A few months ago someone sent in a story about her father who cheated on her mother and how that might have scarred her for life. How it might have taken away the possibility of trust and love from her, forever. I have turned that story into a short film, called “BABA DON’T GO”.
But disturbed by that, as I began to collect stories, it shocked me how many came in. How each one had built some sort of unhealthy coping mechanism/rationale for making sense of it all.
Here are a few that will show you how, infidelity among parents (not divorce, not separation) effects children. What happens to children when their own parents are untrustworthy and their homes un-safe.
“I saw my father do it twice. First time I was so young and the second time I was in my teens and my mother didn’t even know about it, only I knew and I felt so helpless and that threw me in depression
And it completely shaped how I’m today as a person. The severe trust issues and insecurities. It ruined my childhood. And I hate to admit this about my dead father but I’m scarred for life.”
K, 21 years old
“I remember being a little girl when I overheard my mother mentioning to a young, unmarried German-born Pakistani woman, how she has come to accept that my father “strays once in a while” and that that’s “just the way it goes with most men” and that there’s strength in accepting that and still striving to be the best wife, to take it with dignity and to know your own worth doesn’t lessen from it. Life and marriage can still be beautiful and this is just a part of it.
She was a very prideful woman so it wasn’t really acceptance of defeat I think but more like she couldn’t accept defeat which is why she took it as a challenge to not let it bring her down… Difficult to describe, but the message and sentiment she conveyed was not of defeat but of resistance and of rising above things. Which obviously doesn’t make a cheating spouse right. She would sometimes tell me the same theory of hers but she wouldn’t mention my father, more like a general lesson. To be fair: I don’t judge the situation. I don’t have any proof for anything and this is a marital matter and I don’t let it color my feelings for my father. My mother tried to make sure I wouldn’t, now that I look back at it. But it definitely affected my now 9 year long relationship with my boyfriend (also German-born Pakistani). He has already cheated on me once a few years ago and as of yesterday I have a feeling he is doing it again. I forgave him back then because in my mind the positives overpowered the negatives and he seemed very sorry and regretful. I have not yet confronted him with my doubts yet because he’s away for work, but it’s a huge internal struggle, my stupid brain is still trying to convince me that even if he cheated, my reaction should be according to whether he’s sorry/regretful or not. It’s so twisted.
It’s still fresh so I have a weird mental disconnect to it at the moment, can’t really process it and also don’t want to accuse him of something I’m not sure of. But intuition was always right so far, I do absolutely think my tolerance stems from my mother’s behavior about the whole thing. I pride myself on being an amazing partner too (if I may say so myself). I do get out of my way to make sure he’s happy and feels loved and I don’t think I could ever cheat on him. I guess tolerating his bullshit plays into that too. It’s a huge mental struggle these days, trying to decide where to go with this relationship. Asked God real hard to just help me end it if we’re not meant to keep each other happy so I’m nervous but also strengthened about whatever may come”
Z, 26 years old
“It all started on my parents’ wedding day; my mother saw my father physically involved with his cousin (I don’t know details). My mother learnt to stay quiet from there on. She was well educated and my father not so much, their backgrounds were so different; my mother didn’t know how to respond to the filth around her. Years later, he continued to have affairs/one night stands with bar dancers in Dubai. He was working there and wouldn’t even send us money back home. My mother sold her jewelry to sustain us. When my father returned he got into a relationship with a girl my age; my mother even went up to that girl to plead with her, but to no result.
I happened to hear a call recording between her and my father. My mother was playing it when I took the phone from her. It was the most embarrassing and soul shattering experience. Thereafter, after 20 years of marriage my father also asked my mother to leave and left us by ourselves. I don’t know if I can ever view relationships and marriages in a positive light ever.”
S, 21 years