How to cope if you find mum or dad on the Ashley Madison cheaters list
Don’t call Jeremy Kyle just yet
Today dirty details of over 32 million users were leaked from dating site Ashley Madison – a website for extra-marital affairs.
The sordid cheating service tells users: “Life is short. Have an affair” – and earlier today The Tab exposed 164 uni staff and lecturers as being signed up to the site.
But what if you spot your mum or dad’s name on the cheaters list and discover they are having an affair?
We spoke to relationship expert Denise Knowles, a councillor for the charity Relate on how to handle finding your parents on the site and what to do if you walk in on affair.
What do you do if you find your mum or dad on the leaked cheaters list?
Seeing your parents names on Ashley Madison is an earth-shattering nightmare, but Denise says you should stay calm and don’t panic.
She told The Tab: “First and foremost, don’t immediately roll in and say to mum or dad ‘what the hell do you think you’re doing’. There may be a situation that you are totally unaware of.
“Finding somebody close to you like that on a website is awful and you will be shocked and have an emotional reaction.”
Denise added: “Don’t go and say ‘hey dad guess what’ because they may well have already discussed it.
“It could bring up all sorts of other questions about your parents – can you trust anything they say or do and how long has this been going on?
“In the past somebody even said to me ‘I don’t know if my dad is my dad and my mum is my mum any more’.”
Searching for your parents on Ashley Madison could be dangerous in the first place
Taking a peek at the list to spot if your parents are on there could be dangerous in itself, especially if you mention it at the dinner table.
Denise said: “Obviously then they will know you have been looking on these websites and put their name is to see if they were there.”
She added: “How are you going to deal with a parents’ reaction?
“If you look, be very careful what you might find and you don’t know how you’re to react.”
What are the signs your mum or dad is having an affair?
It’s not the same as having a boyfriend or girlfriend cheat as you’re not part of your parents’ relationship.
Denise said: “If you notice any change in one or other of their behaviour it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s an affair and there could be strains at work.
“Or they could just be falling out with one another. It’s important to not go in all guns blazing.
“Just say you’ve noticed they’ve been spending a lot of time away from home and are not doing as much as they used to do together.”
Denise added: “Be tentative in your enquiry and do not jump to conclusions.
“What you want to do is be supportive if something is happening. It’s not a good idea to talk to their friends – ‘your mate is on such and such’.
“What you’re doing is taking a private matter and putting in into the public arena.”
What if you find your mates’ mum or dad on a dating site for cheaters?
Denise said: “You might go to your friend and tell them – and they might have known about it for years. You don’t always know what’s what.
“They might even ask what the hell you’re doing even looking at that website and looking up their parents.
“You also need to be considerate of your friend – it’s a very tricky one and depends very much on the level of friendship you have.
“Whenever you throw a hand grenade into a situation you’ve got to be ready for the fallout.”
It’s worse if you walk in on them in the bedroom
It happens at least once in every romcom, but it’s possible to walk in on an affair in real life too.
Denise said: “If you physically walk in on something the reaction of the couple may well confirm or query for you what’s happening.
“It’s perfectly reasonable to ask ‘what the heck is going on?'”
When catching them in the act rather than seeing their name on a leaked website list, tensions are likely to be much higher.
Denise added: “You’re potentially holding a secret and it’s important to get your head straight. If you go running straight away to mum or dad you’re doing so in an emotional state. Take a wee bit of time just to settle.
“Make a considered decision rather than a knee-jerk one.”
Is it a good idea to tell your brother or sister?
It’s their mum and dad too, but Denise thinks you should be careful about telling your siblings – especially if they’re younger than you.
She said: “Honestly is often the best policy, but we have to make sure what we’re seeing or experiencing is honest too.
“You have to consider how others will feel.
“If I’d been in this situation and told my sister, her reaction would have been to go and shoot someone. But at a later date she may have been able to look back and understand.
“It’s about knowing your siblings and knowing people you might be able to share the information with.”
What if you know the person mum or dad is cheating with?
Denise said: “If you know the person it somehow feels like a double betrayal – it’s not just a parent but maybe a friend.
“Sometimes you think they should know better. They’ve accepted your hospitality and they’ve done things for you – thinking ‘this is a bit wicked, you used to look after me when I was a kid’.”
For counselling, suport and information on relationships contact Relate.