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Reconciliation :
Experience? Advice? Telling HS age kids way after Dday

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 BreakingBad (original poster member #75779) posted at 2:05 AM on Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021

We are almost 2 years out from Day1. Still working toward R.

As part of developing a wider net of support for me, my WH & I are planning to tell my parents about the betrayals.

Because our extended family is pretty close and because the LAST thing I want is for our kids to find out accidentally from an extended family member or to find out sometime in the future from us--but then to realize that we had told other family members first,
we have decided to tell the kids after Christmas. So, the kids will know before my parents do. We will likely tell my parents after the new year.

So here are the details:
2 amazing kids (10th & 11th grades)

They have been aware that we are in counseling (IC & MC) since almost the beginning--but don't know more than "we are going through a very difficult time and are trying to get to a place of health and joy in our marriage again"

They have been aware that WH & I have more closed-door talks and that we go out for drives to talk.

They are aware that only they know we are in MC and that the extended family doesn't know.

From the beginning, we told them that they can tell their friends if they wish; it doesn't have to be a secret from their friends.

We have had a follow-up conversation this summer and asked if they had questions or if there was info they knew and had questions about. They did not seem to know the "why" and we just shared that we were still working on the marriage. They did ask why at that point and we said that we weren't comfortable sharing that yet.
(This follow up conversation was partially due to the fact that I always wondered if our DS did know some of the why, since he came to our closed door during Dday 1 to ask an unrelated question and could tell we were having a very strained conversation. I told DS to go, but he heard enough to ask if I was OK and later texted to ask if I was really okay.) DS has never admitted to me that he knew anything specific about that Dday, but I figured, if he did, he likely shared it with his sister.)

So, DS never let on that he knows anything specific...but I always wondered.

We don't plan to get into nitty gritty details of the affairs with the kids. We are still working with our MC to do a final plan for the approach (what/how/when). WH will be the main explainer initially during the conversation with the kids (and also later with my parents).

So, that's the groundwork.

Experiences in telling older kids still living at home?

Experiences telling kids way after the fact?

Advice?

Warnings?

What not to do?

Me=BW
WH had online affairs
Married 30 yrs now
2 kids, both in HS
Dday#1=2/7/20
Dday#2=2/12/20
Dday#3=2/17/20
Dday#4=11/25/20...1st A with cOW was actually 2 1/2 years
BW & WH in IC & MC. Working toward R, but day

posts: 108   ·   registered: Oct. 31st, 2020
id 8705385
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TruthIsPower ( member #75776) posted at 5:54 PM on Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021

BreakingBad,
Yes, I went thru this experience. My DS was in HS during our ordeal. Apparently, he knew a lot even though we tried to keep it as discrete as possible. My H and I lived in separate states at that time, I was with my DS during his HS years. So, my H and I talked a lot on facetime very early mornings or very late evenings when DS was asleep during the discovery stage.

Once, out of the blue, my DS asked "Looks like you don't want to stay with dad any longer..." I think I didn't answer at that time. At a somewhat later time, we talked about something and the topic of trust came up. He asked me how could I trust Dad after he betrayed me. His said that he personally would not be able to do it. He would be gone. At that point , I went ahead and told him the basic truth. At that point , my H and I were in R. So, I called my H and told him what just happened and it was his responsibility to deliver the truth. We decided that 3 of us will have a talk, so our DS would know where we are. The conversation was honest, straightforward, and to the point.

I personally think that these types of conversations are very important going forward for HS age kids. My DS shared with me the infidelity in his GF's family. Both my H and I discuss healthy relationship topics with him from time to time. Now, that he's a freshman in college, and we were not available to talk face to face with him, he went to our neighbors (who have a similar position on relationships and values as ours) to hear her and her husband's opinion when his GF told him that she wanted to break up (next day, though, she realized that she made a mistake rolleyes ). But the point is, those honest conversations build trust and tell teens that they can trust adults to come for advice instead of coping in an unhealthy way and/or looking for improper solutions.

This was my experience and I can't complain about the outcome.

Good Luck to you!

"Stop giving people the reasons to love you. Not all will see the beauty of your soul. Those who know, those who know who you are, will love you with something fierce and never let you go. Those are the ones worth holding out for."

posts: 159   ·   registered: Oct. 30th, 2020   ·   location: US
id 8705474
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Ladybugmaam ( member #69881) posted at 6:45 PM on Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021

I don't know much about WAY after DDay. But, we told our now 17yr old son about 3 weeks post DDay. It didn't really happen the way I wanted, given so close to DDay. I'm not proud of some of the things son saw early on. I totally lost control and trashed all the wedding pics, any reminder of OW, and ran over an extremely expensive tri-bike with FWH's truck....in front of H. Son saw the house and the bike. It was a double betrayal and our son knew the other family involved, well. He knew we were going through something rough, prior to disclosing, and had his suspicions. FWH didn't want to tell him anything. Our marriage counselor suggested telling son, just because things were so hard at home. Again, I'm really not proud of that.

Ideally, I had wanted to sit him down with FWH and myself - the three of us together. As it happened.....FWH told him before I arrived home. So, I found a son VERY angry at his father when I arrived. FWH was all...."it is going to be fine" at that point. I wasn't so sure. I think we had had maybe one MC session by then. Things were still VERY emotionally charged. I let son know that I wasn't sure that everything would be fine, but that no matter what happened to us and the marriage.....nothing would change our feelings for him. At that point, post DDay, we knew we could come together there. We all eventually learn our parents aren't God, but that day son lost that for us both. FWH was our son's hero. That was sad to watch. We did offer counseling for our son, and he had a few sessions.

There was some acting out early on....but our home life was very much in turmoil then. We didn't fight in front of him, but there were many a difficult discussion behind closed doors. There were also a few times when I was absent, our son felt responsible for monitoring FWH's actions. For example, there was a time when FWH was on the phone with a male friend of our marriage (someone who had been through an affair also) behind a closed door, and son thought FWH might be on the phone with OW and was extremely upset. This doesn't happen now, but was a thing for awhile.

Son has seen OW once since DDay in our small community, and verbally lashed out at his father over it. It seemed like he was triggered by it. There were some moments where son was super disrespectful to his father. FWH handled it. We all talked about it. Our son isn't the kind of kid that would typically do anything like that with us. He's an only child and we talk through most everything.

Nearly 3 years post DDay and son has had a front row seat to reconciliation and recovery.....and all of its highs and lows. He HAS seen us do a lot of hard work. It has affected how son treats dating relationships. He has a greater maturity and integrity in these relationships than I've seen from his peers. I hear about his friends dating multiple girls at once. Son does not. Cheating isn't an option to him.....or at least that what he shares with me.

Our parents don't know. All are frail and elderly. And, we're not close. But, everyone else knows. All of the people we're closest with know. Their support has been immeasurable. Having all these folks around us, has helped. As time goes on, it seems that no one is untouched by some form of infidelity whether in their relationships or their parents. Not what anyone wants to acknowledge, but that has been my experience with our group of friends. Son has confided in a few friends about it. For me, there was some shame attached to people knowing I was the BS. Not so much anymore.

If I had it to do over again, I would have tried much harder to keep my emotions in check early on. It sounds like you've been successful there. I would have also been in the room to explain with FWH. I think, if we could have managed that together at the time, it would have helped son to KNOW that with regard to son, we'd always be committed to working together.

EA DD 11/2018
PA DD 2/25/19
One teen son

posts: 198   ·   registered: Feb. 26th, 2019
id 8705483
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 BreakingBad (original poster member #75779) posted at 6:44 PM on Thursday, December 23rd, 2021

Thank you so much for the responses!

So far, what you've said is much in line with our thinking.

TruthIsPower, you said:

I personally think that these types of conversations are very important going forward for HS age kids.

I agree. I have not liked keeping things a secret for this long. While I don't think they need tons of details, I do think they need the broad strokes and to understand what a devastating blow this is to a marriage and that repair work post-betrayal takes a LONG time and involves both partners working together and working separately to heal.

We have always encouraged the kids to be very open with us, so I haven't liked that we've kept the basic "why" of our marriage difficulties from them.


Ladybugmaam, I appreciate you sharing that your H initiated the conversation with your son solo. I have told my H that it is VERY important to me that we approach this conversation as a team--but he plans to take the lead on owning what happened. Whether my H and I reconcile or not, I want to model positive communication about very difficult issues for our kids.

I also appreciate you sharing this:

Nearly 3 years post DDay and son has had a front row seat to reconciliation and recovery.....and all of its highs and lows. He HAS seen us do a lot of hard work. It has affected how son treats dating relationships. He has a greater maturity and integrity in these relationships than I've seen from his peers

I hope that our sharing will open our kids eyes not only to the devastation of betrayal of trust, but also to the fact that longterm relationships are HARD work and that open, honest communication is key in all relationships.

I'm dreading the conversation and the fact that there will likely be some tension, stress, and fallout afterwards. But I am looking forward to getting it behind us.

Me=BW
WH had online affairs
Married 30 yrs now
2 kids, both in HS
Dday#1=2/7/20
Dday#2=2/12/20
Dday#3=2/17/20
Dday#4=11/25/20...1st A with cOW was actually 2 1/2 years
BW & WH in IC & MC. Working toward R, but day

posts: 108   ·   registered: Oct. 31st, 2020
id 8705648
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Hippo16 ( member #52440) posted at 1:10 AM on Friday, December 24th, 2021

If I'm not to late -

not a gambler but I put odds 100 to 1 that your offspring are aware and have narrowed down (in their minds) what is causing the
stress and "private" conversations

I suggest you make a short and simple statement and make the subject infidelity. Get it on the table. Any way you speak the truth and try to "sugar coat" the topic will only cause some misplaced confusion.

Immediately follow before entertaining questions - the marriage will continue and "their home" is now and will be staying intact.


then the difficult conversations will follow - don't avoid -

"Kids" are a LOT more aware and knowledgeable that most parents realize. Don't make the error of thinking they won't understand.

If you can find time - look up "Walloped" thread - somewhere in the thread is what happened when the conversation happened with their kids and the "finding out" exposure conversation.

FYI - when I was EIGHT years old - I already knew my parents inherited alley-cat DNA.

Not Just Friends

posts: 596   ·   registered: Mar. 26th, 2016   ·   location: OBX
id 8705679
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 BreakingBad (original poster member #75779) posted at 3:27 AM on Sunday, December 26th, 2021

Hippo16,

Thanks for your response!

You said,
not a gambler but I put odds 100 to 1 that your offspring are aware and have narrowed down (in their minds) what is causing the
stress and "private" conversation

Yes, I worry that is the case...and, if so, we can now acknowledge the elephant in the room.

I do not want to send my kids confusing messages about marriage or betrayal--myths like "problems in marriages should never be acknowledged or discussed--just rugsweep and carry on.
Stiff upper lip and all that."

I want our kids to be able to see that couples can tackle very difficult issues, communicate, and make decisions based on their own mental/emotional health and safety.

So, I won't be promising that we won't ever end up divorced.

I will acknowledge that we have both done a ton of work. We are still communicating well. We are working on ourselves individually and as a couple. Also, our hope and goal is to get to a place of joy again.

I will stress that we love them and want them to be mentally and emotionally healthy too. So, while we won't be airing details or asking our kids to carry the burden of being our sounding board, we are happy to discuss healthy and unhealthy relationship dynamics.

Me=BW
WH had online affairs
Married 30 yrs now
2 kids, both in HS
Dday#1=2/7/20
Dday#2=2/12/20
Dday#3=2/17/20
Dday#4=11/25/20...1st A with cOW was actually 2 1/2 years
BW & WH in IC & MC. Working toward R, but day

posts: 108   ·   registered: Oct. 31st, 2020
id 8706006
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