Hey, I’ve been really struggling because I’ve been thinking about this problem a lot. So a quick background story. I am the oldest in 5 kids and my parents were married for over 15 years. I also come from a middle eastern background and a very strict religious family. So I’m not sure if anyone is going to understand how hard it is to say anything to anyone. So my dad was sick since 2011 he had a stroke that made him paralyzed on his whole left side. I was around 9 years old when he started being sick. My mom would always take care of him and stay by his side or at least that’s what I thought. But when I was 11, I started seeing my mom talk to different guy on the phone and always flirting with him. I was young and I told her mom are you talking to anyone else. But she denied it and then changed the password for her phone so I wouldn’t look at anything. I ignored it for about a year or so, now around this time, my dad was getting better
and the relationship between them was great, there weren’t any problems and we almost never saw them fighting, but I still heard her talking to that guy and saw her many times meet with him when my dad wasn’t home and she always thought I didn’t know and I forgot about it. Time passed and I always ignored, I never told anything to any of my other siblings or faced her with it again. Time passed and my dad got sick again, and she was still talking to that guy in addition to 2 other guys that I knew about and they looked a lot younger than her. I would always find a way to know her password and open her chats to see all the flirty messages between her and the other guys. I always cried by myself and kept it in me since then. Speed up to two years ago, I was 14 at that time, my dad got another stroke and was really sick, he passed away. My mom continued to talk to one of the guys and I don’t know what happened to the other two. I regret not telling my dad anything. And if anyone of my uncles knows about her texts and the pictures she sends to that guy, they will kill her because it is against our religion and our culture and they are very strict. I always cry and I still look thru her phone and see all the disgusting things she says and sends to that guy. I don’t know if I should tell anyone or keep it a secret still. Oh, I forgot to mention that the guy she’s still talking is also married and has kids.(From the USA)
I am very sorry you had such a loss with your father. It also sounds like, in many ways, you’ve lost your mother too. There are several things happening here that involve cultural, familial, and developmental issues and we will walk through each of them.
However, the first thing I would encourage you to do is STOP LOOKING AT YOUR MOM’S PHONE. Whatever you believe you are doing by looking at it one thing is certain: You are not going to feel better and it is an invasion of your mom’s privacy. If the roles were reversed, you wouldn’t want her to do this to you. You already have too much information and don’t know what to do with what you already have. Looking for more will only add to your burden, and very likely push you and your mother further apart.
Secondly, for many reasons, there isn’t a lot for you to do with the information you have. Culturally you are in a difficult position because to reveal what you know would require you to admit to explain that you’ve invaded your mother and father’s privacy, and this in and of itself may not only diminish how you are perceived by whom you tell but may discount your word altogether.
With that being said, I do think you should find a way to talk about what you’ve learned but in a safe way. Sending us an email was a very good start. The work for you now is to find a trusted person to talk to about your own feelings about your mom, not so much about what she did or didn’t do—but your feelings about it. This will give you a safe place to release your feelings, and help get yourself feeling better.
I think a good way of doing this is to talk to someone in your school. Perhaps there is a teacher of counselor you can talk to about this that will be able to hear how stressful this information has been for you to carry.
Finally, you may also want to ask to see a therapist. Very legitimately you can say that you are having very difficult feelings related to your father’s death. To find someone in your area you can go to the “find help” tab at the top of the page, or you can ask a trusted teacher or counselor at the school to help you see a professional.
The key is to find a safe place where you can talk about what all of this feels like. You’ve taken a great first step here. Now it is time to take the next.
Wishing you patience and peace,