I live quite far from my parents so I only manage to visit them once or twice a year, and this time I was home for a few days over the Christmas break. My dad, who is 68, still works from home doing consultant jobs, and had trouble with his mail client. None of his mails were being sent or received, so he asked me if I could help him fix it.
While I was looking around, I happened to see an email to a woman with the text "Love you". So as to assure myself that I had seen something out of context and to set my mind at ease, I opened it. Unfortunately it wasn't an innocent, friendly, out-of-context declaration of platonic love. With shaking hands, I typed her name into the search box and found lots of long email discussions between them, discussing life, love and everything in between. I didn't read much, I didn't stay long. I read enough to understand what was going on, and then I closed it because I felt sick. She is apparently a young woman (young enough to be her grandchild, which he even wrote himself) that he met on a business trip once. They have discussed how they have imagined making love to each other, but naturally I chose not to continue reading that email... I don't want to know things like that about my dad. I know my dad loves my mother. The other woman knows dad is married and she herself wrote that she did not want to complicate things with his "partner". But why does she then write to him about how she imagines making love to him? She knows dad loves my mother, but writes to assure him that it is okay for him to love her too, as she says it is okay to love more than one person. My parents have been married over 25 years, and I understand that hey, 25 years is a long time. And I know that everyone fantasizes about someone other than their partner sometimes. But is it not still considered cheating to have an emotional relationship like this with someone else, even if it is just online? Who knows if they meet up again sometime on some other trip?
I know this would destroy my mother, so there is no chance in hell I would tell her about this. She doesn't need to know. I don't want to contact the woman (even though I'm dying to let her know that her actions with a married man HURT PEOPLE), because she would probably just tell dad about it. And I really don't want to let dad know I know either, as it would probably completely damage our relationship. I seriously doubt he even considered the idea that I might see the emails while messing with his email settings - give the guy a break, he's almost 70 and not super-hype on technology. So what do I do?
Writing this, I realize that I probably don't want to DO anything - I guess I'm more just trying to find a way of allowing myself to let go of the whole issue. Is that the right thing to do? One cannot control their parents or their choices. So… any pearls of wisdom that might help set my mind at ease? Or do I, in fact, actually have to DO something?