Annie's Mailbox for July 8, 2011: Ready to confront daughter about affair

Dear Annie: I recently found out that my 27-year-old married daughter is having an affair with her 40-year-old boss. He is married and has two children. She doesn't know that I know.

I warned her to be careful when I noticed that she and her boss sometimes work late. I told her that when I was her age, I did some things I was not proud of. I also sent her articles about people having affairs. I told her it was wrong and people would get hurt. I have tried to give her as much advice as I could without letting on about what I know, but now I think it's time to tell her.

I do not want to do this over the phone, so I am waiting for the vacation we are taking with her and her husband in a few weeks. This has truly been a shock to me because I thought I had taught her better than this. Before she married, her father and I separated for a year. I never told her that he was seeing someone else.

So far, I have told no one about my daughter's affair, but I want to confide in my husband. How should I handle this?

— Puzzled

Dear Puzzled: Talk to your daughter. We are hoping you are wrong about the affair, but either way, rest assured, your previous warnings have not gone unnoticed. If you think her father could help convince her to end things, you should discuss your concerns with him. Beyond that, sorry to say, the choice is hers, good or bad. Sometimes we simply have to let our children fall down and pick themselves up.

Dear Annie: My brother, an irresponsible, selfish and self-centered person, divorced my sister-in-law a number of years ago, stating she was "not fun" anymore, that she never allowed him to buy all the things he wanted, and that she had gained weight. While he danced through life at everyone else's expense, his poor wife was left with all the heavy lifting in their relationship, including raising the children. (By the way, my brother, who has struggled with alcohol and emotional issues his whole life, also has a weight problem.)

My brother bounced from one job to another, always spending more than he earned. It was heartbreaking to watch my sister-in-law become a shell of the person she once was. And when she was totally and completely drained, he filed for divorce.

When he discovered I was still in contact with my ex-sister-in-law, he called me "The Bad Sister" and stopped speaking to me. He pestered his daughters for a photo of himself so he could post it to a dating website, and he started seeing other women before the divorce was finalized. I was ashamed of his behavior.

I wish I could mend the fence my brother has put up, but I refuse to abandon my sister-in-law, who is not only one of my closest friends, but the mother of my two beautiful nieces. Please tell your readers to think about the hearts of others before issuing ultimatums that force people to choose sides in a divorce. More often than not, it's the hearts of the children that break.

— Loving Aunt in Connecticut

Dear Aunt: We hope our readers are listening. Thank you.

Dear Annie: "Crying in California" was upset that she did not receive a condolence card from the doctor after her daughter died. My wife, age 56, passed away just over a year ago after an 18-month battle with lung cancer. Her oncologist at the Lack's Cancer Center in Grand Rapids, Mich., as well as his staff and her chemotherapy nurse all sent cards. Those cards meant a great deal to me.

— J.T.

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