My mum and I have always shared a close relationship – probably because she gave birth to me in her early twenties, and raised me herself after my dad passed away from a sudden heart attack. We have similar interests and tastes, and would often go out together – strangers we met even thought we were sisters! But the real secret to her beauty and youthfulness was a shocking one, even to me…

I thank our family’s lucky genes for my natural beauty, but I would still go for facials and undergo medical aesthetic procedures to treat and correct minor skin imperfections. My mum loved massages and facials, but shied away from aesthetic treatments as she feared that they might be painful and expensive. However, she loved booking herself into luxury spas overseas to pamper herself.

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In October last year, I had my mum try out the medi-spa clinic I frequented by paying for a minimally invasive eye treatment, convincing her that it was a special 50th birthday gift for “the most important BFF in my life, ever”. Because of these “loving” statements – and her worry that crow’s feet were starting to show more – she gave in and went for the treatment.

I accompanied my mum for her first consultation with Dr Yung*, who was both my trusted doctor and a former college mate. To my surprise, the session went well. My mum and Dr Yung got along perfectly – she asked if his good looks were a showcase of his work, and he kept complimenting her on her beauty. By the end of the visit, my mum had signed up for a package. It was money well spent; now my mum and I would become closer as “beauty BFFs”!

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women slim and belly
In the next few months, my mum supposedly signed up for more treatments, not only for her face but body too, and even tried out the latest, most technologically advanced ones I had never even heard of. I had created a monster obsessed with youth and beauty! I feared she was going overboard and spoke to her about not spending beyond her means. She promised she wasn’t and that she was just helping Dr Yung test new procedures, and in return, the sessions were free.

However, I started noticing her odd behaviour – she would go to the clinic more often without me, “consulted” Dr Yung over the phone for long periods, and stranger still, spoke less of how she looked than before, even though she was supposed to be undergoing more beauty treatments. And the sessions weren’t exactly helping – she looked more energised, but her laugh lines became more apparent!

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couple hug affair
One day, I was early for a brightening facial appointment and decided to head to a cafe nearby to wait. What I saw there turned my face whiter than any beauty treatment could – it was my mum, sitting at the same table with Dr Yung, and they were touching hands – he even placed his hands near my mum’s butt!

Despite looking like an idiot in public, I hid myself behind a pillar and watched them as they chatted animatedly, smiling and laughing with each other.

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Woman looking at mobile phone
Instead of confronting them, I decided to investigate more. I found out from the clinic’s staff that my mum was not going for beauty treatments as she had told me, and that she often met Dr Yung during his breaks. I even decided to look through my mum’s mobile phone when I had an opportunity – there were dozens of selfies of her and Dr Yung dining, and photos of them outside behaving like a couple…

… and in their flirty private messages, she called him “Dr McDreamy” (after Patrick Dempsey’s character in Grey’s Anatomy) while she was nicknamed “Mrs Robinson” (inspired by the classic May-December romance film, The Graduate).

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I was unsure about the age gap between my mum and Dr Yung, and where this was all leading. I knew Dr Yung was kind and trustworthy, and I did not want to sabotage my mum’s happiness. I felt conflicted and it showed – literally, as my complexion suffered a breakout!

I’m not sure if it was due to my mother’s intuition that I knew her secret, but in the past couple of months, my mum asked Dr Yung to join us for our mother-daughter outings. She gave the excuse that Dr Yung should examine my skin condition on his own time, as a “by-the-way” favour.

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We have been on four outings so far, with just the three of us enjoying each other’s company. I have decided to calm myself (and my skin), and wait for my mum to say what she needs to, when she feels it is right. As she once remarked to me before: “Happiness is not skin deep; like real beauty, it comes from within.”

*Name changed to protect privacy.

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