Ask Amy: We’re ashamed of our daughter’s relationship with a married man

Dear Amy: After six years of marriage to our 33-year-old daughter “Karen”, our son-in-law decided he was in love with the woman he had been with for the three years of their marriage.

Last summer Karen filed for divorce and moved back home. She was devastated, and so was her father and me.

We did everything we could to counsel her and get her back on her feet. Karen had many days of insecurity, anger, sadness and grief. Fortunately they had no children.

The problem? Karen has been dating a married man for several months now!

We are beside ourselves with disappointment and her father is furious. She feels that Karen is no better than her ex-husband. He has condemned Karen’s actions, telling her that she is morally wrong (I don’t disagree) and that the man she is with is a lying, cheating lowly.

Now this man and his wife have announced that they are expecting a baby, further infuriating my husband. I know the wife’s family. We will never be able to look at them without feeling guilty. Karen claims they have something special. Apparently he’s still in his marriage, and yet Karen defends him.

Why would our smart and talented daughter settle for sloppy seconds and have an affair with a married man whose wife is pregnant? Why would he hurt another person the same way he was hurt (and now a baby is involved)?

We are so embarrassed – how to cope?

Ashamed: You have already judged your daughter. Your husband has expressed his distaste loudly and repeatedly. Now the way to cope is to stand up and realize that you didn’t grow up a saint.

If her own drama is only a year old and she’s been seeing this other guy for several months, she seems to have jumped from one mess to another. Your daughter has been hurt and is now knowingly hurting someone else.

If your daughter lives with you, it would be best if she left. If she’s not in your home, you won’t be tempted to watch and react to her behavior.

You don’t know why he does this. I don’t know why he does this. I think it’s possible that he doesn’t know exactly why he made that choice.

He should meet with a counselor. Discussing questionable choices with a neutral therapist is much more productive than trying to defend indefensible behavior to your enraged parents.

I suggest you convey to her, “You know how we feel about your decisions, which we believe are holding you back. We hope you will choose to behave ethically. But we also understand that this is your life and you will live the consequences.”

Dear Amy: I have a young relative whom I adore very much, whose pursuits I have always wholeheartedly supported.

Several months ago, she was offered a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do an open job of very uncertain duration overseas. This opportunity may last for several years.

I encouraged her to take this opportunity.

She has a cat that needed to be re-homed, and somewhat reluctantly I offered to take the cat.

To put it simply – this does not work. Not at all.

I am unhappy, but perhaps more importantly, the cat is very unhappy. I live in an apartment and I’m out all day at work. The cat often appears extremely anxious and almost frantic and is quite destructive.

Previously the cat had lived on a large property with outdoor opportunities. I’m sure that would be best for her.

How can I best handle this?

Unhappy: You should be honest with your family member by describing everything you mentioned here. Tell her that for the cat’s sake you think she should be rehomed and let her know that you will do your best to find the best possible situation for the cat.

In the meantime, work with a veterinarian to see if there are techniques you can try to ease the animal’s stress.

Dear Amy: I liked your answer to “Possible,” the woman who asked if she should go with her husband to inform his parents of their impending divorce.

My big question was: How did they manage to live five minutes away from the in-laws and yet only see them once a month?

Jealous: Several readers expressed similar sardonic responses.

©2022 by Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

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