Should You Tell Your Adult Children About the AffairIn our situation, our children were still rather young when the affair was going on. Our oldest was only about 17 and our youngest were about 11. We chose not to tell our kids about anything. If they were adults at the time, would we have? Who really knows?

It’s a tough dilemma and one that many couples wrestle with as they try to work their way through the recovery process.

Obviously at times the kids find out and then the question becomes…How much do we tell them?

I’m sure that telling your grown children could have some benefits like potentially bringing the family closer together or teaching your children valuable lessons about forgiveness, reconciliation and healing. But then you can also look at some of the cons as well, such as unnecessarily subjecting them to hurt and negative emotions while potentially creating a situation where sides are taken causing a division within the family.

One thing is for certain…it is a personal decision that should be considered very carefully.

That said, we are wondering what your take is on this topic.

So our discussion this week centers around the following questions…

Should you tell your adult children about the affair? Why or why not?

If so, how much information do you divulge?

In what situations do you feel it is definitely not appropriate to tell the children?

If you did tell your adult kids about the affair, what was their reaction?

We would love to hear experiences, advice and tips from anyone who has had the misfortune of living through this scenario.

Please keep in mind that we are talking about adult children here, not small children.

Please respond to one another in the comment section below. Each person leaving a comment is not an isolated incident.


Linda & Doug


    86 replies to "Discussion – Should You Tell Your Adult Children About the Affair?"

    • exercisegrace

      In our case, we had no choice. His whore decided to advise our two oldest children, 17 and 14, via a social media outlet. She gave them gory details that no child should ever have to hear. It was her reign of terror/revenge, that included stalking and harassing them and me via facebook etc. This was not her first affair with a married man, and we believe part of the thrill for her is trying to destroy families. She is pure evil.

      In my opinion, it is a very personal decision whether or not to tell and there are a number of factors that play into that decision. First, are you telling your extended family? Because almost certainly the news will spread like wildfire, and eventually some cousin or aunt will do the job for you. Ditto if a circle of your friends know. Having said that, teenagers will almost certainly ALREADY know. It is hard to hide the marital dynamic of stress during an affair. It shocked me to hear how much our seventeen year old already knew or strongly suspected. After all, kids are the second casualty in affairs. The time, energy and resources used to further the affair come from somewhere, and that somewhere is almost always from the kids and family. While cheaters are careful to hide their conversations from their spouses, they are more careless around the kids. I know my kids heard him talking to the whore on the phone at times, and both can recall disliking his tone of voice and banter, even if nothing overtly inappropriate was said. My older child suspected he was cheating long before I did!! If only I had listened! I will also point out that we have two young elementary kiddos who are clueless to this day.

      While it was hard for our children to hear their dad admit to cheating, as I mentioned they already strongly suspected. It came almost as a relief to them. It also gave them an opportunity to tell him how they felt, and come to the point of forgiving him. It freed our family from a very heavy weight and has allowed him to show them openly how hard he is working to regain THEIR trust and rebuild his relationship with THEM. Telling them also gave us a chance to correct some things they *thought* they knew, but were not in fact true. The worst one being that at one point they thought I knew about the affair but wasn’t doing anything to stop it. UGH.

      In the case of adult children, I would almost feel an obligation to tell them. Pre-marital counseling doesn’t do enough to educate young couples about this danger, and our society glamorizes affairs. I want my kids to clearly know how to set strong boundaries and all the other things necessary to protect their own marriages and families some day. Learning from their father’s mistake, might save them someday from creating a tragedy in their own marriage.

    • Shifting Impressions

      Our family is in the middle of this process as we speak…..and a painful process it is. My Children’s ages are 39, 37, 35 and 31. I am thankful they aren’t younger. D-day was eight month ago and our 35 year old stepped right into it as I was babysitting her two little ones the day I discovered the emails quite by accident.

      Years ago a very wise counselor once told me “The pain of the truth is better than the pain of a lie”. I am convinced that “Family Secrets” are damaging. That said, I believe it’s a very sensitive process and needs to be handled carefully.

      • colleen

        I would like to hear more about that. I went through something when my folks divorced.

        • Shifting Impressions

          I’m not sure if you are addressing me, but if you are, what is it you would like to hear more about?

    • gizfield

      Excellent post, Eg.I agree on so many points. If more than a couple of people know, it will come out, possibly in a not so nice way. A lot of people are aware of my situation so when the time is right, I will tell my daughter. Her father cheated her and me out of a lot of affection so he could pursue his whore for sex. I believe advice has more credibility when you have life experience in the subject. And we all having plenty of that. I want to empower my child to spot inappropriate behavior and to not tolerate it.

    • gizfield

      I agree with your counselor, Shifting Impressions. I have had the experience of BEING the Family Secret and it was very damaging. I dislike secrets, especially if a lot of people know the truth.

      My story is that I was born “illegitimate” and adopted at 13 months by my cousin and his wife. They had an twelve year old son who I knew as my brother. They never told me this. Everyone knew this except me. I had a feeling something was off with me, but never really put it together. I was just at the center of a vortex of vague weirdness swirling around me.

      Til one fateful night when my biological grandmother got hold of a telephone at the nursing home. imagine being in your early twenties, getting a call from a crazy old lady telling you your parents aren’t your parenting, you are not who you have always been. That you are a “love child” (yes she really said it) and your father is a man you never met. Im telling her she is crazy, then calling your brother to confirm it is a lie, only he tells you it is true. I was beyond devastated. Then a few years later, you get a call from your 25 year old sister who you never even knew existed. I really got paranoid of phone calls. What else weren’t they telling me.?

      • exercisegrace

        Oh Giz, I can’t even imagine what a number that would do on your emotions! Secrets are so toxic. I agree that kids, even adult ones, don’t need ALL the details but I think emotion is felt. Just like you knew something was off. Truth clears the darkness away and the cleansing may be painful, but in the long run? SO much healthier for all involved.

    • gizfield

      Anyway, I dont think you need to divulge all the details, but if there is a chance your children will find out, it needs to come from you. not a neighbor.not a family friend. Not a crazy grandmother. Sure as hell not the Other Woman or man. From you.

    • gizfield

      Eg,I think your husband’s AP was very wrong to tell your children. What a pond scum low life.

    • Strengthrequired

      My children found out not long after I did, after all the ow was making sure everyone knew what was going on, so eventually they would have found out. My older two and I found out about the affair the same night, my h left for a month that night. The next day my h ow placed a photo up of her and my h so my older two would see it, at her place as they went to see their dad. He had also sat them down and told them both that he nolonger loved their mother, that he found happiness with the ow. Puke… Over the next few days the next two found out, the younger two after that were two young to really know what was going on, yet as they have gotten older they are learning about it all.
      It was lucky that my children found out before from us, because they definately would have found out from a relative, which turned out to be a point of conversation with one of their cousins, who liked to tell them some of the sordid details they had witnessed between the ow and uncle, my children dad. The ow and my h are related so, there was no escaping my children finding out eventually. The ow was definately making sure people knew, just so it would come back to me. She wanted me gone and thought that was what would have me leave.

      • exercisegrace

        Strength, I am glad you told your kids too. There is power in knowing, and being the one in control of the information. Like you, we knew that if we didn’t tell them first they were likely to find out from the bunny boiler. We also knew that if WE told them, then they would trust us. The last thing I needed was for our kids to develop trust issues because we hid something major from them. Turns out we were spot on, because I can’t imagine the fall out if her vicious attack was the first confirmation they had.

    • Rachel

      Believe it or not my husband has emailed me yet again!!!! He’s still blaming me for the divorce???? Said he wanted me back on divorce day but I didn’t want him back.
      I said damn right!!!!! I am so much better off now.
      Now he wants me to pay for our youngest college bill.
      The ex makes 65,000 more than I do yet he is saying that I take home more?
      He is simply a simple crazy man.
      On d day he told me and our youngest how he has a soul mate. We knew he was crazy then but is it possible to get crazier as the years go on???

      • Strengthrequired

        Wow Rachel, how noble of him, I wanted you back on divorce day. The poor thing, a bit late now for him to sulk about losing the best thing in his life. He should have looked after you and treated you like a queen. He did this, not you, he can blame you until the cows come home, but we know as well as he knows, this was never your fault he stuffed up big time.
        Make sure he pays for the college bill.
        Hugs to you.

        • George

          Hi I’m George, my situation is different my girlfriend of 10 years which have a 5 year old boy. Starting cheating on me with co worker 11 years younger than her . I got suspicious and confronted her and broke up with me , but I wanted to confirm it was an affair so I got more info , like bank statement, emails like that ..I called her oldest son to let him know , which kids knew something was going on but never said anything to her , now she upset with me because I shouldn’t have said that was her business not mine she..
          I guess my question is it wrong for me to do that ?

      • exercisegrace

        Rachel, I am speechless. Except for saying….there’s nothing like confirmation that you made the RIGHT decision. He just doesn’t get it! He continues to kill his relationship with your boys, and that is very sad. I am thankful you are well away from his craziness.

        • Rachel

          Thank you strength and excersise,
          I will mail him the cost of college so old money bags can write the check!!
          It’s weird how far I’ve come. I really didn’t know how I would stand on my own two feet. It’s almost 2 years since I filed for divorce. As I read his 7 emails (all about money) I really wonder, what did I see in him?? As a result of a huge mistake I am blessed with two wonderful boys. And I am dating the nicest guy ever. His good morning text was, “have i told you how beautiful you are today”? He always says I have beauty inside as well as outside. I never heard that before.
          He helps me breathe. Keeps me calm. He agrees the back and forth emails do need to stop because the ex gets enjoyment harassing me. Always has.

      • sirkenneth

        Mine said the same thing. Soulmate. Great line. Cheaters all have the same few lines:
        Wasn’t looking for it
        Love you not in love with you
        nothing in common
        they have things in common

        • Rachel

          My ex said she brings out the best in me, we click.
          Sure they do you’re both cheating pigs!!

    • Shifting Impressions

      I told my children who it was and how long it lasted. I also told them how I found out. As I mentioned my daughter sort of stepped into the situation. I pretended to have a migraine when she came to pick up her little ones….by then the migraine wasn’t really pretend. A few days later she pressed my for what was wrong….we are close and she knew I was devastated about something. She does family counseling so needless to say she is a wonderful support.

      I waited about seven months before I told my oldest son…..he was worried about me but didn’t know what was wrong. Our kids can be more sensitive to us than we realize. He told me I can just hear in your voice that you are not okay. I finally told him.

      I had decided to not to tell the other two as one seemed unaware and my youngest lives in another city. I just wanted to spare them.

      Then my husband spent some time with the other son and talked with him. The strange thing was he told him we were having problems but did not admit to the EA. Late he told me he told our son so that the three kids, that knew, could be supportive to each other. By leaving out the important detail of the actual affair…..I was left to tell my son the full story. I felt set-up. It would have meant a lot to me if he would have actually admitted to my son what he had done.

      The three older children will have a difficult time ahead as they love their father dearly…..He is a wonderful father, and this is a huge blow. They have all told me how much they love both of us and no matter what happens they will be there for both of us. It grieves me deeply that my children have to go through this but I see no other way. My oldest son told my husband how angry he is that he has done this to me.

      I am just not ready to face telling my youngest daughter right now…..she is too far away from home at the moment. There will come a time when it’s right.

      • exercisegrace

        Shifting, I can relate. My husband was always a wonderful father too, except for during the affair of course! It has been very crushing for our children to understand the depth of his selfishness. On a more positive note, I have made it a point to teach them that we are ALL vulnerable to making bad decisions. Just because you have lived nobly for decades, doesn’t mean you can’t fall. I preach to them that they have options. To always think of the ones they love, etc. Hopefully something good can rise up out of these ashes.

        • Shifting Impressions

          I couldn’t agree more!!

    • Shifting Impressions

      Thanks for sharing that Gizfield……

      I have known others that gone through something similar to what you have…..they all said they knew something was off….or not quite right. I hate Secrets.

    • Wrestling

      I told my oldest – 23 – because I was misinformed that he already knew. When I told him, he broke down sobbing. I was so caught off guard, it was devastating. Turns out, he and his brother (21) had found a throw away phone over a year ago that h was using to contact the ow. They actually went to their dad and asked what was going on. H lied to them about it. My oldest wanted to believe him; the other son suspected he was lying. Unfortunately, they did not come to me for fear of hurting me if their dad was actually telling the truth.

      Contrary to popular belief, older children are just as devastated, if not more so, than younger children – especially older children who are reared in a pretty stable nurturing environment. My h told our youngest (daughter – 18). I asked that he wait until she finished her final year of high school. He took it upon himself to tell her two weeks before finals – conveniently leaving out the PA! She performed horribly on the exams which to any thinking person would have been obvious. My daughter took to her bed for two days and refused to eat. The youngest son also cried when he had to confront the idea that h and I may divorce. My h thought he could just walk out of our lives with minimal damage (the ow has been actively pursuing him to leave the family). He is now dealing with all the pain he’s caused and the damage he has done to his relationship with both me and his children. He is really a mess right now. So much so that at times, I do feel sorry for him.

      If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t tell the children until a final decision is made about the state of the marriage. I hate that they have been on this emotional roller coaster right along with me. My daughter has been very distant from my h who is back home – I asked him to leave (and he did) over a month ago. When I talked to her about this, she said she didn’t want to get her hopes up in case he left again. My heart breaks for all my children.

      • exercisegrace

        Wrestling, I agree it is harder on the older kids. In many ways. They are old enough to understand the dynamic. They also understand the true meaning of words like “commitment”, “betrayal”, “marriage vows”, “integrity” “morals” etc. They understand what divorce means, and if they have been raised with values, they understand the sanctity of the marriage bed. I am truly sorry you are going through this. I hope and pray that good will come of the kids knowing. My husband’s whore tried to convince him our kids would be “fine with it”. Because kids are “resilient” as long as their “daily lives” don’t change. Whatever, stupid childless whore! Your husband may have been under the delusion that BECAUSE they are older it would be easier. His whore may have convinced him that they are nearly independent so it wouldn’t be a big deal. I think its a devastation at ANY age. Maybe this will wake him up to what he is risking.

        • Wrestling

          You are so right, EG, about the older kids understanding “commitment”, “integrity”, etc. My children were raised in a home that stressed morals – they were required to actively participate in church since they were toddlers. They have never had to deal with dysfunctional behavior. Over the years, they listened to their dad lecture about the importance of strong families – whatever. So they were quite stunned. My husband didn’t want them to know about the affair because he realized what a hypocrite he’s been and to see the children lose respect for him has been quite a blow to him. H tried to keep this affair from me as well. He wanted everyone – including me – to believe that the marriage just wasn’t working out. I suppose then we were to divorce and he go quietly on his way with the ow.

          You are probably right about the ow convincing him the kids would be fine. My husband kept going on about how lots of people divorce and our kids are out of the house (1 just finished college – the other a junior in college – the last on her way) so they would be fine. When H told the woman how upset my daughter was, the whore said she was sorry my daughter was upset and then proceeded to talk about plans for she and H to be together – simply heartless.

          In some weird way, it may have been a good thing that the kids found out. It did wake my husband up. He ended the affair & is trying to work on himself & the marriage. We have a long way to go…

      • Rachel

        Oh gosh wrestling, I hear you 100%!!!!!
        stay strong my friend. My boys were also older when my ex admitted his love for his ex g.friend from 30 years ago. My boys were devastated .
        My ex waited until my kids were older saying to them that lots of people get divorced.
        He even said that my boys friend whose mother passed from breast cancer is doing fine living with one parent???? My kids were shocked with this heartless comment.
        Be there fornyour kids as I know you will.
        I had to hide away from being upset crying. This made them more upset. When I was happy they were happy.
        We now don’t discuss “him” ( that’s what they call their father). We keep up beat. Enjoy each others company, work as a team as we all have our own special jobs around the house. My oldest has taught himself how to cook!!!! So nice to come home from a long day at work and have dinner waiting for me!!!
        My one regret is forcing therapy as I feel that they both still need it.
        The family unit is broken, but we are a new family unit just the same, the three of us and no stress.
        Be strong, and good luck. Please keep us updated on this site.

        • Wrestling

          Thank you, Rachel. I’m new to this site and the supportive comments are so appreciated at this time. I wish you well on your journey as well.

          In all of this, I am most upset how this has affected my kids, and I can’t understand how H and the ow did not see the damage this would cause – and the ow has kids. I can see making up a story in your head that I’m a terrible wife and h would be better off out of the marriage, but what kind of story do you tell yourself to hurt innocent kids?

          • Rachel

            My best advise is don’t listen to you husbands stories.
            They are in such a fantasy they have no idea what they are saying.
            Now my ex is blaming me for the divorce. He said after all I said I wanted you back on divorce day and you said no.
            At this point whatever works for him. I am happy and relieved he is gone.
            It’s a tough road but as I look back now I am not the same person I was.
            I didn’t think I could survive without him.
            Wrestling you are so much stronger than you think.
            Good luck!

    • overwhelmed

      I would totally agree with you Wrestling. My brother’s kids are all in their late teens, early 20’s and his divorce has messed those beautiful kids up so bad. Every time I think about it, I just want to punch his lights out. They were my kids before I had my own and I love them dearly. To see my loving nephew so broken up….it kills me.

      But what I’m struggling with is quite different. For over a year now the divorce has been pending, yet we all still live together. My young kids (3rd and 5th grade) know things aren’t right. But when do I tell them? I’ve been struggling with this for over a year. I can’t tell them now. We’ll still be living together and I don’t see how that will benefit them at all. Yet, if I wait until it’s final and Mom is moving out, then what? What a freakin’ quagmire. There’s no good time, yet I know I have to do it sooner or later. But when? That’s what’s killing me. When?

      I think the saddest part of all this is the someday soon, once it’s out in the open, I MUST have a frank and open discussion with my children to let them know that this is NOT how it should be. This is NOT what loving caring people do to each other. This is NOT marriage. They know Mommy has a boyfriend. They do not, however, know that Mommy has a new boyfriend. And I’m very worried what will happen once they find that out. Because sooner or later, they will find out.

      I do my best to keep my mouth shut around the house (God it’s unbelievably difficult at times!). But I’ll be damned if I will let my children grown up thinking it’s OK to find something “better” (better….lmao) when things get difficult. It’s called a commitment for a reason.

      No dammit. When things get difficult, you just work a little harder. This should be applied to all facets of life.

      • Wrestling

        Overwhelmed, I don’t think we get how strongly kids identify with family and home. It is devastating to lose that support center they come to rely on. I know one woman who says she regrets divorcing her husband 15 years ago. Her son – an only child – was in college at the time and a top student. He spiraled down so badly, he left college and has yet to find himself. He stopped talking to his dad after the divorce. His dad recently died and he may have only had 2 to 3 conversations with him over the last 15 years. I know this is an extreme case, but it just goes to show that our actions will impact everyone around us. Yet, so many of us simply act out of our own selfish desires.

    • campriley

      My children know. They are 30,28 and 24. My 28 know mores than the other because he kept prodding and asking. He hates knowing because he is disgusted by his Dad but is also glad he knows as it puts so many of the puzzle pieces in place. Their Dad continues to lie to them about the facts of his affair even though he knows they know. He is digging himself into a deeper hole. I felt the truth needed to be told as he was calling me bitter and angry. I do not think I am bitter but I am angry that he had an affairs. He had two long term affairs and multiple one hour happy ending meetings. Two of my children do not know about the paid women. My daughter would be sickened that her father disrespected women that way. If they ask though I will be honest. Lies upon lies have broken our family. I will not lie or protect my soon to be ex husband anymore. The truth always comes out eventually and I want my kids to know I have been honest with them. They know there’s more but I will only tell them if they want to know. It is their father and their relationship with him. I will respect that they can chose how to handle it.
      I fell them having some knowledge of the two long term affairs helps them understand my feelings , my pain better. Their Dad left me to be with his mistress, that hurts deeply.

    • lifesentence

      Thanks to all for these excellent posts sharing your experience. My CW does not want anyone to know anything as we struggle with recovery, many times even keeping things from our counselor! Our two sons are 25 (out of town) and 21 (at home in college). The youngest has seen and heard some ugly behavior from his mother, both some melt down after effects from her. None have been told anything other than we’re having problems and we’re working on it. I have privately told them I’m doing all I can to keep it together and straighten things out. They have not asked anything. I struggle every day on whether to tell them more. Both are single, but if they get serious I will probably have a talk.

      • campriley

        When we were in marriage counseling some of my husbands affairs did not come up. Please tell your counselor everything. How can they counsel properly if they do not know the truth. In this instance they need to know everything. Keeping secrets will only muddle the process.

    • our journey

      My husband had an EA with a women at work. D Day has been 3+ years ago. We chose not to tell our adult children or any extended family members. They all live out of state, and we only see them several times a year. I did not want to tell the children. They think so highly of their father. If my husband was not working on the marriage and himself, and we were separating, then we would tell them. We do not feel it is secret. We feel it is private. I agree there are pros and cons to either decision of telling or not. Maybe at some point in the future we will tell, but I don’t see that happening at the present time.

      Yes, the counselor needs to know everything to really be able to help.

      • sirkenneth

        3+ years. How’d that go for you?

        • our journey

          Sirkenneth, at first it was a real rollercoaster ride. Things are much better now.
          I told him he had to work on himself, and he has. He did say the most helpful thing for him was participating in Rick Reynolds Affair Recovery program called Hope for Healing. If you haven’t checked out that website do so. Just google rick reynolds affair recovery. I was very glad to find Emotional Affair Journey. I have been checking in, though I seldom participate, since 2011.

      • allayfig222

        I did not tell the adult (married with their own families) children for the same reason. First, their father is basically a good man (who cannot explain the reason/s for the EA). Second, it was never a PA, as the sl-t lives 1300 miles away. He never left me. We also live in a different part of the country from our children.
        The only people who know about his affair are our counselor and my best friend. I hate the idea of hurting the children, especially our daughter, and I believe this is an intensely private problem, which we are still struggling with after 3 years.

        • our journey

          Allayfig, I completely understand your reasons for not telling your adult children. I too feel my husband is basically a good man The only people who know are the counselors we have seen, and two men my husband works with. My husband told them with my approval. He works with them, and they know the other woman. They would not hesitate to hold him accountable for his behavior. Also, my husband had an EA and not a PA. He felt he wasn’t being unfaithful as long as they weren’t physical with each other. Things are much better for us now, but I still have my moments. Please check out the website I mentioned above to Sirkenneth. It is very good. After my husband went through the Hope for Healing program he began to understand how he ended up in the EA. He has also done individual counseling and now feels he completely understands how he ended up where he was. I have thought about doing the Harboring Hope program, and my husband and I doing the EMS program.

    • Cannotbelieve

      My husband, Ron’s affair begn 35 years ago with Crystal, a coworker that went after him. She climed sh was recently divorced and claimed she needed a job. She was hired and after 2 months, the affir started. I knew the first night because my husband came home smelling like the whores perfume and could or would not have sex with me. To make a long story short, he came home extremely late from work most nights. He brought home blood stained underwear, treated our family like we were a piece of trash. As months passed, and it tried to save the marriage, our anniversary came and he gave me a card saying, “if you love some one, let them go.” He would not even comfort me when my fathers grandmother passed away. (My father was extremely ill at that time and should not have made a trip out of state for the services. Ron would not take us there.)

      I finally confronted Ron and he ended the affair. We never spoke about this, just went on with our lives. A few weeks later, Crystal was fired and he has never seen her again. ( within a week, Crystal had another married man spending the weekend ith her and her son.)

      Anyhow, now 35 years later, all these memories have flooded my brain and have caused many, many problems. I have even asked Ron for a divorce and have thought about leaving this world due to the pain.

      We have been to counseling, that did not work. We are now trying another team of counselors and I hope it works this time, one way or the other.

      • exercisegrace

        Cannotbelieve. I am so sorry you are dealing with these unresolved feelings and the trauma of what happened, but was not dealt with at the time. Give yourself grace and time. Talk to a counselor….individually. You need to process your own feelings separate from those explored in marriage counseling. You sound like a very strong woman, you would have to be to go through all that! The world needs people like you! You will find tremendous support here. How have these last years been? Has been faithful? If so, that may be something to hang on to. Does he admit his mistake? Truly own it? I think you both have a lot to explore. Unless absolutely necessary, don’t let that nasty whore take one more thing from you! She was and is a loser!

    • sirkenneth

      My son was 23 my daughter 21. my wife was banging her boss, 12 years younger for 1.5 years. My kids knew how much I loved her. Your damn right they needed to know it wasn’t me that did this.

    • crepowersnemesis

      We let our sons, all adults, know of their father’s affair because I did not want them to learn about it from either the other woman or my untrustworthy sister-in-law that my husband foolishly confided in. I still can’t understand why he decided to tell her. To our surprise, it was not the family news bulletin we believed it would be. They had figured it out and good for them! The ensuing upset centered around us not telling them earlier and treating them respectfully like the adults they truly are. Life was much easier after they all knew the facts and how we were proceeding with our lives. I also hope that they will all learn from their father’s actions and realize that cheating hurts many people. It’s not a secretly good time meant to make two people feel good and what others don’t know, won’t hurt them. It eventually will. As we all know, time wounds all heels. Too bad it wounds their families as well, no matter how old their children may be.

    • Paula

      Our children, all still at school, were told at the nine month mark. I had signed a lease on a rental, and was planning on leaving. We had two separations prior, but the kids hadn’t noticed Dad was gone! (He lived in another house on the property during those periods, and as a farmer, during calving and lambing, is often absent, so it was easy for them to miss it as he was in and out of the house, we remained close.) I had to tell them to explain why I was leaving their father, as I knew they saw us as fantastically in love. Also, it is a small town, and is common knowledge in town – OW ensured that – so I suspected they may have heard something at school. None of them had. They all wept silently when I said that sadly, Dad had a fifteen month long affair. The middle one said, “how, with who?” I asked if they knew, or could guess. They all looked at each other and said, we don’t think so. I told them who – she spent a lot of time with our family, and they had all babysat and dealt with her difficult small son. They were disgusted that he did this at all, but that it was “my friend” just made them so very sad.

      We have both discussed this with them, I have shared no details – and I know a lot – about the wheres, etc, but we have both talked to all of them about the “whys” and he has owned all of the crap coping skills. He told them all how embarrassed he is, and how ashamed he is , and that he wishes he had made better decisions, and that he always loved me, and never her, that he used her for kibbles, ego stroking and basically was having his cake and eating it. We told them that if they ever have any questions, they are VERY welcome to come to us and ask us anything. They never have. They all know I am still heartbroken, and that his choices shattered the very wonderful love story we shared. I was adamant they needed to know that our story prior to his cheating was truly as it seemed on the outside, just a pair of hearts who found each other and loved hard and true. Dad had a breakdown and didn’t have the appropriate communication skills or boundaries. They know that we have sought counselling and help. They know that I am devastated and that he knows how badly he screwed with all of our lives and emotions, and is deeply ashamed and remorseful.

      I am glad they know the truth. That I was not a bad person, a bad partner, that Dad did it because of his lack of character, communication skills and boundaries, and not because I did anything wrong. They know how hard we have worked to remain respectful of each other, and that I in no way am a doormat for trying to stay with someone who completely discounted me and my health because he felt entitled. It opens lines of communications to discuss ways to better deal with conflict and resentment in any human relationships.

    • lifesentence

      Wow…some powerful arguments on both sides. BTW my CW was both EA and PA, old high school boyfriend rediscovered on facebook. Long distance but not too long to find a way to hook up a few times. 1.5 year affair and 1.5 years more of denial and deceit. Still trying to work with counseling but haven’t even got to full disclosure yet.
      At some point, when decision made to stay or go, I think our adult sons should be told. Not details, but for general understanding and life lesson. After all, hiding, keeping secrets is what allows affairs to flourish, gives them excitement and appeal, while the betrayed spouse suffers alone. I want my sons to know I was a loyal, faithful man who held up his commitments, and I expect them to do the same.

    • Strengthrequired

      Life sentence, for me I had no choice but to tell my children, if I didn’t the ow or someone else would have. I am so glad I did, because if I hadn’t and someone else did, you could imagine how they would have felt, and god only knows the version they would have been told. I am sure not one that would have had me looking like someone that didn’t deserve what my h cheating.
      I also know what it was like to have the affair kept from me, by people that knew about it, my h told them while he was away overseas, he told them he was planning on leaving me, but he wanted to tell me. Yet here I was trying to figure out why my h wasn’t calling me, or his children while he was away, and here I was asking them if they had heard from him.
      Of course he never mentioned it to me, even when he arrived home a month later, it was his ow who arranged for someone to call and tell me. Needless to say my h denied it at first, then, that same night we agreed he left.
      My children found out that same night I did. Once the ow knew that I knew, she ended up placing photos up in her house of my h and herself, and again as my children went to see their dad, as they knew he was there, had another rude shock, at seeing those photos. That was only the following day after they found out.
      If I had not told my children, they would have found out by the photos, she put up on her wall.
      I am sure they would have felt like it was kept from them by me as well, it was not just me being betrayed, and lied to, my children were as much deceived as I was.

      Maybe just every now and then just say to your children, how important it is, to honour your commitments when you marry, and every now and then just let them know how important it is, to always be faithful.

    • betrayedchump

      I ALMOST did the MOST SELFISH ACT one can do to oneself last September! Satan was telling me LIES!!!! He told me EVERYTHING was MY fault, I caused the EA, I was a terrible Person, I was a horrible Husband, I was a terrible Father, my Life was Hopeless now without my CS! I wrote the goodbye letter to my CS (took over 4 hours) & then I tried to start a goodbye letter to OUR SON. I COULDN’T START THE LETTER! I TRIED SEVERAL TIMES BUT I JUST COULDN’T START THE LETTER???? Our Son did NOTHING WRONG! How could I explain my selfish action to make it so I would NOT be there for HIM & HIS FAMILY IF/WHEN THEY NEEDED ME???? I COULDN’T!!!! Finally something like a wave washed over me (GOD), I can’t really explain it, & I realized if I just got out of the chair & walked out of the building I was in EVERYTHING would be OK!!!! I made a decision that day that I WOULD NOT HURT MYSELF EVER over my CS’s EA!!!!
      She would NOT have to explain & justify what she had done to END/KILL OUR relationship/marriage to OUR Son & His Family if I had carried through what I started that day!!!! I decided that day that I would NEVER EVER hurt myself over my CS’s EA with a mariied man with kids of his own. I now try to live for GOD, my SON & HIS FAMILY & my family & friends who care & love me!!!!
      I am sorry that you are in this nightmare we all are going through because of our partner’s selfishness & lack of moral character, committment & honor to each other in good times, in bad times, in sickness & in health until death do us part!!!!
      STAY STRONG!!!!
      PEACE TO ALL!!!!

    • betrayedchump

      I have not told OUR SON about his mother’s EA. Lord knows how I struggle with NOT telling him & his family! However it is his mothers cross to bear, NOT MINE THANK GOD!!!! I have told OUR SON what mistakes/bad decisions that I have made in the 26 year marriage to his Mom & believe me I made so many that I lost count a long time ago! I felt I HAD to OWN UP & take RESPONSIBILITY for my mistakes/bad decisions & let him know how sorry, sad & regretful I was for disappointing him & his family! He is an adult, he is married, he has 2 BEAUTIFUL little girls & I DO NOT WANT HIM TO MAKE SOME OF THE MISTAKES/BAD DECISIONS THAT I MADE!!!! I felt like others on this site that I was passing on life lessons to him, NOTHING ELSE!!!! NOT for sympathy, NOT for him to take my side, NOT for judgement of me or his Mom, judgement day will come for ALL of US one day!!!! I thank God that he kept me strong NOT WEAK to temptation during OUR marriage!!!! I am a SINNER, I have SINNED, I am FLAWED, I am NOT PERFECT, I am ONLY HUMAN, I WILL make mistakes/bad decisions until the day I die. With GOD’s help I will NOT make as many mistakes/bad decisions in the next 26 years of my stumble/crawl/walk/run of faith!!!!
      Had to VENT today, CS wants information from me that she REFUSED & was UNWILLING to divulge to me last week. OH HOW I HATE DIVORCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Divorce court happening July 31, 2014. Ironic that on the same day last year I left her @ a bar & stayed night in hotel after she texted her EA MM twice 15 minutes before we left OUR house on a date???????? UGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! GOD GIVE ME STRENGTH!!!!!!

    • Strengthrequired

      Betrayedchump, loads of hugs to you. I’m sorry for all you are and have gone/going through. As you said, we will face our own judgement day, and none of us are perfect. We can only do our best to learn from our mistakes and become better people so that our judgement day is an honourable one.
      Can I just say, what you wrote to “cannot believe” was so caring, so touching and so from the heart. I hope she reads it, and anyone else that feels that pain so strong that they feel their life is not worth living, because you are right there will be always someone that will be sadden by their loss, and of course how do you write to your kids, they did nothing and would feel it terribly if they lost a parent to suicide. How do you explain to your children, you just can’t. It is bad enough to lose a parent through illness.
      We have to trust in god, that days will get better.

      • Strengthrequired

        Oh and Betrayedchump, just wanted to let you know I will be thinking of you on July 31st.

    • lin

      My husband and I have three adult children. He has had an EA/PA with a woman at work. There have been 3 D-Days where he promises to end the affair and appears to do that only to have it start back up (or perhaps never end). We have both had lots of individual and couples counseling. We have been advised to disclose the facts to the children. My husband has chosen not to disclose – i think because he does not want to face them. I have hoped not to hurt them- they will be devastated. I have hoped that we could work things out. However, I believe my husband is still involved with AP, he won’t change jobs and I can’t take any more hurt. I think the next step is separation and then we will have to tell our children. My heart is aching for all of us.

    • gizfield

      Of course he doesn’t want the children to know, Lin. It would blow the roof off his perfect little affair bubble. He can continue his life repercussion free. I can’t tell you what to do, but I know what I would do.

      • Strengthrequired

        Lin, I have to agree with giz, on this one. Of course he doesn’t want the kids to know, his affair won’t be secret anymore. He will then have to face his childrens judging eyes. I do hope your h wakes up soon, and the ow is kicked to the kerb where she belongs. Hugs to you.

    • betrayedchump

      Thank you for your kind & caring words! Thank you to EVERYONE on this site who try to HELP ALL of us get through OUR NIGHTMARE that we are NOW LIVING!!!! I do hope & pray that by sharing my experience of my own NIGHTMARE will in some small way HELP someone else through their NIGHTMARE!!!!

    • Strengthrequired

      Betrayedchump, all the peace in the world to you my friend.

    • Jimbo

      We’ve decided not to tell my two lovely daughters 38 & 35 about their stepdad’s on/off relationship over 2 and a half years, with a colleague 26 years his junior (she’s 10 yrs YOUNGER than my elder daughter but he neglected to tell his inadequate piece of garbage that!). He told me about it, I understand what in our marriage allowed it to happen and he’s doing all the right things to help us move forward. I’ll never forgive him for dealing with his perceived difficulties in our marriage by choosing the path he did but we want to make our marriage work and love one another. No-one else knows so the girls won’t find out “the wrong way”. He’s an amazing stepdad and the girls think the world of him. I don’t like secrets (as others have said) but on balance, see no need to cause them the intense pain I know they would feel.

    • Ken

      You must always tell them. Cheaters must know that they will be caught and held accountable. Whether they care or not is another issue.

    • Morgan

      I had an affair 6 years ago–it was discovered. We barely hung on to our marriage all these years. My ex-affair partner contacted me recently to “apologize” and I had a ton of unanswered questions finally answered. My husband found out that we were talking again (I know–I SHOULD have told him the other man reached out to me…I know) and he started communicating with my ex-affair partner’s wife. After many, many calls and texts between them, my husband sent a text to our 26, 23 and 19 year old children—a TEXT…telling them that I had an affair 6 years ago and that the man I was with was still in my life. All my sins were thrown out at our children—and it was as if my husband did NOTHING (he had 2 physical affairs and 2 emotional ones). He played the victim big time. He pitted our children against me. Absolute bullshit. I’ve never spoken an ill word to my kids about what their father did—until I discovered that he racked up 833 HOURS talking to my ex-affair partners soon-to-be ex-wife over the last 4 weeks and hundreds of texts. He had pics saved on his computer that she sent him of herself. He even admitted to having flowers sent to her house and “visiting” with her while I was out of town. He now has a ‘secret’ cell phone so I can’t track who he speaks with or when….yet, he swears that he isn’t having an affair with her!!!!! Our children know all the ugliness. I think people should just keep things business like and leave details of massive sin out of their adult or younger children’s minds and hearts. It has just decimated my kids—-they are all silently suffering. My husband sent me texts telling me he loved me with pictures of the sunset on March 3rd and by March 20th he left our home while I was out of town and leased a townhouse without telling me. I filed for divorce on April 8th. He refuses to speak to me or reconcile. He’s like a possessed demon–how he looks, what he says, swearing at me (and he NEVER did that in the 27 years we were married)—totally in the fog of an affair now…scary as hell to see it from the other side. He’s now spent months collaborating with my ex-affair partners soon to be ex-wife and has hidden THOUSANDS of dollars from me and moved money from retirement funds and turned my cell phone off (and he has 2 now), is late on my car payment and after being served papers he broke into our home while my 15 year old and I were at church and stole a TON of furniture and belongings AFTER we talked and he was told not to come over unannounced and take anything until we discussed what we were going to be doing. He has controlled all the finances for years and is being a manipulative ass now. A matter of weeks and he goes from telling me he loves me, to diving into an affair and leaving our home and we are standing in front of a judge in a courtroom. I vote to never tell the kids ANY details….keep things as vague as possible because the devastation is something that can’t be repaired. The kids may forgive in time…maybe even years–but, they’ll never forget. Mouths need to stay shut because words can never be taken back.

    • gizfield

      Morgan, how could they talk 833 hours in 4 weeks? By my calculations, there are 168 hours total per week. Times four, that is 672 hours. Maybe you used wrong numbers?

      • Morgan

        I meant to say MINUTES. It’s 13.8 hours. Long time to speak on the phone.

        • gizfield

          OK, thank you for the clarification.

    • ken

      Morgan, you are disgusting. You had an affair, what you didn’t think you’d get caught. And now you’re back at it. Good for your husband, who is also a slim bag.
      Yes your kids need to know. They need to learn the lessons no matter how painful. If you have an affair these are the consequences. Great role models you both are.
      Looks good on you.

      • Morgan

        I get it. Totally get it. We’re both slime bags. And I disagree—kids don’t need to know details…ever. What we have to deal with is more than enough for OUR brains…kids, adult or otherwise, shouldn’t have that along with all the other things they need to sort out when a family breaks up. Thanks for the bashing, though–appreciate it.

    • Maxine6

      I am the reason this subject was brought up again. I mentioned it to Doug and he was nice enough to bring it up again to see if I can get some other prospectives.

      The way my children found out about it was I received a letter in the mail, but my 12 yr. old daughter had gotten the mail that day, gave it to me and it was addressed strange, no return address and the handwriting was unusual. I opened it, read it and was in absolute shock. She knew something was wrong and I kept it from her. The letter was from the OWH telling me that my CH was having an affair with his wife and that I had better wise up as I was being played for a fool. We had been married about 23 yrs. and I thought happily. I loved him so much and I thought he felt the same. Never did I think he would cheat on me. He knew my feeling’s on affairs, heck my Dad was having one, his own Father had one also, which he forgot about. I trusted him totally, gave him everything he needed, literally at home. Took care of myself, the perfect wife, praised his ego, etc.

      But back to the subject at hand. I couldn’t reach my CH, he was at a business conference, or so I thought. I sat in my bedroom most of the day, since noon trying to reach him and didn’t get him till 6 that evening, left messages and he finally called me back. I told him what I had received as I cried on the phone, I was so upset. He said, “No way, you know I wouldn’t do that to you.” I’ve been in meeting’s all day and just got back. He told me that he had fired this person’s wife and this guy was mad and trying to get back at him by hurting me with a letter like this. He even offered to drive the 2 hrs. home and leave the conference to comfort me. I told him that, “No I trust you, I know you wouldn’t lie to me, just stay at the conference as he was an executive at an important meeting and it wouldn’t look good, plus I believed him.” I told my daughter later that evening that I was okay, just a mix up in the letter I received.

      He came home the next day and I gave him a great big hug, and then started crying a little bit, but told him that I knew he would never do that to me. He assured me that no way would he do that.

      If I had known more about affair’s over 28 yrs. ago, I would have known the signs. Not always home on time, more irritable, drinking more, not as interested in sex as much as usual. Sometimes couldn’t reach him at work, but there were not cell phones back then or home computer’s, loosing a lot of weight, dressing younger, even down to his underwear. Into more music, like he was back in high school. We had gotten married at 18, went together at 16, so had never been with anyone else.

      Fast forward almost 4 yrs. later and while I was out to a business dinner with my CH, we got home, our same daughter who was now about 14 or so got the mail, recognized the same unusual letter, same handwriting, no return address and panicked. She called her older sister, who was pregnant with twins and told her what had come in the mail. She lived 3 miles away, came and got her and they opened the letter. There were 4 love letter’s included in it, along with another typed letter, telling me that my husband was still playing me for a fool and that he was still having an affair with this man’s wife. They off course were shocked. We got home at 10 and our daughter was gone. I called my oldest daughter of course and she told me that she needed to talk to me, so I was going to bring my husband also, she said, “No, just you. I first thought my youngest daughter was pregnant. So my husband went to bed, I drove over there where my oldest daughter said, “Mom this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do and she handed me the envelope.” I read it in silence, trying to stay in control for the sake of my pregnant daughter, especially and I couldn’t even talk. They offered to drive me home and I said No, I can do it by myself.

      My feet didn’t even touch the pedal driving home for those 3 miles. I threw the letters on the bed of my sleeping husband. He denied it of course, I screamed, cried, get away from me as he kept lying about it. It was the worse night of my life.

      I slept in the guest room that night, he wouldn’t leave, I told him to get out, but he wouldn’t go. I cried my self to sleep that night, curled up in a ball and severe spasms in my stomach, clutching that envelope. The next morning he called the girls and told them to come over and then held all our hands after saying a prayer and telling all of us how sorry he was, but that none of what was in the letter was true. He only went to lunch with her a few times and that was it. He never went through with anything that was in those letters. He regretted what he had even done with the lunches, but wouldn’t ever do anything like that to me and that he was sorry for upsetting all of us. We all believed him, as I wanted to, I was in shock, embarrassed in front of my 2 daughters, etc. He later went on an errand and the cut the grass, like nothing had happened.

      I keep getting off the subject on why your children shouldn’t ever know, sorry. I believed him, even made love to him that night, which I’ll never understood why. I needed to be comforted and one thing led to another. But I should have thought that even lunch’s were a betrayal.

      Then I started thinking about it, I knew this person, he had taken me to her and her husband’s home for a Christmas party, got drunk. We had drinks with her and her husband and staff as they worked for the same company, but he was at headquarters, she was at a satellite office. She whispered in his ear at the bowling alley, which he had talked me out of bowling that year, so I could focus on building the pool. I told him that he needed to watch out for her as she was coming on to her, he brushed it off, of course they had already slept together for the first time, which was the weekend of the first letter I got. I never even found that out till this past year.

      I went through Melanoma, massive surgery 6 weeks after this, another surgery 16 months later. I couldn’t even function. This totally affected our daughter that lived at home. She begged me to divorce him so we could have some peace. We didn’t fight in front of her, kept up the pretense of even sleeping together so she wouldn’t worry so much, big mistake. I don’t regret protecting her, but she knew some of what he did, but she didn’t know the extent until I had 3 other D-days. I had a hysterectomy, which was the second surgery. My CH was at a conference and she then moved out of our home while he was gone at 16. I was just out of surgery 1 week, couldn’t believe she was going to leave me and move in with her boyfriend and his brother. I missed her prom and almost her senior graduation.

      Her personality changed totally. She got out of all her advanced classes and barely graduated from high school. Wasn’t interested in college like her brother & sister who had already went before they knew of the affair. So her whole life was messed up due to knowing of her Dad’s affair. There was no way to hide it from her. He finally told our son, but never apologized to my parents. Didn’t show remorse, just kept lying and I still don’t know if I know all the truth.

      Fast forward 25 yrs. later, after I had decided after a retreat and 5 yrs. of therapy, 2 bouts of almost suicide to move on, forgive and love him again. But then we had the stock market crash a few yrs. back, our same daughter committed a felony and we had to bail her out for $10,000 to protect the grandchildren. She wasn’t paying us back, he started drinking more, arguing, fighting and not loving me but about every 4 months. I thought another A, but it was all of the above and he never talked about it or tried to get help. I started to evaluate my life and realized that the love that I thought I had wasn’t as strong for him as it was for me, so she came on to him and he took the bait. I didn’t have it before, during and even after the affair like I deserved.

      I started seeing a therapist again, then he went with me also, but we couldn’t find the right one. So after 3 yrs. of arguing he got upset one day and went over and confided his sadness, me asking the questions that I had never asked before to our oldest daughter. She was so angry at me for bringing up something that happened over 27 yrs. ago. She told her youngest sister, so then they were so mad at me and told there Dad that he shouldn’t be answering any of my questions, it wasn’t right. They stuck up for him, hardly spoke to me and we hardly ever saw them as they decided to separate themselves from us. I was so angry and hurt that he told them and that they turned against me, who hadn’t done anything. This has been going on for 3 yrs. now and it’s not any better.

      I thought things were getting better but on Mother’s Day when they called we didn’t have a good conversation as they said that I needed to make up my mind. If I wanted to leave there Dad, okay, just do something as he was miserable and it was cruel of me. No matter how I tried to explain it, they wouldn’t change there minds or listen to me. So now I’m the bad guy and they don’t won’t to discuss it anymore. They are living there own lives.

      Now if I decide to leave there Dad, the 7grandchildren, at least the older one’s, from 19 to 27 are going to find out and I’ll be so humiliated by it. I don’t want them to ever know that he cheated on me, it hurts me so much, even though I didn’t do anything wrong.

      Children should never know as it makes them choose sides, it affects there life totally. From going from an A student in school to barely passing High School, then no college, so they then have a hard life for the rest of there life, like my daughter has. Grandchildren, older one’s and even the 11 yr. old will get hurt if we separate or divorce as the family get together’s won’t be the same anymore.
      Now, ever 27 yrs. later it’s torn up the whole family, even though I don’t think they know anything. DON’T TELL YOUR CHILDREN

    • mary

      My husband of 25 years suddenly packed up in 40 mins..(completely out of the blue) after returning from a usual stint of working overseas, and we have not seen him since!! No bank accounts closed properly etc etc.. 3 weeks later he finally admitted (sort of) to an affair by sending me a pic of ow saying my lovely..blah..with her size 6 waist, long black hair..Half naked pics of himself trying to make me swoon no doubt!! Honestly his behavior was and has been beyond bizzare!! Yep and then from then on the disrespect went on and on. Refused to pay divorce settlement or maintenance (I had been a stay at home mum for a few years as our son has a heart condition and had lost his leg 3 years before in a heart op)..I could write a book on the level of disrespect. Emailed our son perhaps 7 times in two years and never once tried to ring or text him in over two years and now he wonders why his son wont have a bar of him! Blames me of course, but I met my new husband 3 months after he left, and have never been happier so I couldnt thank him more actually the fool!..But he continues to blame me even though it was me who emailed him when he was doing all the UNNECESSARY disrespectful stuff, saying your adult son is watching you and you can imagine how he feels watching you carry on like this so please stop. I was told to shut up and stop trying to bribe me! Yet I am to blame for his non relationship with his son it seems??? Why is and did my ex treat me and my son like crap when he chose to have the affair and run away like the coward..My son will not even email him back, never mind speak to him..(again not that my ex has really tried..- although it seems the last 6 months (it has been almost four years) ex seems to suddenly be realising that our son is not in a forgiving mood and seems to be starting to feel the pain. Ive told him its his and his sons relationship and I tried to help him but was rebuffed so Im doing as he asked and Im keeping out it. I also told him because our son is disabled would help me if my son had a relationship with him too cos all the stresses are mine, but my son is adamant that his dad has gone far too far. I did tell my ex to stop being silly and our son would get over the affair if he just stopped behaving like he was desparate to continue to hurt us (the ones who had not cheated on him)…but he knew best, and now he blames me for not just one bad choice but a huge number of them through a divorce that did not need to be acrimonious!! Any views people please..Thank you..

    • Carlos

      Easy to call women “whores”, when in some cases they are in love with a man who, perhaps, has himself been a victim of years of abuse, verbally and emotionally, from a messed up woman. Perhaps he couldn’t take it anymore, was at his wits end, ready to crack, and somebody was kind to him, and they fit together like a glove, giving him peace of mind that he must have before he self-destructs. I am the “horrible” man and the woman who is having the affair with me is an angel. She is saving me from oblivion. Also, I am a better husband right now, because I am at peace and happy. The other woman and I are content meeting each others’ emotional needs on a part-time basis, but not robbing my wife of time. I am kinder and more patient toward my actual wife, because I my emotional needs, and need to be loved, are now fulfilled. I am not stressed, and I can fulfill my obligation to nurture her and provide, lying to her about loving her, which is OK because the lies help her to be happy.

      • untold

        You a sick dude Carlos, if you’re even real. Be a man, show compassion, tell the truth and end the sham of a marriage you’ve created. Your obligation as a husband is to be faithful. You can keep you financial obligation as an ex-husband.

    • antiskank

      Cheaters will make up any excuse, rewriting the entire history of their marriage to justify their despicable choices. There is just no excuse that makes it okay to cheat and lie to your wife. If you need to be saved from your big, bad wife – then leave. Get a divorce and move on to a happy life. Let your wife do the same. She would be free to find a real man that will respect and love her without all of the lies and cheating. Obviously you are still getting many needs met by your wife or you wouldn’t be there. Stop treating her like garbage and do the right thing.
      As for your “angel”, if she were so fantastic- why can’t she find a single, honest man to shower her love and attention on? You are even being unfair to her!

    • David

      I recently told my two daughters, ages 20 & 17, that there mom cheated on me. She cheated on me numerous times over the past 10 years but I only told them about two of the men. Those men, douches, happened to be their soccer coaches who they held in high regard. My wife had the nerve to have our girls around them after she had had sexual relations with them. It was difficult but they needed to know what type of people they are, mom included. It didn’t make me happy but at least now they know some of the details.

    • Susan

      My story is also complicated.My lovely husband of 34 years has always been the knight in shining armour for damsels in distress.He’s a doctor so sometimes patients sometimes his students.Never ever thought he would have an affair with a student 35 years his junior.Started with the usual line I’m 60 and my wife n kids don’t understand me.She was interning at our private clinic and I didn’t suspect a thing????All came to a head on a family vacation when he was permanently on his phone to the “hospital”!!!!!I overheard an intimate conversation 3am New years day and the lid was blow off.Told us all he was in a dark place,she manipulated him and blackmailed him he would tell his wife n family if he didn’t conform?????My daughter aged 30 still won’t talk to him ,my eldest son 37 being more understanding but my problem is my don of 32 was not with us has anger management problems and would go berserk if he found out.My daughter wants to tell him saying it shouldn’t be hidden and he ll hate us all if he finds out later.All kids live on different continents and I live in Pakistan!!!!! I’m A Brit, husband a Muslim. Pakistani but not religious.Dedicated my whole life to him and still wondering whether to.leave or stay.Girl out of the picture now and he’s trying hard to make amends but still feel sick to the stomach!!!!!

    • David

      I recently found out that my wife was having an affair with a doctor who had treated her. I found out the morning that she passed away from cancer. The affair had been going on for four years. I sacrificed a lot during that time to take care of her, while he “serviced” her. I did all I could to give her a nice funeral with loving family photos and family memories and I told nobody about the affair. The guy she was having an affair with actually showed up at the funeral home and funeral, but I was “good” and did not make a scene. Afterwards, my anger has just cultivated and I go from grief to anger (mostly anger) over and over, back and forth, to the point where I don’t know what I feel anymore or where my emotions for her will eventually end up. It has been two months now and the healing process is going slowly. My kids are in their late 20’s, but I decided to leave the kind memories of their mother with them (she was a terrific mother, just not a good wife, apparently). My problem is that the emotions that I’m dealing with are very painful, and I have nobody to share them with (except my psychiatrist, which I decided to see since I was struggling so hard emotionally with holding this secret with no emotional release and nobody to share my feeling with). A secret told ceases to be a secret . . . so I am going through this alone, and it is difficult. I have not told my kids because I don’t want them to feel that they have to support me emotionally, and I don’t want to diminish their memories of their mother. I have not told her family or my family, since they loved her and I hate to diminish their memories of her. My priority right now is to strengthen myfamily relationship with my kids, and I struggle with the question of whether keeping this a secret or sharing this information with them would be the best thing in the long run. I don’t want to paint me as a victim or paint her as a terrible person – I just wonder if hiding all this emotion inside rather than sharing it with my kids is the best thing for me and our family friendship. Then I wonder if sharing the information with my kids is for my own personal relief (and unnecessarily placing a burden of support on them), or if it will help strengthen a sharing and supportive family relationship in the long run. I just don’t know. All I know is that I still feel terribly depressed and angry, and it sucks keeping this information hidden in my own heart. I suspect that either decision would be OK, in the long run since they are older and would be able to deal with the information, so I’m no hurry to share the information with them. I think I’ve decided that the I may share the information if the right time presents itself. In the mean time, I’ll let time take it’s course for the healing process. I suspect that it may take a while.

    • Deanne

      I found out about my husband’s affair last October….he was working in another state to help his mother for awhile before my daughter and I moved there to be with him. On a visit, I felt something was “off” about him and the day we returned home I couldn’t get it out of my mind. So, I started fishing. I logged into his FB and found the messages where they had spent a weekend together and expressed their love to each other… I was devastated and so was our children. At that time he was going to end the affair, but thenayer told me his heart wasn’t in it anymore and he wanted out. I called this woman (she was a girl my husband wanted to date in high but never had the chance because she got knocked up and married in her senior year). When I confronted her she cried and told me how sorry she was and that she had never done something like this before… she promised she would stop contacting him so we could try and fix our marriage. That didn’t happen, so I forwarded a picture of them along with all their text messages to her husband and her 2 adult children. She was very upset that I made that decision, but she broke her promise to stay away from him.. so, I felt that why is is ok for my kids to suffer and she has no accountability for her actions. Even after she told me how devastated her kids were… she still continued to sleep with him for 3 mos… that’s when I forwarded more messages to her spouse and asked when this woman was going to stop texting my husband? After that, it finally broke all communication between them. Only then did my husband realize all that he was losing. He hit a low and wanted to make it work. It was a very painful decision to take him back…. but I knew that I loved him and truly wanted to make it work. He has since moved back home and is trying hard to repair the damage caused. It will be a long while before the trust returns. So, to answer your question.. yes, I do feel like adult children should know… my adult children held my husband accountable for his actions. He didn’t like it, but he ultimately had to face them. Our 12 yr old daughter took things very hard. When I confronted his HO.. I sent her a picture of our daughter to show her the one that she was hurting the most through her actions. That still didn’t stop her from meeting him in hotel rooms. So, yes, I feel that my family shouldn’t be the only one suffering without her having any consequences. That’s how life works…you make poor decisions and there are consequences. I don’t feel sorry for her at all, just her husband.

    • Blindsided

      I’m really torn on this … my therapist is recommending that we tell our adult children. My gut says no – why put them through the hurt and hell I have been through? (my H is the one who had the EA). We are together, want to make this work. My H told our oldest that both he and I are in therapy. I’m told he didn’t respond at all. Both kids work with their dad. There were times during the EA that one of them would text me, “do you know where dad is?” or “he’s off the grid again” I would just respond that I didn’t know (because I didn’t – some of this was before D-Day, some after). I asked H what he and his therapist have talked about H’s father’s affair(s) – I asked it as a fact, though I did not know for sure if his father had had affair(s). He said he has suspected, but also doesn’t know for sure, and that he had talked about it with the therapist. I asked how he felt about his father’s ‘secret’. He wouldn’t discuss.

      I understand the point that some have made about the EA not being a secret, but rather a private matter. That is where I have been sitting emotionally, but also worry about this: If my kids have been suspecting that something is/was going on (dad ‘off the grid’ at times) are they looking at me with pity? Poor mom … she doesn’t even know that something is going on. I don’t want them to lose respect for me, but also don’t want them to lose respect for their dad either by telling them about EA.

      • Doug

        There are certainly pros and cons with telling your kids. However, I’d trust your gut if I were you. It’s almost always right.

        • Blindsided

          Thanks Doug!

      • Shifting Impressions

        I agree with Doug….it’s always a good idea to trust your gut.

        I am not sure if you have read all the comments but as I mentioned in the above comments I did tell my adult children, It has almost been five years since d-day and my husband and I are still together and my children still have a good relationship with their father.

        It was hard but I think we came through it stronger. My kids were absolutely amazing through it all.

        • Blindsided

          Thanks for the comment. I’m encouraged to hear that you are still together – hope it is happily together 🙂

          • Shifting Impressions

            there is more happiness than sadness….but to be completely honest I still have my struggles. I have found the process to be long and difficult but slowly after almost five years we are still making headway.

            I wish you all the best

    • Deanne

      Shifting impressions
      I am so glad to hear you and your H are making it work. It has been 2 yrs since my husband’s affair. Our kids have learned to forgive him and he has really stepped up to be a better husband and father than he was before. The most important thing is he realized how completely selfish he had been. This affair really opened our communication better than it has ever been and I am thankful. People make mistakes and although this mistake hurt more than just me… it humbled him. He realized losing me and the kids would have been devastating. As wives, we can’t be as much exciting as much as someone new can. But when the newness wears off, you have to love what’s left. That’s where we come in…we are loyal to our spouses. I do still love him and I’m glad he is home… recommitted and loving. Best of luck to you both and know although its a long process. It’s worth it if you love each other enough to repair the trust! ????

    • Shifting Impressions

      Thanks for your kind words….all the best to you as well.

    • Jon

      I would really like an opinion on my situation. I had an emotional affair at the end of a very long marriage. The emotional affair lasted about 5 months.. No physical sex was involved. I felt horrible about it. I sought counseling and decided to leave this woman and work on my marriage. The shame was so bad but I worked hard and left her. But my spouse found out about it after the fact. I begged her not to divorce me and we tried counseling together with two separate therapists but she could not forgive me. So we divorced. There were lots of other issues involved so it wasn’t just this issue. For a year now, she had agreed not to tell anyone including our adult kids (because I broke it off, we tried, and what would be the point now?) but she has shared confidentially with others. She could always get mad at me sometime and then tell the kids. I’m afraid of her telling the kids because they could very well take her side and vilify me because men are vilified all the time even though I tried and made an honest attempt to save our marriage. Again, I take responsibility for what I did. You don’t have to make me feel bad about it because I already do and have been carrying shame about it for quite some time. Should I tell the kids even though I didn’t run away with this woman or wasn’t even physical with her? I’ve maintained that I think it would do more harm than good and yes, of course, I don’t think it is fair because I tried hard to do my part to save the marriage. I would appreciate any thoughts though…

      • Dee

        You keep mentioning that it was not physical between you and this woman. Do you think that makes a difference to your wife? Emotional affairs are more hurtful to women because you give a piece of your heart to someone else and said things to that woman that only a wife should hear from Her husband. Although it was good you tried to make it right, the bottom line is …the broken trust was not something your wife could overcome. Take full responsibility and I would think that your adult children would want to hear it from you than from someone else. Hopefully, they will forgive eventually and realize this mistake was between you and their Mother; not about any lack of love for them. It’s natural for ppl who cheat to minimize their choices once they have been caught. You felt ashamed. Realize that she trusted you in spite of any problems that you may have been having, but she never thought you would betray her trust and cause her such pain. Throw yourself on the sword with your family and make no excuses for your behavior. They will at least respect you more for taking full responsibility for the failure of your marriage. You made a choice she couldn’t live with…. that is on you no matter how hard you tried after the fact. I hope this helps…. I have been through this with my husband and chose to stay and work it out. Our children know and although they were devastated and upset… they are again close to their Dad and have forgiven him and so have I. All you can do is learn from your mistakes and be a better man for your next relationship.

    • Jon

      Thanks for the comment, Dee. In answer to your question: yes, I do think my ex-wife (not my wife) sees no difference between a physical affair and an emotional one and you don’t have to convince me, I agree with her perspective, I am aware that emotional affairs are often more hurtful than physical ones for the reason you stated. This is not a new issue to me and I am already on board.

      But I also think that my role to recognize all of this and try do the right think to leave this person before it got any deeper and to turn into something full blown shows that I took full responsibility. This is important to think about – had she forgiven me, I know we would have moved on and not told the kids – what would be the point? It would have been emotionally damaging to the kids so it would have remained personal between the two of us. I think most people would understand that and appreciate that logic. But since she chose to divorce (which was her choice to make and that’s her choice – I’m fine with that) why is it NOW imperative to tell the kids? Why is this any better than the first situation? Is it just so she can feel vindicated and look better before the kids. Does it REALLY help the kids to resolve the issue or to heal or does it make the situation worse, create a larger wedge – expand the divorce (to separate further)

      My bottomline, I truly want to do what is right for my kids. If “throwing myself on the sword” will actually accomplish better healing. I will do that certainly. Darn right I would! I would do anything for them. But usually in forums like this I think the motivation has more to do with seeing vindication and punishment for the betrayer than what is truly good emotionally for the kids. Maybe “devastating and upsetting” your kids worked for you and brought them closer to their dad and you. But it is a crapshoot – there is also a risk that it will only divide people and tear them apart. Is that worth taking that risk when you don’t have to and just forgive, be silent, and move on? Now if I had continued to see this woman and rubbed it in my ex’s face and showed no sensitivity, I can certainly see why telling the kids makes sense. But I ended it.

      Not arguing with you. I asked for opinions and I’m appreciating the perspective. I agree with you that airing out issues and not letting them hang can be beneficial. I am going to think on that more. But I don’t think it is as black and white as you suggest. If it is only about vindication (thinking of the two examples that I provided) and not the wellbeing of the children, than that is wrong.

      In many cases too, emotional affairs are a symptom of a bad marriage overall. If you bring up the affair issue with the kids, shouldn’t all the other issues come out too? I really don’t want to go down the path of conducting divorce court in front of the kids. They don’t deserve that.

      • Dee

        You can do what you want Regarding your own children, but my children were supportive of both of us when we told them because we were honest. I don’t think your ex is trying to punish you. She was deeply hurt and you keep saying that you ended it yourself so that should have warranted a second chance? You still made the choice to stray when you could have left the marriage first before pursuing another emotionally or physically. My perspective is not to upset you… I lived through this myself on the other side and I thought that is what you are trying to understand. It is your choice to tell your kids or not, but it seems you are more worried them forming a bad opinion of your actions then you are about devastating them personally. They are adults…I personally didn’t want them to ever find out from anyone else. They would have been more upset that we felt they couldn’t handle it and they told us that. For us it worked and neither my husband or I had to ever carry that burden of a secret. My family is in tact because we worked hard together because it was what we both wanted…. not for anyone else but each other. Our kids forgave him because he is a genuine good man that dealt with it head on. It wasn’t easy for him, they love their Dad and they respected him for it. I’m sorry that she decided to walk away, but regardless of prior issues In the marriage beforehand… you still made a choice you didn’t have to make. I don’t know how your children will react. You know that better than I do. I am just giving the other side of the perspective. I wish you luck in whatever you decide.

    • antiskank

      First, I tend to disagree with the idea that men are vilified, I tend to think that betrayers in general are not looked upon favourably. Also, suggesting that emotional affairs are a symptom of a bad marriage sounds like justification. Just my opinion but you did ask!

      I did feel that it was necessary for my adult children to know about their father’s affair. I did not want to tell them but after speaking to a counselor and thinking about it a great deal, I knew it was the right thing to do.

      At the time I found out, our family had just gone through a major death in the family and we were dealing with a lot of fighting between the relatives. Our daughter was caught in the middle of the battle due to being her grandfather’s caretaker and favourite person. She was living with us part time while building a house. She knew that something was not right and thought it was her fault that we didn’t seem to be happy. I needed to let her know that she was not the reason. We told her together and of course she was upset but was glad to hear she was not the cause.

      Our son had to know for other reasons. The affair partner had been a friend of his and they had previously worked together and associated with the same circle of friends. I did not want him to hear it from her or any of the group of friends. He was visibly upset and stopped all association with the affair partner.

      Although this kind of information can possibly have a negative impact on how the kids feel about the cheating partner, I think the biggest impact can be created by the subsequent behaviour after the affair. If the cheating partner steps up, takes full responsibility and does everything possible to repair the damage without making excuses or trying to blame the betrayed partner, they can regain the respect lost through their selfish actions. It is a good opportunity to show them that parents may not always have all the answers or do things perfectly but they can admit to their mistakes and correct them.

    • Jon

      Antiskank and Dee. Wanted to thank you both for your comments. I agree with your reasoning and I am inclined now to tell my kids to clear the air. I don’t want this to hang over my head and theirs for the rest of their lives and I will not make excuses. So thanks. As I said, I do take full responsibility yet I would disagree with you Antiskank about how emotional affairs occur. Unless there are some serious character flaws, no one gets married hoping to have an emotional affair. Many times there are reasons why they occur and can be explained. I won’t go into all the details about my marriage but my spouse was an alcoholic and had attachment issues. She could not attach to me emotionally and that did have an impact on our marriage. I wanted to be loved. BUT, I certainly made the wrong choice to have an affair and you are right, Dee, I should have divorced before acting on my emotions. But it was more complicated because I felt responsible to our kids and did not believe that divorce was an option because I was a christian. I don’t want to lay out all the issues because people’s eyes start to glaze over and they start saying, “oh right, he’s making excuses” but my only point is if people would stop to take the time to understand that it is more complicated than just focusing on the “cheater”, stop assigning blame and to look at the fundamental reasons behind why a marriage is failing and to fix those problems, forgiveness would occur and more marriages would be repaired. Assigning blame does not always get to the in reasons that led to the affair. Each affair really is different.

    • Dee

      I agree, Jon! I wish you the very best of luck. I hope that you and your children heal from all of this and remain close. I hope we were able to make you feel better in some small way. Blessings to you!

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