DEAR KELLY: My mom has been going to this cross training class for more than six months, and I recently went to a training session with her. When I was there the first time, I got this weird feeling between her and “Gil” the trainer. I thought maybe I was overreacting, so I went to another class to just to see if I was wrong or right. Guess what? Totally right.
I seriously think there’s something going on based on how they talked to each other and the special attention he gave her all the time. They had inside jokes and other weird things. When I said something, she freaked out and said, “Don’t ever say that again. If your father heard, he would freak out and probably make me stop going to train and I love doing this.” But see she never said there was nothing going on. I see she follows him on Facebook and they like each other’s pictures and make comments all the time. Recently, he posted some picture of him being on a hike somewhere and she put, “bring me next time!!” and he liked it. Then he had a picture of him all dressed up to go out and she said something lame like, “you clean up nicely” or something weird like that.
When I told her that was a weird thing to say coming from a married woman, she told me no snooping and to let it go. She seemed really mad I’d brought it up again. I know she has a total crush on him. He’s not married but she is. My dad has no clue this is happening. I’m starting to put it all together now and she’s done things with her cross training group the last few months like go get wine or celebrate people’s birthdays. I bet it was just her and him and probably no one else. This whole things making me sick and I feel so bad for my dad.
Please give me advice on how to handle this horrible situation. I can’t look her in the eye now and I’ve lost all respect for her. She’s a cheater and I know if I say something, it could ruin our family. If this breaks up my family, I will hate my mom forever and never forgive her. It’s that simple.
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DEAR PL: This isn’t a simple situation by any means. Coming up with the plan that you will hate your mom and never forgive her definitely doesn’t serve you or help make you feel better. On the contrary, it does the opposite.
You may be right. And you may be wrong. The truth is we don’t know for sure. Are they flirty? Sounds like it. Have they crossed from friends to being romantic? You don’t have a solid answer. You are basing most of your concerns on assumptions. I’m all for trusting your gut but in this case, until you have concrete firm evidence that they are more than friends, you have to tell yourself that you really don’t know for sure and therefore you need to stop assuming.
Does your dad go to cross training with her? Maybe mention to your dad how much you enjoyed the class and thought he would too so perhaps he might want to join mom sometime. Let him see the relationship and come to his own conclusions.
Go talk with your mom. If that feels too threatening, write her a letter and share your concerns. Let her know that when you went to train with her you felt like there was something going on between them and the Facebook comments have made you even more suspicious and uncomfortable. Be respectful of her as adult (I know it’s your life and you are allowed to make you own choices) and avoid making accusations without knowing the full truth. Stick to what you feel (This is making me really scared that our family could break up and I’m afraid of everyone getting hurt). Make a suggestion she talk with someone (Perhaps you want to talk with your sister about this if it will help clarify things for you) and offer support (I know you’ve been working out hard and you are feeling good about yourself. I think that’s great). And be open to the fact you may have misconstrued the situation (I could be wrong, but it doesn’t feel that way).
After that, there is little you can do. Perhaps the fact that she sees how uncomfortable you are or you are aware of her choices will cause her to re-evaluate what’s going on and make different choices. Unless you have firm evidence, you can’t base it all on guesses and assumptions.
You can’t become mom’s secret service and watch her 24/7. You aren’t a detective nor are you a family counselor. It’s not healthy and you will be consumed with something you really have little control over. Stop monitoring her social media and reading more into their comments than the way they are intended. Typically in the absence of information, we jump to conclusions, which usually lands us in hot water.
If you can’t let it go, talk with someone (not your dad) you trust who is not directly related to the situation like a teacher, counselor or coach. Maybe they can talk with your mom as well if it is someone she also respects. Be careful of making assumptions like, “My mom is having an affair.” Stick to how it makes you feel (weird and uncomfortable) and how defensive she seemed when you brought it up.
Stop carrying the burden of figuring this out. The load is too heavy for a teenager to do alone. I can fully appreciate that your gut instinct is to pursue this, but I’m not sure the gain would be worth the cost.
Remind yourself that regardless of what happens, you love both parents and, more important, they will never stop loving you.