SL Letter of the Day: Have At It, Gang

Comments

1
Let your wife handle any punishment she deems necessary. You voided your parental duty to reprimand your daughter for violating your privacy when you made the decision to take the course of action that lead you here.

Don't move out without talking to your family first though. You're not being offered a free ride to do as you please. You have responsibilities to your family that you really just need to man up and accept.
2
He is in no position to impose morality on anyone right now. He violated not only his wife's trust, but that of his daughter as well. She did what most teens would be inclined to do under such circumstances - out the hypocrit - and I don't blame her.

Yeah, if the mom wants to assign some sort of moral of the story, then that's her call.
3
Oh my.

One would hope the daughter would have been more considerate of the woman's children, at the very least. Hurt the woman by sending the pictures to the husband- even her parents, fine. But to HER children? That's her lashing out and trying to hurt this woman and her family as much as she perceives this woman hurt her (the teen) and her family.

I don't think the mother may be the most impartial judge of how to apply consequences here, either. Dad is definitely not. What's a logical consequence here? She did invade someone else's privacy and posed as her father online.

Really, though, I think all this may be punishment enough. This kid is going to be very angry with her father for a very long time. Dad should be more concerned at getting the family into counseling for damage control than with throwing the book at his daughter, who is hurting and lashed out- all because of his affair & carelessness.
4
Dude-- you're toast. Your daughter's faith in men has probably been wiped out, and in her eyes, you've been betraying the family.

Trying to "punish" her now, especially since you're still harboring fantasies of not losing your family will only do one thing-- insure that the next time she speaks to you is 20 years from now at her wedding, and you'll be lucky if it's that early.

Seriously, move out, start damage control, and realize that your "higher sex drive" just torpedoed your relationship with your family.
5
Holy fucking shit, FUBAR D, are you NUTS!?!
6
Why the fuck are you concerned with what's an appropriate punishment for your daughter when your life has just exploded?
7
If they live in Virginia, maybe he can get the local prosecutor to throw the daughter in jail for "sexting"? More seriously, WTF is FUBARD doing worrying about "punishing" his daughter? What a dildo!
8
Your daughter did what any teenager would do, and probably has done.

And there is nothing teenagers hate worse than a hypocrite. So here's what you say: I did something wrong in concealing pertinent info from my wife, and the consequence to this is that I am moving out, your mother and I are going to counseling, and in general my life is a mess. You did something wrong too, in revealing sensitive information to far too many people. The natural consequence of that is that your dad is going to move out, your family is most likely going to be a subject of discussion at your school, and you will probably have trust issues with both of your parents for a while. In general, your life will be more of a mess than it could have been. You'll live, and you'll learn."

Repeat: "That your mom and I are having issues is not your fault. That it blew up this badly kinda is. So sorry that that will suck for you to deal with."

enough punishment.

9
Yeeeeaaaaahhhhhh...I think if you're cheating you have an obligation to not get sloppy about it. Dude: you got sloppy. This is on you, so fucking own it.
10
Here's the thing: Your anger is a reaction of self-preservation. The punishment you're suggesting is incongruous with the crime. If this was a prank pulled by one of your college friends you'd be annoyed and shrug it off after a few months.

All punishment decisions SHOULD be made by the wife in this situation, there's no doubt about that. However, there is also no doubt that the daughter should indeed be punished. The danger here is that the wife may be rewarding the child for behavior that in any other circumstance would be considered abhorrent. That shouldn't be allowed to stand simply because she was essentially the beneficiary in this situation (although I cringe at using that word to describe what happened to her).
11
The daughter should be "punished" with you paying in advance for a good therapist. You've raped her ability to ever have a decent relationship with a male, probably forever. You are a hypocrite of the highest order. You took the risk of destroying two families, both with children, and when you got caught, you want to punish the person who caught you? Leave. Get as far away from this poor kid as you can before you do more damage. If you believe in a deity, pray it sends her someone worthy of her respect to help her deal with the rest of her life. She held a mirror up to you, you first-class asshole, and you want to punish her because you don't like what you saw? Your radical self-absorption screams "addiction," so get your ass to AA or NA while you're at it. You are a despicable human being who is unworthy to have such an intelligent, passionate child anywhere near your life, much less living in your house. Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney, and Rick Santorum are more worthy of your daughter's respect than you are. I hope you get exactly what you need to learn how horrible a human being you really are and what you really deserve, which is the worst possible curse I could ever wish on the likes of you.
12
There's no right to privacy from your kids. Anything you bring into their lives is your fault.

Teenagers are an elemental force when it comes to information distribution. Be grateful the photos didn't end up as a youtube slideshow.
13
The wife is just as emotionally involved as the husband, I'm not sure why she's somehow magically more able to judge.
14
dude doesn't have a moral leg to stand on. let the wife do it. not even sure the daughter deserves any punishment at all. she shouldn't have been put in that position in the first place. it is fubard's fault if anyone got hurt.
fubard is a complete ass for even asking.
15
The daughter definitely needs to be punished. What she did was understandable in the sense that she was likely extremely traumatized by what she found; 15-year-olds aren't known for their cool-headedness and maturity in situations like this. But impersonating her dad and then forwarding the pictures to his girlfriend's parents and children? That crosses a line of basic human decency. Yes, dad fucked up - big time. But 15 is old enough to have at least a scrap of empathy.

Community work is a good place to start. Separating her from her friend might not be a bad idea, but is unlikely to work and likely to backfire. She needs to understand the gravity of her actions, and that things in the world of adults are not as black and white as they appear at 15. I think that, while the wife should have input on any punishment, the dad should also have a say. Parents, even when they make bad decisions (with a few notable exceptions), still need to have the ultimate authority. Doing this sort of thing to her father with little to no consequences now will make her think that this is an acceptable way to handle morally fraught situations in the future. She needs to know that while yes, she and many others were hurt by her dad's actions, her behavior was completely unacceptable.
16
Okay, FUBARD. You dun goof'd, and your daughter backtraced your something-on-the-side. I say let your wife handle it, as you don't really have much moral standing in your family any more. Don't try to be the cyber police, or even just the state police, in your household; just remove yourself from the situation and work things out with your (possibly soon-to-be ex-) wife before you reengage with your children.
17
You've screwed up her family life at an incredibly formative age, you've probably warped all of her future relationships with men - and you want to give the kid *additional* punishment? All she's done is to react exactly like a teenage girl can be relied on to do at the sort of stimulus you were careless enough to let her fall upon.

There's a trope that says that people who let themselves get caught as easily as you did meant, at some subconscious level, to get caught. Perhaps this will clarify some issues about how to live your life for you. But give your kid a break; all she's done is to act according to the same set of morals you probably had at her age.
18
your daughter committed a completely unspeakable act in response to what she perceived as your own completely unspeakable act. punishment? imo, no. a long, LOOOOOONG series of talks about how what both of you did was completely fucked to the 9s followed by what it means to be a human & have conflicting needs & desires & how you have to manage the affects of your actions on others. if you play it right, over the long haul, it could be the beginning of a quality adult relationship w/ your child.
19
Comment 8 hits the right balance. Honestly, the mess her life is about to become is punishment enough. This is a case where she'll discover a very straight line between actions and consequences. There's no need to make that more explicit to her.
20
Offer to move out. Let your wife know that whichever way she decides, you will abide by her decision -- and if she changes her mind, you'll abide by that decision. And let her decide what punishment, if any, is appropriate for your daughter. You've kind of destroyed their lives, or the lives they thought they had. You have no rights in this situation.

21
So the lesson is, "people who do things we don't like deserve to be punished"? Is that really what you want to teach her right now, today? If she learns it well enough, she'll be punishing you for a very long time.

I'd go with, "people who do things we don't like deserve to be forgiven, because we love them." Forgiveness brings people together; punishment drives them apart. Which do you want?
22
Isn't the daughter punished enough by having FUBAR Dad as a parent?
23
I'm with ns. The only punishment this teen deserves is to learn that he/she cannot lash out in rage on innocent others. I think in the coming months he/she will be learning that the hard way.
24
you punished your daughter enough already, scumbag.
25
I agree with Dan that the decision should ultimately be up to your wife.

Only thing you can do is emphasize that your daughter didn't merely take this information and go to your wife, and your girlfriend's husband, or something along those lines, but she aired the dirty laundry in a very public and humiliating way. She didn't even let your wife/your girlfriend's husband decide if and how they wanted to tell mutual friends, so the embarrassment, I would think, is not limited to you and your girlfriend.

You can say it would be one thing if the only issue were that she violated your privacy and exposed the affair - you wouldn't have an argument about that. What she did went way beyond that, and she didn't even consider the feelings of the (other) people who were wronged and hurt by your affair.

I would agree some punishment is in order, but grounding her for a year, sending her to her grandparents and disallowing her from seeing her best friend? Sorry, but that's just you being angry about getting caught, and not about what she did, and is way disproportional. Your wife's punishment sounds much more reasonable. What I said above is, I think, the best case you can make to your wife for a harsher punishment, but don't be surprised if what your wife decides on isn't any worse than what she originally proposed.
26
General agreement that the CPOS has no right to enforce penalties because, he has no moral high ground to stand on. Your daughter doesn't trust your integrity, you CPOS, and that makes you an ineffective disciplinary. If you want her to learn any lesson other than "adults are hypocrite bastards" let the only parent with a shred of credibility dole out the punishments.
27
I think his daughter, at worse, should be left alone. She was traumatised enough by what she found out about her dishonest, cheating liar of a father. At best I'd give her an award, a nice trip to the mall would do. Her father is an irresponsible ass who carelessly and thoughtlessly hurt two families. I have no respect for men who lie, cheat and think they deserve a family. You, sir, are a rat!
28
This guy is blaming his daughter for his bad behavior, and clearly want to figure out how to justify it.
29
FUBAR, you fucked up and you are trying to pin even a tiny portion of the responsibility on a completely innocent child. I think you are in complete denial that your affair not only was a betrayal of your wife, but also your daughter. She no doubt had fantasies about the kind of life she wanted to live, with a family as stable and good as the one she was growing up in, and those perfectly respectable, necessary dreams were ripped out of her 15 year old psyche in as brutal a way as possible, thanks to your careless schlong-focused brain. YOU'RE HER FUCKING FATHER AND SHE IS 15 YEARS OLD. She is at the stage in her life when she is forming all the critical, life-long visions of what men should be like, how they should treat her, etc. What you should do? Beg her forgiveness, tell her you were wrong, and ask if she would deign to go to counseling with you. Make it clear that all of these steps would be to you a huge favor, and to her evidence that she is a SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER PERSON THAN YOU. In this way you may rescue her from a lifetime of failed, if not outright abusive, relationships.

You should do all of the same with the wife, but the daughter has her own separate and distinct trauma to work through, and you owe it to her to recognize that.

Punish her? Fuck you.
30
If your life just imploded while simultaneously shitting on you, and you're worried about punishing your daughter for orchestrating it, you're motivated by revenge. And no parent motivated by revenge should ever be allowed to punish a kid. That's why you count to ten before spanking (if you're a parent who spanks; I'm not).

But to answer the original question: you can't punish her for a lack of respect, cruelty, disregard for basic humanity, when absolutely nothing you have done was ANY different. You used your "higher sex drive" to rationalize fucking around, it destroyed 2 families, and in her pain and shock and betrayal your daughter lashed out. What she did was way less than what you did, and it was age appropriate to boot. Let your wife handle it and walk off with your tail between your legs.
31
Cut off the daughter's internet access. Close any social network accounts. Give her a dumb phone that can be used to make calls but not send pictures or texts.

The internet can be used to wreck lives. Is she going to do this to her frienemies at school? Will she be on the same slut-shaming kick as the kids who forward around private photos that leak out?

Time to learn right from wrong.
32
Movies, songs, and tv shows really celebrate people catching/punishing/getting revenge on cheaters so I don't think there's any way you can make her see her actions as wrong. You can punish her and make her feel like a martyr or you can try to make her consider other aspects of the situation and all the factors she didn't know and maybe make her think twice in the future.

What your daughter did had hurtful, cruel consequences and it might be wise to emphasize to her, although I don't know how effective any argument will be coming from you since your credibility with her has been severely damaged, but somebody should talk to her about consequences, as in, how must that woman's children feel seeing the pictures and would she want to be ambushed by pictures like that of her parents, and that while she was right that this was an affair and you were cheating on her mom, that's not an assumption she should automatically make. What if it had been a consensual affair and your wife and the woman's husband knew about it and no one was doing anything wrong? Then it would have been cruel and uncalled for for her to send the pictures to that woman's friends, kids, and folks. Maybe it would have been better to talk to her mother before taking any actions, especially since the harm was being done to her mother, so it was her mother's place, and not hers, to punish the offenders.

Not that I'm saying you or the woman deserved to be punished. I'm not touching that. But I don't think you'll make any impact if you try to convince your daughter that you and the woman are wronged parties in this situation.
34
Punish away, let it come *mostly* from the wife, and make it absolutely crystal fucking clear that punishment is for lashing out at innocent people. Ya, daughter had every right to lash out at Dad, but royally fucking a whole community? Unacceptable.
35
Honestly? Your daughter is a bitch, FUBARD. And unlike many here I simply don't believe the affair was wrong. The only wrong here is the stupidity of getting careless. Regardless, though- it's rather clear and telling on the character of your daughter that she didn't at least confront you before fucking up untold lives here. Together your carelessness and her immaturity and horrible decision making skills have possibly ruined dozens of lives- instead of only possibly ruining three. As for punishment? I think she's received, and will continue to receive enough punishment from the fallout of this as it is. Her home life is shattered, your trust in her (and even your liking of her possibly) is gone, as is hers for you. Your wife is now victimized and can't possibly offer proper comfort in this situation. And now she has another family who despises her and you. I agree with others who say now is not the time for further punishment. Now is time for group therapy. Get in there and get professional help to at least restore some normalcy- knowing full well it will never be the same and that alone will be punishment enough for everyone involved- even your wife.
36
But then again, what I said is more of how to get what you want... a harsher punishment.

It might be appropriate to point out that if this were another family only that was affected by this affair (even if it was someone close to the family, and so the daughter felt she had to speak up), what she did would be a horrible way to go about it. And she would deserve punishment in that case.

In this case, your whole family's lives are messed up by what you did, and how she exposed it. As others have pointed out, she's not going to be happy in the meantime anyway. You and your wife should clearly express why what she did was awful (and exposing your affair in and of itself is not the issue), with emphasis on how it affected people *besides* you and your girlfriend. So maybe it's enough to explain that she would be punished, if not for the fact that you are more concerned about how you can all best resolve this situation (whether that entails you and your wife staying together or not).
37
Independent of FUBARD's absolutely retarded asshole behavior, holy shit, the daughter and her friend *did* behave poorly. This was a highly sensitive situation and she decided to treat it with Napalm. Lame.

That said, any punishment administered by the father will be seen, correctly or incorrectly, as revenge. He cannot administer anything even vaguely resembling punishment himself.

If, beyond all the effort the family is going to expend recovering from this scorched earth incident, there is any energy left for them to pay attention to the daughter individually, they need to make sure their reactions to her are guided in such a way as to help her process WHY what SHE did was wrong. We're not talking punishment as much as education.

Her behavior was insensitive, cruel, irresponsible, and hurtful. Not as bad as her father's ridiculous idiocy, for sure, but definitely in the same vein. What an incredibly bad plan.

Good luck with that.
38
Jesus Christ, #11.

This will only ruin his daughter's whole life if she lets it and there is no need for that at all.

And really, lying about an affair that isn't hurting anyone (until its inevitable discovery) is worse than trying to provoke people to assassinate the President or sending us into a war that costs tens of thousands of lives?
39
Move out. Find immediate, compassionate, personal and family counseling. Admit that you brought this trauma onto your family by YOUR actions and YOUR carelessness. Your absolute willingness to get caught put your young daughter in a very difficult predicament. Your knee-jerk anger towards her and your pushing blame for this train wreck onto her is rather despicable. It was your web of deceit, not your daughter's. She certainly made some poor choices, but one can hardly hold children accountable for starting a fire when the kindling and matches are set out by the parents. It appears you all have boundary issues and again, perhaps the best mediator would be a compassionate third party who can help sort this out and salvage whatever is left. I'd give your wife plenty of breathing room. It should be her decision what happens next, not yours.
40
Whatever the punishment for the daughter, it should be no more in scale and scope than the punishment of the father.
41
I can't believe all the people who are saying that the daughter doesn't deserve to be punished, just because the dad is a CPOS. She did something very very wrong. Like Forky said, the daughter didn't just quietly take the information to her mom and the girlfriend's husband and let them deal with it how they saw fit. She decided that it was her job to punish her father, and did so in a spiteful and cruel way - not just cruel to her father and the girlfriend, but cruel to her mother, the girlfriend's husband, and many family members. Furthermore, it is not the job of the child to punish the parent. She's an adolescent and, at least in this case, clearly not capable of making good choices (note: the dad didn't make good choices either - that's why dealing with punishment should be the mom's job). The daughter needs to learn that what she did was not okay.

Everyone in this family could probably use some therapy at this point, and since no one in this situation is going to be able to be an impartial observer in any sort of way, I think the mom should consult the therapist about appropriate punishment.
42
Punishment for snooping in email and impersonating her dad?

I don't know... grounded for the weekend maybe? Tell her she wouldn't like it if someone did that to her. That she should respect other people's privacy like she'd want her own privacy respected.

Teens do impulsive stuff, hopefully she'll get it and not do stuff like that again, but it may take a couple times.
43
I think it's absolutely off the wall to expect a traumatized 15 year old girl to behave in any particular way. What is appropriate to an adult who has their own freedoms, who's brain is fully developed, who understand so much more about where he/she stands in relation to people who do them wrong - it has absolutely no bearing on the very real and very traumatized reactions of this child.

To punish her for failing to stand up to a certain level of behavior in this situation is cruel in the extreme and would be the absolute end of FUBARs relationship with the girl. If mom participates, she's abedding an abuser, in my opinion.

You can't say it was dad's private business for a girl at this age. There's too much going on in the daughter/dad relationship at this age that makes this a complete and total violation. Yes, raping her would have been worse, but not much.
44
From the general tone of this comment thread no one here has ever made a bad decision or hurt a loved one. Having an affair is a terrible thing to do, but we don't know all the details. Shitting all over this guy is easy from an anonymous standpoint, but these things are complicated in the real world - there is such a thing as nuance when it comes to morality.

I'm not defending his actions, but say this guy's wife refused to put out and his sexual frustration was beginning to interfere with his ability to maintain his marriage. Of course what he did totally undermined his marriage anyway, but it's not like he just up and left his family for the sake of his own sexual satisfaction. Yes, yes, cheating is the worst thing you can ever do, blah blah blah. I'm sure none of you have ever or would ever cheat on a spouse. But even parents have sexual needs - shocking, I know! - and 15-year-olds, especially in this day and age, aren't exactly innocent children.Yes, the dad's a CPOS, but the daughter is a POS too. Parents are human and sometimes fuck up, and 15 is not too young to understand that.
45
I applaud your daughter, sir.

You lose.

Good day.
46
@44, I think everything you say is true, but it's up to the girl to come to those opinions later, with age and wisdom, not in the context of this trauma. She will learn absolutely nothing from any kind of punishment. Dad needs to grab his responsibility in this squarely by his own wandering balls and hold on tight. He can't let even an ounce of it fall onto the girl. Or he'll never be her father again.
47
Holy shit, indeed. That's a tough one. On the one hand, I agree with those who have said that your daughter has and is going to suffer enough from all this. But on the other hand, she didn't just out your girlfriend as a cheater, she destroyed her. There were only two people who "needed" to know that you and this woman were cheating: you and her husband. That your daughter would go beyond that is pretty cruel and despicable (as 15-year old girls tend to be). Maybe @18 has the right idea...a series of long talks about how you fucked up, but your daughter fucked up just as hard. Chats that uncomfortable are sure to be punishment enough for both of you.
48
I had a thing written, but #25 ForkyMcSpoon already said exactly what I was going to way better than I ever could.
49
In keeping with Dan's request to leave some things out of it and focus on the question of punishment for the girl: Don't punish her. Ever. Don't punish kids. Don't punish adults. Consequence yes. Punishment (a subset of "consequence") is torture and accomplishes nothing but the degradation of you and your victim.

My mother once set me on fire. And then she had me watch while she did my little brother. To this day I have absolutely no recollection of what the crime was. Just the punishment. It's all the same to me. You can say "she went too far" but really how is it not all part of the same thing?

Some people need help in order to behave themselves in society. Love and compassion and help. They don't need to suffer.

I am a parent. I have never punished my 12 year old son. He is among the best behaved people you will ever meet. There are other ways to have a positive influence on your kids. Maybe if you had done that from the start you wouldn't have a daughter capable of such things.
50
Do you think your failure as a parent (since you should have been paying more attention to your kid, so she wouldn't have turned out to be a POS) has anything to do with why she forwarded the photos?

In other words, while you were fucking around because of your higher sex drive, you should have been teaching your kid morality and 'how things stay on the internet forever'.

Ground her, but not for a year. Send her to her grandparents for half the summer (with a dumb phone and no internet access, since grandma won't be able to supervise her using it), and make her do community service.
51
Get a divorce, tell her it's all her fault.
52
@43 - Raping her would have been "not much" worse than allowing her to stumble on evidence of infidelity? Really? I take it you've never been raped.
53
OK, there's a couple things to think about here. What purpose do you want the punishment to serve? Is the idea to teach her that what she did has consequences, and some of them are bad? Or are you just looking for revenge?

As to teaching her that actions have consequences, I would say the punishment is not really for you to decide at this point, as you yourself are learning about consequences. In her mother's place, I would be inclined to put a very serious kibosh on the girl's access to the Internet, social media, texting, etc., until she better understands the consequences of sharing this kind of information.

If you just want revenge, you're an asshole, and sorry, you don't get revenge. You've ruined your relationship with your family because you're too much of a CPOS to have a frank discussion with your wife about your sexual needs and about opening up your marriage, and because you're too damn dumb to secure your computer. Same to your girlfriend, although why her children and parents needed to be traumatized in such a manner is beyond me. It's that bit of cruelty that makes me inclined toward recommending that your daughter be gotten into counseling. Showing that little empathy for ruining other people's lives - that would be a psychological red flag to me.

You're an idiot. And your daughter is spiteful and cruel. All this could have been avoided so easily. *sigh*
54
I'm inclined to think that counseling would be helpful for the entire family. And, that how to respond to the abusive use of technology may require a period of offline, and community service may be helpful. Still, it needs to come from mom. FUBAR Dad has eroded his relationship with his daughter too badly to present himself as a disciplinarian at the moment. FUBAR Dad needs to accept responsiblity for his actions and start apologizing. Just my quick $0.02.
55
Wow, the punishment he wishes to impose is crazy harsh. GO LIVE WITH HER GRANDMOTHER??? That is about his anger at having been exposed, not his wish to correct her behavior.
Dude, unless you want to lose your daughter entirely, get the fuck out of the way. You an apology to her WAY more than she does to you.
56
I think everyone here is being too hard on FUBARD, he had the kind of discreet affair that Dan and most of SLOG advocate in his situation (three years without anyone finding out is definitely discreet ).

I don't think the daughter should be given a concrete punishment by FUBARD, but she needs to be reprimanded in some way. He should sit down with her and say something to the effect of:

"I know I've forfeited the moral high-ground here, I lied to our family and I understand that you feel betrayed. That said, I am still your farther and it's still my job to make sure you grow up into a decent human being. What you did was excessively cruel and horrifyingly mean-spirited. Maybe that says something about how I've raised you; I'm incredibly disappointed that I raised a daughter who would do such a thing instead of confronting me or your mother discreetly. I'm still the bad guy here; maybe one day you'll understand why I did what I did - even if it wasn't right - but you need to understand *today* that what you did was wrong."
57
And Mischa, I take it you've never had your life torn apart by a parent's affair. And yes, I've been sexually assaulted, and have a sister who's been molested. I know quite a bit about what asshole adults can do to teenagers' lives. I am trying to tell you: this trauma is extremely real. Don't discount what that girl is going through, no matter how "modern" kids are today. Fubar needs to step up in a way he is clearly not prepared to do. No excuses, no denials. At least vis a vis him and the daughter. If he wants to be her father, that is.
58
So much for sparing the lectures on how you got what you deserved etc. etc. eh?

15 or not, I find her utter lack of empathy disturbing. She deliberately set out to hurt not only you and the woman (understandable) but other children and generally wreak as much havoc as possible. You did fuck up, big time. You may even deserve most of what's coming to you (I would personally need more details to know), but your daughter lashed out and hurt a whole host of people with absolutely no regard for the innoccent bystanders. That is not OK:

However I don't see punishing her as being workable. Punishment? Well, she found out daddy's a cheater and her family may be about to break apart forever. Seems like quite a lot of punishment already. I would say that she needs therapy, both to normalize possible future relationships with men and also for a professional to address any destructive tendencies she may have.
59
I'd say give the daughter a raise on her an allowance and thank the lucky stars your wife is still talking to you at all. Then move out if that's your mutual decision.
60
I also think the daughter posted to the girlfriend's family because she is a "close family friend." I read that to mean "our kids have all grown up together." So this isn't "sharing" widely, this is sending it to the other aggreived parties. Possibly someone as close as her own siblings. Again, not the best judgment, but it's the parents' carelessness that made it happen, not the predictable actions of a 15 year old girl.
61
In addition to your affair and the trauma of discovering it, having a father who is even remotely concerned about punishment at this juncture should be punishment enough for a lifetime. I cannot believe you actually wrote into SL asking about punishment versus, I dunno, how you can best proceed to not further traumatize your daughter and family, where to get the help you and your family need right now, etc.

I'm sure that your obvious and misguided sense of self-righteousness will cause you to disregard comments of this ilk. For your family's sake, I do hope that you can take a step back and recognize how completed deluded and selfish your behavior- from your affair to your reaction upon being caught- really is.
62
Haven't read the other comments yet...

I don't think she should be punished. She's already furious with you, and trying to punish her at this point will pretty much guarantee that she won't talk to you again until she's at least 30.

The poor thing was in shock, furious and devastated, and reacted in the heat of the moment. Yes it was a nasty, juvenile way to handle it, but what do you expect from a 15 year old?

Even if you do have good reasons for cheating, no teenager is going to be mature enough to understand the subtleties of that moral debate. As far as she's concerned, cheating is 100% wrong, and you've betrayed her mother.

I'm not condoning her behaviour, but I don't see how punishing her could do anything but devastate your relationship with her even further. The aftermath will certainly be more than enough "punishment".

The best thing you can do now is focus on how you're going to salvage your relationship with her.
63
Stick to the question at hand. Kid's a little bitch. Total (socio|psycho)path. Someone did a shitty job raising her.
64
You cheated. If I were your 15-year-old daughter, while I wouldn't send the pictures to mutual friends or other people's children, I would absolutely send them to my mother, and to the husband of the woman you were cheating with.

Adults may have a nuanced understanding of the morality of cheating, just as we may have a nuanced understanding of the morality of lying, etc.

Children, on the other hand, haven't learned all of that nuance yet, and are absolutely justified in believing that a parent who is cheating on and lying to their mother or father deserves to be exposed.

You're not in a position to legitimately try to talk about morality with your daughter, or impose punishment on her. In her eyes, you have lost all moral authority, and someone who attempts to punish someone without the authority to do so is a bully.

Your wife should be the one to handle this, and hopefully explain to your daughter that while she was not wrong in telling her mother that her father was cheating, the way in which she handled it has caused a lot of innocent people (her mother, your cheating partner's husband, the children on both sides and the mutual friends) extra pain in what would already have been a painful revelation.
65
"[My wife] also thinks it's my fault for being so careless with my information and for exposing our daughter to such 'smut.'" FUBAR's wife isn't wrong. No where in that letter did he take responsibility for his own actions or show signs of changing his behavior beyond logging out of this email next time. If his wife thinks a punishment for the daughter is in order then he needs to let her handle it. His only job now is owning his actions, seeking family counseling, and probably not calling the other woman his girlfriend anymore.
66
@38, saying that this affair didn't hurt anyone until its discovery is like saying jumping off a building doesn't hurt anyone until they hit the ground. This guys wife is probably DESTROYED by this, may never trust a man again, etc. Oh, but he had to get fucking laid, so it's ok. I'm not saying that all people have to be monogamous. I would not be a Dan Savage reader if I believed that. However, this guy is a fucking scumbag who has destroyed his family and deserves all the shit in the world that is coming to him.

You're right, he's not as bad as Dick Cheney, but that's not exactly saying a lot.
67
Easy. Have your wife thank your daughter for bringing the affair to her attention, but then punish her for the utter violation visited upon your mistress's children and mutual friends. At no point should she think she's being punished for unearthing your (poorly-hidden) secret.
68
I have been having an affair with a close family friend for three years.


No one's going to comment on this? The motherfucker cheated with a close family friend, the very definition of shitting where you eat. The only thing worse would've been fucking an in law. Had he done the (slightly) less shitty and the (slightly) more responsible thing, he would have found a woman completely removed from his personal life to get his needs met. Had that happened, odds are the daughter would have had less opportunity and motivation to share those pics with all and sundry.

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.


The woman couldn't separate herself from her boyfriend for one fucking family vacation? Yeah, that's so not an emotional affair.
69
He didn't have the "respect for the basic humanity of others" to end his marriage before taking up with someone else, but he expects that consideration from a traumatized child? Grow up, scumbag, and own what you did.
70
@56 FUBARD- this is EXACTLY what ou need to day. Completely true and to the point. Fantastic advice @56
71
Don't look for 'punishment', consider 'teaching' instead. This is a great time for her to learn how thoughtless actions can damage lives (your actions and hers). Don't place the blame on her. What she did was terrible, but her frontal lobe is not fully developed and the decision-making processes aren't functioning completely yet, especially when affected by anger.

So teach her about computer etiquette: explain about how impersonating someone else is very, very, wrong; explain to her how to go directly to someone with whom you have a problem, instead of allowing your anger to ruin someone else's (the girlfriend's) life (not yours, since this is a standard consequence for cheating (you are accountable to your family, but the girlfriend isn't)).

She needs to apologize to the children and parents she sent the pictures to; it's one thing to expose an affair, it's quite another to humiliate someone and cause trauma to their family members.

But before that, you need to apologize to her - big time. Not for the affair, but for leaving your emails accessible to her and making her a witness to those pictures and for putting her such a terrible position that she would feel justified in lashing out as she did.
72
Your daughter did something shitty, but she did it as a traumatized teenager reacting to something she should never have had to be involved in. It's not like it's hard to understand and I really don't think I would have done any different in the same circumstances when I was 15.

What you owe your daughter is a frank, honest talk, in which you offer both an explanation of the consequences of her decision and a sincere apology for everything you did, and, when she's ready for it, therapy so that one day she'll be able to trust men. And don't you DARE fuck up the therapy by framing it as punishment, either; you make damn sure she knows that you're doing it for her to make up for your mistakes. The parental model of betrayal you were careless enough to foist off on her will fuck her up for life if you don't handle it well.

If you treat your daughter well and do your best to make this right, one day she'll understand that her overreaction was hurtful and not the best way to react to the situation. You cannot - nor do you have any right to - teach her that lesson at this time, however. She's a teenager and not ready to learn it, and you don't have the authority to instruct her even if you had the ability.

If you can't swallow all that and act like a man, at least have the decency to walk away and get out of her life. She's better off with child support than with you taking out your guilt and resentment on her.
73
The purpose of punishment is to teach her a lesson, right? I think she got the lesson. I think cutting internet and smart phones makes lots of sense for the whole family just to help all get your lives back in order. What you need to do is to be an example and FORGIVE your daughter. For yourself and your daughter. You both saw the worst aspect of your personalities.

What she did sucks. She did it and she can't take it back. I hope you want a relationship with her the rest of your life. Then reach out to her and help rebuild the family relationship. You might actually provide her with a a great example of fucking up (you) and fixing it (you).
74
Not a parent, but FWIW, I have a hard time blaming a 15 year old girl for impulsively lashing out at her father and her father's girlfriend upon discovering their affair. Yeah, she did a terrible thing, but does anyone seriously think grounding her (or whatever) is actually going to be the thing that drives that message home?

She's going to be living in the wake of this, just like the LR will, for a long damn time. And both of them should. Punishment seems redundant and pointless, and forgiveness premature. Live with it. Try to learn from it.

And sorry, but...explicit chatting online with your illicit partner on a computer you share with your family is NOT being discreet...
75
He cheats on his wife with a "close family friend," through utter stupidity allows it to be discovered, and destroys two families. His 15 year old daughter reacts like a 15 year old girl and not like a 38 year old who's had a few years of therapy and read the oeuvre on nuanced understanding relationships (shocker). His response is that SHE should lose HER HOME, at least for the summers, HER friends, and HER entire social life/fun outlet (grounding) for a YEAR. How can anyone defend him as anything other than what he is -- a mental/emotional child abuse perpetrator at BEST? HE fucks up so SHE should lose everything because she reacted like a 15 year old girl experiencing the worst trauma of her life? And I'm another sexual assault survivor saying that what she's experienced, while not as bad as being raped, is in the ballpark. She could likely get over rape more easily. No one punishes you for being angry at your rapist, or confronting him the best way you know how. Certainly you don't risk losing a YEAR of your childhood to grounding as well as your HOME and your BEST FRIEND for speaking up.
76
(you are accountable to your family, but the girlfriend isn't)


I normally agree with this. The cheater is responsible to the person he/she made a commitment to, but, in this case, the girlfriend is a close family friend, meaning that she's been fucking over her friends for THREE years. She doesn't get a pass.
77
I agree with the people saying it isn't the father's place to punish. That doesn't mean that what the daughter did was okay, or that the father shouldn't attempt to be a father to his daughter ever again. It means that he shouldn't presume the role of adjudicator NOW. I would also agree that the father should get out ASAP for the time being, especially if that's what Mom wants.

Mom, in order to be a responsible parent, shouldn't condone what her daughter did and should explain what privacy means and the inherent fucked-upedness of sending nude photos of a woman to her own children. I'm not sure what punishment would be appropriate for that since there really isn't any way to make it up to the "girlfriend's" children, but perhaps Mom and the mother of Daughter's friend should take it upon themselves to have a sit-down chat about relationships and respect with the two girls.
78
FUBAR was having what he knew to be a highly sensitive, very private affair, one that could devastate two families, and - oops! - accidentally left his Gmail account open. The thing that bugs me is that from there he immediately launches into how wicked, wrong and all-around bad his 15 year old daughter behaved. Not a single blip on his personal responsibility screen.

What she did was sad, and doesn't speak well for her - or her upbringing. But that it was able to happen at all is squarely FUBAR's fault, both for the original affair and for *leaving it out there for her to find*. She's 15, and still fully entitled to her lack of judgment. That's why they can't vote, or drink, or enlist, right.
Dad is completely without any such excuse, and that he's all focused on what a mess *she* created just doubles up his douchery.
79
It's hard to be too sympathetic with anyone here. He's a complete shit, and so is the daughter. A total clusterfuck.
80
Your daughter is a fucking bitch who clearly has not empathy for others.

Make her apologize (sincerely and in person) to the children, parents and mutual friends. This should include a description of what she should have done when she discovered the first emails. She should have told her mother (end of story), not dug more and certainly not sent pictures to innocent parties that would only be hurt by her actions.

I don't understand the comments that she should not be punished because now her life is gonna be all messed up. What about what SHE did to those kids? Or the woman's parents?
It's one thing to know your mom/child had an affair, it's far different to see explicit pictures.
81
I think that there does have to be a discussion about her behaviour - a long one - with her mother. The focus needs to be on how she hurt innocent people (the other woman's kids, husband, parents) and how she probably humiliated her mother as well - someone she probably saw herself as acting for. She, in that moment, clearly had a problem seeing the woman's children, husband, and parents as anything but an extension of the woman herself. This is an empathy problem - but teenagers aren't known for their far-ranging empathy. I think the mother is right that community service should probably be the punishment, as an empathy building exercise. But it should follow long discussions with her mother, and be handed out by her mother. The father's credibility is totally shot.

For the record - how can anyone (up thread) not think that his affair was wrong? I'm totally cool with negotiated openness in a relationship. I am on board with Dan giving the go-ahead to the people in sexless marriages (when they are really sexless). But I don't see how having a lower sex drive than your spouse entitles you to seek sex outside the marriage, when you know the other person thinks it's monogamous. I think Dan really over-estimates the "devastation" of divorce. My father left my mother, for a man, and I'm okay. If, however, my father had stayed with my mother and lied to her about fucking other men on the side, I would have two HIV positive parents instead of one, and absolutely NO faith in men to uphold the promises they made to their wives. (The phrasing here should not indicate that I did not find my father's diagnosis devastating. I did. He's doing really well now, all things considered.) But my father is a good man, who didn't let fear stop him from having a tough conversation. My mother never said a word against him and my siblings and I were raised by two loving parents who lived apart.

We never really know when the next big STI thing is going to happen, and if people can't trust that the people they love the most will tell them the truth about what they are exposing them to, people can't trust anything. You might not believe in monogamy - that is FINE! - but don't be with someone who does and then think you have the right to lie to them. You don't.
82
Who clearly has no empathy
83
Many parents only stay together until the kids are old enough to leave home. So, your daughter just fucked herself and everyone else. Punishment? She just needs to learn the consequences of her actions and the complexities of being an adult. That will take years, but shit, yeah, its her fault for fucking w your private affairs and your fault for not logging out of gmail.
84
I'd say have her MOTHER cut off internet access and cell phone use for, say a few weeks as discipline for going through someone's personal account, impersonating someone, and distributing private files.

I agree that any discipline the letter writer would devise would have a rotten stench of revenge to it.
85
I have to disagree with most of the folks on here.

Your daughter's behavior was unacceptable, but not for the reasons you're citing. As much as you have "suffered," by publicizing your indiscretions to such a wide circle (including other children) your daughter has effectively taken what should have been a private concern between the four adults and made it into at the minimum a family scandal; it is her mother she hurt most by her actions, not you.

Your daughter needs to understand that turning her mother's life into something akin to Reality TV Drama / an episode of Jerry Springer is not proper behavior. She needs to learn that when you suddenly come across something that will destroy someone close to them the responsible thing to do it approach those hurt by it and let them decide how to handle it best for them -- not go putting it online for all and sundry.

Where I do agree with the crowd is that the discipline should be coming from her mother. Similarly, your wife should be made aware that one of the unforeseen consequences of her daughter's actions is that now pretty much everyone who reads Savage Love and/or Slog is now aware of the pain that was caused to her mother.

You made no attempt to obfuscate your situation from anyone familiar with it, which means, FUBAR, that you need to *not* keep another secret but tell your wife about your letter to Mr. Savage, point her to this thread, and apologize to your wife (again) for violating her trust before your daughter or one of her friends stumbles onto Slog and finds out about it the hard way...again.
86
I'm with @56, and in addition: suggest the daughter see a counselor. Just finding dirty pictures of my dad would be traumatizing enough; having the rest of it blow up this way would ruin my year. I think the daughter sounds like a bitch but punishing her won't fix her. The girl needs someone to talk to, and that person will help her see that her reaction was unwarranted and mean-spirited.
87
What a self absorbed idiot.

He and his wife are still parents, and his immaturity and moral lapses do not absolve him of that responsibility. That being said, leave it up to the wife for any discipline issues. In reality, his daughter did him a favor. Looks like he has been scared straight.

He needs to beg some forgiveness from his wife. And accept the possible divorce if she doesn't forgive him.

He needs to stop seeing (completely) the girlfriend and her family. That relationship is absolutely over.
88
I also found evidence of my dad's affairs when I was 14, so I get that this can be traumatizing. Especially if you raised your daughter to be judgmental and self-righteous (in other words, if you raised her with any kind of fundamentalist religion, like I was) a well of anger can overtake her. I hated my father for years.

But I got over it. If anything, I learned a good lesson about humanity and humility. I learned my parents were human. I also learned that the situation was far more complex then I had understood at 14.

What I never did was try and make others miserable as well. I never would have tried to hurt innocents, no matter how much I was in pain myself. Sending these photos to your gf's kids was a truly ugly, hurtful, almost sociopathic act. Did she really want them to suffer like she was suffering? Because that's just fucked up.

As far as punishment goes, forget about it. Your daughter either has a moral sense, and will one day be deeply embarrassed for her actions (I'm embarrassed for some of the things I did to my dad in my anger, including once punching him in the face) or she really doesn't have much of a moral sense and is too self-centered to realize what she did. But that process will take time, and in the blender of adolescent emotions, punishing her now will me the equivalent of hitting the puree button.

Tell your daughter you love her, you will be there for her if she wants to talk, and then leave her the hell alone. She doesn't want to see you now. I tore up the letter my father wrote trying to explain himself, without ever reading it. I didn't want to hear his excuses. She doesn't either. When the bones knit, hopefully the skeleton of your relationship will be intact, and you will once more be able to talk. But for god's sake, give her her space.

As to all the victim fetishists on this site who talk about how the girl will never be the same, never trust men, etc, get real. You do get over things. I certainly did. We're about 51% biology and 49% lessons learned, people. If this girl can't sort her shit and separate other men from her father, she was screwed long before she saw those pix. Stop making excuses for those who wish nothing more then to wallow in their past as an excuse for their fucked up lives. You pick yourself up of the mat and take responsibility for your own life. No one else is to blame, in the end.
89
I'm probably going to need to see the photos before I can make an honest judgment on this issue.
90
Why do so many people consider this girl so traumatized? Shocked maybe, but finding out your dad is messing around isn't a new or particularly horrible experience. Been there, done that, as many of you probably have too. How did you react? I kept my mouth shut, because it was none of my business. FUBARD's daughter reacted as maliciously as possible with the information the snooped to obtain. She emailed the girlfriend's kids, parents, and the families' mutual friends, not just with the information about the affair, but the all-too-explicit photos. Her goal was clearly maximum damage, embarrassment, and cruelty to everyone associated with either family. That girl needs therapy, and maybe a summer at the grandparents' house would be a good change of scenery.
91
You cyber-sexed on the family computer? YOU DUN GOOFED!

You only have yourself to blame. And the fact that you're trying to punish your daughter for your mistake makes me think maybe your wife didn't want to have sex with you because you're an asshole.
92
Well, 15 is a weird age...you're old enough to know right from wrong but not old enough to filter your actions because you simply don't have enough life experience to understand repercussions. Punishment doesn't seem fitting for the circumstances. Therapy does. Echoing what a lot of other people have said: you just totally obliterated her "vision" of what her life was, who her father was, etc. at a critical age where she is forming her identity as a woman. I think most of us have our parents on pedestal until a certain point (assuming you were raised in a relatively stable, loving environment) and most of us get to the point where we realize our parents aren't perfect and are fallible people just like everyone else. You hope it doesn't happen at 15 and you most certainly hope it doesn't happen in the way it did for her. You sound like a pretty immature guy to me just based off the flippant/cavalier way you described your affair, so I'm wondering how someone like that expects their daughter to behave as an adult when they aren't even one themselves. You should probably go put yourself in the corner instead.
93
I have to agree with comment #8. In an ideal world, parents protect their children from horrific natural consequences and "punishments" are a lesser, artificial consequence used to guide children where natural consequences are too harsh to let come to pass. In this case, FUBAR Dad can't protect his daughter from the horrific natural consequences of her actions. There is no point to punishment - the only thing they can do is hope to help her learn from it.
94
Having a 15-year-old girl in the not too distant past, I will say, the way she behaved isn't that unlikely, and certainly isn't socio-psycho-pathic. She behaved like a teenager. She is likely full of convictions (half-baked or not), full of ego, with little empathy towards those who cross the lines of her convictions. It's like Cather In The Rye, adults are phonies and hypocrites, they should be called out for breaking the moral codes in society that they have set out. Now, from where I am now, it is a completely malicious act, but she's 15, and I could have told you how that was going to go down. She sent it to the people she sent it too possibly to receive validation that her dad was being a lying bastard.
That said, let mom punish her how she sees fit, agreeing with others, and judging from your letter, you have no real interest in punishing her for snooping, so much as punishing her for exposing you, which makes a big difference.
Also, as someone said earlier, leaving a record of such sensitive information on a computer easily accessed by ANYONE else is kind of saying that you don't really care about being caught. You slipped, and stopped being careful, either because you thought you never would get caught, or you didn't care if you did. Maybe you thought your wife would find it, I'm pretty sure you thought it wouldn't happen like this, but it did, so now you actually have to deal with the consequences.
95
This dude is just lucky that his daughter wasn't bright enough to make a backup of everything and blackmail him for all his worth. It seems that the cruel apple does not fall too far from the responsibility-dodging asshole of a tree... what she and her friend did was heartless, but as a result of a traumatic experience. Maybe if she had been raised by somebody who wasn't a total douchebag in denial, she'd have had a better impulse (talking directly with her mother and FUBAR, avoiding collateral damage).

Anyhoodle, you all need therapy. Lots of it. And FUBAR should probably take some serious groveling/responsibility acceptance lessons and apply the learnings to each person affected by his stupidity, including his daughter. Sure, groveling may feed her short-term teenage entitlement issues, but her long-term trust in men and family might have a shot at repair.
96
@88

Most people get over traumas like this without much help. The ones who don't end up adults with no confidence and no ability to form trusting, supportive relationships. Being smug about "victim fetishists" won't change the reality of that, and assuring yourself that they deserve to suffer, and to destabilize other people's lives, makes you an ignorant prick, not the gruff father figure you seem to fancy yourself. Needing a hand "up off the mat" makes people human, and looking down on them for needing that hand makes you... less.
97
Wow, what a piece of work FUBAR Dad is. Take it from an adult child who had to learn something similar about my dad (by hearing them having sex)--YOU JUST FUCKED UP HER LIFE. You are at fault. You just provided her with the most traumatic incident of her childhood. And you want to punish her???? Guess what--having you as a father is punishment enough.

I only wish I'd had the balls to out my hypocrite dad the way she did.
98
@70 (Re@56) Thanks, I just thought it was important that they both take responsibility for their own individual actions. This would be the only way to get through to a kid who is (justifiably) out-of-their-mind furious with you while still admitting your own guilt
99
At the age of 15, I was extremely mature, intellectually and emotionally. I was in my senior year of high school, and was highly regarded by people of all ages as an easygoing, sensible, rational, young woman. Adults were particularly impressed with how empathetic and kind I was. I never, ever got in trouble for anything. I was on the debate team and enjoyed discussing moral issues. Teachers and camp counselors always paired me up with the emotionally delayed kid, or the physically disabled kid, or the kid who didn't bathe, because they knew I would be friendly and work well with them.

I loved my father very, very much and respected him a great deal. I loved my mom too, but I knew that she was a very difficult woman to get along with. I suspected that she rejected him a lot and they barely had a sex life due to her many physical and mental illnesses (this was confirmed years later by my mom).

Despite all of this, I STILL might have behaved just like this child if this had happened to me. I would have felt hurt and angry, and would have immediately felt that everyone needed to know what was going on. At that age, you don't see shades of gray when it comes to your family and friends. You just see black and white, fair and unfair, betrayal and loyalty. If my dad had cheated, I wouldn't have dispassionately thought, "Well, this is between him and my mom, and the other woman and her husband." I would have felt very personally betrayed, and felt that these two cheating awful people were betraying both of our families. Although my parents were pretty liberal and sex-positive, it would have NEVER occurred to me that they might be having an open relationship.

Fifteen-year olds don't do discretion or subtlety. I guarantee you she didn't think, "Maybe I shouldn't send these pics to the other kids because it will hurt them." She thought, "Wow, my dad and this woman have been sneaking around behind our families' backs - the other kids deserve to know what their mom has been doing to them!"

My point is, the MOM should talk to the girl, possibly somtime in the future, about how she might have handled it more discreetly, and ask her how she thought the other kids might have felt in seeing those pics. But punish her? That is about the STUPIDEST thing the father could do. He's already caused serious damage to his daughter's development and ability to have good relationships with men - no way should he compound it by punishing her because he got caught (and that's exactly what any 15-year old would feel was going on).

If he punishes her, she may even see it as him defending his girlfriend's honor without regard for his daughter's feelings - again choosing his mistress over his family.

If he wants to eventually heal this rift he's caused with his daughter, he needs to just apologize over and over to her right now. Not a word about her actions from him.
100
@88, I totally agree with you . . . except, the girl isn't borderline sociopathic. She's responding quite in line with a child without a fully developed pre-frontal coretex. You may not have had the impusle to do as she did, but you also didn't have the instant access to the technology that she did. Maybe, given the texting/emailing/messaging world, you would have reacted just as she did. Kids don't have the brakes on their impulse control at 15. Just a biological fact, the same as it's a biological fact that dad has his need for sex. Here's a decent fact sheet on teen brain development: http://bit.ly/emrLGV.

The question FUBAR asked was so self-absorbed and in denial about his responsibility to his daughter that I feel like he needs to hear in no uncertain terms that he should not punish her. He should stop any fantasies about this being her fault and gather the strength to accept his full responsibility to everyone who has been harmed.

You are absolutely right about the girl growing older and more mature - in time. Hopefully they can have a relationship at some point.
101
Make the daughter write letters of apology to everybody she sent the photos to. Point out to her that she has brought shame upon two families that will not soon be forgotten. Then tell her that having to live with her own conscience is the balance of her punishment.