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Infidelity, divorce, children, families

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gmc94 posted 8/26/2019 17:03 PM

First, what JosieP said.

TBH, I do wish my WH had divorced me rather than lie to me. Hell, I'd rather the man just came right out and punched me in the face before he decided that f*cking someone else would be a good idea. I will NEVER get those years back, I will NEVER get a mulligan on the choices I made - esp about my financial future - while being gaslit to believe that my M was solid and my WH had my back. The things JosieP talked about will haunt me for the rest of my life - with or w/o WH:

Now I cry because I don't know if he was just faking being happy then? Did I not bring the right clothes? Had I made the coffee the right way? I question my own past and that's what his cheating and lying did to me.
My ability to gauge reality has probably been forever altered - like in a 'no matter how much I heal, that lizard brain will ALWAYS try to tell me that nothing can be trusted' kind of way.

As to kids? My DD was not in great shape before dday, but she was a good kid on the right path before the EA turned PA. I thank GOD my DS was out of the house when WH's shit got real. Today, DD is a basket case (alcohol, dui, drugs, AA and NA, totalled 2 cars in 10 days, stole from me to the point where I had to buy a safe and keep a lock on my bedroom door). Does that mean I'm an angel and WH was dirt in the parenting dept? No. But the same psychological bullshit that allowed him to engage in an LTA were present in his parenting as well. And it was not healthy or good - EVEN when she'd left the house for college. And I DO believe that it had some really damaging impacts on DD - both before she knew about the LTA and after (and trust me, the suicide shit did NOT help).

I think this is the everloving point about kids whose parents D after an A. It doesn't matter if the kids are 2 or 22 or 42 - when a spouse must expend a monumental amount of energy just to try and engage in the day-to-day activities of living without losing it, that spouse is NOT able to bring their "A game" to the parenting field (and this can apply to the WS too). I was a total badass before dday, but here I am, 19 months later, doing all I can think of to recover from the trauma (with TWO ICs - one for trauma and one for infidelity/MC) and yet there are still days when just getting my shit together enough to brush my fucking teeth takes what can seem like herculean effort. EVERY day includes the physical manifestations of the trauma (like shaking uncontrollably as if it's 20 degrees, or involuntary flinching, or involuntary whimpering - sometimes I don't even notice it myself. I dunno why, but the last week or so have been particularly bad, where I suspect I've spent more hours in terror or tears than not). And THAT is a completely different situation with a D due to A or D due to other reasons (and as many have said, those "other reasons" are usually long time coming, and put the parents into MC/IC more often than not... just like an A is rarely a split second decision, neither is D).

I've worked with divorcing folks in one form or another for probably close to 30 years. Infidelity almost ALWAYS makes it much worse - I've seen it first hand. I've seen BS who lose it, and I've seen WS who actually LAUGH about what a basket case their BS is - and using it to gain advantage in custody (because judges are always keen on giving lots of custody to a parent who cannot brush their fucking teeth).

For those WS whose BS are not terribly traumatized? You are REALLY fucking lucky and I hope you count those blessings every day.

And ItCantBeTrue makes a good point - what WAS the question? That, from a practical perspective, kids would be in the same divorce boat with or without an A?

Darkness Falls posted 8/26/2019 17:09 PM

That, from a practical perspective, kids would be in the same divorce boat with or without an A?

Correctóthat, from a practical POV, the entire (fractured) household would be in the same boat either way.

This thread has enlightened me that the effects on the BS would likely make that not exactly the case.

Sadwife53 posted 8/26/2019 17:52 PM

I know this is a WS forum, where all of those commenting are truly trying to learn and become better people. I sincerely commend all of the WS here for your efforts to help others including BS, who read this forum trying to gain understanding of their WS. I certainly believe you deserve compassion. I wish there were a more compassionate way to say this.
I see no scenario where a cheating parentís actions arenít harming their children. They are sending their children the message that it is acceptable to lie and cheat in order to get what you want, and itís not necessary to think about who will get hurt.
I donít see how anyone can argue against this fact.
A divorce without infidelity doesnít send this message.

Darkness Falls posted 8/26/2019 18:01 PM

Sadwife,

Nobody IS arguing against that fact. What I was positing was that divorce in general has been determined to hurt kids. No, the lying and cheating entitlement mentality is not being demonstrated, but other harmful effects may be.

sickofsurviving posted 8/26/2019 18:14 PM

Only those that haven't been cheated on, can possibly think a divorce for irreconcilable differences is even in the same galaxy as a divorce due to infidelity.

Zugzwang posted 8/26/2019 18:47 PM

Ergo, ďjust D thenĒ is not a great option for some peopleís psyche any more than ďcheating and DíingĒ is.hat I was positing was that divorce in general has been determined to hurt kids.
I doubt divorce hurts all kids. There are some pretty abusive dysfunctional toxic people out there that need to be divorced for the health of the children. I for one wished my father left my mother.

Life isn't a bunch of roses. At some point people have to learn how to cope with shit. Perhaps if some of the wayward learned how to cope properly and in a healthy way with the shit we experience daily in real life, we wouldn't be here. It isn't always about shielding people for the sake that something is hard and painful. It is about the reality,that life is hard and painful and full of unpleasant things. One should learn how to get over those mountains in a healthy way. Grooming strength and perseverance. Kids will learn. At least they will also just learn by a proper moral and ethical way about relationships not working out. Divorce is a natural honorable thing for relationships that don't work, even better if the proper roads were taken to try and work it out. MC and such. Nothing compared to infidelity and divorce. The former is without all the lies, manipulation, backstabbing, and disrespect brought on by infidelity.

I mean really, D not good for the psyche? Give me a break. Should no one divorce because it is hard and painful? What have you learned? You are talking about doing something unhealthy because someone else is unhealthy and dependent. Where is the learning about being enough for yourself about codependency.

Darkness Falls posted 8/26/2019 19:09 PM

You are talking about doing something unhealthy because someone else is unhealthy and dependent.

You are absolutely right. Yes, I am. And yes, I am codependent to him. I need to learn that how he reacts is his responsibility, not mine.

More than anything I am just afraid of hurting my kids. Theyíre only babies; they need both of us.

[This message edited by Darkness Falls at 7:23 PM, August 26th (Monday)]

keptmyword posted 8/26/2019 19:30 PM

A divorce, although it can be painful, can be initiated and completed with 100% integrity and honesty - and for all the right reasons.

Infidelity requires lies, deceit, betrayal, and is for not a single good reason whatsoever.

Striver posted 8/26/2019 23:55 PM

A divorce, although it can be painful, can be initiated and completed with 100% integrity and honesty - and for all the right reasons.
Infidelity requires lies, deceit, betrayal, and is for not a single good reason whatsoever.

The divorce advocates here are effectively advocates for unilateral, blind side divorce as a superior alternative to infidelity.

There are many BS here who attempt, some successfully, some not, to reconcile after infidelity. I'm not a particular advocate for R myself. I tend to favor practical reasons more than "I still love them" talk from BS. Financial reasons and not wanting to lose access to children resonate the most with me.

My journey into infidelity began with my ex's separation. It is a journey that I will continue for the rest of my life. Divorce did nothing to get me out of infidelity. I indeed have to share my fatherhood with a AP "step dad." My kids are young enough that they do not understand what has been taken from me by my selfish monster of an ex. I walk that road alone.

If my ex was a decent person, she never would have dated nor married me. But she isn't, so the entire relationship was a lie because it suited her selfish interests. Frankly, once she married me and had kids with me, I might have preferred continued lying about her true feelings than her "integrity" and "honesty."

Carissima posted 8/27/2019 03:50 AM

Darkness, I originally posted this in another thread where it was relevant but that thread died.

Just back in March you posted about how you were fully reconciled and maybe looking to expand your family. Yet not 6 months later you are here discussing divorce. There is also a change in tone in your posts, almost sharper & IMO depressed.

Your journey is your own and I'm not asking you to share anything here you don't want to. I guess I just hope you're doing ok.

As for divorce, yes infidelity is a traumatic reason and obviously it's the reason why we're all here but there are other reasons which just as traumatic for the people involved, domestic violence, addiction and so on.

I have problems with people these days who see divorce as an easy get out. I think people are so used to instant gratification now that the instant it's not there they just move on. People don't treasure relationships anymore but if you've really tried everything then at least be honest and try to divorce in a 'healthy manner'.

Darkness Falls posted 8/27/2019 06:18 AM

Carissima,

Itís a long story, but yes, things have changed. We are (and have been) what I would call reconciled from my infidelity in our prior marriage but there are so many other issues itís stupid, and they just get bigger and bigger. We are devolving into nothing more than roommates and detached coparents. Itís not all my fault and itís not all his fault. What IS my fault is remarrying him when ďitĒ wasnít there anymore and not using discernment but instead taking the easy way out. Eventually the piper gets paid.

stillme posted 8/27/2019 06:49 AM

When I was 13, my father took me out for an ice cream shake, an unusual treat. He told me that day as I tried to choke down the shake that he had been miserable for a long time and was going to leave us and go off and write the Great American Novel, find himself. Instead, he drove an hour up the road and climbed into bed with our real estate agent and never left. And that sick feeling I had had in the weeks before he left, when he'd taken me over to the real estate agent's house, while they did some sort of important grown up paperwork and I entertained her kids, it all made sense. I was his favorite kid, so I guess I got to be part of the affair. And the thing was, my dad was miserable. We knew he was miserable. I tried so hard or respect his leaving. Now that Iím an adult, I know heís just intrinsically miserable. Had nothing to do with us or our mom or our life. We werenít broken, he was. He carries it inside him. Nothing we could have done or been would have prevented it. The family he traded us in for wasnít any better. And I got to learn a valuable lesson at 13: My dad lies, he lies to me, he lies about important things, things that affect me. He is not someone to be trusted.

The thing about asking for divorce before your first affair, is it is an incredible act of bravery. Knowing and accepting and carrying that shit storm of heartbreak, confusion, tears, screaming, begging, ripping apart lives that you know will follow, itís an incredible responsibility to carry. You have to be a hell of a person to do it. I get it. Much easier to pretend it isnít going to happen and get so many needs met through a new person while your actual spouse goes without. Or much easier to wrench the family to pieces while you are under the morphine of a new love while the rest of your family goes without pain killer. Or, much easier to do after the affair(s) has exploded in everyone's faces and your spouse is being insane and there is no choice but to face the beast. I get it. I do. But it is a truly horrible thing to do to the people who love you. And even when everyone has come out the other end, your kids, your grandkids, your ex, extended family and friends they will never love you or respect you in the same way again. Divorce sucks. Divorce in the wake of affair, extra layers of hell.

Zugzwang posted 8/27/2019 08:24 AM

More than anything I am just afraid of hurting my kids. Theyíre only babies; they need both of us.

They can still have both of you. Just not in the same house. Don't you think your children love their parents enough to want them to be happy. I loved my father. I saw how unhappy he was. I wish he could have had more before he died of cancer. My life was centered around my mother. She had Lupus. Not even that bad. She is still alive and kicking. She put my father through Hell. Everyone through Hell when she chose to use her condition to her benefit and play the victim card. Low and behold. My father was sicker and died 20 years before her. Believe me, I would have rather had my father who I loved dearly be happier. When your kids become adults, they are going to remember this. They might even feel guilty that you stayed for them. Divorcing can be a healthy thing. You show them how to solve bad choices in a healthy way. You show them that they too deserve to be happy. Would you want your kids to be in a codependent unhappy marriage?

Put off divorce then. Work on what you should have been working on. Your codependency. Once, you have tackled that..maybe the choices will become clearer.

josiep posted 8/27/2019 08:54 AM

I realize there are many conversations going on in this thread so I want to clarify that I am only addressing the notion that the end result is the same whether D is due to irreconcilable differences or due to Infidelity. IMHO, each person is different and we all get to where we are from where we were. Hmmmm - that made sense when I had the thought but not necessarily now that I put it in writing. Anyway, I don't take any pride in how I am - I am simply a product of where I came from. My Dad was a stern, strict, staunch career military and I went to Catholic school. I was born an empath. I remember crying for 3 days over seeing broken robin eggs in a nest when I was 5 yrs. old. So the reason I shared my point of view with my post was to hopefully help others understand how devastating Infidelity is for people like me. We're not making it up, it's a real blow to our souls.

That said, it is on me to fix myself, I get that. And I'm trying. Just as I know everyone else here is trying. We're all just imperfect souls trying to lead better lives and set good examples to our kids and make our little corner of the world a better place. And what I love most of all about S.I. is, we're all trying to do better. That, to me, is the key rather than which side of the I column we fall into.

josiep posted 8/27/2019 09:12 AM

To follow up (and treading carefully so as not to run afoul of the guideline against speaking for others): I am extremely unhappy in my marriage. My H does know I am unhappy. We have a somewhat unspoken understanding that itís generally better to be as nice as possible and keep the family intact for our very young children. I am sure he wants a better marriage but he will not put forth effort to make it better, and we both seem detached and checked out. Despite that, if I were to either get my ducks in a row and then spring a D on him or in an out-of-the-blue off-the-cuff fit of frustration tell him I want a D (and mean it), I believe his reaction, and emotions, would be extremely similar to when, 9 1/2 years ago, he caught me cheating with the OM and divorced me. Ergo, ďjust D thenĒ is not a great option for some peopleís psyche any more than ďcheating and DíingĒ is.

First, I value your posts and comments and insights and did not mean to sound harsh. I was really just trying to explain that there are soft-hearted, hopeless people like me in the world and we "feel" things to the core of our soul more than others. Of course, part of the reason for that is called codependency but we won't dwell on that for the moment. :)

I've thought about these things a lot over the last couple of days and I think the thing with me is the dishonesty. Or, perhaps it's better to call it the lack of truth. In view of that, I would say my opinion about divorcing is not to suggest anyone pull the D card out cold on their spouse but to be honest about how they're feeling. You're unhappy. I believe you have a moral and ethical obligation to share that with your H. To figure out why you're unhappy and to share that with him. Maybe he's unhappy too and that conversation would lead to counseling or a healing somehow. Or, maybe not. Maybe it would lead to separation and maybe even divorce. But regardless of how it ends up, you'd have been honest and you'd have respected him and your marriage enough to be honest. It's not easy, I know. This is the very thing that keeps humans from achieving perfection. So, no, I don't think one should just file for D and blindside the spouse. I think that heartfelt conversations are the very least one can do and then let the chips fall where they may.

And, of course, sometimes the other person can't or won't talk. And when that's the case, I think a counselor can help guide us on what action to take. But following the same "no talk" philosophy is not a solution that will have any kind of happy ending. And, after all, isn't that what we all seek? To be happy? And to model that for our children and our grandchildren?

[This message edited by josiep at 9:15 AM, August 27th (Tuesday)]

eolus posted 8/27/2019 09:26 AM

I very much wish my spouse had initiated divorce instead of having an affair. It would have been the adult thing to do, would not have risked my and my children's safety, and I would have been well onto a new life by now.

I learned a great deal from this thread, but I would offer an alternate way to look at the original reasoning which I think will drive home that the affair very much matters:

If you knew you were going to reconcile anyway (defined here per original post as NOT breaking up family), do you think it would matter if you had an affair?

[This message edited by eolus at 8:04 PM, August 27th (Tuesday)]

hikingout posted 8/27/2019 10:22 AM

At some point I think we can legitimately ask, then, what it is you were asking about?
Because right now it sounds like, "of course we know it is extremely bad. What we're asking is, isn't it same difference?"
... Which really means "Of course we know it is extremely bad, but when you think about it isn't it not particularly bad after all?"
So, if the question was not that, then what was the question?


That's fair. I wondered that a little bit myself. There was no "we" in asking this question. I might have unwittingly inspired it, but I don't hold this this as a question. I doubt any of the waywards here (unless very very new) would ever think that was a valid comparison.

I think Darkness Falls has now explained this already, but it comes down to if she decides to divorce now, is she introducing the same trauma she did with the infidelity in the first place 9.5 years ago. I genuinely think this was about her not wanting to put Her H through all that again and now as a topper to that there are now children involved. She can correct me if I am wrong, but that's how I am reading it.

And, DF_

While I do think Carissma is right there was some talk about 6 months ago of possibly having another baby and things seemed a little more positive. But, I remember at the time when you were talking that way, I was amazed out how positive everything sounded after not sounding that way for a long time. I have been here for a little over two years and I have to say for the longest portion of it, you have sounded very unhappy in the marriage. And it has actually sounded like your H wasn't either and that you all were okay with the terms of your marriage, recognizing it was more of a partnership or union rather than a love connection?

The part that I don't know is if you are unhappy because of the marriage, or if you are unhappy in general and the marriage is just an extension of that? This is not meant as a critique, but it does seem like often when our relationship isn't what we would like it can be an issue with depression/lack of fulfillment within ourselves. Do you believe you can be happier by yourself? No judgment, really just asking.

[This message edited by hikingout at 10:23 AM, August 27th (Tuesday)]

Luna10 posted 8/27/2019 10:25 AM

Itís a long story, but yes, things have changed. We are (and have been) what I would call reconciled from my infidelity in our prior marriage but there are so many other issues itís stupid, and they just get bigger and bigger. We are devolving into nothing more than roommates and detached coparents. Itís not all my fault and itís not all his fault. What IS my fault is remarrying him when ďitĒ wasnít there anymore and not using discernment but instead taking the easy way out. Eventually the piper gets paid.

Iím sorry to hear you (both) are struggling in your marriage. This is your opportunity to do the right thing, the honest divorce that everyone is talking about. From where Iím coming from thatís what I would have expected from my WH before he cheated should he have been in the situation you described above: an honest conversation stating his expectations from our marriage and listing what makes him unhappy and the needs that arenít met. This would then be followed by me giving my own feedback and expectations from our marriage. Understand if our expectations align or if we can change things to meet those unmet needs.

If not- divorce, we had the honest chat, weíre not willing to change due to various reasons, our needs obviously grew in different directions.

If we agree to work on it then we do so. We revisit ever so often and give feedback to each other. If we still feel it isnít enough then we divorce.

See that in my view is the difference between a blindsided affair followed by divorce rather than an honest divorce. Can the cheaters that left their spouses for the APs say that they have given their marriage everything and it just didnít work out? Nope. Because if that would have been the case they would have divorced before they found a replacement.

In my case for example I had no clue whatsoever that my WH was even 5% unhappy. He claimed at the time he was happy. He told me he loved me daily. I have 6 months of texts between us while he was in the affair and if you would read them you would feel we were frankly in love. Do you think I didnít deserve to at least be told to change if something was wrong? To be given a chance at least? And what about the kids? What if my WH would have left me, would the result of seeing their parents hugging, kissing, laughing one day and daddy disappearing the next be the same as any honorable divorce?

You are, from my perspective, in danger of cheating again. Please donít take this the wrong way. But reading your situation all I can think is that you need a man to light that fire inside you while you are miserable next to your husband. You need the perfect storm and the forecast is favorable. Iím your shoes Iíd start taking the right path to happiness which doesnít involve hurting another person with lies and deceit. Apologies, I know this isnít the subject of this thread.

SadieMae posted 8/27/2019 10:59 AM

I'm writing this from the viewpoint of a betrayed child.

I had a very happy childhood. My parents raised us to be very close-knit. My father was very strict, but fair. You always knew that he held us to the same standards and they were high. When I was 12, I got in trouble and he grounded me for 2 weeks - one for what I did and one for lying and trying to cover it up.

When I was 17, he left my mother suddenly. Told her he needed space, would be back in a couple of months, blah blah blah. And then we ran into him at a video store with his secretary. The rest is history, a quick divorce, a remarriage, the whole shebang.

What my father did by going about it the way he did was to kill my respect for him. It turned things like 'an extra week for lying' into a joke. It turned my opinion and my brother's opinion of him into exactly the opposite of how he raised us.

My dad and his secretary have been married for 28 years. Time hasn't changed my opinion. I still see my father as a liar with very poor character.

If he had left, had divorced because he wasn't happy, I don't think it would have changed how I saw him. Or not to the level that it did.

keptmyword posted 8/27/2019 20:52 PM

My journey into infidelity began with my ex's separation. It is a journey that I will continue for the rest of my life. Divorce did nothing to get me out of infidelity. I indeed have to share my fatherhood with a AP "step dad." My kids are young enough that they do not understand what has been taken from me by my selfish monster of an ex. I walk that road alone.

My XWWís infidelity was a total horror show in that the depth of lies, the coordinated, carefully thought-out deceit, and the severity of her backstabbing were just mind-bending.

Her reaction and behavior after getting caught were legendary in how she was just heinous in her blameshifting, demonizing, trickle-truthing, marital-rewriting, meanness, cruelty, etc, etc.

Among the emotional storm of pain, anguish, sadness, mind-movies, fear, confusion, and anger - what became the biggest problem for me was that not that, like you stated, my entire relationship with her was a lie, but that I was still married to this lie.

I was frightened to death of being a single father, but that was better than remaining married to a total fraud of a human.

Just filing for divorce was a liberating feeling as it started the freight train rolling in barreling out of her sick world of selfish addiction bullshit.

Divorce indeed gets you out of the infidelity because being married to a woman who is providing sex-for-compliments with some scumbag while vilifying you is about as healthy for you and your children as skydiving without a parachute.

My XWW is remarried and I do not share my fatherhood with her husband.

I spoke with my children and told them that I am their father and their ONLY father and the the man she is married to is simply the guy she is married to.

There is nothing anywhere on earth or anywhere else that states that he is a co-father to my children.

If she divorces, then he simply reverts to being a guy she was married to - whereas, I am their father no matter what.

They know this and agree completely.

If my ex was a decent person, she never would have dated nor married me. But she isn't, so the entire relationship was a lie because it suited her selfish interests. Frankly, once she married me and had kids with me, I might have preferred continued lying about her true feelings than her "integrity" and "honesty."

Preferring that she continue to lie to you would not make anything better for you or your children.

You would still be living a lie and living an illusion.

I would rather my children watch me struggle as an honest man than watch me pathetically live a lie that they will eventually and surely find out about.

I understand and sympathize with wanting a whole family but a family that is based on lies and deceit may appear outwardly pleasant, but inwardly rotten and empty.

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