by Dan Savage
on Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 2:52 PM
I have been having an affair with a close family friend for three years. We're committed to staying in our marriages but have higher sex drives than our spouses. Recently, my "girlfriend" went on vacation with her family. We had been exchanging racy Gmail chats and some rated-R pictures while she was away. Basically, last weekend, I forgot to log out of my Gmail account, and my 15-year-old daughter and her best friend intercepted a raunchy Gmail chat from my girlfriend. They impersonated me to figure out her identity, and when she sent racy pictures with her face in them—they were very explicit pictures—they forwarded them to her husband, her two kids, her parents, and several mutual friends.
My girlfriend is humiliated, our spouses are devestated. My girlfriend's children all saw the pics, as did her parents and of course her husband. Our marriages might be over. My question is: My daughter should be punished, right? I am furious and disgusted by her cruel behavior, and I don't want her to see her best friend anymore. I cannot believe how badly she violated my privacy and my girlfriend's. Yes, I had an affair, which is wrong and hurtful, and which I will do anything to make up to my wife. But I am her parent, and she showed a flagrent lack of respect for the basic humanity of others. I want to ground her for a year and send her to live with her grandparents during the summer; my wife won't hear of it and thinks that, at worst, my daughter should be forced to do community work. She also thinks it's my fault for being so careless with my information and for exposing our daughter to such "smut."
What should we do?
About to get on a plane, running out of battery power, I dipped into the mail looking for a quick-and-easy candidate for the SLLOTD. Your letter is definitely the letter of the day—holy shit—but I don't have time to recover from the shock and formulate a useful response, FUBARD, before the doors close/the battery runs out.
So I'm turning you over to the mob
Any advice for FUBARD, Sloggers? Spare him the lectures about the cheating, about how he and his girlfriend got what they deserved, about closing his email after he uses a communal computer, etc., etc., and stick to the subject at hand: What's the appropriate punishment—if any—for his daughter?
My quick two cents: I personally think that FUBARD should recuse himself and leave any and all decisions about punishment in the hands of the wife. I also think he should probably move out now. What do you think, Sloggers? (And, yes, I realize that this is all ultimately my fault, since I don't think cheating is wrong under all circumstances.)
(Folks who read the SLLOTD on the SLAP can click here to join the discussion.)