Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Don't keep your mom's secret from your dad

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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My parents, married for 28 years, are going through a nasty separation. My mother decided that she finally had enough of my dad's pulling away and closing himself off from the family, so she packed her bags and left my 17-year-old sister and my father. My mom accused my father of cheating on her at some point during their marriage, though there is no evidence. My mother just informed me of this since she moved out, and also told me that she's been seeing another man. They have a physical relationship. All of this happened a week after she moved. She states that she doesn't believe in her heart she's married to my father anymore, so therefore she isn't having an affair. Is this just a way to justify adultery? I don't know how I should respond, as I love her, but I love my father as well. He is hurt by her leaving. He doesn't know she's seeing anyone else, and my mother is planning on suing Dad for alimony since "he did this to them." I'm caught in the middle. I'm the eldest, married, and moved away. Is there anything I can do, or tell my mother? -- Caught in the Middle, Outside Winnipeg

Dear Caught: Adult children of any age should not be keeping secrets like this. If your mother really didn't want you to tell your father, she would have kept silent. At some level she wants him to know, so don't disappoint. Your dad needs to know the whole truth of his situation so he can make decision to get on with his life, his healing, his new path and his legal situation. You can bet your mom didn't just find this guy she's seeing one week after she left the marriage. But in this modern world, seeing another person once you have moved out is not considered infidelity unless the couple is living in two residences and dating each other exclusively, with a view to reconciliation. You need a counsellor, even though you're not in Winnipeg anymore -- an adult outside the situation to help you sort and process your upset feelings. Your sister needs help, too. Tell your dad to help her get that, but ask her first. If you find she wants to go secretly and alone, tell her Klinic's free walk-in counselling is open six days a week. She should phone 204-784-4067 for times and locations.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm sad to find out my wife will not let me come out of the closet about my cross-dressing to our first child and those to come. It has been a part of my life since I was in my teens. She married me, knowing that I would be doing this fairly regularly and now she has stated: "No child of mine is going to see her father in a dress." (We have a little girl now). I said, "Well what happens to the other part of my identity?" She said, "You can go out somewhere and dress up, but you have to get your clothes and wigs and shoes out of here." I don't know what to do. I am at a total loss. I love her and our baby girl. Why didn't she tell me before we had any children? -- Totally Crushed, Winnipeg

Dear Crushed: She probably didn't know how protective (and conservative) moms become when a child is born. No one has experience with this until it happens. It's understandable that your wife doesn't want your child to experience anything she perceives might be harmful. One might argue the little girl is so small now, you could cross-dress after she's asleep, and who would be the wiser? But kids wander at night. Your wife may worry your innocent child might mention it at school and get teased and bullied. Is it too much to ask that you get very discreet about this and hide it from the child? Perhaps it is. Maybe you will need two residences close together in order for you to experience both identities as freely as you wish. Or, maybe your child would be OK with having two mommies some of the time, and a mom and a dad other times. But, would she pay for it in the cruel outside world?

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 8, 2012 C2

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