the destructive force of infidelity on familiesAs you are all aware, the holidays are right around the corner. This has always been a special time for me and for our family.

Doug and I have such special memories of our whole family coming together at our house on Christmas day for lots of food, drink and merry-making.

Well, we just found out last week that our nieces and nephew will not be joining us this year. Though nobody told me directly, I suspect the underlying reason has something to do with my brother’s new wife.

For those of you who haven’t read about my brother’s situation…Here’s the short version: Brother has affair. His wife finds out. Brother ends affair and tries to reconcile. Brother puts half-assed effort into reconciliation, gets back together with affair partner, divorces wife and marries affair partner.

Needless to say, the kids were extremely upset and I believe they still are, even after about 2 or so years. The whole situation has caused a lot of collateral damage that I really don’t want to get into in this post, but suffice to say that it all has trickled down and has affected the whole family in a variety of ways.

Every time I think about the situation I get mad at my brother.

I hear about the destructive force of infidelity on families seemingly every day…

Yesterday I ran into an ex-teacher friend who I hadn’t seen in about three years. We got to talking and she revealed that her husband of 25-years left her for his affair partner. Her situation really mirrored that of my brothers in many ways as she and her family have been devastated by the whole mess.

Here are a couple of things she mentioned…

Her thirty-year-old daughter, who was married to a great guy, got involved with a co-worker, had an affair with him, left her husband and moved across the country with him. They both gave up great corporate jobs and are now barely making it as she is working in a Starbucks and the guy is working at a Home Depot. My friend suspects they will be moving back home very soon for financial reasons.

Her other daughter, in her mid-twenties, is so gun shy when it comes to relationships now that she won’t enter into a serious relationship with any man for fear of being hurt. The result has been a mishmash of short flings and one-night stands and weekly appointments with a therapist. She’s put on about 50 pounds and alcohol has become one of her best friends.

Both of her kids refuse to have anything to do with their father and his new wife. It’s gotten to the point that none of them put forth any effort to reconcile, much less communicate.

Her ex-husband feels that he deserves to be happy and that his kids should respect that and be able to live with it. The kids obviously see things differently. I venture to guess that the new wife could care less either way.

My friend is doing well after living her own hell for several months. She has begun dating again and has had a few good dates with good men. It just so happens that the guy she is currently seeing had his previous marriage end as a result of infidelity on the part of his now ex-wife. Go figure.

Some other examples…

  • One of our neighbors had to go to court not too long ago as his ex-wife  was shacking up with her AP boyfriend –  who just so happened to be a drug addict – and was exposing our neighbor’s 5-year-old son to various drug related activities and shady characters.  He managed to gain full custody of his son.
  • Yet another neighbor whose ex-husband had an affair and moved in with his AP, went from being a stay at home mother to having to commute about 70-miles a day for work in order to keep from losing her house.  Her two young sons are shuttled amongst various family members and their father while she is working.  One of her sons is constantly in trouble at school and is acting out in a variety of negative ways.
  • I have a student teacher this semester who married a friend’s son back in May.  She had an affair two-weeks later with a person she (and her husband) worked with at the time.  The annulment was just finalized a couple of weeks ago.  Our friend told me that her now ex-daughter-in-law never got over her dad’s affair (that broke up her parent’s marriage) and that she is showing signs of depression and self-sabotage.  Needless to say, she’s been a lousy student teacher!
  • One of our daughter’s was telling me about a father of a friend of hers.  Apparently, he was visiting his daughter at college whose sorority was having a “Dad’s Weekend.”   While there, he must have been quite drunk and wound up sleeping with one if his daughter’s sorority sisters. Extremely embarrassed, our daughter’s friend quit the sorority, doesn’t speak to her dad and has turned into what our daughter describes as a slut; getting drunk several times a week and coming home with a different guy most nights.

It just never seems to end!

Other than the personal devastation that the BS experiences as a result of infidelity, how has it affected the rest of your family?

 

Opt In Image
Survive and Thrive after Infidelity
You deserve to have a marriage that doesn’t just survive - it thrives!

We’re here to show you the right way to survive infidelity so that your marriage doesn’t become some sort of statistic.

We’ve been in your shoes and are in a unique position to put all of our experiences – both good and bad, successes and failures – and use them to help lead you out of the pain and into a better place.

    16 replies to "The Destructive Force of Infidelity on Families"

    • Tiredofitall

      Are cheaters this stupid that they cannot foresee the long term consequences of their actions? In 2012 I discovered my H’s EA. I agreed that I would give him one more chance. A week and a half ago as we left the grocery store (after church no less), he was approached and threatened by the husband of a new AP. He is dead to me. I cannot begin to comprehend what this will do to the family that I have been protecting for 23 years. We plan to tell the kids over the holidays. He wants to get help this time and “says” the right things as he always does. I hate him.

      • tryinghard

        Tired
        I am so sorry to hear this. I know you’ve been trying very hard to make your marriage work with him since the EA. This is a new one? WTF?? He’s reconciling and thinks it’s a great idea to start another affair? Why?

        You’re right, what are they thinking or are they even capable of any kind of rational thought? I feel for you and your family with the upcoming holidays and having to tell this news. I don’t blame you for hating him and considering him dead to you. Of course he’s going to say the “right” things!! Jeez he was caught red handed. What did he do, did he deny it? I can’t imagine being confronted at the grocery store on a Sunday no less!! This just breaks my heart for you. Yeah there’s only so many second chances like ONE.

        I hope the conversation goes smoothly for you and guess what you are still protecting your family by separating yourself from a person who so obviously disrespects you and his family by acting like a selfish toad!

    • Sidney

      Linda……just curious…..do your children know about Doug’s affair? I can’t seem to recall if I’d read anything on that in previous posts.

      • Doug

        Hey Sidney, Linda is at work and then won’t be home until late tonight (after school teacher happy hour!) so I thought I’d answer that for you. One of our daughters overheard us arguing one evening about 6 years ago and later questioned Linda if I was having an affair. Linda handled it brilliantly (thank goodness) and nothing has ever been said since. Here’s the post where Linda mentions the episode: http://www.emotionalaffair.org/healing-from-infidelity-dont-keep-it-inside/

        • Shifting Impressions

          Doug, thanks for the link to how Linda handled that. I too have experienced many of those same feelings. It is also very timely as many of your posts seem to be.

          My older children knew about the affair but my youngest daughter didn’t. She was living far away and I didn’t think she would be able to handle the information. I too was protecting my husband. I have been stressed since she was returning home and staying with us for a few months…….I too worried as Linda did, would she see it in my eyes?. My oldest son heard it in my voice.

          Here is what happened. She said….”What’s really going on between you and Dad?” Then she floored me and said….”I know about the affair.” She told me she had accidentally found information on a memory stick, while doing some work for my husband. Here comes the kicker……she found this five years ago. The EA happened two years ago!!!! So what did that mean, she was talking about an EA that happened over 15 years ago. So, just day after getting through the one year anniversary of D-day I was handed another D-day.

          When my daughter found this info she decided to destroy the evidence and not say anything. It grieves me that she carried this for five years. Sometimes we think our families don’t know but if they are close to us they can read us better than we realize. They may not know exactly what is going on but they pick up our pain. Last year when she came home for Christmas I was pretty raw with pain as I had just had D-day in November. She knew just by being with me that I had found out only she thought it was about the first EA.

          So yes our families are effected. This week has been Hell, and I feel like many of you did after facing another D-day. I thought I was just starting to climb my way back to some normal and then I find myself thrown back into the pit.

          But it just occurred to me that just as the affair effects our children the way I handle it will also effect them. If they see us able to come to a place of healing and forgiveness that would be a life lesson worth learning for them. It’s a reason for me to get out of bed…..my family means everything to me. It’s a long and painful journey, that’s for sure.

          • chely

            Yes my two sons know by default. They were in their rooms sleeping on the Monday morning when I confronted him about the e-mail I had found. I’m sure that they heard everything as I’m not the quietest person in the world. Sometimes it’s so hard to remember the exact words he said, but basically alluded that for about a year he had been unhappy, but it was only a friendship. When he left for work about 45 mins later I stepped out onto the patio after his last words were “I want a divorce”, and had a breakdown which included the most awful, long primal scream of agony. They both came flying out to me, maybe still unsure of what was happening, as they just kept asking me what was wrong. I’m not sure what I said to them. About two weeks later after searching through phone records, I realized that this was way worse as I could see they were communicating for FIVE years (I later found more records showing ten years back lots of contact) – I had a COMPLETE breakdown fetal position in the worst agony of my life screaming and moaning and of course my niece walks in the door at that exact moment- I had to tell her, and one friend knows too. I have kept this secret for over a year. The entire nightmare has destroyed me even further. I couldn’t do this alone anymore and I finally told my Mom, Step-Dad, and Grandmother, just 3 days ago. She is helping me get at the truth as we hired a private investigator yesterday. I cannot live (in or out of ) like this any longer.

    • tryinghard

      I know this has been discussed and I take a very firm stance on whether children should know. I truly believe small children should be protected and kept out of adult stupidity and drama. They don’t have the experience or thought process or words or understanding to grasp the problem. However I think once they are adolescent/college age and are still living at home there is nothing wrong with explaining the situation IF they ask.

      I also believe, no matter whether you tell them or not, THEY KNOW. They may not want to discuss it with you or may even pretend it’s not true, but they know. They aren’t stupid or unworldly. They hear snippets of conversations, and as you said arguments, they see Mom’s red eyes, and Dad’s worried look on his face, let alone feel the tension in the home. I think if they ask, parents have a responsibility to be honest with their children. I’m not suggesting going into the sordid details and there are safe ways of having that conversation. They should be made aware this shit happens and it happens in seemingly good families like their own. Hiding it only makes it worse.

      Thing is most adolescents are only concerned for themselves and that’s the way it should be. They worry if Mom and Dad split up what’s going to happen to them. They need to feel safe and not have the “secret” lurking in the background.

      Linda your brother’s children have been through hell. I so feel for them. I can’t believe he hasn’t made any more headway in establishing a better relationship with them in the past two years since he left their mother and totally turned their world upside down. What an ass!! Sounds like all he cares about is himself and the new wife. I’m sure she’s lapping it up he has nothing to do with the kids that hate her. I don’t know how you can even look at her let alone entertain her in your home. You’re a better woman than me. I’d have the kids there and NOT him.

      • sherry

        Definitely a tough call. My adult children were both told for different reasons. First, I beleive that we all need to be accountable for our actions. It was obvious that we were having difficulties. I wanted them to know that it can happen to anybody and can hopefully be overcome.
        Our daughter was very concerned because she noticed that there was great tension and unhappiness between us. She was staying with us temporarily at the time and was concerned that she was the cause of the problems. I wanted her to know that she was not, and that we both loved her. She learned about it 4 months after I did.
        Our son was a little more difficult to tell. He is very sensitive to such things and I didn’t know how he would handle it. The main reason for telling him was that the AP was not only his age, but a “friend” of his, with whom he had had some sort of previous dalliance too. I didn’t want him to hear about this from someone else and feel that we were lying to him.
        In the 2+ years since, I have told them that we are working on it and that marriage is a struggle and requires work and openness. I have come very close to calling it quits several times but don’t give up easily. Although it sticks in my craw to even say it, It seems the injured party has to be the bigger person and create opportunities for the cheater to be a better person. Then continue giving more chances until they wake up and get their heads on straight. Despite the pain and frustration that the injured is suffering, they must be the strong one and pull it all together. The cheater is definitely not thinking about the effect on the family. Somebody has to do this! I seriously think that if it were left up to the cheaters to do the necessary work to repair the marriage, in most cases it probably wouldn’t happen.

    • Oceangirl

      I was clueless until my son mentioned that Dad was sure texting a lot and hiding the phone every time I walked through the room. My son was grown at the time (25) but still living at home while working and attending college. That night I got up at 3 am, got my husbands phone and found texts that almost made me faint. Sadly my husband lied his way through 5 therapists, an intensive,very expensive marriage weekend, and an after care group. His EA’s, both with the same coworker, turned out to be PA’s and deeply emotional and he was still with her while trying to “reconnect ” with me through dates, concerts, etc. My son took it all in stride, although I think he was pretty disgusted with his dad. I am still watching for signs of negative reactions. He is so quiet that it is hard to tell what he thinks and he doesn’t really talk about it with me. I think he has lost a lot of respect for his dad. He just won’t say so.

    • Patsy50

      My children were of adult ages, 31 and 35 both married. They were told after I was told by my husband of his EA with a young coworker.

      They were shocked he could do such a thing to me and them. They told him what they thought of him. They told me I had their full support in whatever I decided to do with the relationship, stay or leave. It was the best thing I did in telling them about their father. He felt guilty and ashamed at what he did to us.

      They still loved him for the good father he was all these years. They held him responsible for the poor choices he made in choosing to enter into this EA. We all forgave him in our own ways in order to move forward. That was 4 years ago and he has done everything and anything to help us heal and continue to move forward in our new relationship.

      • chely

        You are very lucky, if he’s being totally truthful. Be aware that sometimes their M.O. is make sure wife is kept happy and go further underground, never skipping a beat. I hope that is not the case.

        • Patsy50

          Thanks Chely,

          As far as I know, he is being truthful. Even though I have chosen to give him a second chance and start a new, doesn’t mean I don’t keep my eyes and ears open. It’s become the new normal for me now.

          I am very sorry to hear your story. I do wish you well.

    • Tiredofitall

      You are lucky Patsy50!

      Thank you Tryinghard.

      There is so much to consider when it comes to divorce/separation when there are children, mortgages, etc to complicate things. I am going to take one day at a time and make big decisions as I feel led to. For the first time I have sought counseling from our Pastor and have told our best friends. After 23 years of covering for my cheating H, it is a great weight off my shoulders. Kids next…it will be a difficult conversation but I plan to take their lead and give them the information they want. Please pray for me in the coming weeks.

      • Tryinghard

        I will keep you in my prayers Tired. I hope you get some good legal advice too. They can very vindictive but so can we. All you want is what is legally yours. But you have many years to take care of yourself so don’t fold under the pressure. It must be overwhelming thinking of dividing all you’ve accumlated over the years. I know it would be for me. Courage my friend

    • Patsy50

      Thank you Tiredofitall. I do feel very lucky. I hope all goes well with you too.

    • Tabs

      My daughter found out about my H’s affair before me. She was in her second year of college and living at home. So she was home in the morning while I was at work. Despite a closed door, she could hear my H’s daily conversations over Skype. Unable to bear the stress of knowledge, she moved out. She berates herself for not telling me as soon as she knew. She was so upset, I ended up sending her to a therapist for help. She now will not confide in personal things with her father. My H still does not believe my daughter knows anything!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.