Intuition77
I realize many people here have a remorseful spouse and are repairing their marriages or at the very least spouses who maintained their relationships with children but I'm wondering if anyone has been through something similar. My husband basically abandoned our kids and all responsibility the moment I discovered his 10 month ( supposedly after many lies about time frame) affair with a coworker(one he 2 years prior branded a stupid whore who screws all the married guys at work go figure). This is after 16 years together & 13 married. I would love some feedback from anyone whose been through a similar situation with their children after a spouses infidelity.

When I discovered my husbands affair he responded so cruelly and coldly even to our children. It was like the flip of a switch. The day before he acted normal then suddenly he hated us. It was like the moment his secret became known we we're of no use to him. The minute I confronted him he immediately became detached (there had been signs for months that something was up hindsight and all) but suddenly he wouldn't change the baby, hold her, feed her, bathe her, hug them or even say I love you to them.

Day one I actually yelled did you forget how to be a father! He acts like he doesn't know how to do any of it. Their schedules, their activities he acts oblivious to it all like he never lived this life. He doesn't ask About school,report cards, how their functioning nothing. If the baby cried he's just stare at her and say she's crying. And he was very involved before. Daily. Our youngest only one year and our oldest a teen I was going through hell and our teen knew (overheard too much eavesdropped etc. knows more then I'd like but I was just not functioning properly and couldn't hold it together well enough to shield them from it all) & he basically just walked.

He told our teen horrific lies & tried to say that I threw him out for no reason (I told him choose and he packed his own belongings and left), that I wanted a divorce, that he loved me & wanted this marriage literally moments after telling me just go get a divorce I'm Not in love with you anymore. I begged him to talk to our kids, go to therapy even Just for his & kids relationship -he refused. There's "nothing wrong with him" he says.

I begged him to see the kids for weeks and he was too busy running to sleep with the ow. Literally the day I had to tell my children their father left while I was doing that he was having sex with ow. After I begged him to be there to help me explain what was happening. I wanted us to sit down as a united front & just say the marriage is ending but it's not your fault, we both still love you etc & his choice was to go have sex with her instead. That makes me sick. Physically sick. He knew I was telling our children he left & I was an emotional mess & the kids would be completely shocked and devastated & he was having sex knowing that. He lied to our teen about having to go to work & that was why he couldn't see them & obviously she's old enough to know when he normally leaves so she would be crying saying I know your going to see her why can't you stay here and be my dad and he would just leave without saying anything.

Didn't check on them for weeks at a time. Told me he was too tired to watch the kids but via phone records he spent 8 hours a night on phone with ow. When Xmas came my child support hadn't begun yet and he spent hundreds on himself-clothes video games etc but gave me $600 for the entire month for all bills food and Xmas presents for kids. I had to depend on family for help. (I've been a SAHM for years) Said "he had to look out for himself now"! Didn't ask about them. Got a new cell phone plan and didn't give us the number so my teen couldn't even call him.

The few times he did see them our oldest was obviously angry and my husband responded coldly and nasty and childishly. Telling her "go ahead hate me it's cool"!!! Who does that! He was so cold and arrogant and nasty I was afraid of him & my teen said he was scary to even look at. It's been 7 months. He sees the kids maybe 2x a month for 2 hours max. He plays with baby now but my teen Ignores him & he gets angry & says well I try to talk to her she just won't talk to me. His idea of talking is saying "I'm sorry, I wish you would talk to me" Completely puts responsibility on everyone else.

And now I've discovered he's painting himself the victim to friends & family & saying I don't allow him to see Kids which is a bold faced lie. Before ow dumped him I called him multiple times asking him to watch the kids when I had appts or to come visit they we're sick etc and he would say "I don't think it's a good idea". After she dumped him he would occasionally show up but for only an hour at a time or so. He feels no responsibility for them whatsoever. Doesn't help raise them at all.

I've attempted to arrange visitations-he doesn't show,cancels etc. Constantly promising he wants to change see Them etc and never following through. He really won't face any of what he's done. Since ow dumped him he moved on to texting other women and hitting on women at bars it seems he's consumed with insisting he wants the marriage but he "just made a mistake and why won't anyone get over it" yet all his actions are damaging to the family and marriage & clearly not trustworthy or marriage material.

He had drinking problem before but rarely drank. He now apparently drinks frequently, misses work, apparently narrowly got out of a DUI wrecked his vehicle. He never went to bars and NEVER drank and drove before.

He misses all their holidays, activities etc. Easter he told me (while drunk) he had other things he needed to do like wash clothes that's why he was off but couldn't see his kids. He was "too busy" I know each persons situation is different I guess I'm just looking for hope.

If your spouse was (if humanly possible) as horrid as mine to their children, did they ever come around and work at being a parent again? Did the children ever have a relationship with them again? How did your children cope?

I don't understand how you can act like a loving father for over 13 years and suddenly just drop your family like trash. Marriages end I get that. But our kids! How could anyone just let go of their kids?

I worry my children will never have a father in their lives. I worry how this will affect them. I'm doing my best to create new traditions memories and we're moving on with life without him. I've been in therapy & doing much better now then the first few months but it hurts to see my kids without a father. My teen told me she considers the father she had died and the man that's in his place looks like him but isn't him. My heart is breaking for my children. I know everyone says it but I truly never thought him capable of any of this.
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CrippledLamb
I've heard it said often that an affair causes a CS to act like a completely different person. Even after the affair has run it's course, the behavior even seems to get worse sometimes. It's really like they've become possessed somehow. 
Very sorry to hear your situation. We hate the situation we've been put in, but we can't hate our spouse, no matter what they've done to us or our children. God does have a plan...it's just so hard to see. My wife claims to love and want our kids, but takes absolutely no action to do the right thing. 
The best I can do to understand it is to guess that the shame and guilt of what the CS has done  (that he/she never thought they could do) causes defense mechanisms to activate. Look at some of the behavior- blaming, rationalizing, lying, inconsistency, rewriting history, etc. I would guess there is a list and explanation of defense mechanisms somewhere. But it's all the mind's way to justify the unjustifiable.
Yes it's wrong and hurts so bad. I myself am beginning to work on the "WaywardspouseAH.pdf"
So far it's helping to shift my mentality from victim to survivor. Good luck and God Bless
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TimT
Intuition77 wrote:
I don't understand how you can act like a loving father for over 13 years and suddenly just drop your family like trash. Marriages end I get that. But our kids! How could anyone just let go of their kids?


I will tell you from my own personal experience that my emotional disconnection from my children was even a surprise to me. I had always been connected to my children, more than I was connected to anything/anyone else in this world, but when I gave myself to the affair that part of my heart got shut down without me even trying.

It's a way of coping... of justifying. (See book below.) There was no way I could have given myself to the affair behavior and stayed emotionally vulnerable to my children at the same time, so I did the selfish thing. I closed my heart even to them.

However, it was the loss of that connection and the pain of knowing how much I had hurt them that eventually led me to my breakdown. That's when my real healing started. It was too late to save my marriage, but a lot of healing took place anyway... with my children and with my ex-wife.

I would give anything to go back and undo all of that, to erase it from their memories, but I can't. That regret, though, is a big motivation for me to do what I do now as a counselor: helping other people like me "get it" sooner than I did.

CrippledLamb wrote:
I would guess there is a list and explanation of defense mechanisms somewhere. But it's all the mind's way to justify the unjustifiable.


The book, Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me), provides great insight into examples and reasons for this kind of change. It's not a book about affairs; it's a book about how/why people justify their behaviors, even though it sometimes requires some big shifts to do so. It's a very interesting book and if you're struggling with how someone's belief system can change so drastically, I think you'll appreciate reading it.
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Intuition77
Thank you both. I'll look Into the book. And thank you Tim for that insight. Because a large part of my struggle daily is a back & forth was he always this way? Did we never ever matter to him & somehow I just didn't see it? His reaction made it feel like a double betrayal, not only did he lie cheat & hurt us but in a day he made 16 years completely meaningless. I never expected him to
Cheat but I never ever expected his actions and demeanor after I found out. I do see in him damage & shame. And in the beginning I tried to have empathy & talk to him about it. But everything he says and does is a contradiction. And he refuses to see any of his behaviors realistically. It's so confusing. I gave up trying to understand as his behaviors spiraled more & more. Nothing about him makes sense.

And I have personally struggled with wondering if I somehow married a man and never knew the real him. There's guilt there that I gave my children this man as their father and this is what he's done to them. And I know that's misplaced. I have no control over others actions but it's there.

May I ask how long it took for you to come Around to healing? And if there was anything your ex did or could have done to encourage it? It pains me to see he's missed almost a half of our baby's lifetime & this was a child we struggled for years to have after a difficult miscarriage and years of secondary infertility. And he's missing it all. I apologize for such wordy responses-there's just so much & it's so helpful to talk to others.
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TimT
Intuition77 wrote:
May I ask how long it took for you to come around to healing? And if there was anything your ex did or could have done to encourage it?


From the point of discovery, it took nearly 2 years to start moving toward healing, but with rather small steps. Through it all, missing my children and realizing the pain I had caused them pushed me toward a more honest and vulnerable appraisal of what I had done. The final straw fell a couple years later at a party for my oldest child... a big event that should have been a much different experience for her, for me. I found myself more of an observer than the creative, involved father/leader I use to be.

It was a loss that suddenly, and finally, shattered me. After I left the party, my heart broke for them. It broke for my ex, too. She was the first person I called (we were divorced; she was remarried) when my tears stopped.

Could she have done anything different to encourage a quicker change? I don't fault her at all for my failure, but the things I've learned about a healthy response have been put into the Winning Back Your Wayward Spouse eBook. That kind of response would have had an impact, I'm sure. Whether it would have been enough, I do not know.

But I can tell you that the hardest voices for me to shut out were my children's. To whatever degree they wanted or needed to say something to me, they should have been encouraged (not manipulated or forced) to do so. I had closed my heart to everyone who once mattered, but they were the ones who could crack it open again.

Unfortunately, YOUR pleading for his reconnection with the children or your pointing out his failure to do so will likely have little effect. Even if sincere, he will consider it an attack. You may feel the need to do it anyway, but just don't be surprised at the powerlessness of your plees.

Take comfort in this: It is more likely that you married a good man than a bad one. It is the affair, and the brokenness in him that moved him to it, that has caused this shift. If he was loving and attentive before, he may be that way for them again one day. For their sake, I hope so. For his sake, too.
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Intuition77
Thank you Tim. Yes I've learned anything I say is taken as an attack. I've just in the last 2 months or so been finally able to change patterns (how ingrained they become!) from trying to stop him from damaging the marriage more or hurting the children more to just letting go. My confidence is soaring & how I regret I wasn't able to immediately make these changes.

I read the ebook. Can I say I apologize but I loathe the title? lol I understand the reason for that title but it just triggers for me my husbands arrogance in the beginning as if he truly believed he was a prize to be won! I have a question regarding limiting time. First I need to say I learned through therapy how unhealthy codependent my marriage had become, I have major issues with care taking & that aspect of "controlling" everything around me & he has major issues with control he hides behind feigned Indifference. (& a boatload of other issues like most marriages) So I see now how vulnerable we we're to an affair. I was constantly trying to improve the marriage he was avoiding intimacy yet without realizing how much he needed it. Enter fantasy relationship where as he told me "she didn't have any expectations on me" yes because she wasn't his wife!

For a while he would occasionally text asking how the kids & I we're or even suggesting we do something as a "family". But this ran hot & cold & could be weeks/months in between. At first I played along desperate for him to at least reconnect with kids. However it became apparent he was only ok with this if everyone pretended nothing had happened & that he wanted the family back if we could completely just never speak of it & he didn't
Have to address any of his issues. It took while for me to realize he was using my desperation about the kids to try to get what he wanted without a care what we needed. Also these moments of pretending left me usually having an angry outburst as I just couldn't shove the feelings they triggered aside.

So I've finally dropped all contact except visitation/finances and decline family activities (he can have kids 2 days every other week but I won't be included) & he gets angry when I ignore his texts about how are we, what are we doing etc. He also then tends to "forget" about seeing the kids as if he's trying to punish me through them? I tried at first to just answer about the children but he was constantly trying to turn it to other conversation & he's never called and asked to speak to the children. He tries to guilt me about this knowing I want him to see the children. But I feel his trying to keep me attached without any consideration for my feelings or needs is simply stringing me along & a power play. And that his relationship with his kids is just that-his responsibility. Do you agree with my take of limiting time and availability? I recognize my care taking patterns make it hard for me to see this without feeling guilty about not doing "family activities" but I truly had to do it as it was keeping me from letting go and just wasn't in my best interest. I just wanted your opinion as I noticed the book mentioned not avoiding all activities but I simply cannot pretend like he expects & I feel it's not honoring me. I do not talk badly of him to the children & I do encourage my oldest to talk to him & about her feelings. I think the problem there is when she's tried he gets defensive & refused to hear her or dismisses her feelings like he does mine. So she's sadly given up.
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Intuition77
Just wanted to add I found the guard your heart article which actually helped me
Clarify that I'm doing what's best for me and my heart. I've bookmarked that one. Need to read it often because he likes to use guilt to make me feel I'm wrong for not just "putting the past in the past".
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TimT
Intuition77 wrote:
Just wanted to add I found the guard your heart article which actually helped me clarify that I'm doing what's best for me and my heart. I've bookmarked that one. Need to read it often because he likes to use guilt to make me feel I'm wrong for not just "putting the past in the past".


I'm glad it was helpful! Others can find that article here: http://community.affairhealing.com/post/guard-your-heart-after-an-affair-7364366?pid=1286803318
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TimeToFly
Intuition77 wrote:
My teen told me she considers the father she had died and the man that's in his place looks like him but isn't him.


Well Intuition77 when I read this I thought this is exactly what my son has said. He's almost 23 years old & was turning 19 when everything started. He has said that his father died the day the affair began. He says he still looks & sounds the same but that definitely isn't the man who was his father for 19 years of his life. "His father" wouldn't have ever done all of this to our family. He destroyed our home life, our marriage & the wonderful relationship he had with our son. 

It's very interesting that our children have the same thoughts about their father. I wonder if others out there are experiencing the same thing with their children?


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TimeToFly
I would like to think that perhaps one day my ex-husband & son will have a better relationship once again. I firmly believe though that it's going to take a lot of work to achieve this. The amount of damage that has been done is huge & so much has been lost. It's really sad to see what happened & how my ex-husband has made no real effort to work on having a relationship again with our son. He hardly calls him or even sends a text or email. Weeks can go by & there is nothing from him & yet he can't seem to understand why our son is so distant towards him. 

I'm not sure what the future will hold for their "father & son" relationship but I do know that this affair has been so damaging in so many ways & I think it will take a long time (if ever) for things to improve. I think the only way any real improvement will occur is if my ex-husband gets to a place of honestly taking responsibility for everything he did. As my son says "he has to own it". Only time will tell...



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Intuition77
TimeToFly wrote:
. I think the only way any real improvement will occur is if my ex-husband gets to a place of honestly taking responsibility for everything he did. As my son says "he has to own it". Only time will tell...





Yes I think that is it entirely. Mine thinks saying " what I did was wrong" is owning it. & will insist til he's blue in the face he owns everything. Yet that's as good as it gets. I made a mistake everyone needs to get over it. I told him it's like hitting someone with your car, you can get out and say "sorry! Totally my fault!" Then jump back in your car & leave them lying there broken-your not owning anything just empty words. Truly taking responsibility is tending to the hurt, calling an ambulance, staying with them & taking care of the hospital bills. That's owning it!
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Intuition77
TimT wrote:
Intuition77 wrote:
Just wanted to add I found the guard your heart article which actually helped me clarify that I'm doing what's best for me and my heart. I've bookmarked that one. Need to read it often because he likes to use guilt to make me feel I'm wrong for not just "putting the past in the past".


I'm glad it was helpful! Others can find that article here: http://community.affairhealing.com/post/guard-your-heart-after-an-affair-7364366?pid=1286803318


Reread this again today & my guards we're in place! He tried the guilt. Skipped his visitation with kids and instead emailing me that he wants the marriage and don't I care about our family (oh me? The faithful one who didn't cheat & walk out on the kids???) but I must not since I'm just not willing to leave the past in the past (his favorite phrase) & he minimized everything he's done & yet claims he's completely changed!
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TimeToFly
I just went back & re-read this article & it is so well written! I see myself in a lot of it & certainly wish I would have followed more of what the article suggests. I'm glad your guards were in place since it's so important. I can honestly say that several times I let my ex-husband back into my life without those guards & it didn't serve me well. I can look back on things now & I wish I had taken a much firmer stand than I did. Fear of the unknown played a huge part & I didn't want "her" to win. I was fighting hard for my marriage but needed those guards & boundaries in place. Maybe it would have made a difference for us. 
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Kalmarjan
I can't imagine your pain. I can give you a sense of what a wayward spouse goes through though, at least in my case...

I never abandoned my son. Quite the contrary, I moved into an apartment close to my house so my son would be close to his school, and comfortable, as much as could be.

Thing is, I know he cried himself to sleep, and had crying fits at school. (I heard this from his teachers.)

In my case I was swimming through a lot of muck. I was abhorred by what I was doing, and how it was affecting my family, but I beat that down with anger.

Anger at my spouse, because it was her fault in my mind. Her reminding and imploring me to think of the family really felt to me like manipulation, and that angered me more.

Plus, I was wrapped up in the arms of another damsel in distress, so my attention was turned to her.

One thing to understand here is that everyone is the hero of their story they tell themselves. Rarely, if ever, will a person go into something or a situation thinking, "I'm so evil, mwah ha ha."

I too heard from family about how much I changed, how this wasn't the real me. They were right of course, BUT you could not have told me that.

In my case, it was the OW who pushed to have the divorce, ironically so she could marry me. I just couldn't bring myself to inflict that much pain, I guess thanks to my "Mr nice guy syndrome."

I started to wake up when the demands of the OW became too much for what I had already given up. To this day she still tries to manipulate me but I just laugh it off because I see where it is coming from.

I woke up, hopefully not too late, and I am working through this. Let me tell you something though, the hardest thing is going back. Admitting the story I told myself was a lie sold to myself to justify my actions.

Facing the hurt, pain, and how broken my family is is almost too much to bear. Being humble and with humility is a bitter, hard pill to swallow.

All of my rambling here is just to give you that perspective. Once again, I am the hero of my story, and it's hard to come around to the villainous things I have done.

It was almost easier to just stay mad and buy that story I was telling myself. The only problem is, it's like eating sugar puffs for every meal. Great at the beginning, but no nourishment.

I hope I made some sense there.
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TimT
Kalmarjan wrote:
...I was abhorred by what I was doing, and how it was affecting my family, but I beat that down with anger. Anger at my spouse, because it was her fault in my mind. Her reminding and imploring me to think of the family really felt to me like manipulation, and that angered me more. Plus, I was wrapped up in the arms of another damsel in distress, so my attention was turned to her...


Oh man, I know just what that feels like. Well said. Thank you for sharing and giving this perspective.
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