Dear Annie: I am in my early 20s and attending college. I recently found out that my mother had been having an off-and-on affair with a married man for years. Ever since, I have not been the same. I am angry, hurt, humiliated and confused.
My friends at school tell me that Mom is still the same person. She has always been a good mother to my sisters and me, but after hearing this news, I am devastated. I feel like I don’t know her anymore. Part of her essence included her morals and ethics. She was a good role model. I am ashamed to think she was not only having sex with a married man all over town, but was cheating on my dad.
My parents live in a small city, and when the wife of this man found out, she told half the town. Why didn’t my mother consider how we would feel when this affair came to light? She was selfish, not caring that she was hurting her family. I love my mother, but I am so disappointed in her. I no longer see her the way I once did, nor can I talk to her the same way. What do I do? — Lost and Confused Daughter
Dear Lost:It is perfectly understandable that your impression of your mother has changed, but that doesn’t mean your relationship is over. It means you have to accept that she is fallible, while understanding that she still has many decent qualities. We are certain she loves you. You do not have to approve of what she has done, but try to forgive her for her faulty judgment and selfish behavior so you can develop a new relationship.
It will be different, but in time it can be good again.
Dear Annie: My husband met “Leslee” when she was a summer intern at his office. She is 20 years younger than he is. They developed a friendship during that time that has continued. They now average 100 text messages a day between them and several phone calls throughout the week.
They see nothing wrong with this level of communication and insist they are just friends.
I say this much daily contact means it has gone way beyond friendship.
Leslee is married, and her husband is aware that she calls and texts my husband, although I don’t think he knows how often. What do you think? – Alicia
Dear Alicia: Are you free to look at these text messages and listen in on the phone conversations? If your husband is hiding these things from you or tries to exclude you from the relationship, it is a betrayal of the marriage and he should stop. However, it’s possible your husband considers himself Leslee’s mentor and nothing more, and would have no problem if you were part of the friendship. We recommend you invite Leslee and her husband over for dinner and see for yourself how they interact.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.