When I was almost 17 I found out that my dad had been having an affair for two years with a parent helper at the school where he taught. My Mum worked in the same school as him, they travelled together. How he managed it I’m not sure, but it would have taken a lot of deception. Call boxes were involved while supposedly shopping for the family.
I found out when I returned home from college to find my Mum in bed, crying. I was the only child left, others being clever at uni. She showed me a photo he’d taken of her. She was 25 years younger than him. It disgusted me.
It was just before my 17th birthday, days before. She asked him to leave. He went to a bedsit near the school, he could do what he liked then. With her. He didn’t. Once the secrecy was gone, so did the affair. Although the angry husband may have had something to do with it too.
I wrote go him, asking him why he had done it, why he had destroyed our family like this. Told him he was selfish. Demanded an explanation. I received a reply a few days later.
“Thank you for your letter. I hope you have a good summer holiday, love Dad”
That was it. No acknowledgement of the hurt and pain. No apology, remorse, empathy. Nothing.
As a result I have always had an issue with trust.
With traumatised children, trust is an issue. I have three of them.
We have 2 rules regarding mobile phones in this house.
1. They are only charged at the designated charging point (the family room)
2. They are left in this same place at bedtime and retrieved the next morning.
This week I discovered that eldest has been using her old phone in her bedroom after hours, and charging it in her room in between. Her new phone, bought with birthday money 4 weeks ago, has been dutifully handed in and charged in the correct place. I discovered it via a small activity on Facebook that may easily have gone unnoticed (unless you are super sleuth like me) that she slipped up with. I then asked her brother how she might have done this and he confessed she had been breaking the rules.
I initially thought it had only been 3 days. Naively of course. Like a fool. No, turns out it is ever since the birthday phone arrived. 4 weeks. Of lying, betrayal, deceit and cheating.
It felt like my husband had been having an affair. I’m experiencing massive hurt and pain, it is personal. I’m not sure I can come back from it. I’m not sure what to do.
As for my Dad, he begged to come home and Mum let him. Said she couldn’t imagine life alone. He moved back in just in time for the new September term.
He’s 80 now, Mum died 15 years ago. I barely see him.