“My mother is dating our neighbour and the whole community knows”

Photo(Getty images/Gallo Images)
Photo(Getty images/Gallo Images)

My mother is dating our neighbour, who is also my friend’s father. The man stays two houses away from our home and the two are publicly seeing each other. The affair has been going on for the past five years.

I can’t bear the embarrassment. The only time I go to the shops is when it’s dark when most people are indoors. Their relationship is destroying our families. My father has since turned into a drunkard and the man’s wife is on chronic medication.

The affair has put my life on hold. I had to drop out of high school. I feel like I’m being punished for something I didn’t do. Nobody in the community wants anything to do with the two families.

My two siblings and I have even lost friends as a result of the affair. I tried talking to my mother but she doesn’t seem to care. What can I do?



You have already set a bad example to your siblings by dropping out of school. Lead by example and go back to school. Don’t let the sins of your mother destroy you and your future. She’s living her life and clearly, doesn’t care.


Go back to school first. Then let people talk because they will continue talking even if you are doing the right thing. You must never put your life on hold because of your mother’s bad behaviour.


As much as it is your duty to help your mother, you should be mindful not to compromise your own future. Go back to school so that you can ensure a better life for yourself.


Go back to school and strive to achieve your dreams. It won’t be easy but it is possible. Be kind to yourself. What is happening is not your fault and you have no control over your mother’s actions.


Psychosocial expert, Samuel Khoza from NH Trainers, a social work healthcare organization in Pretoria, says, “Your mother’s affair is embarrassing. It’s normal to find children going astray and confused when either of the parents is cheating. Not knowing what’s connecting your mother and your friend’s father or what’s causing problems between your parents is not your fault.

For this reason, it’s unfair for anyone to expect you to do something about your father’s drinking problems or the chronic medical condition of the mother of your friend. The best you can do is to look for a counsellor who can work with you to deal with your family issues. The counsellor can also help you find the best ways to get your parents to be open to you about the situation and be able to deal with your emotions and feelings.”

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