[Serious] Kids whose parents had secret lives, what were they and how did you find out?

My technologically illiterate father asked me to change his email password. The way he asked had this very strange, "just between us guys" kinda undertone that made me a little suspicious. Why would he care if my mom knew he'd changed his password (my folks were and are still married)? So while I was changing his email, I decided to read some of email.

Adult Friend Finder had sent him some spam mail asking if he'd be interested in meeting sexy women in his area and he actually replied, 'yes, very interested.' It'd be funny if it weren't my family, you know?

I do a little more snooping over the course of a couple of months I find out any number of things about my dad's secret life. The worst being that he kept a woman on the side (as in bought her an apartment and was her sugar daddy) for a number of years. I could tell exactly how long, but at least 6. That makes it seem like we're loaded, but it's not exactly like that. We were fairly well off, but in a big-ish fish in a small pound kind of way. We aren't jet setters or anything. So this is a big deal.

I agonized over the decision to expose him or not. For a while I set about gather as much evidence as I could to give to my mom in the event of a divorce. I thought about confiding in my siblings or seeking the council of my dad's brother.

Ultimately I decided to swallow the knowledge. And I'm glad I did. I don't know what my mom knew and I don't know what she knows now. But what I knew at the time was that my mom didn't have the support base to get through a divorce (my siblings lived out of state, we had no family in the area, she had few if any friends). I also knew that my dad would have wound up isolated from my siblings, and that on some level, I didn't like the idea of him possibly dying alone someday because his kids refused to see him.

I'm glad I made the decision I did. I stopped actively spying, but I can still get into his email whenever I like and I know that nothing's going on these days. My parents are happy, my siblings are happy, and most of the time I don't think about that extended period when my dad was an awful husband.

/r/AskReddit Thread