For a kid, finding out a parent is cheating on your other parent is devastating. It turns a kid's whole world upside down. It often leads to divorce and worse. Nothing is ever the same for anyone and kids are particularly vulnerable.
But imagine being a kid and being the one that discovers one your parent's infidelities! Or worse, imagine that kid is forced to be complicit in their parent's shenanigans! We found these stories on Reddit of kids that had this happen to them and the short and long term consequences can be incredible. Break out the tissues, you'll need them.
"I found out my father was a chronic cheater when I was around 11 or 12 years old after my little brother came crying to me about how he had walked in on my dad in bed with another woman. I had my suspicions, but that confirmed them.
It really tore down any relationship I had with my parents. I stopped seeing my dad as a dad and I only see him as a monster. I can't forgive my mother, either, as she is still with him and their relationship is as rocky as ever. It opened my eyes to a lot of things. I learned that my dad is a selfish person and much worse than I thought, as well as how nothing lasts forever.
My parents' relationship ruined my views on relationships in general."
"My dad would take me and my sister to his girlfriend's work and leave us in the car to go have lunch with her or something. I knew about the cheating because some of my earliest memories were of us living at some other family member's house and my mom crying. My mom told me when I was a teenager, but I didn't know about him taking us with him until years later when my sister told me. She was old enough to remember.
I also just learned in the last year or two when my mom told my wife that my dad left the hospital on the day I was born to go help a friend with a jet ski or some nonsense but she knew he was going to see her. Messed up.
They just had their 40th wedding anniversary. I don't have the faintest idea why my mom has stayed with him. He left her a total of three times after my sister and I were born, I think. He wasn't a terrible father growing up but far from perfect. I went through a lot of times hating him. Becoming a grandpa has really changed him and I have to give him that, he's a much better grandpa than he was a dad. But I don't know why she stayed. Her parents had their 60th anniversary before my grandpa passed away. Maybe she just felt that's the way it had to be? Maybe she did it for the kids? I don't know, we have only ever talked about it a few times."
"My dad would take us three kids (aged 6-12) over to a family friend's house (Call them couple A) every week on Thursday nights (my mom worked late every Thursday).
Most of the time, another woman (call her B), who also had kids our age, would be there as well. She was also married, but I think her husband must've worked late nights too, as I don't recall him being there often. All of us kids went to the same school and were close friends so it was great fun for us.
I actually remember one night when B came over to our house with her kids while my mom was working. My dad and she put on a movie for all of us to watch downstairs while they did 'something else' upstairs (can't remember their stupid excuse).
This went on for almost a year before Couple A finally told my mom that my dad and B had been having an affair.
Looking back now, it was so obvious, even as a 10-year-old, what was going on. I don't know how or why we never said anything to our mom. I guess it became so normalized that there was nothing to mention. I will never forgive him for putting us in that position.
I have an off-and-on relationship with my father now, as do my two siblings, but currently, I haven't spoken to him in over three years."
"My mom cheated on my dad openly starting in my teenage years. We found out because she kept a calendar of all the times she banged someone else with details of what she wore and what went down on what day. Pretty terrible stuff.
My dad was so depressed from it that he basically committed suicide. He had heart problems that required medication, but he stopped giving a crap and died of congestive heart failure instead of taking his medication.
My mom never stopped cheating.
As for me, I wanted to be just like my dad when I grew up--I thought he was perfect--so seeing a guy treat his wife like a queen only to get taken advantage of pretty much ruined me for romance. I'm 32 years old, and I've never dated anyone--I just feel like nothing good will ever come from it.
My dad used to have talks with me all the time about him wanting me to date somebody and not being afraid of taking chances. I always thought it was because he wanted to be bros and talk about chicks with his boy.
Now I'm thinking that in some part he realized that his relationship screwed me up. He kept reminding me that even though his relationship was hell for over a decade, it was great for a decade and he got some awesome kids out of the deal.
Still doesn't sound worthwhile to me. I wish it did."
"My mother began seeing an old friend of hers, just to hang out and be friends and do friend things, so she said. But she'd go out ALL THE TIME with this guy, sometimes we wouldn't even know where she was or when she would be back. We being my sister and me, both being teens, so not totally unaware. My sister got suspicious and looked through her phone and lo and behold, we found dirty texts and implications of meeting for dirty activities and so forth. We freak out, get upset, consider telling my father, who at the time was hunting up north and wouldn't be back for a few days.
We decide to wait and, as my sister can be pretty rash, then decided to confront our mother. My sister does most of the talking, but mother gets angry at us for going through her phone, then accuses us of trying to ruin her marriage and tells us we're awful, basically. It was pretty terrible and honestly, I don't remember most of what was said but I ended up making a speech about how it's her own fault if her marriage gets ruined. She tried to say things like we don't love her and what did we want her to do?
We told her to tell our father or we would. She does and wouldn't you know it, he tells us not to tell anyone and gets angry that we went through her phone. They're still together and we pretend nothing happened. Their relationship (parents) is not good, and I doubt it'll ever be good at this point. He is a very lazy, stubborn man, who let his depression get in the way of his life. My father settled into this way of life and I don't know that he can change anymore. He spends most of his day complaining loudly about work and the state of the house, watching TV, and spewing his opinions into the closest ear available. I think he's lonely and wants someone to talk to.
My mother was kind. Or at least I always believed her to be. Kind and generous and morally good overall. After all these events, I began to realize that she isn't always kind, can actually be a real witch, and her morals leave a lot to be desired. She lets my dad run over her, she 'tries' to talk to him but 'he just won't listen to me!' She is never interested in what he has to say and usually just sits on the couch silently while he yammers on. If she's not sitting with him, she's in the kitchen rolling her eyes and mumbling to herself about how irritating he is. I've tried to point out how she should talk but its always the same 'he won't listen' excuse. She doesn't really try because I think she's given up on this relationship. I think she's lonely and wants someone to talk to.
The man she was seeing, let's call him Bill, is married to a woman, who we can call Barb, that cannot get around on her own. She is wheelchair-bound and dependant on Bill. They have children, most of whom I believe are grown. I don't know anything about this man or his wife, aside what parts they've played in my mother's exploits.
I assume Bill and my mother were seeing each other for going on a year when we found out. My sister is the one that told Barb, even though our dad asked us not to tell anyone about this. She thought that Barb deserved to know and I agreed. My dad was more embarrassed, I think, than anything else. I think he suspected something of my mom going behind his back, but he's the kind of person that would rather not think about it and pretend things are still perfect. He later told me that when my mom called him and told him what she did, he wished to god she hadn't, not while he was alone in the woods with a weapon. I didn't know how bad his depression was until he told me that. I don't think he's told anyone but me.
He also blames Barb and Bill and my sister for basically everything that happened. I don't know why for sure he doesn't blame me, as I was involved and we never told them who actually went through my mom's phone but he still blames my sister overall for being nosey.
I also want to point out that not once has my mother actually admitted out loud what she has done, nor ever apologized to us. I don't expect her to.
My mom insists to me, to this day, that she has stopped seeing him and that she regrets her decision. As recently as a few nights ago, when I sent her a text asking when she'd be home, as it was pretty late, she told me out getting ice cream with friends and then said she was 'sorry if I didn't believe her.'
I have forgiven my mom for what she did. I'm not happy living in the same house with a couple who clearly don't like each other anymore. But for now, I'm stuck."
"I had a feeling something was going on with my mom but I ignored it. That became more than a feeling when my youngest brother, then 12, came to me and said, 'I think Mom's cheating on Dad.' He was very worried.
A couple weeks later, on the night before Thanksgiving, I was home for dinner, and Mom decided to pick a fight with me. I had been thinking about what to do about this, how to talk to Mom and Dad about it, but I couldn't control myself. Over the course of the argument, I angrily blurted out, 'ARE YOU CHEATING ON DAD?'
She replied, 'What?! WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?'
I retorted, 'You've been acting very strange, my brother came to me about it and is worried.'
Then she yelled back, 'YES, I AM. AND I WANT A DIVORCE!' That year, my family had the best Thanksgiving ever.
How it affected my relationship with my parents: As hard as I tried to stay neutral, I took to my dad. He was a very introverted type, didn't have a lot of friends. I wanted to be there for him because I knew he'd be all alone in handling this otherwise. My relationship with my dad changed a lot. We didn't talk a lot before, but now he confided in me a lot. My dad was my Superman. There was no problem that he couldn't solve. I could come to him with anything. This was the first time I'd ever seen him struggle. It hurt me so deeply to see the pain he was going through.
My mom was the polar opposite to him in that she is very social. Until then, I'd actually been very close with my mother. This had changed everything. For a while I wouldn't talk to her, wouldn't look at her, nothing. She tried to talk to me, though. I was just so very angry. My dad, through this whole thing, told me not to hold onto being angry. He said she loved me and my brothers no matter how things were with him, and I needed to remember I'd always love her, too. He hated that how I was angry with her. I was pretty intent on having as small a relationship with my mom as possible, but then, a year after the cheating was exposed, my dad passed away in an accident, and everything changed again.
My youngest brother was in my dad's custody, and I had decided to come home to help and be there for the two of them. When my dad passed away, my mom was the first one I called. I don't even know why I called her. It was instinct. With one parent gone, I just thought that my brothers and I needed to have our mom back. My mom came to my brothers and me right away, and we immediately began to reconcile.
After much talking, many, many tears and hugs, and sometime later, my family is in a better place. I miss my dad every day. I know that despite him not being here, he's happy knowing that my siblings and I have reconciled with our mother.
What I've learned: Cheating and divorce suck. For some reason, I thought it would be easier to handle as an adult, but ugh, those times were some of the hardest of my life. When I'm a mother, if at all possible, I don't ever want to put my children what my mom put me through."
"My dad brought me and my cousin to set up a booth for an antique furniture show.
We set it all up over the course of a day. It involved tons of moving big heavy stuff, building temporary walls, hanging chandeliers, the works. Dad had disappeared for a lot of the day and told us we were doing it for some lady who hired him.
Then a big storm rolled in. And he and the lady pulled up in separate vehicles. My cousin and I went and got in dad's truck, and dad said he'd get her to drop him off at the motel with us after she inspected the booth.
My cousin and I sat in the truck for a bit before we took off and saw my dad and 'the lady' hugging and kissing and all that stuff.
Dad was still married to my mom at the time.
He pretty much moved out of our house after that, but they finally divorced five years later. He now lives with the woman, who turned out to be crazy, and her three kids.
The divorce part didn't hurt- my mom's okay now. But being straight up lied to like that and having my dad deny it later when my cousin and I asked him about it...
I still have trust issues."
"My dad was a serial cheater.
He cheated on my stepmom throughout their relationship. She helped raise me from the time I was 4. I despised her, but I look back now and it was mostly because of what he told me about her. I was instructed on what to say when we arrived back home. I would always sit in the living room and wait for him to go sleep with these women, then we would go to dinner and he would buy me toys and stuff. She eventually found out about one of his 6 year long affairs and that I knew about everything, the whole time.
She made my life suck after that until she left. She told my baby sister (12) all about it, and how I knew everything and helped cover it up. I was married at the time and had a happy life. We were on the way home from a nice dinner, and the next thing, I know I am in jail for kiddy diddling and my sister was the supposed victim. My stepmom was a detention officer (still is I think) and had the guards beat me often, fed me tainted food, potentially chemically castrated me without me knowing and had me put in solitary confinement for having a shank. I didn't even know how to make something like that within 12 hours of arriving in jail.
I sat in solitary for 8 months. She had them say I was suicidal, so I was only giving paper-like clothing in a 65-degree cell and nutraloaf to eat every day. Nutraloaf is a loaf of bread with meat and veggies mixed in. Supposedly nutritious, but horrible tasting. I was eventually acquitted by 2 different grand jury convenings who issued a no-indict 3 times after having the initial charges rescinded by my attorney for lack of evidence and timeline inconsistencies.
It plagues me to this day and I have severe PTSD around police. I hate them. I hate her. I hate my sister but I don't hate my dad even though I should. I just want his love and approval. This is what cheating and bringing your children into it can do on the extreme side.
It destroyed our family and sent me into a spiral of loneliness and voluntary isolation from all family. I refuse to date women with children. I refuse to be alone with people's children. I can't bring myself to try and run for public office for any reason. Knowing that eventually, the arrest records will come up. In short, wasted potential. I hide in the mountains and enjoy my life snowboarding and working menial service jobs to get bills paid, having empty relationships with younger women with no children."
"Yesterday, my son told me his biggest fear is his future girlfriend cheating on him. (He is 9) I asked why and he said, 'You know...Dad.' We've been divorced for almost two years.
It turns out he found Tinder on my ex's phone weeks before we split, and the poor kid carried that with him for the past two years.
He saw the icon and clicked on it and saw girls. He knew that was bad. It wasn't until a few months later that he was playing on his dad's phone and said, 'What is this?' Then he learned it was Tinder specifically. He said it made his tummy hurt when he realized he was using it while he was still married to me. He spent two years trying to protect me. Always rushing to my side when fights got bad. I told him nothing his dad does can hurt my feelings anymore and he doesn't have to keep secrets.
I'm glad now we're in a place where he can just be a kid."
"My dad was born in the Philippines and would go back once a year for two weeks or so, supposedly for a golf tournament. I remember these two weeks every year would absolutely suck because I wasn't as close with my mom back then. Anyways, fast forward to when I'm 10; my parents are in the process of splitting up and I find these weird baby pictures and huge group family photos of a wedding on the family computer (I was the main user of the computer). I am just sitting there, not sure what to think. I show my mom, I put two and two together and we just sit there hugging each other crying for a solid hour.
It turns out he has had a family with 6 or 7 kids that were older AND younger than me, with the oldest being 8 years older than me. Me and my mom were 'the second family.' The person he had that family with? His first cousin. He's now married to that person and over the years, he's used my mom's credit to pay off his gambling debts, pay to bring his kids over to the States and even had the nerve to use my mom's savings to pay for his freaking wedding in the Philippines while they were still married!
I definitely don't look at him as a father and I don't respect him but I still see him every now and then on the occasional holiday, especially when it involves presents."
"My dad was banging my now-step-mom while they were both leaders in an organization a bit like The Boy Scouts. She was from a different group so when they all met up for competitions or trips, they would sneak off. I was too young to know but was taken along for the ride on the odd trip. Looking back now, I can't believe how brazen and how much of crap they didn't give. It wasn't just in front of us but my now-step-sisters too.
I dunno how my older brother can still have a relationship with him and look our mom in the face. He was taken on a vacation abroad with the organization and my dad actually brought photographs home of my brother with her in them. They were once in the photo album!
I was told both had been blacklisted from the organization when things came out because they had been leaving kids unsupervised.
Officially, I have one step-sister and one step-brother, but I remember meeting two sisters. One has never been mentioned since. I have been told from other sources I have two but one has refused to have anything to do with her mom so she has been erased from history on this side of the family."
"I was 15 when I found out my mom was cheating on my dad.
She was giggling in her bedroom one day and I needed something, so I asked her what she was laughing about. She was honest and told me she was cheating on my dad. I was kinda dumbstruck and unsure what to do, so I went along with it the next couple days.
Then she took me out to dinner to meet the guy and his son. That's when it got too real, so I told my dad. The family was torn apart.
No one acknowledges to this day how messed up it was for my mom to do that to me."
"I must have been like 8 or 10 or so.
My dad would bring my brother and me over to his girlfriend's house while still married to my mom. His girlfriend had two kids as well. So we'd go over there for play dates and they would be hanging out in another room, or they'd go out while we stayed home and played video games. As a kid, I just figured the parents were hanging out because I didn't know any better.
Ultimately that ended my parents' marriage because my dad wound up feeling guilty about it and told my mom. I mean, in the end, it worked out because both my parents are a lot happier now and my dad has re-married and I love my step-sister and that side of the family very much.
It was definitely a very crappy thing for my dad to do to my mom, but their marriage was rough as heck and I always hated them arguing every night, so it was going to end sooner or later. "