I hope you can help…I am the mother of a 31-year-old daughter. She has been married for 5 years. Son-in-law (SIL) has been cheating on her for these past 5 years.
Most recently the OW(23) came to my business to “tell me” that she wants my son in law to “leave her alone” and that she is pregnant with his child.
Needless to say I was shocked! OW also gave me photos and texts and emails from SIL to her as “evidence”…of course I presented this to my daughter and she told me that she has been dealing with this for the past 5 years. OW has called her and texted her. She has never said a word to us about this, except for one time shortly after marriage she shared that husband had an affair “before they were married” and that she found out after the mariage and begged me “not to look differently” at husband or to “treat him differently” and thas was a “one time thing” and she forgave him. I believed her and had no idea that this most recent OW was a new one and that there had been others.
My heart aches for her. And I don’t know what to do for her at this point. She say’s she loves him and he has agreed to get counseling, etc. His parents are aware and disgusted as well! I have read many of your blog posts and they have been helpful, but I feel great distance from my daughter at this time, and don’t know how to react. Your post about the 5 reasons we stay “stuck” spoke to me and describes my daughter. She is a clinical social worker — and not a dummy! — however, her decision to stand by him and make everything better makes me very sad!
The first thing she said to me the night I confronted her was “I’m 31 and can’t start my life over.” Thank goodness they don’t have any children yet. They have been together since she was 18 and SIL is 39. This was her first serious boyfriend and all of the OW have been younger than she is. SIL has all the markings of a sex addict (sadly a subject I used to give workshops on during my carreer in addictions), but I am at a loss at this time how to react to her and not push her away.
Please if you can recommend any readings or blogs or anything for me to better understand and deal with this would be GREATLY APPRECIATED!
Well please direct your daughter over here to Chump Lady and my new Resource box up there on the navigation bar, full of books and links to other sites that can help too. (Chumps — that’s where the Amazon box went!) We’ll all be happy to give her an earful. I suspect she’s already aware of how to google and has found comfort in reconciliation sites (what we refer to here as unicorns or the Reconciliation Industrial Complex). She’s trying to do what most of us tried to do before we came to our senses — single-handedly save a marriage by herself. False hope sells.
Unfortunately you cannot take comfort in the fact that your douchebag son-in-law “agreed” to get counseling. (First clue — it wasn’t his idea. It was foisted upon him and he acquiesced.) For most serial cheaters, that’s the price of admission for cake. Okay, sure, I’ll sullenly jump through a few flaming hoops for you, now then, aren’t you OVER it yet?
Next he’ll play the sex addiction card and tell her it is her responsibility to hold his hand through his “addiction,” and any misstep from her could put him in a bad place to reoffend. This Is So Difficult for Him. Wouldn’t she like to waste the rest of her life as he comes out of his “affair fog”?
It’s all mindfuckery. The only thing you need to know about this guy is that he’s cheated on your daughter throughout their ENTIRE marriage. Which means her marriage is a farce. He’s never been faithful to her. Not before the marriage, not after the marriage. He got one great gift to be forgiven and he shat all over it. Multiple OW and now a child out of wedlock with one of them. Yes, nothing says “I’m sorry” like a paternity test and court-ordered child support.
Your daughter needs to wake up and realize that there is nothing here to save. This man has shown her repeatedly through his actions who he IS. She’s still holding on to who she hopes he is or could be. We call that drug Hopium. It’s a powerful hallucinogenic. Makes you see potential in the smallest little efforts. (It’s been 9 days since his last Craigslist ad! He agreed to let me make a counseling appointment for him! He said he was sorry!) You’ve worked in addiction? You’re daughter needs to kick this drug — her toxic love for him.
Because this is not a love that is healthy for her. However real it feels, people who love us do not expose us to harm and STDs. They don’t make unilateral decisions about our physical and emotional health. They don’t emotionally abuse us with lies and gaslighting.
But she’s only ever been with this idiot. She has no idea what healthy love looks like. It’s all theoretical to her. She chose the barbed wire monkey. No surprise this abuser snarfed her up at 18 when he was 26. Was he her prom date? Creeptacular.
I know as a parent you’re on the perilous line between wanting to help and slap sense into her, and yet not alienate her.
Chump Lady is all about slapping sense into her. I counsel here all the time that we only control ourselves. We can’t control other people. But when it comes to parenting, hey, you’ve got to give controlling others a try. (Generations of my family can’t be wrong!) You control your mouth. My mouth would say something to son-in-law like “If you ever come near my daughter again, I’ll stuff your balls down your throat.” Or “I’d like you to meet this threaded pipe. Not saying I’d hit you upside the head with it. Let’s just say my promise to not hit you upside the head with it is about as good as your promise to not cheat on my daughter again.”
You’re the Mama Grizzly. Roar Muffy! ROAR!
You afraid she’ll just go running back to him? HellOOooo — she’s already WITH HIM. Worst case has already happened. The mountain lion already dragged your cub into its den. Time to go after that motherfucker. I’m not saying you have to be armed with a SWAT team, but I do think that this calls for at least some stern disapproval, Muffy. Or spotting her the legal retainer fees.
Now to your daughter — You think you’re finished at 31?! Seriously? Do you know how many chumps here would give their eyeteeth for a do-over at 31? The fact that you don’t have children with this fuckwit is a GIFT! You still have 10 years of fertility left and time to fix that picker! Look, life alone in perpetuity with Netflix and a bowl of ice cream is infinitely better than marriage to a serial cheater! Ask us all how we know? WE LIVED IT! Chump Nation would like to give you a collective shake of the shoulders and implores you — LEAVE. Gain a life! There is a wonderful existence on the other side of this shit you’re living. Come over to the sane side! We’re here! We’ll catch you!
Muffy — please show your daughter this post and the comments that are sure to follow. Oh, and do please look at your son-in-law differently (despite the pleadings of your daughter not to). See him for who he is — an abusive, serial-cheating, piece of shit who is harming your daughter. If you see him that way, maybe your daughter will follow suit. We can only hope so.