Fionarob Show full post »
UrbanExplorer
Not deliberately cruel, though. Unless maybe done for revenge.
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Heidi
Disclaimer: my kids are teenagers so take what you want from this.

We told our children about the affair. We did it together when WS moved out (I asked him to leave, he was gone one month). We told them because we'd had a happy marriage and it was like a bombshell.

I still believe in OUR CASE it was the right thing to do. I was constantly crying, having panic attacks and barely able to function. To see me and my WS like this without an explanation would have been worse and more frightening than the truth for our kids.

Later, as we worked together and reconciled we have constantly talked with them. It is our aim to use it to demonstrate how we can fail at life and yet rebuild ourselves. That good people do bad things and that relationships are fragile things sometimes. I see it as a story of grace, of redemption and ultimately love, including our love for them.

As children get older our role changes from protector to preparer. I see my job as preparing them for the real world, for the ups and downs. When they were little I taught them to cross the road, now I'm teaching them to navigate emotions and relationships.

I asked my WS if he regretted telling them. He says he's glad, because he is able to be emotionally open with them, and offer them a different perspective on life. I asked my 16 year old if she regretted it. She said she would have hated being kept in the dark.

I don't know what I would have done when they were younger, but I'm glad we told them at this age.
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Anna26
Heidi wrote:
Disclaimer: my kids are teenagers so take what you want from this. We told our children about the affair. We did it together when WS moved out (I asked him to leave, he was gone one month). We told them because we'd had a happy marriage and it was like a bombshell. I still believe in OUR CASE it was the right thing to do. I was constantly crying, having panic attacks and barely able to function. To see me and my WS like this without an explanation would have been worse and more frightening than the truth for our kids. Later, as we worked together and reconciled we have constantly talked with them. It is our aim to use it to demonstrate how we can fail at life and yet rebuild ourselves. That good people do bad things and that relationships are fragile things sometimes. I see it as a story of grace, of redemption and ultimately love, including our love for them. As children get older our role changes from protector to preparer. I see my job as preparing them for the real world, for the ups and downs. When they were little I taught them to cross the road, now I'm teaching them to navigate emotions and relationships. I asked my WS if he regretted telling them. He says he's glad, because he is able to be emotionally open with them, and offer them a different perspective on life. I asked my 16 year old if she regretted it. She said she would have hated being kept in the dark. I don't know what I would have done when they were younger, but I'm glad we told them at this age.



Heidi:  Our children were even older, adults, but still at home. And eventually knew everything.  I think they had more or less guessed anyway, but as time has gone on, they have accepted things and have been an unintentional source of support too.  They have asked questions, vented their feelings and I have never tried to put my feelings into their heads.  What they say or do is completely of thier own volition. My son in particular once said that an affair wasn't a way out of problems in a marriage, and it would have been better for his Dad to have talked about it.  And my daughter once said that she was glad she knew because it was a relief to stop worrying about things.
We are all very open about things together and can talk about the affair, and I know that should he want to talk to them about it, they would be quite open with my husband too. 

I agree, it is our job to bring our children up in the best way we possibly can and to arm and equip them for whatever life may throw at them.  The whole idea is to learn from other people and the mistakes they may make. 
We all love our children dearly and like you say would do anything to protect them from the trials and pain of life somehow, because having learned it already, we know how certain things can feel.  But it isn't possible or practical to do this.  At the end of the day, you end up with a much more well balanced human being.  You put it so much more eloquently than me...[smile]
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Sandy2000
Kalmarjan wrote:
Okay, let's spin this a different way. Can anyone here justify telling the children the "whole" truth? I mean, one parent has cheated on the other, slept with the other, and betrayed the other. How do you frame this to a 6 or an 8 year old? I'm curious as to what you say, and your justification on this. As if you were to explain to your mother why you told your child what you did.


The justification for me would be to provide them with an explanation.  Their world as they know it is changing in a very big way for good and I believe they deserve an explanation for this and not some wishy washy reason like "We don't get along anymore"

Following assurances of love from both of you as parents, you tell them the reason we won't be living in the same house is because....

"Married people make special promises to each other when they get married, Mommy/Daddy has broken one of those promises, so we won't all be living in the same house anymore" If they don't ask any more, you leave it at that, If they ask what promise was broken, the response can be:

Mommy/Daddy has feelings for someone else/is in love with someone else

OR, if you don't wish to do this you say....

"We'll be able to explain more about it when you're a bit older"

The importance of doing this, is for them to know that split is not as a result of anything they as children have done and it's down to the parents.  It's absolutely nothing to do with revenge, or to paint one spouse as bad.
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Heidi
Anna26 wrote:

Heidi:  Our children were even older, adults, but still at home. And eventually knew everything.  I think they had more or less guessed anyway, but as time has gone on, they have accepted things and have been an unintentional source of support too.  They have asked questions, vented their feelings and I have never tried to put my feelings into their heads.  What they say or do is completely of thier own volition. My son in particular once said that an affair wasn't a way out of problems in a marriage, and it would have been better for his Dad to have talked about it.  And my daughter once said that she was glad she knew because it was a relief to stop worrying about things.
We are all very open about things together and can talk about the affair, and I know that should he want to talk to them about it, they would be quite open with my husband too. 

I agree, it is our job to bring our children up in the best way we possibly can and to arm and equip them for whatever life may throw at them.  The whole idea is to learn from other people and the mistakes they may make. 
We all love our children dearly and like you say would do anything to protect them from the trials and pain of life somehow, because having learned it already, we know how certain things can feel.  But it isn't possible or practical to do this.  At the end of the day, you end up with a much more well balanced human being.  You put it so much more eloquently than me...[smile]
It sounds as though you've built a great relationship with them, hopefully mine will grow up to be the same. I want to have an open and living relationship with my children, here's hoping I get there!
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Sandy2000
If a 6 year old saw their mom or dad kissing another man or woman ... they would know that's wrong. They understand that type of affection should not be shared with others......So they would absolutely understand that one parent has broken a promise or loves someone else. Kids around 8 years old are playing kiss/chase in the playground and you think they wouldn't understand. They know about boyfriends and girlfriends - they know what it means to cheat..... at least my children knew at that age. I've experienced infidelity as a child and suffice to say... I preferred the truth. I did not feel it was irresponsible in any way. My siblings and I weren't left thinking something else was going on. You make assumptions that it would be to assuage my ego which is just that .... an ASSUMPTION. You don't know me, so you can't determine my justification. I'm not going to assume what's on your mind when you say something and I feel the hostile tone directed towards me is quite unecessary. I've posted respectfully without judgement and provided rationale behind my views. I answered your question on justification but because you disagree, I get flammed and insulted for my views. Am I not allowed to present my views and express my opinions here? If that is the case then I'll gladly leave this community. If one has a view to tell the children a story about the split, then the child sees one parent with a new partner very soon after and makes out they've just met the person ... that's a choice you make.. but I would not be a part of that lie.
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Fionarob
Everyone - as the person who started this post and first asked the question can I please request that everyone stop now.  It seems to have gone beyond giving me advice and just turned into a contest of who is right and who is wrong!

I can see it all from both sides of the 'argument' and based on how well I know my children, I am able to make my own decision now. 

Some people have suggested on here that children don't understand about lies or adult relationships.  I am not sure that is the case, certainly with my own children.  They most definitely understand the concept of lying and they also know that a Mummy or Daddy should not have a boyfriend/girlfriend.  I am not saying they have the capacity to understand the dynamics of an affair, but they would certainly know it was wrong, and that lying is wrong.

I have never and would never use my children as pawns.  If I was going to do that I would have done it by now.  The original question was all about how to protect them, not how can I get my own back on my cheating husband.  I can think of plenty of ways I could get revenge - I have not done a single one.  I know plenty about his AP - but I have never contacted her either.

If it comes to it that our marriage ends (still in limbo currently) then I would want to involve my husband in the process of talking to our children.  However, I can't control his actions or reactions to what is going on, and so far he has shown to be just as childish as my children!  I can only hope he will grasp the concept of doing what is best for them and we can reach an agreement on what to tell them.

I have found everyone's posts insightful and a useful way of looking at this from all angles.  There are some things I agree with and others I don't.  But it's for me to decide how to proceed with this very real situation, and what to tell my children if it comes to it.  I will continue to put their feelings and future well-being at the front of my mind, as I have been doing for 2.5 years.  What my husband chooses to do is another matter and out of my control......

So anyway, I think we will all have to "agree to disagree" otherwise we will be going around in circles forever with this one!
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Anna26
I draw attention to a post I made two days ago suggesting that the tone of this thread was becoming too personal and to keep in mind the original question.

Unless we can be more respectful of each other whether we agree or disagree with what their point is, then continuing this discussion is no longer viable.

It is clearly upsetting many people at times and with this in mind,I believe it is time to close this thread.

Please respect this request and Fionarob's wishes.
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TimT
Fionarob wrote:
Everyone - as the person who started this post and first asked the question can I please request that everyone stop now...

I am going to step in and close this discussion... not because it is unimportant, but because the focus has become too direct in personal confrontations or attacks. When that happens, I can assure you that other readers are not benefiting from the dialog.

I have deleted the posts that seemed to shift to calling out individuals in a manner that seemed harsh or judgemental. I am going to follow up with some of you individually, but since this was a public thread, let me say a couple things to all of you...

(1) Be careful how you post your comments. When you make heavy use of all-caps, or bold, or exclamation points, your posts are likely read with more aggression than you intended. Use careful words to express your points of view so that things are not misinterpreted.

(2) Avoid getting into head-to-head debates with another user. If it starts turning into an argument, I guarantee you are not going to convince the other person this way, so don't try. Just state your point of view in a manner that is helpful to others. Try not to start fires; try not to throw fuel on ones that are already lit.

By the way, the April 24 virtual conference is about Children & Affairs. It might be of interest.
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