(Closed) Dad wants a divorce but am I being selfish? nwr

posted 6 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
6892 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2012

I think you should be allowed to do whatever you want to do. Neither of them should be guilt-tripping or dragging you into something you want no part of. I know it gets cloudy and complicated when it’s family, but it’s still their issue at heart. You and your brothers don’t have a “say” you simply get to deal with whatever happens as part of their actions.

My parents are divorced (for a LONG time) and still I have to remind them that I don’t want to hear it when they are unhappy with how the other handled something (generally concerning my youngest brother, who is still under 18.) I simply say, “I don’t want to be a part of this discussion” or “I’m trying to stay out of this as much as possible, please respect that” or something similar. If they have hurt feelings about that, they are probably just projecting.

ETA: This isn’t to say that you can’t listen when they talk, unless what you are really saying is that it’s too painful/fresh for you. In which case, you are entitled your own feelings as well. Just be mindful that your mother hasn’t known he was cheating, you know? She may be in shock more than anything, whereas you’ve wrapped your mind around it a bit more. I think just being aware and being empathetic would go a long way.

Post # 4
14659 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

@altpseudonym:  You may not want to get involved, but you are.  Why was it ok for your dad to confide in you and for you to allow him the comfort of being able to get the cheating off his chest without you telling your mom but your mom cannot come to you for comfort?

And then there comes my Mom, who is wanting constant hugs and reassurance, an ear and a shoulder to cry on.  I understand.  But we aren’t her therapist or her friend.  We are her children.  But I am made to feel guilty for not comforting her.

Sorry, but that sounds really harsh.  Perhaps she has no one else to turn to right now and needs her kids to lean on?  Are you closer to your dad than mother?  Is it not normal for her to come to you for support and advice sometimes?  I sort of think children be there for their parents during tough times too… its not just a one way street – assuming you turned to your parents if you needed anything growing up.  I think could be possible to be there and provide some support to both with out ‘taking sides’. .. maybe I’m just naive.

Post # 6
2523 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

I understand why it would be hard to constantly comfort your mother and you would want to avoid it.

While my parents are still together, my SO’s parents divorced after 23 years of marriage about 6 years ago. His dad cheated on his mom because she was/is extremely controlling and dramatic. That doesn’t make it right, but it’s what happened.

Well, the dad married the woman he cheated with, and his mom, although she has a boyfriend, is still extremely bitter about the divorce. She talks about it all the time, and hates when SO mentions he’s going to visit his dad. When SO mentioned he was going to marry me, she said, “Well, it’s not going to last because love doesn’t really exist. Obviously you should know that because of your dad.” Then she’ll flip-flop and say that she’s so excited and wants to give us an heirloom ring.

She doesn’t want to let go of it, and it was 6 years ago; I’m just glad we don’t live in the same state!

However, SO did take a good 6 months being there for his mom and letting her grieve because his sister pretty much rebelled and there was no one else. I don’t think you should completely ignore the situation, but after a certain amount of time, it gets overbearing, especially if your mom is like my SO’s mom.

Give her time to grieve, but that doesn’t mean you have to be her emotional whipping post. She is your mother, afterall.

Post # 7
2559 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I think that there is a way to balance support & love without “becoming involved” in the way that you dread – I definitely wouldn’t want to be inbetween warring parents, and that’s usually what divorce turns into. However, you want to cultivate a relationship with both of them after the divorce, right? And that means being there for them like you’d be there for a friend or relative going through the same thing. Your mom needs to cry? Comfort her but ensure that you stay neutral – and don’t allow her to badmouth your father to you. Same for the opposite – allow your father to get all that info off his chest if he needs to, but refuse to listen to excuses or anti-mom reasoning. Just assure them that you still love and want a relationship with both without being the go-between or allowing one to damage your relationship with another. I know you don’t want to be involved at all, but this. is. happening. whether you acknowledge it or not – and you’re potentially carrying guilt from what you did to help your father, which is another reason you may want to run. I would stay and deal with the situation, not run – they may never be amicable to each other, or it may take a long time, and you will probably just need to adapt to the situation as it comes.

Post # 8
4046 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I would talk to your brothers about it and put up a united front, all three of you just stay out of it. if you are older. make sure to help your brothers, they are going back to school soon and you want as much as possible for them to succeed in college and not gt into any bad habits because of this. You three need to support each other as much as possible, as the children in this issue.

I don’t think it is too terrible that you don’t want to be thrown in the middle of it.

Post # 9
11270 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2012

it’s not an easy position to be in but just like any other divorce; stay neutral but supportive.

Post # 10
3552 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

If it feels like something too big for you I think you should tell your mom that and suggest that she get a counselor or therapist. You are dealing with this change too and need to cope with your own feelings. If your mother’s feelings and needs are overwhelming, enlist some outside support.

Post # 11
923 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

@altpseudonym:  My parents seperated when I was 21…while I was on my honeymoon.  I came back and WW3 had broken out.

My mother used me exactly as you said…as a therapist, ‘friend’, someone to talk trash about my father to.  I hated/still hate it (yes, after 23 years she is still doing it). She has turned into a insanely bitter and jealous woman.  She emotionally blackmailed myself and my 2 brothers into dropping all contact with my father.  

I’m not going to tell you that you are being selfish by not wanting to get involved.  Unlike many who will, I’ve actually gone through this, and believe me, you are doing the right thing.  Especially if you want to have any sort of relationship with your father afterwards. 

If this didn’t involve either parent, I would say be a shoulder to cry on.  But as it does, it is not fair for either parent to expect you to do that for them.  Doesn’t matter how old you are, they are still your parents and you deserve for them to dissolve their marriage with much dignity as humanly possible, and not use their children for any reason during it. 

Post # 12
1527 posts
Bumble bee

I totally understand not wanting to be involved. And honestly, it’s not your place to be involved. It’s your parent’s relationship. Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean it’s your responsibility to choose sides or take any part in it. I think making it clear that you’re not taking sides, but instead think it’s a sad, horrible situation and just leaving it at that is enough. If your parent’s need someone to talk to, they should go to counselors. Unloading their own issues onto you isn’t fair. 

Post # 13
386 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I have been in almost exactly the same situation. Dad cheated on mom for a period of time and I knew about it, he didn’t tell me outright but he didn’t not tell me either (it’s hard to understand), told her he wanted a divorce and she came to me for help. I also had the added burden of dad then being dumped by the gf and becoming very depressed and also wanting me to help him through getting over the woman he cheated with. I tried to help them both, to listen and be there. Whether then needed me at 4am on a worknight or afternoon on a weekend. They basically used me up, I ended up having some sort of emotional breakdown I don’t really remember it to be honest. You need to step away before this happens to you. You need to tell her you love her but that you can’t be her therapist. Encourage her to get professioanl help and tell her that while you might try to help her and listen you also might need to take a step back before you get overwhelmed.

Post # 15
862 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

OP, I just want to say that your mother is an absolutely INCREDIBLE woman to still want to reach out to help someone who has hurt her as badly as your father has, especially if, as you say, she knows that their relationship is over.  I could NEVER be as forgiving and compassionate as your mother is being to your father after he cheated on her for years and is still in love with the other woman.  Cheating is one of the two things (the other is abuse) that I absolutely will NOT tolerate in a relationship, especially a marriage!  My heart really breaks for your mother.  Such an amazing and loving woman like her deserves a much better husband than what your father has been to her!

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