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My mother is on oxygen and has had many other physical problems in the past few years that have left her unable to care for herself. My dad is 8 years younger, relatively healthy and recently quit working. He has felt overwhelmed caring for her, and I had encouraged him to get what help and support he can. (They live in a major city.) I am an only child and live on the opposite side of the country.
He recently let me know he was going to find someone to have a sexual relationship with, but that is all. He ended up instead signing up for eHarmony and is becoming very involved with another woman. He became very angry with me when I expressed concern that he is going to leave my mother. He said he would never do that, but he is spending more and more time with this other woman. When he goes to see her he leaves my mother alone.
My mother is aware of his girlfriend, but didn't feel like she can tell him no.
My home is completely inaccessible for me to move my mom here, and I cannot leave my family and move back to care for my mom.
I have lost all respect for my dad. He contends that what he is doing is fine because he is open about it. He also expects us all to welcome this other woman in to our family and eventually include her in family activities even while my mom is alive.
I am at a loss as to what I should do. My adult daughter lives about an hour or so away and checks on my mom as much as she can but she has a baby and another one on the way.
I feel as though I am the only one who has ever faced this type of situation. I feel bad for my mom who is feeling sad about the situation, but is trying to accept it. I feel angry that my dad is doing something I would never have imagined him doing, and that he expects all of us to welcome this other woman.

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Jughead I can only feel compassion for you.
You know that what you are doing is wrong in the eyes of most.
But if this is the only thing that makes it possible for you to continue to give your wife the care that she needs and the other woman does not find a way to let your wife know what is happening there is little more I can say.
Your wife will not be with you for much longer albeit from her own self neglect which is very hard to take.
I do not condone what you are doing having been the victim of infidelity and know the pain it can cause but I see why you need this support.
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I've been married for 27 years and out of those 27 years my wife has been ill from diabetes and complications of it. Some things could have very well been avoided, by changing some eating habits and being more responsible. But to make matters worse, as a husband I really had to sacrifice a lot to keep and raise up or 2 sons and 2 daughters, she wasn't trained very well at home and it caused a lot of unbalanced home life. I did most of the cooking, cleaning, disciplines, and pushing morals and values even though with little support from my spouse, so I continued to sacrifice for the betterment of our family. I complained alot but continued my course. My wife has had multiple surgeries for abcests and blood poisoning from diabetes keatoma because of not taking good care of herself, I've missed work, changed careers and the OST goes on from trying to make up for money shortages. I really love her, and have stuck by her thru it all. She had stage 4 colon cancer in 2011, I took 2 months off to support her until, the Lord caused it to go into remission, then I had to bury my mother a month later. I needed a break so I went over the road driving trucks but because she couldn't handle the kids and her continually becoming I'll, and my daughter having a baby unexpectedly, that ended and it was difficult finding work, and the she had stints pp it in for clogged arteries, but because she didn't follow orders on taking blood thinners, within 2 days of the stints being put in she had a heart attack and damage her heart. With 20 percent infraction, she is in last stage of HF, cirrohsiss of liver, Dialysis, left leg amputated, fall stones removed multiple hospital and rehab stays. I eventually broke down from stress and being lonely without any intemacy or companionship, I always said and have been faithful but eventually met an older woman that encourages me to stick with my family because she's had to husband that died and she understands the family unit and putting the Lord first, but I have pursued her as she tried to back up and now we've been in a relationship for over a year now. I never thought this would happen to me, but until your faced with different life challenges, never say never. I still support my wife and I always will, but if it hadn't been for this other woman, I would have not bounce back to support my wife, because I had lost hope because I was overwhelmed and boxed in without the help I needed. I love my wife and our children and grandchildren, but her becoming I'll only compounded the problems that already exited because I have always carried everyone and covered everyone and me my self wasn't being covered. Thanks for yalls comments I m only human and I'm doing the best I can and continuing to work and help my single parent daughter and youngest daughter that lives with me
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OH please jennegibbs. That's ridiculous and a mean thing to say to a hurting daughter that may or may not have heard her mom. It's so open minded but uncaring to the ones affected- the kids and the spouse!
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Sexual surrogates are not uncommon, but there should be some rules.
Don't bring the "friend" into the home. Not even for a sip of water.
Don't bring this person to family gatherings. Ever.
If they show up, show them out.
So explain the rules to the wanderer. Write them down if you have to.
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Whoa. I have not removed my help. The basement was always meant to be a temporary situation until I could find a place to live closer to my mom than I used to live. I am just trying to put that sex incident behind us and do what needs to be done. Maybe I am being judgemental. It's just that the sex thing would never have been something mom would have done before either. I'm praying for compassion.
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So you have no compassion for her because she apparently doesn't realize how sound carries to the lower level? If she'd been a little more careful, you'd be OK with the situation? Hmmm.

You went to their house to help care for Mother's husband who has dementia. But you disapprove of Mother's alleged behavior (which she denies and which you really have no proof of) so all bets are off and your offer of help is removed.

But instead you think you should "advocate" for the person with dementia. Advocate in what situations? What is it that your mother is neglecting to do or is doing that is harmful to her husband? You haven't answered that question yet.

"Loneliness" doesn't begin to cover what a spouse of someone with dementia experiences. And you do not understand it.

You think your mother is horrid. OK. I guess that lets you off the hook for helping her. As for helping her husband, how do you see yourself "advocating" for him.

And what about your views on forgiveness?
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I do give her credit and I understand loneliness. There is such thing as discretion.
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kjs1951 I am so sorry that you are having trouble finding compassion for your mother. If she lied to you it was to protect your feelings. It is what mothers do, after all.

In what ways do you think Mother is neglecting/abusing her husband? For what does he need an "advocate"?

You have not walked in your mother's shoes. I have. I know what it is like to lose your soulmate, to have your equal partner turn into a dependent, to become a caregiver instead of a wife. I chose to be celibate, but I do not stand in judgement of others who make other choices.

Possibly what you heard was your mother relieving her own sexual needs, without a partner at all. Or the sounds you heard had another explanation.

Do you basic values include forgiveness? Or just being judgmental?

Your mother is apparently continuing to take care of her husband who has dementia. This is an enormous effort and commitment. Are you giving her any credit for that?
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My mom's husband had Alzheimer's. I recently stayed at their home in the basement. I can hear everything while down there. Every footstep, door, water running etc. one night after he was in bed and I was downstairs I swear I heard the door, voices, the bed squeaking from sex sounds, and then later the back door close. I think my mom had sex with someone, while her sick husband was sleeping down the hall and I was in the basement. I spent the rest of the night crying downstairs. So I really don't think it was my imagination and if it was, what does that say about what I think of my mom? I asked her about it. She denied it and said she wouldn't lie to me. But I don't believe her. I moved out as soon as I could and while I went there to help her be the caretaker, I now feel like her husband needs an advocate. I have thought and thought about this and can understand how lonely mom is, but I just think if she really did that she's horrible. I am having trouble feeling compassion for her.
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Even though the original post was from 2012, for future reference I wonder how many husbands who are having affairs because their wives are ill, if the shoe was on the other foot, how would they feel if the wife was the one having an affair?
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I just deleted my answer based on original poster's further information.

Poster, there are strange dynamics going on in their relationship. When you visit, if you think mom is safe...if she doesn't want to leave dad...if she's relatively happy with the way things are? Leave it alone. You are not in a position to do anything except upset the applecart. Leave the applecart alone.

Re dad and this other woman. I think what I would do is express my understanding of how difficult his life has been with your mom for years and years...and can almost understand his need for companionship and someone he can share a normal life with. BUT!! You will not be his confidante. You will not meet this woman and he is not welcome to bring her into your life. My thought is that it is VERY unfair to mom...and VERY unfair to the other woman. I would want no part of it as long as my mom were in his care. The very fact that he has shared that information with his wife and daughter tells me he is. OT thinking clearly.

Personally, I feel his pain. Forty years of "almost dying" is beyond the pale. That he still believes she is his soul mate says a great deal about who he is. What a way to live.
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I d like to know how are you right now. Hope you are ok.
I m living a similar situation. My mom has dementia. My dad has a mistress and want us -children- to accept her as part of the family.
I understand your feelings. Hope everything turned out well.
Hugs.
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I haven't clearly read all the responses, so forgive me if I am repeating what someone has said. This must be so painful for everyone involved (except your dad). But here's a thought: maybe he needs to be protected too. Imagine the low caliber of person this other woman is to fool around with the husband of a terminally ill woman, she must not have any morality, humanity or good character. That being said, he did seek a person like this, but....what is she after? I would be protecting my family's finances from her and keep a close eye on my mother's physical well being. Your mom could be the obstacle in this woman's plans with your dad. Then your dad could be the obstacle between her and his life insurance later. Be cautious, it takes a special kind of scum to behave this way.
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To answer one of the above answers - if the dad would have been more descreet would he have been nicer. NO absolutely not. My father is having an affair and my mother is in a nursing home unable to care for herself. They were married 55 years - but when she moved into this home and he knew she wasn't coming back he got very lonely. I understand that - but what I don't understand is that when he found someone my mother became an inconvenience - he's mean to her - ridicules her when she can't lift her head and laughs, throws her around on the bed when he puts her to bed. I want proof before I confront him but there is no excuse to be mean to any elderly person who cannot take up for themselves. I am so sorry your having to deal with your mothers situation from a distance. I am here and itis very hard. I don't know what i would do if I where farther away - however maybe I wouldn't see the meanness and I wouldn't be getting so angry. Your not alone in your hurt and anguish over your mothers illness and your father's betrayal - believe me. I am praying for my parents daily. I am also with the other responder who said what kind of woman gets with a man with a sick wife. But what if mistress got sick? Would he not do the same thing to her? However, being in a nursing home is a lonely place too. I'm sorry and I'm not sure if I can help at the moment but I will be praying for you to have peace with all of it as well as for your father and mistress to have an awakening.
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If your mother needs more help than your parents can afford, it is time to look into what assistance might be available. Many states have program designed to keep elders in the community instead of the more expensive facilities. Help them look into this. You can do a lot of the groundwork by internet and telephone.

Yes, why didn't your dad get support years ago, more help, join a caregivers group, etc. etc. Maybe the answer is just that he is a jerk. But he is your father and your mother's husband, and you have to factor that into any decisions you make.

I'll also remind you that huge numbers of people get divorced every day, and more than that have issues with infidelity. Most of these situations do not involve one person being the caregiver for another. In other words, marriages fail or teeter on the brink all the time. It is always sad, and it is almost always hard on the adult children. Perhaps if you mother were perfectly well, your dad would still be behaving like a jerk now. Who knows? I'm just pointing out that you are in a crowded company right now of adult children of parents whose marriages are in trouble. You are far from alone!

I don't think children can "fix" their parents' marriage. In this case you can look after the special needs your mother has because of her illnesses.

Best of luck to you as you struggle with this.
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I thank you all for your answers. I am doing all I can to help my mom. I don't think she would leave my dad even with this happening.
My problem is not just that his behavior does not match my values - it does not seem to match what he has always said he believed. He also has told me that my problem is that I am just grieving my mother. I have been dealing with my mother almost dying of various things for about 40 years now. (She does not seem any closer now than ever before.) Shortly after he started seeing this woman we talked and he assured me that my mom is his soulmate and he won't leave her. He said then he only wanted to go out once a week but he is now seeing the other woman much more than that.
I have understood he needed help in dealing with everything and had been trying to get him to get support and additional help for years.
Mom has a few people to talk to and I call almost every day. Her minister comes to check as do friends. Mom has fallen a few times, but can be left for a few hours at a time if needed. She has hated the few times she was in assisted living type environments. They have looked into help for her and have gotten it intermittently but their budget does not allow for much (and I can't help at this point in time.)
Mom has a DNR and her doctors are very clear on what is acceptable.
I have not been angry with my dad when we talk. I understand his loneliness but do not understand why he was not willing to find friends or support all of these years instead of finding another woman.
I would also be more understanding if my mom had dementia or something that was keeping her from being a companion, but she is lucid and is lonely herself. I am scheduling a trip down to check on mom soon.
Thank you for the supportive words and suggestions, Jeanne. I appreciate the others who answered and let me know that my anger was not completely off. I do think I cannot operate from that place while dealing with the situation.
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First, my heart really goes out to you. You are in a very, very painful situation.

Your dad may feel less guilty and more justified because he is open about his behavior, but I can't help wonder if it would have been kinder to his family to be more discreet.

Having cared for my husband, disabled by dementia, for more than 8 years, I know first hand that being married to someone who can no longer be an equal partner is extremely stressful and sad and lonely. You dad thought he missed the sex but it appears he discovered that what he really missed is the companionship, the interactions, the intimate emotional relationships as well. I can fully understand why you have lost respect for your dad. His behavior does not match your values. Often it is parents who face this challenge when their children grow up and adopt different values than their parents. "After how you were raised, how can you vote for that party ... not go to church ... live with someone without being married ... etc." The shoe is on the other foot in your situation.

You ask what you can do. I have two suggestions:
1. Get some professional counselling yourself. I'm not thinking years of psychotherapy -- just a few sessions with an objective outsider you can pour out your feelings to, and come to some decisions about your own boundaries and your own behavior toward your parents. I say this not because there is something wrong with you and you need to be "fixed" -- just that you deserve some help in dealing with this situation that you never imagined you'd ever be in.

2. Focus on making sure that your mother has the care that she needs. She is bed bound. How much can she safely be left alone? Is she being neglected in other ways (perhaps inadvertently)? Who does she have to talk to about her sad feelings? Counselling might be a good option for her, too. Your dad was overwhelmed caring for her alone. (Very common.) Even without the affair in the picture, additional in-home care is essential. Perhaps now it also makes sense to explore other options. Would your mother be happier in a new setting?

I know that you cannot move back across the country. But perhaps an extended visit would be appropriate, for you to make sure good arrangements are in place for Mother's care. Does she have a case worker? If so, set up meetings with that person. If not, look into getting an outsider involved. Start by contacting the state's department on aging (or whatever it is called there) -- you can find a lot of information on the internet.

Some of the changes for your mother's care may impinge on the household income. Extra care will have to be paid for. This may or may not be willingly accepted by your father. Be aware that that might be an issue, but cross that bridge if/when you get to it.

Maybe this is also a good time to discuss Power of Attorney and Medical Proxy, to plan ahead for when Mother cannot make decisions for herself. Is she comfortable with your dad playing those roles?

Again, hugs to you in this painful situation. You are certainly not alone.

Try not to go about these steps with anger toward your dad and in a spirit of blame. Focus on doing what is best for your mother, without regard to whose "fault" it is.
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I agree with nahaton. Seek the advise of an attorney. Is your dad and his mistress just waiting for her to die? Maybe the mistress would think twice is she knows he will loose lots of $$ to support his sick exwife and take half of what he has.
Also, your Dad is a selfish dog. And a woman who would take up with a man with a sick wife is no better...I'm sorry for you mom and family.
Again...no not accept her. Don't make this easy on them. I would not speak to him either, but help your mom who is helpless right now. Will she get any better or is she terminal?
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In our family, what is wrong is wrong and what is right is right. My sister once told me that she knew if she went out and had an affair, the family would rally around my brother-in-law and NOT her. That doesn't mean I wouldn't still love my sister, but what she did would be wrong period. Now there are many people that will stand behind their family member NO matter what they've done, but I disagree. If the shoe was on the other foot and it was your dad that was bed ridden, I wonder if he'd appreciate your mother flaunting an affair in his face? Probably not. I don't think truth is relative (no pun intended) there is black and white and what your dad is doing is wrong. Do not accept this new woman into the family while your mom is alive. In fact if it were me I think I'd be getting an attorney for your mom to divorce his sorry behind. Then she can get spousal support and live somewhere that she doesn't have to look at his smug face everyday. Nuts to this stuff. And any woman who'd have an affair with a man who's wife is bed ridden ought to be ashamed of herself too.
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