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Question: Our daughter found out what we do!

Dear Lounge Advice,
I accidentally left our Yahoo mail account signed on last night and our 17 year old daughter saw "strange" emails in our mailbox, clicked on them and now "knows" what we have been doing when we ask her to babysit her brothers once a month. She has left us a note and walked out the door to go to her boyfriends house. I am sure she is in shock. Any advice how to handle this one? Do we tell her the truth and ask her to understand? She doesn't want to babysit her brothers anymore if "that" is what we are doing, according to her note. Help! We are new to this.

Sincerely,

(Anonymous)

  
Dear (Anonymous),

In this situation, it is best to allow some time for you all time to calm down and think this over, before confronting it and adding possible irrational actions to an already tense situation.
She certainly has the right to feel the emotions she is feeling right now. Your first priority it to communicate with her and respect her feelings. It is inevitable that she will tell you things you don't want to hear, but try not to get angry with her. This is a big blow for a child of any age, probably more so for a teenager who can comprehend the true nature of what you are doing. I know I would be crushed if I found out my parents were swinging (even as a swinger myself). Listen to her and acknowledge her feelings. Place yourself in her shoes and understand that she has every right to those feelings. Tell her the truth, because she already knows, or has a pretty good idea of it. If you try to cover up the truth, it will be seen as an insult to her intelligence. You can restore any lost trust by just being candid. She will respect you more for this. Don't expect her to understand thought. It would be unfair of you to ask that of her. She may never understand, but that's ok.
She is right not to want to babysit if you are going out to swinging functions or meeting with other couples with that intention in mind. But think of this: every time you go out, and perhaps get another babysitter in her stead, she'll still have resentful thoughts crossing her mind, knowing (or assuming to know) that you are out for this reason. It may be best to back off of the lifestyle for a while and let the waves die down and allow your daughter to come to terms with what happened. She is priority number one. Swinging can wait.
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