My husband Mark and I have one child. She is now 19. I'm writing to you because we are concerned about something that we just found out has been going on for over 3 years.
Our daughter Melissa has a wonderful aptitude for music. We recognized this in her from the time she was about 3 years old, and have sought out the best music teachers we knew how to find. She is able to sing beautifully and plays 4 instruments including the saxophone and piano. All 3 of us always thought our lives were perfect, even our lives together. The reason I am concerned enough to write to you is that her father and I recently discovered that she has been carrying on an affair with one of her main music tutors for probably as long as 2-3 years.
Victoria, this man is in his late 40's. He almost exactly the age of Mark and me! He is also a married man who has 3 young children. In addition he is a member of our regional symphony and teaches music at the local University.
I have to tell you that our Melissa matured shall we say at a fairly young age, and always had the boys, as well as some young men around her. But, she's been a very good girl, and we feel we have brought her up well.
I don't know what to do, or even if there is anything we should do? I have been thinking about contacting this man directly and threatening to expose him. Or go to the head of his University or writing something in the local newspaper. I know that Melissa is now considered an adult, but she was underage when this all began. She, by the way, has been begging us not to do or say, anything at all. Even though we have dug into his past and have found out he's done this with other young women, too! Melissa doesn't seem to even care about this though.
Audrey & Mark
Dear Audrey & Mark,
I truly feel how complex your situation is, and what a shock it was for you to find out what had been going on under your very 'noses.' I also feel that you are sincerely seeking out the absolutely best outcome in this situation' which is exactly the very perspective I always look for in dealing with any situation I encounter: for myself' or for my clients!
There are two important things going on that pretty much mitigate everything...one is that, as you mentioned, your daughter is now considered legally an adult. The other is that she is adamant that she doesn't want you to involve yourselves with what is going on.
Here's another facet of the whole scenario. During the entire time this was going on, you not only didn't do anything about it' you actually didn't even have any idea that that something untoward was going on! Obviously, at that time, Audrey, what was going on was----criminal. Now, though, and very much after the fact, Melissa' as previously mentioned' is considered to be an adult' and has come to some terms with this, she wants you to remain out of the picture' You need to understand that she is now able to dictate her responses. Please note, that I am not passing judgment on you or her. I am just telling you what I am 'getting.' If she were still a minor, my response would definitely be different.
Audrey, all of a sudden you are now irate, indignant and want to lash out at 'him' ' You want to vilify and/or punish him' after the fact, even though the now-adult Melissa has adamantly asked you to remain out of the picture. I have a question for you is: ' where were you, when what was going on was illegal?? One more question: why have you all of a sudden, become so very concerned?
Having stated what I just did in the above paragraph, I do want you to know that I empathize with you and Mark, entirely. I have dealt with countless sets of parents, in several countries, who have ended up realizing that something was going on around them, even in their very own homes' but who weren't able to fully grasp the situation, nor any of its consequences while it was in the midst of happening' Please as mentioned, I truly empathize with you both; I am not at all judgmental. However, I just was 'guided' to mention these few items, things that you might have not previously recognized' My only intention has been' as always' to help whoever I work with to become more 'neutral'' versus being so activated. I.e., if you can get to neutrality' or a sense of peacefulness' in the middle of major issues, it's much more easy to see the 'forest-and-the-trees.'
Audrey and Mark, I've been able to tune into your daughter's music teacher. And, I agree with your assessment, in a variety of ways. However, no matter whether or not he is an outstanding teacher, he, like all of us, has' issues! While not justify the relationship with your daughter at all, I am able to see the man is unhappy in his life. He's bored with his position at the University, he's unhappy with his marriage; he feels how quickly he is aging. Plus a variety of other emotions.
He also has an unconscious belief that he is a wonderful, wise person who can elevate woman to great heights by instilling them with a love of music' all the while by making them love and respect him. Distorted as it may be, he feels in some bizarre way it is his duty to mold young woman, and help them create wonderful life opportunities, by being around him and his music. A modern-day Pied Piper! At the same time, he assumes that each one will truly fall head-over-heals, in love with him.
Audrey, as you know, I'm not a therapist. Having said that, I feel that you and hubby have recognized, although quite late in the scheme of things, that something majorly inappropriate was going on while your daughter was living at home. Now, you both feel a belated sense of duty, pride and anger re what took place when you daughter was in the other room seemingly practicing her piano lessons. Part-and-parcel of the major anger at yourselves is that you weren't paying attention to the many warning signs at that time. Now in retrospect, you're on the 'war path,' so-to-speak, you want to 'kill the messenger.' Obviously, the music teacher had much more responsibility for his actions than your daughter did; although, as you eluded to before she was quite mature for her age. I might even say she was somewhat of a little 'vixen.' I am sure that you understand what this means.
I feel it would be wise of you to seek out some counseling for yourselves about how you can handle this important situation that was all in the past. I do not feel that you can try to make Melissa go to counseling herself; remember that she is now an adult. I do feel that you understand that girls are maturing at a much faster rate these days, due to movies, television, ads and so on they are unconsciously drawn becoming sexual at a much earlier age, than in previous generations. I'm not saying that this is right or wrong. It is merely an observation, from talking with thousands of people, both male and female, under the age of 30 each year, mostly on the radio' also where you heard me! My advice to you both is to forgive yourselves, and receive some high-quality counseling on the entire matter. Your daughter is a lovely person and will still have, I predict, a wonderful life.
I would love to hear from you again, as events play themselves out'
Please also feel free to 'Google' Victoria Bullis!