DEAR ABBY: I'm the youngest of three children and I'll be graduating from high school in the spring. My parents always seemed happy with each other. They were obviously in love, and they told my brothers and me they would never get divorced. Although they had arguments, they always made up, and it never seemed to be serious.
For the last few months, my dad has been acting weird. He spends a lot of time talking to and texting "a friend" on the phone. The problem is, although the friend has a male name ("George") in his contacts, the person has a female voice. I didn't think anything about it until recently, when I turned on Dad's phone to play a game and it was open to a series of text messages between him and this "friend." What I saw made it clear that something is up. Mom knows nothing about it.
I love my father, but I don't think I can handle this. I can't believe he'd do this to our family, especially since all of us are going through a really hard time lately.
I don't know what to do. I don't want to tell anyone because I don't want our family to fall apart. But I can't stay quiet. What should I do? -- BLINDSIDED IN JERSEY
DEAR BLINDSIDED: I agree that you can't keep quiet about this. What you saw was, of course, shocking -- and the person you should talk to about it is your father. Sometimes when people are going through a really tough time, they do things they wouldn't ordinarily do. Your mother may -- or may not -- have an inkling that something is going on.
Ask your father if the text means he plans to leave the family. Then give him a deadline to come clean with your mother, and let him know that if he doesn't, you will. You have my sympathy.