Ask Amy: Parents outraged that daughter is with married man

Dear Amy: After six years of marriage to our 33-yearold daughter “Karen,” our son-in-law decided that he was in love with the woman with whom he’d been having an affair during three years of their marriage.

Last summer Karen filed for divorce and moved back home.

She was devastated, and so were her father and I.

We did our best to counsel her and get her back on her feet.

Karen has had many days of insecurity, anger, grief, and sadness.

Thankfully they had no children.

The problem? For several months, Karen has been dating a married man!

We are beside ourselves with disappointment, and her father is outraged.

He feels that Karen is no better than her former 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, lowlife.

Now this man and his wife have announced that they are expecting a baby, further outraging my husband.

I am acquainted with the wife’s family. We won’t ever be able to look at them without feeling guilty.

Karen claims that they have something special. He obviously is 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 she hurt another person the very same way she was hurt (and now a baby is involved)?

We are so ashamed – how do we cope?

– Ashamed Parents

Dear Ashamed: You’ve already judged your daughter. Your husband has expressed his disgust loudly and repeatedly.

Now the way for you to cope is to buck up and realize that you did not raise a saint.

If her own drama is only a year old and she has been seeing this other man for several months, she seems to have leapt headlong from one mess into another.

Your daughter has been hurt and she is now consciously hurting someone else.

If your daughter lives with you, it would be best for her to move out. If she is not in your household, you won’t be quite so tempted to monitor and react to her behavior.

You don’t know why she is doing this. I don’t know why she is doing this. I think it’s possible that she also doesn’t quite know why she has made this choice.

She should be meeting with a counselor.

Discussing dubious choices with a neutral therapist is much more productive than trying to defend indefensible behavior to your furious parents.

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

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

Several months ago, she was offered a truly oncein- a-lifetime opportunity to take an open-ended job of very uncertain duration overseas. This opportunity could last for several years.

I encouraged her to jump at this chance.

She has a cat that she needed to rehome, and I somewhat reluctantly offered to take the cat.

To put it simply – this is not working out. At all.

I am unhappy, but perhaps more importantly, the cat is very unhappy. I live in an apartment and am out all day at my job. The cat often seems extremely restless and almost frantic, and is quite destructive.

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

How can I best handle this?

– Unhappy Dear Unhappy: You should be honest with your family member, outlining everything you have mentioned here. Tell her that for the cat’s sake you believe that she needs to be rehomed, and let her know that you will do your utmost to find the best possible situation for the cat.

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

Dear Amy: I enjoyed your response to “Splitting,” the woman who asked if she should go with her husband to notify his parents of their impending divorce.

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

– Jealous Dear Jealous: Several readers expressed similar sardonic responses.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson. com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @ askingamy or Facebook.)