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Hi,

When I was 21, my parents announced their plans to divorce to myself and two younger sisters. On my sister's 16th birthday, my father kicked my mother out after discovering she did not end her affair. The months that followed are still a blur, and years later, I have yet to make peace with it all.

My mother and I were best friends. For the first year after that day, we remained close. I'm not sure when my demeanor changed towards our relationship. It may have been when she married the man who broke our family apart months after the divorce was finalized. The effect this divorce has had on my father is what causes me to be resentful towards both of my parents - my mother, because of what she did- and my father- for how he reacted.

Before the divorce, I saw my dad cry once- at his father's funeral. After the divorce, he cries every time I see him. It has been six years and the children are grown up, the dogs have passed away and my dad is lonely. He tries to date, but it is usually a dead end. I don't know how to make him feel better. I am 25, beginning graduate school in August and living with my boyfriend. Every time I see him, he begs me to move back in. This infuriates me because of how the divorce derailed my life.

After my parents announced the divorce, I went into a depression. I was kicked out of my university for poor grades and had no choice but to come back "home" into the chaos of my parents divorce. Not only was that unhelpful as far as getting out of a depression, it only strengthened it. My mother was not living there and I was the one having to take care of my dad. Listening to him, hearing horrible things about my mother and watching him cry. The phrase, "I love your mother, I will always love your mother. If she came to the door right now, I would take her back" was said multiple times a day to all of us. And that was the least extreme of things we would hear. It was not a stable environment for us to be in. It was hell on earth. I became desensitized to emotion and "shut off" around my dad in order to appear neutral when he would talk like this, which was all the time.

I do understand that he does not have a support system. My mother is gone, he does have friends (which I think he should lean on), but he leans on us in an inappropriate manner. I can't be the one who is there for him anymore. I cry because I know he is so lonely and I try to make it over for dinner at least once a week. My youngest sister leaves for college in september and I am so concerned about how he is going to react to being alone all the time. I don't know what to do. I was hospitalized and took two years off of school for chronic daily migraines. All counselors and doctors have indicated this "event" was the root cause.

As a result, I have become more resentful towards my mother because instead of her dealing with my father, I now have to. I had dinner with her the other day and she said "hopefully I can redeem myself in your eyes one day". I keep thinking about what she said and getting so upset because I don't know if she can...... and that makes me so sad. I wish I could forget what she did.... I have forgiven.... but she lied so much to all of us, I feel like I can't trust her.

Everything is so different now. Birthdays, holidays, graduations, soon-to-be weddings. Two celebrations of everything, plus my boyfriends family. It's a hard adjustment, and I have tried to suck it up and I have been very tolerant for so long. However, I am an adult and I should not have to go to six different christmas celebrations!!! Mom, dad(On christmas, christmas eve every other year), mom's family, dad's family (not on christmas) and boyfriends family.

I just needed to let it all out..... thanks.
 

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Ah, Collegesen, I am so sorry you have to deal with this. Your post broke my heart. Your parents are text books cases of what not to do.

First of all, have you ever been in therapy? It could be helpful. You are not your parent's keeper and for them to put you in that position is unconscionable.

Second, your dad needs to CTFU. Six years? Please. He should not be leaning on you or your siblings at this time. Have you ever told him that? Perhaps it is time for you to push him out of the nest...as backwards as that seems. How old is he? There are so many people like him out there. Talk to him about joining some meet up groups. You need to live your life and he must take control of his. He is way overdue!!

Third, take a look at your boundaries. Make sure that they are in a place that benefits you and stick with them. It might be some time for tough love. All those different celebrations is ridiculous. You need time to develop your own rhythms and traditions. Start thinking about what celebrations you can cut out...maybe not forever, but at least annually. Keep some just for yourself.

Good luck. You were dealt a raw deal when your mother decided to cheat, but going forward, it is up to you on how to handle it.
 

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Ditto. I'm sorry you have had continued effects from the break up of your family. Mom made a huge mistake but she is human and fallible. Why would your Dad welcome someone back who treated him that way? He definitely needs counseling and needs to GTF over it. Everyone has a timeline for healing and there are no rights or wrongs but it sounds like he isn't making any progress and that is what he needs to start doing. It doesn't matter how fast, just that he is moving forward.

I agree with Fenix - you are going to have to shut Dad down when he speaks of it and walk away. It isn't your responsibility to fix his problems. Next time he starts in on the tears you should suggest that he get help because he's mired in depression and needs to be able to move forward and you think he needs a professional. Reassure him you love him but that you can't carry your own burdens AND his and leave - to another room, to a library - whatever is right for you to get a little distance. Repeat every time this happens, which sounds like daily.

Can you call his pastor or one of his guy friends who is divorced maybe? Someone who would be willing to sit down and start asking him questions and get him to open up?

Your mom may have cheated and is responsible for her actions but your father is responsible for his as well. During the marriage and after. You need to be able to step away from their issues mentally and regroup and go back to school. Some counseling would help you as well - put things in perspective and give you ways to deal with your dad and cope.

Good luck - send your Dad here. Let him read what you wrote. There are forums he would help him a lot. Coping with Infidelity, Divorce, etc.
 

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Thank your for talking the time to post - you have experienced alot in your family and it is easy to see why you feel frustrated and stuck in-between. I also appreciate your heart - that you want to love your parents the best you can... but with your dad feeling so lonely and the effects of an affair and divorce on everyone in your family... I feel for you. I read an article that may be helpful to you titled When Your Parents Divorce - Focus on the Family that talks about some of things you are struggling with. May be helpful. Sending you a hug!
 
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