Poll: Should She Tell if Spouse is Cheating?


Military.com’s advice columnist Ms. Vicki recently got a letter from a college student who caught her mom in the arms of another servicemember.  The young woman’s father is currently deployed downrange.

“Every time I talk to my dad, I feel like I’m lying to him and keeping something from him that he should know,” said the college student.

Ms. Vicki advised the college student not to tell. “Something like this would devastate (your father),” wrote Ms. Vicki. “I mean, I think he has a right to know, but you can’t throw this on him right now. He has to be on his best game at all times for his protection and for everyone around him, so don’t mention it to him.”

I agreed with Ms. Vicki. Yet readers, especially male readers, were outraged.  David wrote, “The other guy needs to be punished for adultery and the servicemember deserves to know!!”

Ray concurred.  “If this is a service member was indeed sexually involved with her mom, then UCMJ would define him as an adulterer, and could punish him accordingly. It might be worth the daughter having a talk with the unit commander.”

Dan objected because it caused the daughter to lie to her father. Dan wrote, “I have been deployed.  I felt betrayed when my family withheld information from me.”

When I spoke to Ms. Vicki, she said that she stood by her advice.  For her the central point in the letter was that the father was downrange. Also, Ms. Vicki said she was well aware of the UCMJ restrictions, but that the code on adultery is very hard to enforce.

That’s why Ms. Vicki wants to know what you think, Readers.  Should the daughter tell her dad that her mom is having an affair?

Take our poll below and then check out the results.



About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on CNN.com, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.

21 Comments on "Poll: Should She Tell if Spouse is Cheating?"

  1. The daughter needs to find an advocate to confide in and take action for her. No child should be put in this kind of position. She needs a third-party to take the action of telling, seeking justice, etc. The situation is wrong, but it's wrong to ask a daughter to bear this burden.

    • This is exactly what my daughter did. She found an advocate, actually several. After getting all the facts straight, all of us confronted my ex-husband. He denied EVERYTHING, even though we had emails, and pictures.
      This daughter unfortunately may feel guilty, "if," her parents marriage is ended in divorce. My daughter does, and I assure her that it is not her fault that her father CHOSE to turn his back on his vows.
      She also was a college student at the time.

    • jenschwab, sorry I hit the neg button by mistake, kbm. tks

  2. I agree not telling him while he is down range but she needs to confront her mother and if mom doesn't stop then to let her dad know when he gets home. It's too dangerous for the dad to hear something like that while down range. But before the daughter says anything to her dad she needs to understand what would or could possibly happen and she has to be ok with the outcome of wither saying something or not.

  3. sabrinacking | February 26, 2013 at 6:49 pm |

    The main thing about this that bothers me is our children are NOT our peers. We will put this faux pas directly in the mother's court. How on Earth does her daughter know she is having an affair…we can presume a lot about the situation….the very one thing I hope this young woman learns from this experience is when she has children…your children are not your peers.
    I voted F No. She should not tell her dad downrange. I also hope the priest or chaplain she speaks with explains her role as a daughter, not peer to her parents so she can take that lesson into her own child rearing.

    • I do not agree. Once your children are out of the house they are adults and therefore your peers. That is what parents should be raising their kids to be, responsible and moral citizens who will one day be their peers. If children reach adulthood and never become their parents peers then why should elderly parents expect their adult children to care for them when they are unable to care for themselves. That is a double standard, you are adult enough to care for me when I can't care for myself because of old age, but you are not adult enough to call me out when my actions are morally wrong and hurting others. I do not think she should tell her dad while he is downrange, but she should insist on her mother stopping the relationship and confessing to her dad herself and hold her responsible for whatever damage her actions cause. She can't make her mother do anything, but she should speak up and let her mother know that her actions are wrong and that she is not only damaging her marital relationship, but their relationship also.

      • sabrinacking | March 6, 2013 at 8:47 pm |

        I absolutely disagree, your children are never your peers. And sadly, if you treat your elderly parents like children..that says something really unnatural about your idea of elders. However, you missed the intent of my point. My point was parents should not involve their children, even their college age children in their relationship. Her mother is a nincompoop on various levels.

      • Love what you say Stacey!

  4. T. Keene-Latham | March 2, 2013 at 10:43 am |

    To me, it doesn't matter if it was the daughter, sister, or mother of the cheating wife that found out; I would not tell until the soldier came home. That kind of stress could get him, or others in his unit, killed, and that is NOT a joke.

    Our soldiers cannot afford that kind of stress and distraction when they are faced with the daily possibility of having to make split-second life-and-death decisions.

    Yes, the husband unquestionably has every right to know as soon as possible that his wife is being unfaithful, HOWEVER, that should be interpreted to be the soonest possible SAFE time to tell him, when his frame of mind or possible reactions (loss of temper, depression, general stress and/or distraction) is not going to put him or others into danger.

  5. I do not understand why every one automatically assumes the wife is unfaithful. Maybe she has her husbands permission to play during deployments? Maybe they have an arrangement where they both can during deployments? What it comes down to is that it is none of the daughters business.

  6. I agree to a point, but this was a college kid and therefore none of her business who her parents sleep with. The day my kids left the house they turned in their keys. There would be no just walking in here. But then both my daughters know that during deployments both me and their mother downrange has permission to play. They do not live at home so it is really none of their business but we see no reason to hide it. The 12 year old on the other hand doesn't know and goes to a baby sitters when we have company over to play with.

  7. Cheating is cheating and put yourself in that situation. it is devastating when it happens. If MOM is not gonna stop then it should reported. If she/he promises to stop then reconsider telling. But adultery is a terrible thing and i ask anyone out there who is doing it to stop and work on your marriage before degrading yourself.

  8. ArmywifeNavymom | March 13, 2013 at 12:22 pm |

    This story is extremely heartbreaking for this young girl. My personal advice would be that she should go to the man's commander and report the affair. She should give her mom an ultimatum; fess up to her dad or she will tell her himself. Also, her mother put her own daughter in this situation by conducting the affair in their home. Although her mother says its not her business…. she just made it her business by walking in to her own home and seeing what she saw. As far as the younger siblings go, she shouldn't get them involved at this point, especially if they are younger than her. It's already been a devastating situation for her and hard to handle so it would be that much harder for the younger siblings. Although her dad has every right to now about the situation, telling him by phone doesn't seem appropriate.Our soldiers already have enough to deal with overseas; i.e. being away from kids, family, friends… and with the suicide rate of our soldiers on the rise, it may put him in emotional turmoil. Unfortunately, in situations like these, our emotions can sometimes take over our mind to conduct clear, rational thinking.

  9. ArmywifeNavymom | March 13, 2013 at 12:24 pm |

    continued comment from above….. Also, I do not think her dad with think any less of her by not telling him while he was overseas. The rationale in that is that her dad would have to endure the fact his daughter is having to take on this burden while he is out of the country. In the end, their relationship will become even stronger. I don't know how much longer he has overseas, but when he came home, she should absolutely tell her dad. And, I would tell him whether the affair ended or not. Bottom line…. NO ONE likes to be cheated on and it breaks my heart that while her dad is serving his country, protecting American citizens, her mother has chosen to have an affair, with another soldier mind you, committing a very selfish act. If you are THAT lonely, or is someone who constantly NEEDS affirmation from a man, then DON"T BE MARRIED!!!!

  10. ArmywifeNavymom | March 13, 2013 at 12:24 pm |

    Continued….. And for the college student; pray for guidance, seek counseling to help you deal emotionally; I am so sorry that you are having to be in such a difficult situation. My prayers will be with you. Psalms 34:17-20 "The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. (NIV)

  11. how hypocritical, the army is on a which hunt of sexual misconduct but if its a spouse, of a deployed soldier, caught with another servicemen, then no lets make an exception.

  12. It is none of the daughters business.

    That aside, adultery is against the UCMJ. Report the soldier.

    It would be a sorry family for the children to be used as spies on the parents regardless of the intent of it being on purpose or not.

  13. sorry, hit neg button by mistake..kbm

  14. trenee2001mi | February 26, 2013 at 1:49 pm |

    I agree-we can never know what's going on in a relationship, and the description that the mom was found "in another's arms" is vague-was it an affair, or was is a good friend consoling the other friend due to problems in her marriage? Many marriages have survived these things, and if we are not living in that relationship, we should keep quiet. Does she want to be the reason her parents divorce? Or might it be worth it to just talk to mom, but otherwise not say anything to further jeopardize her parents' marriage, if there's a chance they could work things out? Also, if it was just a hug of a good friend, then accusing could jeopardize the marriage unnecessarily.

  15. I completely agree. She needs to confront the mother first. Her parents might have an arrangement where they are both allowed to be with other people during the deployment. If she goes to command she may end up getting both her parents in trouble if they have such an arrangement. And don't go getting your dander up because this does happen a lot both at home and down range, we just do not advertise it since command is still in the dark ages and thinks we can only sleep with our spouses. With or without permission however the parent should not be told while deployed. They have enough to worry about without adding this to the list.

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