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Just Deserts

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My father is estranged from my sister and me. When we were very young, he and my mother divorced. He did not pay child support or anything. Recently he came back into town and wants a relationship with us. He says he's changed. He says he is a Christian. He wants to get to know my sister and me better and be allowed to share in his grandchildren's lives.

As my sister and I are getting used to the idea of giving him a second chance, he admits to all of us that he cheated on our mother repeatedly while they were married. He finally tells us he is presently involved with one of the women he had an affair with, and he hopes we'll get to know her and accept their relationship.

We told him this was too much for us to deal with. He thinks we're being selfish. Are my sister and I wrong for not being willing to accept this?


Paula, the most basic law of behavior is the law of consequences. If you don't study, you will fail the exam. In Christian terms, this law is expressed by "As you sow, so shall you reap." Your father is reaping what he sowed.

Justice means balancing the scales. Things should be fair. There is no fairness in what your biological father is asking. He wants to reap the benefits of having daughters and grandchildren when he is not there for you physically, emotionally, or financially. Justice does not require you to let him into your life or the lives of your children.

Perhaps you believe there is a higher requirement than justice. Forgiveness. Then, by all means, forgive, because forgiveness releases us from the pain and hurt which bind us. But nothing in the idea of forgiveness requires you to let someone who has injured you into your life so they can injure you again.

If forgiveness required that, you would never be permitted to escape people who do bad acts, and your life would be forfeited to them.

There is someone selfish here, and that someone is your biological father. He wants to use religion as a club to get his way. The decision you and your sister made is just. It is in tune with the deepest law of behavior, the law of consequences.

Wayne & Tamara

A Weak Defense

I read a letter and replied to your column "Old Sayings." The writer, Lauren, was considering telling the wife of a man she had an affair with about his extramarital activities. You encouraged her to tell.

I am baffled. You encourage a woman who is equally guilty to go and possibly ruin a marriage. Tell me something. What happens if this married couple has kids, how will it affect them? Do you know anything about the wife? Maybe she is the root of the reason why this man seeks other women.

So why encourage heartache and certain trauma? I have an old saying for you as well: what you don't know, can't hurt you. Quite fitting for the occasion don't you think?


Gregory, we didn't receive a single letter from an innocent party who wouldn't want to know if their spouse was unfaithful. People who deal with reality seek to know when they are at risk, so they can protect themselves from AIDS, herpes, paternity suits, and the other consequences of betrayal.

A rock climber takes the risk of falling. A cheater takes the risk of being caught. Rocks can't tell, but a spurned woman can.

You suggest ignorance is bliss, but it is not. It is ignorance. What if the lump is malignant? You ignore the lump at your peril.

Not telling is not an option with a serial adulterer, and telling won't ruin the marriage. Cheating will. Your final insult was to ignore the adultery and blame the victim.


Wayne & Tamara are the authors of Cheating in a Nutshell and The Young Woman’s Guide to Older Men—available from Amazon, iTunes, and booksellers everywhere.


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