My Spouse Told My Kids About My Affair

By: Katie Lersch:  I sometimes hear from folks who are furious that their spouse has taken it upon themselves to inform other family members about their affair.  This is bad enough if the family member is a parent or sibling, but it is especially bad if the family member is a child.  I heard from a wife who said: ” last year, I made the huge mistake of having an affair.  I told my husband and begged him to forgive me and try to make our marriage work.   At first, he said that he would but over time, he has become more and more angry and frustrated.  In fact, last week he became so frustrated that he left our house for a few days.  He said he would keep up with the counseling and trying to save our marriage but he insisted he needed some time away.  When our children asked him why he was leaving for a few days, he actually told them about my affair.  I am stunned and furious.  This is not my children’s problem or concern.  And now they are angry at me.  So I’m dealing with trying to make things up to my husband and trying to make things up to my kids.  I am struggling with this because I am so angry that I am tempted to just stop with the counseling and let him stay gone.  But I don’t want to do that to my children.  Wasn’t my husband wrong for telling the kids about my affair?”
While It Was Wrong For Your Spouse To Tell Your Kids About The Affair, You Have To Focus On What Happens Now:  I absolutely feel that this wife’s husband was wrong to involve the kids in the affair.   Most therapists will tell parents not to involve their children in their marital difficulties.  And I firmly agree with this. When my own husband had an affair, my children had to have known that we were arguing but we were very careful never to involve them in the specifics.  There was no plus side in their knowing how badly their father had messed up.  And our marriage or his mistakes has nothing whatsoever to do with his love for his children or his ability to parent them.   My husband was and is a good father and I had no desire whatsoever to hurt my children by involving them in issues that were ours alone.

With all of this said, there is no way to turn back time.  The words were already out of the husband’s mouth and there was no way for the children to pretend as if they didn’t hear them.  So the focus needed to shift.  It wasn’t going to help to dwell on the fact that the cat was already out of the bag.  What mattered now was how this was handled.  I’m certainly not an expert on this, but I believe that it would be appropriate for the husband to tell the children that he had made a mistake in involving them in his martial life and asked that the family focus on moving on and healing.  A suggested conversations would be something like: ” I involved you guys in our marriage and that was a mistake.  I want you to know that no matter what happens in our marriage, none of it affects our love for you and the fact that we love being your parents.  Your mom is a wonderful mother to you.  I don’t want what I told you to change your feelings and respect for your mother.  I regret that I said and now I would like for our family to move forward.  Your mom and I are going to get the help we need for our marriage and none of this is going to affect the two of you.  We love you and we would never let issues in our marriage compromise our job as parents.”

After this conversation happens, it’s important to move forward and focus on the positive.  Don’t bring it up in front of the kids again and just focus on family activities together.  Your children should not have to worry about martial infidelity or even how you are progressing.  Your being their parents and recovering from the affair should be two very different things.

Place Your Focus On Being The Best Mother And Spouse That You Can Possibly Be:  As I said, you can not change the past.  But you can control your future.  If you place your focus on being the best spouse and mother as is possible, your family will forgive you and they will heal.  No one should be punished forever.  However, you have to show your spouse and your family that you are trustworthy and that you are extremely serious about rehabilitation.  Once this is evident, you can place your focus on strengthening your marriage and your family so that this is no longer  a serious issue and you don’t need to spend so much time worrying about it.

Because to be honest, my husband being a wonderful father and a loving husband is the thing that makes the affair a thing of the past.  If he wasn’t either of those things, then healing would not have occurred. But because of his actions, I know that my husband is a quality human being who was worth fighting for.  And if you work hard to show yourself trustworthy and loving, your spouse is likely to feel the same way.

I won’t pretend that healing was always easy because it wasn’t.  But if you show yourself to be extremely motivated to give your spouse what they need  to heal and your remorse is obvious, this can greatly help your cause.  If it helps, you can read my story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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