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This Woman Just Caught Her Dad Having An Affair — Should She Expose Him?

"He continues to cheat on his wife in plain sight."

Hello, world. My name's Stephen LaConte, I'm a writer here at BuzzFeed, and according to my friends and family, I'm pretty darn good at giving advice.

So I've invited readers like you to message me on Instagram and Twitter (@StephenLC in both places) with your biggest problems — and I'm solving 'em right here on BuzzFeed, one DM at a time. Let's get right to it.

Today we've got this woman, who just caught her father having an affair. Should she confront her dad, alert her stepmom, or keep her mouth shut entirely? Here's what she wrote to me:

Screenshot of a DM from a woman who caught her father sexting another woman. She wants to know whether she should expose the affair to his wife, her stepmom, who she has a tense relationship with.

There are times when exposing an affair is absolutely the right move, and times when it's best to just stay out of it. I think this one sits squarely in the "stay out of it" category. Let's break down why.

First and foremost, there's the fact that you and your dad's wife have not had the best relationship. I worry that if you insert yourself in the middle of their marital problems — either by confronting your dad or by tipping off your stepmom — your motives for doing so are going to be questioned. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), you're probably not a good candidate for this job.

A stepmom and stepdaughter fighting.

Second, there's the fact that your dad is not at all discreet about his behavior and he does all this stuff "in plain sight." Let's be honest: If you've observed his not-so-secret sexting, it's very likely that your stepmom has noticed it too. I'm guessing that she's already aware of what her husband's been up to and that, for whatever reason, she chooses to look the other way.

Older man looking at phone

Frankly, it sounds as if your dad and stepmom don't have an honest or communicative marriage — and if they'd both rather perform this charade of pretending as if everything's fine, then forcing them into a conversation about the sexting is unlikely to fix anything. What it is likely to do is give them a common enemy to unite behind so that they don't have to face their actual problems — and that enemy would be you.

A woman scrolling through a phone, distraught

Yes, I think one very likely outcome here, if you choose to expose the affair, is that you will ultimately be painted as the bad guy when all is said and done. Now, just to be clear, that would be totally unfair to you and not at all rooted in reality. But it's a real possibility nonetheless, and one you need to consider before moving forward.

A daughter turning away from a father in anger

Sometimes, when a couple is really committed to a toxic dynamic, they'll outright reject the reality of what's going on and make villains out of anyone who tries to get them to see it. Now, in some cases, it's important to intervene anyway, such as if there's emotional or physical abuse in the relationship. But in this specific situation, with a husband who likes to sext and a wife who seemingly prefers to ignore it, I don't think there's any moral imperative for you to get involved here — and given your troubled history with this woman, you've got more than enough reasons to stay out of it altogether.

So no, I would not approach your dad or your stepmom about what you've witnessed here. It's not your job to make your dad stay faithful in his relationship; nor is it your job to convince your stepmom to take her head out of the sand and confront him. They're both adults capable of making their own decisions, good and bad.

And one last thing to consider before you go: Is it possible that your dad and stepmom have some sort of arrangement where this actually...isn't cheating? It would certainly explain why he's so brazen with his sexting (although he still shouldn't be doing it when you're in the room, no matter how OK it may be within the rules of his marriage). I know that most people probably don't prefer to view their parents as, like, swingers, but hey! It does happen.

A woman looking over her father's shoulder at his phone in anger

The GOOD news is, you don't ever have to find out the answer to that question, because it's simply not your business. None of this is. At the end of the day, their marriage is their problem and, mercifully, not yours.

TL;DR: I'd stay out of this one.

That's all the advice I'm giving today, folks, but if you've got any words of wisdom for our DMer, share them in the comments! I'll be reading...

Want more advice and updates on previous DMers? Follow me on Instagram and Twitter (@StephenLC in both places). And if you want to submit a question to be featured in the column, DM me — just be sure to read the rules below first.