Finding out your partner has been unfaithful is undeniably devastating.
But what happens when it’s not the adult, but rather the child who finds out first about their mum or dad’s affair? Should they let the secret out and cause pain or brush it under the mat and pretend it never happened?
These are the questions one son is asking himself after discovering his 70-year-old mother has been having an affair behind his father’s back.
Reaching out for advice on website Reddit, the concerned son explained that he discovered messages on his mum’s phone between her and her secret lover.
“I helped her with something on her phone, and when I was done I closed all her apps. [Messaging app] Google Hangouts was one of them, and I saw that she’s been telling someone ‘I love you and I can’t wait to be with you’,” he wrote.
He added: “I shouldn’t have snooped but I couldn’t believe what I’d read.”
The son explained that his mother used to be very sharp, but claimed a recent battle with cancer had caused her to lose impulse control and become extremely trusting of people, even complete strangers.
Because of this, his mum has been the victim of online scams, and the son fears her new love interest is also a con artist.
“He’s asking her to send $1,500 and she told him that she can’t send more because my dad is watching her finances like a hawk (which he started doing after the internet scam),” he explained.
“The only person I’ve told is my brother, who agreed that we should protect our dad as long as possible. But I’m worried about the ramifications of this for their marriage and financial situation.”
Read more: The end of an affair: Do the adult kids or grandkids need to know?
Other Reddit users were quick to offer advice with the majority suggesting, as hard as it may be, he should tell his dad the truth.
“Keeping your dad in the dark about this is not protecting anyone, him or your mother. Perhaps his hurt over this will be mitigated by the fact that her state of mind is compromised. In any case, particularly when finances are at stake, he has to know ASAP,” one person wrote.
“I would also confront her privately to tell her you know and that this is ridiculous. That anyone who asks her for 1,500 that she hasn’t met in real life is someone most likely trying to scam her,” another added.
When it comes to coming clean on an affair, experts say there’s no right answer, but the decision either way shouldn’t be taken lightly, as an affair can easily impact loved ones in ways you may not foresee, possibly destroying their faith in a relationship they’d taken for granted as rock-solid, and even causing long-term friction between the unfaithful partner and their adult children or even their older grandchildren.