about it, or
just tell him no matter how much he denies it, I know the truth and I've lost respect for him?

—In Disbelief Debbie

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Dear In Disbelief Debbie,

First of all, I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. I can't imagine how you must feel losing her to cancer and then having to deal with your father's unspeakable actions. Not only did he cheat on your mother and disrespect her and their relationship, but he did it while she was sick and in need. I don't blame you for having lost respect for him, especially when he continues to hide the secret you already know.

That being said, you've got to decide what kind of relationship you want to have with your father, if any. If you do want him to be a part of your life and to be a grandfather to your daughter, then you're going to have to find a way to either forgive, or forget about, what he's done. If you can't seem to shake the fact that he lied, then yes, I would confront him again (maybe with your brother for emotional support).

I know that you probably had a wonderful image in your mind of how your family life would be so I'm sorry that you're let down. Sometimes time is a great healer, but if you can't put his actions behind you, then you may decide that your father doesn't deserve to have a relationship with you or your daughter. If that's the case, I'd focus on the loving family you and your daughter do have. Good luck.

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