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Newest Member: Goku06

Reconciliation :
How did the affair affect your kids?

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Fof9303 ( member #70433) posted at 9:43 PM on Wednesday, August 17th, 2022

I am sorry that you even have to ask these questions. It is so hard on us dealing with this breach of trust let alone our children. In my case, my twins were 16 and my oldest was 18. I remember my son telling his father.. "I looked up to you and you were my hero.." Breaks my heart even recounting it to this day. But let me say this.. I don't see any signs of anything these years later.. They have a great relationship... all of them... I am not sure if this happened because we reconciled and their life did not have an upheaval for an extended period of time, or if it was because of their age and resiliency and of course my resiliency. My daughter actually said to me when I was thinking about reconciling... "we went through all of this for nothing"... then a couple weeks later she rephrased and said "if you're happy mom than I am happy." I hope that in your case it turns out okay too without much damage and happiness around the corner.

posts: 147   ·   registered: Apr. 27th, 2019
id 8750878
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BreakingBad ( member #75779) posted at 10:41 PM on Wednesday, August 17th, 2022

Our kids are in HS (both on Dday and now).

Son overheard some of the argument on Dday, but didn't seem to hear enough to draw conclusions about what was going on. We told the kids we were starting counseling (both IC & MC); high school sports practice schedules were too complicated to not let them know we had counseling meetings. Initially, we only told them only that we were working through problems and trying to regain a happy marriage. This bit of broad truth came in handy when COVID lockdowns hit a few weeks later and we had Zoom counseling that we needed to set privacy parameters around, since we all existed in the same house.

We waited until almost the 2 year mark, post Dday to tell the kids why we'd been in counseling. My husband did the intial talking for that family meeting.

Why tell them at all? That's complicated.
-I was always worried that, at their age, they knew/suspected; so it might be the weird elephant in the room we didn't ever discuss in an otherwise open/communicative family. [FYI: They didn't know--so the revelation was shocking to them.]
-I needed a larger support system and wanted to be able to discuss what I/we were going through with my parents and my siblings. (I hadn't told them.) Since my immediate family is close to the extended family on my side, I felt that we needed to tell our own kids first so it wouldn't leak back to them in another way, blindsiding them and making them feel betrayed that they didn't know what extended family knew.

-They were older and seemed capable of handling it.

-It would allow us to speak with the kids about trust and relationship issues and also about how long term relationships navigate difficult waters.

Why wait?
-I didn't tell any family members about the betrayal for a long time because I didn't want any strong outside influence on my decision making about R or D.
-See above about needing support from my own parents and family and why that connected to telling the kids.

How were the kids impacted?
Shocked and appalled initially on a level that surprised me. (I truly had thought they suspected.)

Both distanced themselves from their father for a while and were angry. I told them they they could certainly be angry on their own behalf, but didn't need to be angry on mine. I had already been angry on my own behalf.

Daughter was more openly vocal in processing her hurt and anger, but came around a bit faster to warming to her dad again.

Son was very distant longer, but has come around more this summer to hanging out and talking with his dad a bit.

Daughter's longterm boyfriend relationship was impacted by her getting more insecure and jealous. They are now broken up and insecurity was one contributing factor in that.

Daughter is very communicative with me.
Son is closed off, even with me, but was like this with almost everyone prior to disclosure. Yet, I worry more about how he has processed everything since his processing is hidden.

They were both initially angry that we waited to disclose, but now seem to understand that I (we) were reeling so much after Dday that we might not have had the capacity to support them as well as we did later on. They also seem to understand that I didn't want too much influence on my decision making while I was reeling emotionally.

My fWH's avoidance to having vulnerable conversations continues to limit his relationship with the kids--but he has made some headway with this skill and this work is his own to do.

"Don't you love it, don't you love it?
No, I ain't happy yet.
But I'm way less sad."[Credit to group AJR]

Me=BW; fWH=online affairs with 3 APs over 2.5-3 yrs
Both in IC & MC
Married 31 yrs now
2 kids-both in HS
Attempting R

posts: 215   ·   registered: Oct. 31st, 2020
id 8750889
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hcsv ( member #51813) posted at 11:32 PM on Wednesday, August 17th, 2022

Three young adult children, youngest still in college at the time we divorced.

None of them have a relationship with their father. He sent the occasional happy birthday text and a few calls with no message left, to youngest.

It all makes me very sad, both for the kids and ex. It has been six years and I dont see anything changing. Heels have been dug in, conflict has been avoided. He knows nothing about his kids lives and they know nothing of his.

After 40 years, ex turned into someone I didnt know and couldnt trust anymore. Divorced. 1/17

posts: 726   ·   registered: Feb. 14th, 2016
id 8750894
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ADryHeat ( member #46484) posted at 7:03 AM on Thursday, August 18th, 2022

I’m rarely on here as I was active in 2014-2016 and in 2015 I divorced so I know some of my answers may not feel relevant on this board, but I think this is a grade topic so I wanted to share.

how did learning about the affair affect their relationship with you, and your spouse?

My kids figured out about the affair on their own when my daughter was 13 and son was 11. As far as I can tell, they did the math based on their dad’s behavior in post-D relationships he had. He was dating two women at once (A and C) about a year after we D, and ended up ‘choosing’ one (A) who he moved in with and proposed to. That ended 2.5 years in and he immediately took back up with the other woman he’d been dating (C) at the same time at the start of the relationship. Turns out she taught classes at a gym he started going to about 4-5 months before he and A split. My daughter therefore believes he cheated on A with C which led her to ask me if he cheated on me. It confirmed for her what she felt about him - that he’s what she calls a ‘male homie hopper’ and she lost respect for him. Her brother did as well.

Have they suffered from depression or behavioral issues after learning about the betrayal?

Both have some anxiety related to his A, our divorce, and his behavior post divorce.

Do they express or show any concerns about issues of trust, both as a family, and in general with friends and others outside of the core family?

Nothing specific, other than they basically always assume their dad will cheat on whoever he’s with and both are grossed out by cheaters.

Have they abandoned one parent or the other?

Not abandoned, but both are much closer to me than to him. I’m the reliable parent in their eyes.

How do they feel about marriage and/or having kids now?

We haven’t really talked about this.


Have they taken up dangerous responses such as cutting themselves, drug use, or becoming promiscuous?

My son was pretty depressed a few years ago when he was 9-10, more due to the toxic relationship his dad and A had before they split. It was truly awful and bad for the kids to witness. My daughter has dealt with serious anxiety, PTSD from some things she witnessed when her dad and A were together, and has had battles with self harm (cutting) and disordered eating. She’s on anxiety meds and in therapy and doing well now thankfully.


If your children do not know about the affair(s), do you still see/feel a change in them because of tensions at home between you and your spouse?

N/A

Do you feel that anything positive came out of it for them?

Nope.

How have you explained or dealt with the affair to your kids?

I did not tell them of the A when it happened and we divorced bc they were 5/6 and 7/8 when those events occurred. When my daughter pieced it together and asked if he’d cheated I was honest but gave minimal details.

How have you controlled exposure to the details of the affair?

See above.

What therapy or medications or other treatment have been a result of their learning about the infidelity?

They have both done therapy. My daughter still goes and is on anxiety meds. My son goes as needed. They see the same therapist which makes it easier.

What "rules" have you setup regarding the infidelity and the kids? (e.g. "I won't bad mouth their mother/father, but if they ask, I won't lie")

I was very careful when we were still married to try to keep things as ‘normal’ as possible for them. When we divorced we gave them minimal information and no details of what happened due to their ages and my desire not to be seen as poisoning the well. I decided early on that I would always be honest with them and age appropriate so when they asked if there was an affair I said yes and answered basic questions. They have a difficult relationship with their dad on many fronts bc he has continually let them down and acted poorly and they see his behavior and who he is really clearly now. I don’t initiate talking poorly about him, but they are 15 and 13 now and if they want to vent, I let them. I also validate them when they complain about valid things - for example when they’re promised something by him and he doesn’t follow through (sadly common) and they vent, I tell them they’re right to be upset and they should express that to him. My kids and I are very close and open with each other and I also something attend their therapy with them (at their request). Their therapist has reassured me that at their ages I’m right to affirm their instincts when they feel like his behavior is poor or his character is lacking. It’s hard sometimes not to pile on with my own complaints about him, but I hold back. The truth is, people reveal who they are if you’re paying attention, and my kids have been paying attention. I won’t try to gaslight them into doubting their own observations and feelings.

Have the kids become weapons in the marriage?

N/A but in the divorce they have not. Despite my ex being worth less than a dirty tissue to me, we don’t put the kids in the middle and I’m grateful for that. I think it helps that I’m detached from feelings about him aside from being hurt on my kids’ behalf when he hurts them.

Me: BS
Married 11 years, 2 young kids
DDay 11/3/14, Discovered he was still a fuckwit: 7/10/15
DIVORCED 11/12/2015
"Sometimes when you're in a dark place you think you've been buried, but actually you've been planted."

posts: 2395   ·   registered: Jan. 24th, 2015   ·   location: AZ
id 8750934
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childofcheater ( member #33887) posted at 2:57 AM on Friday, August 19th, 2022

You can read my profile for all the details about why I initially joined here (my dad).

It has def affected me and how I deal with my husband. I have explosive triggers re: feeling dismissed and patronized that have caused major arguments and issues in my marriage. I feel resentful at times that my dad continues his infidelity. (I assume) I dread if my mother ever passes first and imagine what I will do should my dad shove an OW in our faces.

My one brother is almost 40 and had never married. My sister had major issues but has finally settled and seems happy. My youngest brother is the least affected and is happily married.

Children always know. And the sad part is we do the same thing half the time as parents who think staying for the kids is best. We stuff it all down to keep the peace in the family and not hurt our BS parent.

Me: 42 yo, him 41Married 19 years together 233 kids: DD15, DD12, DS9DDay 2/9/12 found suspicious text to coworkerStatus: in R, work in progress

posts: 551   ·   registered: Nov. 11th, 2011   ·   location: East Coast
id 8751031
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 DaddyDom (original poster member #56960) posted at 7:28 PM on Friday, August 19th, 2022

I want to thank everyone who has responded so far. I've been trying to think of what to say in return... but I have no words. Thanks for sharing your painful stories, and it was really good to see some of the "kids of" comment here as well. I know my actions did immeasurable damage to our kids. The older ones, my step-kids, were already torn apart by the divorce, and the way their father retreated from their lives and refused to accept the responsibility for the damage he had done. And then, blam! I come along and shred any sense of trust they may have possibly have had. Our youngest has zero interest in having kids and isn't too keen on steady relationships either. Our oldest is finally in a good relationship but she still struggles mightily and has panic attacks over her conflicted feelings. And for a while, during the A at least, I had started to engage with my daughter in a way that turned her against my wife, and that too, did a lot of damage to their personal relationship. Thankfully, while there is still damage there, the two of them have done a pretty good job of getting closer than they've ever been. If there is a silver lining to be had, it is that.

I started this thread simply because we don't often hear much about the kids and how this affected them. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it's too painful to "go there" for a lot of us. But they need to heal too, and they need to be heard and seen and understood. It just seemed like there should be a conversation about them.

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1309   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017
id 8751210
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brkn_heartd ( member #30396) posted at 1:24 AM on Saturday, August 20th, 2022

Our biological daughter I believe, thinks I checked out due to my Mother's death. She was in college at the time, and I didn't rah rah like I would have before. His son's didn't seem to notice. I think my daughter just thinks it was a phase I was going through. Although when she had her daughter, I told her she need a plan 'just in case'. I pushed it off as every mom needs a plan, to include if H were to accidently die...but I think she thinks I am weird. We never told them of his A...but at times I wish I had.

Me-57 BS
Him 65-WS
Married 38 yrs, together 40
Affair Aug-Dec 09
official D-12/14/09
broke NC 1/31/10
second D 3/19/10

posts: 2121   ·   registered: Dec. 14th, 2010   ·   location: Northwesten US
id 8751241
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Sadwife53 ( member #61415) posted at 5:17 PM on Saturday, August 20th, 2022

My daughters 22 and 24 knew before me-one saw a text pop up while they were borrowing my fwh charger. They told him to tell me that night or they would. If I could have avoided having them find out, I would have.
My older daughter, now 28 has been living with her boyfriend, a good and kind young man, for years but doesn’t want to get married. When I asked her why she asked me if I would have married her Dad if I knew he was going to betray me.
My younger daughter is now in her last year of med school and applying to psychiatry residencies. I am 100% sure her choice is related to her attempt to try to figure out the shitstorm our family was for a long time.
My older adult sons benefited from witnessing their father redeem himself- get control of his alcoholism and become a better man in most every way. He turned from a superficial judgmental unavailable authoritarian to a humble relatable and newly wise role model for them, as they both are addicts, in recovery for years now thank God.
Because of fwh and sons alcoholism/addiction, our family was headed downhill and something bad was going to happen. As horrible as his A was for all of us, it could have been worse- mainly death by OD, or causing the death of an innocent (drunk driving etc).
I am grateful for how our family is functioning now.

Me: 58 WH: 60 married 36 years, 4 adult children dday: 10/5/17 EA and PA with a 30yoStruggling at R

posts: 103   ·   registered: Nov. 14th, 2017   ·   location: PA
id 8751281
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BrokenheartedUK ( member #43520) posted at 5:52 PM on Saturday, August 20th, 2022

My kids were 11, 14 and 17 on DDay. The middle one discovered the texts (thankfully) only 30 minutes before me that indicated that their father was having an A. They are now 20, 22, and 25.

It was like a bomb went off in our house, a moment of impact and before and after. It was traumatic AF.

I once heard it said that having an A is tantamount to abandonment. I know my kids have definitely felt that.

There was some good that came out of the A though and it's aftermath. I upped my parenting game to compensate, got into IC, became a massively improved mother and the entire experience created a dialogue of honesty and authenticity between me and my kids that I'm extremely proud of. We are a tight knit, well supported unit, who have an unbreakable bond.

Sadly, my Ex, did not get the therapy he needed and continued to spiral out of control. For years. He's threw himself a continuous pity party for himself for all the consequences for his own poor decisions. That has affected my kids and their relationship more than anything else. He continues to avoid conversations that provide any real authenticity and they don't trust him. The further we got from each other, the clearer the distinction was between us (as parents and people) and the qualities that allowed my Ex to have an affair in the first place (conflict avoidance, arrogance, entitlement, lack of empathy etc.) became more obvious to the children. They love him, but they acknowledge the superficiality of their relationship with him.

My kids have all seen therapists and we continued to discuss the A for years, but I've gone on to a happy life in the aftermath and that's help model better choices. My partner who I've been with for five years dotes on my children and me and that has been healing for them. They adore him as well.

There were many, many dark times during the aftermath of DDay where all the children were badly emotionally affected, acted out as a consequence, and spent many years sorting through that wreckage. I wouldn't wish it on any family.

My eldest wrote a college essay on the moment that he learned of his father's affair and how every part of his life changed as a result that was heartbreaking and resilient. It got him into an Ivy league level college, so there's that. In one form or other, all my kids have written about this experience. It was a profoundly life changing event.

Normally, kids grow up, pull away from their parents, start to look at them objectively and make peace along the way with that. In the instance of a DDay, the scales fall from their eyes immediately. It's insanely traumatic. The youngest took longer to understand what had happened because she just didn't have the emotional maturity to get it. So it was protracted for her in a way that was different to the older two.

My kids have all expressed a willingness to have their own families which I'm relieved about. They have all had healthy, long term relationships and have really pulled themselves together. I'm enormously proud of them. And I take full fucking credit for it.

The middle one was cheated on by her boyfriend in her junior year of college and we all reacted as a team. The oldest one jumped in his car the next day and drove six hours to see her, the youngest one had the (ex) boyfriend's phone number and called him and basically tore him a new one. We were all super triggered. But there was also something gloriously loyal about that for us. We don't take infidelity lying down, that's for sure.

As an aside, I'm in a line of work where I interview people and write up their lifestories. It comes up regularly that a parent cheated and it broke up the family. And it's very common for people who are now well into adulthood when I get their life stories to still grapple with their anger at the parent that was unfaithful. It goes back to the trauma of abandonment. Cheaters don't think what the damage is to their children from their behavior, but I see it all the time.

Me: BS
He cheated and then lied. Apparently cheaters lie. Huh. 13 months of false R. Divorced! 8/16 3 teenage kids
"The barn's burnt down
Now
I can see the moon"
-Mizuta Masahide

posts: 3359   ·   registered: May. 24th, 2014
id 8751282
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 6:26 PM on Saturday, August 20th, 2022

Our co-d son's WW, possibly borderline, started the D process 5-6 years ago. Our formerly sweet, beautiful now 12 year old GS has been furious ever since. He's still sweet and beautiful much of the time, but he appears to be very troubled, and he seems unwilling to acknowledge his anger.

My father, brother, W, and son (not to mention aunts, uncles, and cousins) all attended the same very selective college; I don't know if our GS will get in. That doesn't matter. In fact, I'd enjoy knowing he was breaking the family script, but I'd also enjoy being able to say, 'My GS is at _____....'

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 27569   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8751284
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isthisreallyhappeningaga ( new member #80901) posted at 3:08 PM on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

Everyone in here has older kids....mine are 7, 4 and 8 months.

Is there ANYONE else in here like this? What was your outcome?

posts: 6   ·   registered: Sep. 9th, 2022
id 8756188
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secondtime ( member #58162) posted at 3:35 PM on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

DDay1, my kids were 4 and gestating. DDay1 was in 2007.

DDay2, my kids were 13, 10, 4, and gestating. DDay2 was in 2017.

DDay1 was much easier than DDay2.

DDay1, DH and I could put on a few Thomas the train videos and go into our bedroom and work it out.

Infants, of course, don't get it.

DDay2 was harder. We had more kids. I didn't want to be pregnant. Took longer to heal. I wasn't as naive as with DDay1. And Covid. The kids were at home 24/7 from March of 20-Sept of 21. That's a long time to have no space to work on your marriage.

My oldest is 18. Dh disclosed to him and my next kiddo (14) over fourth of July weekend of this year.

My oldest knew we had some marital discord. He had never really put anything together, which is surprising because my husband's addiction/recovery has been going on for most of his life.

My older two treat my husband as they always have. They are not anymore soured on marriage or having kids than they were a year ago. My husband works part time and does the bulk of the child rearing up through age 5. He has a pretty tight relationship with the kids. He wouldn't give that up, even if he's crappy husband.

For now, my husband stays sober and I do believe he is in recovery now. So. I stay. When it changes, I will deal with it then.

[This message edited by secondtime at 3:37 PM, Tuesday, September 20th]

posts: 1076   ·   registered: Apr. 5th, 2017
id 8756192
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