cheating spouses and their kids

By Doug

We received an email from one of our blog readers who asked us to share a letter that her daughter wrote to her husband.  The letter shows the effects that an affair has on the children of those involved. 

Cheating spouses don’t always realize (or don’t care) what their actions do to the psyche of kids. Often they think that the child will take their side, are resilient or simply won’t care. This letter demonstrated clearly that that is not always the case.  In fact, I venture to say that this letter reflects more accurately how a child feels about a parent’s marital affair in most instances.

I know that when I was in the middle of my emotional affair with Tanya, I felt that sure, if my kids ever found out they would be upset and distraught, but the “affair fog” that I was in clouded my judgment and I was convinced that they would soon get over it and be able to move on with little after effects.  I now know just how stupid that mindset was.

Featured Download: “The Top 10 Reasons to Leave Your Affair Partner Now”

If you’re the unfaithful, get it, read it and carefully consider the advice. If you’re the betrayed, give it to your unfaithful spouse.

When I read the letter it really hit home, and I’m so relieved that it didn’t get to the point where I would have to explain or justify my hurting their mother the way that I did. 

My children mean the world to me, and it would be more than devastating to lose their trust, respect and love.  What I did to Linda was horrible enough as it was, but to hurt them as well would have made everything so much more terrible.  I really could have lost everything that is most important in my life.

See also  Saving A Marriage:Sex After the Affair

Maybe I’m just a wuss, but I think that if more cheating spouses who have kids would consider the effects that their actions are having outside of their affair bubble, there would be less cheating in this world—or at the very least they would have more motivation to end the affair.

Here is a portion of the letter that demonstrates this girl’s feelings towards her father and his affair:

“…Last of all, I’m not going to hate you forever.  I don’t hate you now.  I am just really disappointed in you.  I feel like you are no longer the person that raised me; the person that I have always looked up to and wanted to be like.  All of this has been very painful.  I want you to be happy and I understand your need to figure everything out, but it is an understatement to say that you went about this the wrong way.  Honestly, I feel sorry for you.  You have, and will lose so much because of your actions, and for what?  I think you will find the trade-off less than satisfying.  (I still feel the same way about Rachel, and I’m sorry but I have to vent – I never want to meet her, if she is someplace then I will not be there.  If God forbid you stay together, then I don’t want her at my graduation, my wedding, to meet my kids, nothing).

I’m sorry if any of this hurt your feelings.  I will always love you and want a relationship with you, but I’m just so mad at you right now.  I’m anxious about what the future will hold for all of us, but I guess only time will tell.”

So for all of the cheating spouses out there, think about all the harm your actions can cause.  Not only the devastation that you inflict on your spouse, but also on your kids.  Perhaps you will think twice before you have an affair, and decide to do whatever is necessary to fix your relationship and save your marriage before it’s too late.

See also  The Perfect Storm


    36 replies to "Cheating Spouses: Their Affair and Their Kids"

    • Jeffrey Murrah


      I often use the phrase “the hurt that keeps on hurting” as a way to express the impact of cheating on children. The damage of cheating often goes on through generations. What may have been a one-night stand or a six-month fling often produces years of hurts.

      The letter from the daughter hits on many issues. 1) The hurt often shows its ugly head at holidays, family gatherings and significant events 2) The cheating leads to an alienation in the relationship between the cheater and the child. That is a significant one-two punch. It says, “I don’t trust you”. If that doesn’t phase you, I will see to it that you are reminded of it at every family gathering.

      WOW! What a message. If you think that it will pass away once the grand-kids are around, think again. They will likely pick up their parents hurts and you as the cheater will have a stained reputation that lasts through the generations. I know that is strong, but it is a reality that people seldom want to face.

      • Linda

        The letter and the post really upset me today. I remember trying to save Doug from himself by keeping his affair a secret. I knew how hurt and angry our children would be and I didn’t want all his years of love and dedication to be wiped away from a terrible mistake. Obviously he was not thinking clearly because he believed they would understand and be ok. I felt I was talking to deaf ears trying to explain the reality of the situation. It was a very helpless situation for me and it is amazing how the pain can resurface years later. The letter truly represents how devastating and selfish an affair really is. I wonder if the children’s hurt and anger ever go away, I know how difficult it is for the spouse to let it go, we often forget about the effects of the children and what we need to do to heal their pain. Linda

    • J

      This is really a tough pill for my wife at the moment. 3 of my 4 children know, and its effected each of them differently. My oldest is very angry. I think the flip flop back and forth since finding out, that he has seen has done even more damage with the trust. I am confident that as we continue our process to recovery, and actions speak louder than words, he will forgive, but I know it kills my wife seeing his constant disrespect and anger. Its like he is shouting, I dare you to flip flop again. I only pray that helps strengthen resolve as we try to get past the “Fog” stage. Still in it, unfortunately.

    • ruth

      Both of my children found out and both of them just tolerrate him. They love him but have no respect for him and he cant seem to understand why everyone just cant forgive and forget and put it in the past. Does he really think what he did wasnt so wrong?? He lost so much and he doesnt even get it. I wonder if he is more worried about his loss for the ow more? Wish I can ask him but he would only lie.

    • Kate

      My daughter knows about her stepdad’s EA… I would have preferred she didn’t, but I had left my email open on the home computer and she read a conversation in the chat window.

      She is 17 and still learning about relationships, love, etc. She’s very strong-willed and has been a difficult teen to live with before all of this. Needless to say, she know has no respect for my H and flat out calls him out on what he did or points out that she will not listen to anything he says as a result.

      This makes homelife pretty rough and stressfull, not what we need at a time like this! I’m hoping to show my H that we can have a happy, loving marriage but at home there’s so much negative energy when they are both around. It sounds awful to say this, but I am looking forward to her turning 18 in December and moving out… If nothing else, to give us some peace to try to work on our relationship again.

      • Anonymous

        Oh my – reading your comment just breaks my heart :-/

        Your poor daughter – “a difficult teen”, you’re “looking forward to her… moving out”.

        That strong will of hers is actually something to be really grateful for, it’s her life spirit asserting itself in a situation that is benearh her – good for her for calling out someone’s behavior that has proved them untrustworthy – I hope she ever retains that, so many people lose that & it hurts their lives & ripples out…

        I think you could learn a lot from your daughter.

        It must be doubly difficult for her because this is a step-“parent” – Sounds like there has been a lot for her to deal with in her life.

        She is not responsible for the adults in her life being dysfunctional, & her reactions are healthy & normal.

        I wonder why you seem to be prioritizing this relationship (especially with someone that has cheated on you) above your daughter.

        I see you wanting to “work” on that relationship more than wanting to raise your child – Your comment is especially heartbreaking for that reason & the sense of low self-esteem I discern from it: “I want to show my husband that we can have a happy loving marriage” – Why do you have to show him that, when he’s the one that cheated?

        It’s been some time since your comment. I wonder what happened when your daughter turned 18 – It’s always so heartbreaking when I hear people talk about their children as burdens. Also, at the stroke of midnight on an 18th birthday, one does not automatically become an an adult – it’s a bit of a process, that you as a parent, are supposed to be there for, guiding & supporting.

        I just get a sense that your daughter’s natural sense of things & strength is uncomfortable for you – & it doubly breaks my heart for you both. Where is your spirit for your own life & worth? Where is the support of your daughter’s?

        I hope things have turned out well. I hope that the ‘adults’ in this situation have taken responsibility & sought out appropriate help & healing from the root causes of this dysfunction & have made amends to the innocents they have harmed.

        Most of all, I hope a young person is entering into a stage of her own life with her full spirit & sense of self intact, unburdened by the baggage of those before her, baggage she has nothing to do with, but often has an insidious effect on the lives of innocents – I sincerely hope she is getting to truly live her own life, as she was meant to, with the love & support she deserves.

        P.S. – To everyone that doesn’t want children to find out about these kinds of things – well, it’s always known on some level – energetically, intuitively it has an effect.

    • Donna

      My 11 year old daughter knows about her dad’s EA. She could see it just as I could, we just didn’t realise it was an affair going on. LOve hind sight now! Anyway, she is struggling withthe fact that her daddy could love someone else and then to top it off lie and have sex with someone else besided her mum. What gets her though is that she has walked in on her dad and me kissing before and that is what upsets her the most that her dad would kiss OW that same way.. funny what a child thinks.

      She can see that her dad has made a very big mistake and that he regrets it and the pain it has caused. SHe see’s that he can come out of this is the best way by working through it and staying with his family. She know’s this, although she has got to the point where she says, mum I know he is my dad and I love him, but why do you stay with him. I wouldn’t! That tears me up inside.

      I think reality is, the cheater knows the hurt and pain they have casused, but their selfishness over rides that pain and they do what is best for themselves at the time. My husband said that it takes children about 3 months to get use to an idea and adjust and they will be okay. I dissagree with this, yes children are resilient, I still dissagree with the whole 3 months thingie though.

      • ifeelsodumb

        I don’t think 3 LIFETIMES will ever be enough for a child to get use to infidelity!! I know it will stay with me forever!!

      • Rachel

        My boys have been going through this nightmare for almost 1 year and it is so difficult for them. Although they are older 20 &16 I believe it’s even harder.
        H said he waited until they were older because they understand more. Total B.S.!!!! As usual!

    • ifeelsodumb

      I’ve had several friends over the years whose husband’s have had affairs, four of the marriages ending in divorce…I’ve always told my H that to have an affair is one of the most selfish acts in a marriage, especially if children are involved….of course, he disregarded this and got involved in an EA…and now we are all paying for it!
      I hope and pray my children will be OK…they seem to be, except for my youngest, I can tell he’s still insecure…just trying to show him that we love each other and mom and dad are gonna be OK :/

    • Frank Shannon

      A cheating spouse betrays not only their husband or wife, they’re just as deeply betraying their children. Anyone who says otherwise is rationalizing. My ex cheated her brains out – with women. My daughters, however, treat me like a leper and treat her as if she’s Mother Teresa!

    • Mag

      My 18 yr old daughter wrote the exact same letter that she reiterated to my H. It was uncanny how similar it was. We have three kids – 21, 18 and 10. My CS garnered much respect from his older children and I thought that they were taken in by his intelligence and prudence through his explanation of my inadequacies. They were trying to stay neutral but the more they saw the effect it was having on their younger sibling they took a stand. I know my H values his children (at least before the affair) so this letter shook him a bit from “the fog” and is agreeing to go to therapy.

    • Gizfield

      In yet another victory for “whoredom” my husband elected to “skip this one” meaning my daughter’s yearly award ceremony at church. Apparently he got he panties in a wad that he was going to have to drive down there, about 3 miles in his car instead of ride with us. It was due to the “awkwardness” that I’ve created. Does he not realize HE has created this situation by sneaking around with his little secret, special friend?????????? The sad thing is when my daughter first saw that he was not there she looked surprised or hurt or something. I guess shes gotten used to it though, by now. She never asked me about him, and neither did anyone else. In his mind , he is such a good person but I dont think many others who know him share that opinion. Excrpt maybe his little band of high school buddies, whose main interest is deciding whose house or what bar to get wasted at each weekend. Oh, it was also my birthday. Happy birthday to me. Yet another one ruined by this creep.

    • Gizfield

      Whats really sad its I’m pretty sure this vapid bitch doesn’t even care about my soon to be ex, that he is probably just one of a series of what he called “rent a husbands”. Too bad she never actually paid any rent, just used his ass as a dumping ground for her self created problems. I have no doubt she is on the prowl for his replacement as we speak. That he would choose any part of that whore over his child is unpardonable.

      • Strengthrequired

        Gizfield, I like that saying “rent a husband”. That is truly what ournh were, rented.

    • Gizfield

      Also, the fact that he chooses his own pride over being there for his daughter is unpardonable. I can guarantee that I have, and will be there for her if I had to sit in the back, by myself, with a big a scarlet “C”” for Cheatee on my shirt. It is that important to me.

    • Gizfield

      Somebody help me please ! My husband has now told me that it was ok for him to sneak around with another woman is because she is a LESBIAN! I am still laughing. Has anyone else been told stuff that is this delusional??? I am serious here!

      • Strengthrequired

        Ohh my gizfield, I know this is an old post, but how funny. She is a lesbian so it’s ok to cheat. Hmmmm. Every mans dream, Off courses it ok if you out it that way, not…..

    • Gizfield

      I’m guessing the fact that she supposedly would not have sex with him means that she is a lesbian. Which I guess makes it ok for him to try to have sex with her. This fish is not biting!

      • DJ

        Man, that is lame – talk about delusional. I’m glad you see through it and that you are there for your daughter. At least she has security and consistency in you.

        I don’t think I have anything quite like that, but my husband told me shortly after d-day that it was a good thing he reconnected with her because she was not religious at all before, but he led her back to their faith. How they ever justified their affair with their faith is beyond me.

        • Gizfield

          Usually they justify it by saying they didnt do anything wrong or that they are “friends”.

    • Gizfield

      Oh yeah, part of the services he provides is spiritual guidance to this “possibly” (I kid you not) demon possessed, ex prostitute, alcoholic, pill head, man hating lesbian. In my defense, I am only a “fat, lazy hoarder” over 50. And of course he is a creepy, adultering, lying middle age man. What an attractive grouping we are, lol.

      • Strengthrequired

        My h and his ow didn’t find god when they got together, they lost him.

    • Gizfield

      They talk about God a lot, and she helps him “understand” women. Not tooooo well, I’d say. Oh well. He actually said it’s helped our relationship, lol. Helped it all the way to divorce court.

      • DJ

        Amicable or not, divorce is never easy. You are in my thoughts and prayers, Gizfield.

    • Gizfield

      Thank you, DJ!!

    • Gizfield

      You know, I guess this adultery thing is all good, innocent fun and games, you know Cute, until you are a 48 year old man, sleeping on your momma’s couch cause you are no longer welcome in the home you shared with your wife and child. You were warned, and chose to ignore the warning. Were all those cute little texts with a tramp worth it? only time will tell.

    • nessw

      It’s because of the damage to the kids that I am keeping it from them. So they are told mummy and daddy are having problems and are doing their best to do what’s right for the family. They’re not told daddy started fucking some bit after you were born cos he felt trapped and then kept it secret from mummy for years. They aren’t told that mummy lost her chance to walk away with her head high at that point but, instead, gave up a career and had five more kids (one while daddy was still fucking someone else) thinking this was a lifelong love. They aren’t told that now they’re all at school mummy has outgrown her use to daddy and he’s looking elsewhere for companionship. Of course they’re not told…but who bears the burden? Not daddy. Sorry for sounding bitter but, the children I adore and have become the builders of a prison for me as I protect them from what has happened here. 🙁

    • AnnaB

      Nessw I totally understand what you are saying because I long to walk away from all of this but can’t, because I don’t want my children to suffer from being from a broken home. We are trying to reconcile things because his affair was apparently due to a mid-life crisis. It lasted 18months and shocked the hell out of me as I knew her – they were co-workers. It was a double betrayal, and a year and a half on I sometimes shake my head in disbelief that this has actually happened. I hate her with every ounce of my being and would love to confront her, but I haven’t done so because I don’t see why I should upset her husband or children. I’m hoping to see her when she’s alone. Having said all this, if I discovered he was doing it again I would have no hesitation in ending it. My children are in their late teens, which makes it a bit easier. I think it would be more helpful to them to see me refusing to be a door mat.

    • AnnaB

      I forgot to say that we haven’t told our children, but have a feeling they know, even though we try to argue when they are out of earshot. But they’re not silly and probably have an idea.

    • Strengthrequired

      My children know, because my h is related to his ow and she had told my children how wonderful they were, how she loved them, next thing their dad left them for her until he came home again choosing his family but still communicating with her for months and months later, where she kept telling him how she wants him that he needs to be with her not his family. So much for loving my h family, she just wanted to ruin them.
      My children thought she was wonderful, except my youngest who only a baby and wouldn’t have a bar of her, that was until she threw her affair with their dad in their faces deliberately, then also making scenes at my h sisters place in front of my h sisters children, who then come back and give details to my children.
      My children didn’t get to be sheltered. Now they just hate the ow.

    • Anonymous

      I cried when I read this post because I am meeting my dad’s “other woman” of 3 years this weekend and I feel like I am betraying myself and my mum because I still love my dad

      • Strengthrequired

        Anonymous, I feel so sorry for what you and your mum and your family have been through and still going through. You will always love your dad, he will always be your dad, that has not changed. I can only imagine how you feel having to meet your dads ow this weekend, how difficult it is going to be for you. Do not feel as though you are betraying yourself or your mum, you are not. You are in a tough position, but no one is telling you that you are to accept or love or even like this ow straight away, or ever for that matter, it is up to you, it is your decision.
        It is going to be hard for you seeing her with your dad, I feel terrible for you, I’m sad that you are going through this. I wish these fathers and mothers that choose to have affairs realise what it does to their children, to put themselves in their children’s shoes and see how hard it is for them. Unfortunately they don’t, not for a while at least anyway.
        I wish you all the best, and remember no one can force you to love or accept or not love or not accept the ow, that is up to you.

        • Michelle

          I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. My kids are older (17, 20,24). They have told their dad that they will have a relationship with him because they love him and he is their dad, but they will never have one with HER. They told him this a year ago and are sticking to their guns. They refuse to ever be around her and even my mother-in-law has told her that if its an family event with the kids, she is not invited and never will be.

          We have a family friend that this happened too and he did the same thing. It’s been 20 years and he and his kids have never met their dad’s OW (now his wife). They take vacations, do family things, but she is never allowed. The OW is not happy about it but his dad is honoring his son’s wishes. And it has worked out (and I don’t think the dad’s marriage to the OW is all that great after all).

    • Denise

      It is truly heartbreaking to realize the man you loved and thought was a great father could make a choice that he knew very well was putting everything and everyone at risk. You can’t say your a great father except when you do xyz AND keep doing it. My now ex had an ongoing physical and Emotional affair for FIVE years. She was also married with young children. He told her on numerous occasions that it had gone to far and he wanted to save his marriage. She didn’t back off and neither did she. They continued to play the we were just friends and your mom is crazy for thinking we were having an affair. She was introduced and in my children’s life for years before it was finally outed that they indeed had been together for 5 years while married. They didn’t like her very much to begin with as I had made it clear that they weren’t just friends. This continued for four years…manipulating, lying telling them I was just pissed he had moved on with his life and found someone. Fast forward to the day my ex had to finally tell them because I confronted him with facts. They are beyond recasted, love their dad as they should, but can’t understand why he would stay with her knowing how they feel. They despise her. To the point he has agreed to “not bring her around”, but won’t cut it off. I have tried numerous ways to explain the damage he’s doing… That it isn’t out of sight out of mind, and time is not going to heal this if he keeps her in his life. Two of the three kids are exhibiting eating disorders, and one a substance abuse issue that started when he was 11! The oldest is pretty outspoken about her feelings, but the other 2 have pretty much just said “it’s whatever. It doesn’t make a difference how we feel, so there’s no point saying anything.” There silence has in turn made my ex oblivious and he takes it more as a they’re not fighting me about it so it must be ok. As a mother I am so beyond livid that their father is doing this and that this other woman who says she loves him and the children won’t just back the f*ck off. If she cared…truly cared, she wouldn’t be making it so difficult for him and wouldn’t want to be the cause of a rift between the man she claims to love and his children. He has NO idea the damage he’s causing and just how far reaching it will be if he keeps her in his life. It’s like rubbing their faces in it everyday! My heart is crushed. I will be fine. My children don’t deserve this 🙁

    • Richard

      I thought I was strong till it happened. It just feel like kicking ass

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