What Would Zula Do
WWZD is where we answer submissions from our readers, from queries to confessions or even recurring dreams. While we are no experts in this thing called life, sometimes all you need is a listening ear from your e-BFF, anonymously.
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WWZD: Dad Is Cheating On Mum Again
What would you do if you found out your dad is having an affair again and no one else knows?
A few years ago, my mother found out when he received an explicit text on his phone from the woman. My mum walked out of the house. After a while, she came back and forgave him. However, I found out that he is still contacting the woman and didn’t learn from his mistakes. What would you do?
—L, female, 18
This submission has been edited for grammar and clarity.
You are being put in a difficult position right now. One thing I would like for you to know is that you are not your parents.
When we are growing up, it is hard to separate our identity from those closest to us, especially our parents. However, when we become mature, we start to see that they are not perfect, or the heroes we imagine them to be; it is a difficult pill to swallow, but necessary.
Acknowledging the truth that they can’t be the parents we would like them to be is very sobering, and at times, scary. You probably can’t see it now, but you will get through this, and emerge stronger and more certain of who you are, outside of your family.
I had a friend put in the same position as you. She immediately confronted her dad and told him to wake up and change his ways, or risk losing his entire family. However, I know she has a tough-as-nails personality and is significantly older than you, so the solution might not be suited for you.
Evaluate the circumstances before you make your decision—but whether you choose to tell Mum, confront Dad or remain silent, be assured that there is no right or wrong choice.
I recommend you to take care of your own needs first. It is a painful secret to bear, so I hope you can find close friends to at least share the psychological burden with.
Whatever happened is not your fault and you do not have to face this alone.
Below are some professionals I can recommend you to contact or you can reach out to your school counsellor (if you are in school). When you share more details with them, they can guide you to the right solution, but ultimately, you will still be the one who decides what to do with the information.
I’m so sorry to hear that, you must be feeling a mix of emotions after finding out about the infidelity. I’m guessing that you may have many questions on your mind too. I have to admit, you are definitely in a very tricky position, a pretty helpless one too. They are your parents and you love them both.
Being in a long-term committed relationship takes effort from both parties. As such, finding out about an infidelity can create many conflicting emotions towards either parent for you. For example, “I can’t tell Mum, what if she cannot take it this time?”, “Dad is so selfish, how can he do this to Mum again?” or “Whose side should I be on now?”
There is no easy solution. I would recommend you speak with a mental health professional about what you are going through. It can be very isolating to try and handle this by yourself. Attending counselling or psychotherapy can teach you effective ways to cope with some of the emotions and questions that may arise as a result of the infidelity.
I wish you well. Please take care.
—Dr Jessie Chua, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Resilienz Singapore
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