Monday, August 30, 2010

Moral dilemma on a huge scale

I think my dad is cheating on my mom.

There. It's out. I spent a day trying to find a way to word it more delicately, but I couldn't do it. It was hard enough just typing that sentence.

He's been acting sketchy for a while. Probably since around the end of winter. But his behavior this weekend - while my mom has been in Florida with a few of her girlfriends - has really, really freaked me out.

I hope I'm wrong.

The first time I thought he was acting sketchy was on a night that I was over at their house. Dad was sitting at the kitchen counter with the laptop while Mom and Meg and I were watching a movie or something. I remember him being on the computer forever. And then he disappears into the garage forever. I walk by the open laptop and he has a chat window up. Whoever he was chatting with had sent him their phone number. A bit later, I went out to my car for something, and he was on the phone. He was in the garage for a long time, having this secret conversation with whomever it is.

A few weeks ago, I was having dinner with Mom and Dad. They're talking about Dad's friend Don, who Dad had golfed with the day before. "It was nice to see him," my dad said. "I hadn't seen him since he got back to Italy."

"Oh, is that right?" There was an edge to my mom's voice. "You said you golfed with him last Monday."

"Oh, right, right. I forgot about that. I apologize."

I was definitely aware of both incidents, but I brushed it off. The thing with my dad is that he's always been a little sketchy when it comes to my mom. Like, he's afraid that something he's doing will piss her off (see: smoking cigars) so he just hides it from her. And she inevitably finds out and is even more pissed than she'd have been otherwise.

But this weekend? Fuck. It's been really hard to ignore.

He has this broken ankle. The plan was for me to come over for the weekend and help him. But I'm driving over there on Friday, talking to him on the phone and he's "you know, you don't need to come over. Just stay the night at your apartment. There's nothing going on here. I'm going to dinner with Rob. You just stay at your apartment, because I won't even be home. So you should definitely stay there."

And he was just so insistent on it that it caught my attention.

So he went out that night. And he calls me around 10 or 10:30 to see if I'm at the house. And when I tell him that, yes, I'm at the house, he informs me that he'll be out for a few more hours.

It was at that point where I hacked into his email and Facebook accounts and found a few sketchy things.

And I started to feel sick and I haven't stopped feeling sick since.

On Saturday night, Meg and I went to the bar and we were planning on going back to the house at the end of the night. So we could help him out in the morning. As planned.

He calls Meg while we're on the way to the bar and says "call me when you're on your way home." Like he needed a warning that we were on our way.

Then there was last night. We went to dinner. When we got back to the house, I started baking a cake. He was all up in my shit the entire damn time I was baking that cake and I wanted to strangle him. And then he starts pulling the "oh, you can leave now, I will just take the cakes out of the oven for you." And "I'll put the cakes in the refrigerator once they're cool. You should go."

Do you have company coming over, buddy? Do you need me to leave right this second? I left when I was ready to leave, which was almost 10:00 pm.

I cleaned up the house on Sunday, so I know exactly how it was when I left it. At 10:00 pm. So, when I went over to the house today and saw that both of the office chairs were pulled up to one desk, like two people were looking at the screen together, I was suspicious.

And when I saw notes jotted on a piece of paper - notes that were written in unfamiliar, female handwriting, I nearly threw up. I logged on to my dad's account and there was his web browser open to a hotel search. For a room in Florida over a weekend in November.

Maybe I'm making this up, you guys. Maybe I'm imagining things. But I'm so upset about this. I can't even look at him. And I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

Help me. What do I do? How do I handle this? These are my parents. This is their marriage! On one hand, I don't feel that it's my place to say or do anything. On the other, it's my family. It's my mom. How can I justify pretending that I don't see this?

I figure that I have a few options:
a. Tell my mom. Exactly what I've written here. And let her handle it how she pleases.
b. Confront my dad.
c. "Innocently" bring out the hotel list (which I swiped from the desk) in front of both of them ("do you think that the housekeeper [who we all know wasn't there today] was using the computer?") and let them take it from there.
d. Nothing

I feel so, so sick about this. I can't stop thinking about it. And I have, really, nobody to talk to about it. The one person who I really want to, my sister, will be really crushed. She adores my dad. She worships my dad. And everyone else - Lucy or Ashley or maybe my cousins Anna or Liz - well, I'm afraid. I'm afraid to tell them because what if it isn't true? What if it ruins their relationship with him anyway?

I'm so pissed at my father, but I still want to protect him.

I cannot believe this. I cannot f'ing believe this. Oh, I hope that I've just lost all sense and completely made this up. With all my heart and mind and soul and

This is not an awesome situation to be in.


Anonymous said...

just sent you an email.

big hugs to you!

my life is brilliant said...

Yikes. I can't even imagine. I'm so sorry.

I found out that my mom had cheated on my dad, but it was years later. It happened when I was 8 and 9, and I didn't find out until I was 22. I was so pissed. I cried for a long time. I listened to the song I listen to when I'm really angry ("Blue Monday," by Orgy) 7 times in a row. I called K and vented and cried.

I felt so betrayed. I felt like my mom had cheated not just on my dad, but on my brother and me too. Like we weren't enough for her to be happy. It was terrible -- and it was years earlier.

I don't know what to tell you. Part of me thinks I'd confront my dad about it, but there's so much else to consider.

What a shitty situation. I'm so sorry. I hope you're wrong too.

Susan said...

Woooow. Tough situation.

I recommend the wait and see (for now) approach. I mean, I don't know how damning the evidence you found on Facebook and in his email was, but maybe you are completely misinterpreting all these actions. As you said, your dad is a bit cautious when it comes to your mother and maybe this is all stuff he's trying to "get away with" with a guy friend or something. Wishful thinking on your behalf? Quite possibly. But it's still a slight possibility.

So, maybe observe more closely over the coming weeks and then if you are more certain confront your father about it, before you say anything to your mother. Your mother seems like a pretty tough, proud woman and I think it would be humiliating for her to have to learn about her husband's infidelity from her daughter. So, if you're certain confront your dad and let him find his way to break it to her.

But I really hope it doesn't come to that.

Anonymous said...

First off, I'm totally surprised by the look of your blog! LOVE IT!

Hmmm, my initial thought was to tell your mom and let her handle it, but then I read the other comments and I'm not so sure. I know I wouldn't do nothing.

Anonymous said...

Does your mom have a birthday or is their anniversary coming up? Maybe he is planning something for them.

Anonymous said...

I've never commented before, but I wanted to give my two cents. I love my parents equally and I'm close to both of them (I'm 25). I think I would tell my mom. I love my dad, but if he decides to risk everything for for a piece on the side, I'd tell my mom. And vice versa.

While I agree it isn't really your business, your mom IS your business. And I'd be willing to bet your mom knows something is going on already.

Anonymous said...

I have never commented either, but I have been "lurking" for awhile. I think you said some time ago that your mom has been having a hard time. I believe you attributed her feelings to her sister's passing, which is completely valid. However, is it possible that she already suspects something? You mentioned the "edge" in her voice regarding the golfing friend, which is what made me think that in the first place.

That being said, I would wait a little while and see. If your dad does in fact try to go away for the weekend, I would confront him first. As someone else mentioned, your mom may be humiliated to hear it from you... especially if she is trying to hold it all together. That being said, if your dad doesn't come clean (if there is something going on), I think I would go to her.

Sorry you have to go through this difficult situation!

Bill Robertson said...

i have no words of wisdom, but i'll keep you and your family in prayer.

A said...

You guys! I can't thank you enough for your comments and emails and postive thoughts and prayers. Just writing this was enough to make my head feel like it was going to explode and I really, really appreciate the support. I'll blog more about this later, but, in the meantime, I just wanted to say thanks.

Lauren said...

I'm with Anonymous.
Your mom has had a really tough year, and I would bet that even if your mom isn't admitting it to herself, she already knows or at least suspects what's going on, and is choosing to ignore it.

If it were my mom, I would confront my dad (maybe in a letter?), and then tell my mom.

Mrs. Architect said...

How the HELL did I miss this post?? Oh geez honey, I know exactly how you feel. My dad was cheating on my mom when I was in high school and I was there when it all blew up. It was awful.

I know you can't see it now, but things WILL get better. AND, things will turn out for the best, no matter how they turn out. It took me over ten years to get there and see that, but its true.

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