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Solve your life dilemmas with expert advice from Maura O’Neill
Dear Maura: I think my mother had an affair years ago. My aunts definitely know something but nobody is talking. Why she can’t open up to me, I don’t know.
Putting two and two together, I believe he died a year ago. I remember seeing her crying in the kitchen. She was at the sink and trying to hide her tears.
I adore my dad and they seem to have a great marriage. I would love to know the circumstances because I think it would do her good to share that situation with me. It’s not nice that she has secrets.
I can’t ask anyone like my aunts, because they would tell her I was snooping. While I want to respect her privacy,
I also want to know about this time in her life. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. What’s your opinion? Answer: I think you should step away from this situation. You are not sure of very much detail. I’m curious how you discovered this man could have been the person she had an affair with.
There is a lot of weaving together hunches and threads of suggestion that this happened.
However, your aunts or whoever has let a few bits slip about this alleged affair, should stop talking now regarding this time in your mother’s life.
If this did happen, the circumstances influencing her decision to be with another man are not part of your life.
She is your mother but she’s also a person. If she does confide in you one day, that’s different. Then you listen, don’t judge and offer understanding.
Sometimes, we look at our parents as ‘ideal’, if we’re lucky enough to have parents who care unconditionally.
They are human and will have met challenges along the way. It’s respectful to remember this.
Dear Maura: My older brother refuses to acknowledge our dad is ill and won’t visit. He calls the sister he gets on best with for an update. He lives abroad but is only about a two-hour flight away. He was recently here for the holidays.
We’re not sure what’s going on. Dad won’t say a bad word about his only son, which makes us feel worse. One of my sisters had a go at him and he just walked away. It’s like there’s something he wants to get off his chest but can’t find the words.
Dad is doing fine at the moment but we’d like our brother to visit more regularly.
Answer:Has anybody spoken to your brother about how much your dad loves to see him?
He has an emotional responsibility to visit more often. He could also FaceTime him. Or there’s Zoom, which is a gift, particularly when there’s distance involved. So, your brother has no excuse.
What kind of relationship do they have? Were there any issues that could still be lurking on some level?
How about the sister he’s close to talks to him to find out how he’s doing with all this? It will be interesting to hear his response.
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