DEAR DEIDRE: MY daughter reckons it’s my fault that her dad had an affair.
She is 21 and recently found out she has a half-sister, when the girl, 18, contacted her via social media.
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My daughter is angry nobody told her about her sister’s existence.
I understand that — it must have come as a shock.
But even though it’s her dad who was unfaithful — when our daughter was aged two — she seems to be taking out her anger on me more than him.
She even said he must have strayed because I was a bad wife and awful mum.
That really hurt me, particularly because I had postnatal depression after she was born.
I’m also annoyed that her half-sister contacted her out of the blue, not thinking about what the impact might be. I understand she wanted to meet her half-sibling, but she or her mother should have spoken to me and my husband.
Perhaps we should have told our daughter the truth many years ago, but her dad and I discussed it and decided it was for the best if she didn’t know.
He’d had a short, sordid affair with a woman he worked with, and when she found out she was pregnant she said she wanted nothing to do with him.
So he’s never even met his other daughter.
We are still together and I forgave him long ago. I’m now 47 and he’s 49.
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Our daughter doesn’t want to forgive, though.
She has always been very close to her dad, so I think she is reeling at the knowledge he isn’t perfect and he cheated.
She says she doesn’t want to see him, and now is not talking to either of us.
She says she’ll stay at university over the Christmas holiday and not come home.
My family has been ripped apart. I feel heartbroken and don’t know what to do.
DEIDRE SAYS: None of this is your fault. You are not responsible for your husband’s affair – and in not telling your daughter, you did what you thought best for her.
She is understandably upset at the news, and furious with her dad, and is just lashing out at the person closest to her – you.
Try not to take the mean things she’s saying to heart. Also try not to be angry with your husband’s other daughter, who is an innocent party in all this too.
Stay strong for your daughter and let her know you are there for her to talk to when she is ready.
It might really help you to talk to Family Lives (familylives.org.uk, helpline 0808 800 2222) who give advice on parenting issues.
Your daughter would benefit from counselling. My support pack on this explains how to access it.
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