I want my daughter-in-law to just forgive my son for cheating on her

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a woman in my 60s. My husband and I live with our eldest son and his wife, who are in their 40s. Currently, my daughter-in-law is living in another part of the house, separate from the rest of us.

This situation is the result of my son cheating on her for the third time. When she showed me and my husband photographic evidence, my husband said things like, “You’re married to a popular guy, just deal with it. If you can’t, then get out.” After that, she started living separately.

Currently, my son, my husband and I live on the first floor, while my daughter-in-law lives on the second. It has gotten so bad, I think a divorce is inevitable.

When I asked my son why he cheated, he said it was because his wife was pregnant. Also, she started blaming him for everything and trampling on his dignity, so he said he needed an escape. He said all the women he cheated on her with looked put-together and had a certain charm that made him want to care for them.

I hope my daughter-in-law will realize her own shortcomings and just let it go, but how should I talk to her about this? As long as she doesn’t move out, do you think there is hope for them to start over?

— H, Fukushima Prefecture

Dear Ms. H:

Her mother-in-law is aware of how many times her son has cheated, and her father-in-law tells her to just deal with it or get out. I think this woman has shown a lot of patience while living in an old-fashioned and humiliating environment.

Your son seems to have explained to you in great detail why he cheated and what he found so attractive about these other women. I can’t even imagine what it must be like for your daughter-in-law to be married to such a childish man.

How hurt must your daughter-in-law have felt when he cheated on her while she was pregnant? Your daughter-in-law is the one whose dignity has been trampled on by your son, who has repeatedly cheated on her and hasn’t learned anything from his mistakes. How much more will you coddle your son?

I just want to tell your daughter-in-law to run away, but it seems like she’ll stay put, as she has taken an entire floor for herself. Through her grit, I can see her resolve to remain as his wife.

I understand your concerns, but the situation will only worsen if parents interfere. Even more so if you think a divorce is inevitable. Either way, you need to stay out of it. Do not help, even if they ask for it, and don’t ask a third party for advice. Why are you adding fuel to the fire? In the words of a certain politician, shame on you.

— Hazuki Saisho, writer