Friday 19 January 2018

Ask Brian: I came home to find my dad with another woman - should I tell my mum?

Ask Brian: I came home to find my dad with another woman - should I tell my mum?
Ask Brian: I came home to find my dad with another woman - should I tell my mum?
Brian O'Reilly

Brian O'Reilly

Our no-nonsense agony uncle gets straight to the point of your most pressing issues.

Dear Brian,

I've found myself in a situation recently that I don't know how to deal with.

The other week I had finished work early and was driving past my folks when I decided to call in. I'm terrible at touching base with them so thought it would be a nice surprise.

When I got to the house I let myself in and made my way to the kitchen - I could hear some odd noises but presumed it was the family dog who is old and now has glaucoma.

I opened the kitchen door and made my way to the utility room. There I saw my dad with another woman. They weren't having sex but they were holding one another very tightly and they jumped apart when they caught sight of me.

They were both flushed. She rushed off and dad told me she was an old friend and they were "just hugging because that's what friends do".

It all feels very odd. I don't know if I should tell mum and cause her worry or pretend I never saw it. What do you think?

Thanks,

Anon

Brian replies

Hi Anon,

Sorry to say I don't buy your dad's excuses at all here.

Hugging in the utility room? That sounds like a slightly risqué scene between scullery maids in Downton Abbey.

But it was obviously an intimate moment nonetheless and one you clearly weren't meant to see.

Your dad telling you "that's just what friends do" is, quite frankly, patronising. You know what sort of friends hug intimately? The sort of friends who have sex.

Their behaviour in jumping apart tells you all you need to know - why would they seem startled if everything was innocent?

Who knows, if you'd arrived just a few minutes later you could have intimate images forever burnt in your mind. The sort one would wake up screaming in a cold sweat from.

I think you need to have a deeper discussion with your dad and see what the real story is.

It could be possible he's having an emotional affair with this woman and maybe hugging is the furthest things have gone physically. But that's probably unlikely.

Your mum might already know, or at the very least have an inkling. Many spouses being cheated on already know, and are happy to live without their suspicions confirmed.

I'm guessing that if you have moved out of the family home and are working your parents are probably aged in their 50s at least - maybe they're both happy to see out their days together in this arrangement.

But do talk to your dad and see what he says.

If it becomes apparent during this discussion that your mum doesn't know, ask you dad why he hasn't told her and how he thinks she would feel about it. You obviously love your mother, and if your dad has no intention of telling her, it might be something you'll have to consider.

You'll feel uncomfortable knowing something that could be so devastating for your mum to hear.

Ultimately the news would be better coming from him - on the assumption that there is something untoward going on.

Your next step is to talk to your father and fill in the gaps of what you don't know. Then decide if your mum needs to be told - and who should deliver the news.

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