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Do It for the Children

Oh how I loathe articles about how divorce hurts children! And not only because they frequently use “impact” as a verb. And are full of pseudo science and religious guilt tripping. I hate them because they go right for the emotional jugular with right-thinking parents everywhere (read: chumps and other codependents) — “You selfish, selfish monster. Go ahead and leave your “unhappy” marriage, but you’ll be HURTING THE CHILDREN.”

Of course only monsters willfully hurt children. Jerry Sandusky pedophiles, sadistic British school masters, Josef Mengele. Let’s add you to that list! The argument goes: Divorce is an option, one you willfully make with full knowledge of how devastating and hurtful this will be to your children — your daughters will be promiscious! Your children will have lifelong trust issues! They’ll die young! — and so if you indulge your selfish, selfish desire to get out of your marriage, well, you do so over their innocent little heads.

You know who loves this argument? Cake eating cheaters.

Cake eaters feel entitled to engage in their crap behavior and hold you hostage to it, because you would never do anything to Hurt The Children and break up their home. That’s on you, of course, not the crap behavior. The people who actually need this message — consider the children! — are the ones who are congenitally tone deaf to it: cheaters, addicts, the mentally ill.

So that leaves you trying to hold the family together while the toxic person in your life goes skipping merrily about doing whatever the fuck they want to. Oh sure, try therapy, parenting classes, church, a threaded pipe upside the head. I hope that works. Because chumps do want the gold standard for their kids — the intact happy family of stability and financial security. And we’ll usually pay a pretty high price of admission to get that, or the illusion of it any way. But if you’re with someone determinedly fucked up (cheaters, addicts, the mentally ill), there is going to come a time when (if you are at all healthy) you just refuse to live in dysfunction any longer.

And that’s a very difficult place to be — that emancipation process. It seems to me that there are far too many messages telling you to reconcile at all costs and sacrifice yourself to your children’s intact home life than there are shouting — SAVE YOURSELF! Save your kids! A just and loving God does not want you shackled to a remorseless cheater! Or a feckless personality disorder! Consider what you are modeling to them by staying!

Do those studies that say divorce-hurts-children-don’t-do-it ever untangle whether it is the divorce itself or the dysfunction that led to the divorce (and the animosity and alienation afterward) that hurt the kids instead? What does living with a raging alcoholic do to children? Emotional abuse? Physical abuse? Mental illness? The flagrant disrespect of infidelity? Do we really want our children modeling these behaviors, growing up thinking abuse and chumpdom are normal and right? These articles usually have these wan, watered down disclaimers. [Sigh] Okay, fine, if it’s really that bad… And then follow up with questions like — but did you try hard enough to save it first?

Maybe I only associate with chumps, but where are these wanton, casual divorcees? Where are these people for whom divorce is easy, breezy, and doesn’t kill your credit rating? I mean, there is a certain logic to cake eating. Enjoy the benefits of marriage and fuck around. The chump in the relationship will do the heavy lifting. Cake eaters love to tell their affair partners, oh hey, I only stay for the children. “Ours is a hollow marriage.”

I am certain that divorce does hurt children, that they feel hurt by it. So do parents going through the divorce. But children are not known for their big picture, longitudinal views of situations. According to one article, if you ask children what they want, they prefer that their parents were still married. But consider, this same demographic when polled will also tell you they would like chocolate cake for breakfast.

I do not want to make light of how hard this is for kids. They more than anyone are the innocent victims of a parent’s fuckupedness. That is why it is so important to be the sane parent. To model self respect. To demonstrate to them how to navigate your way through crisis, how to do so with classiness and humor and optimism, even when you want to curl up and die some days.

I’m on the other side of two divorces, both of which I was loathe to put my son through. If he’s a hopeless fuck up, he’s no worse than I was at 15 and frankly, he’s a pretty great kid. He’s on the honor roll. He does a varsity sport. He walks our widowed neighbor’s dog. He’s generally polite and well-behaved. Kind, empathetic.

If I hadn’t divorced those losers, my son wouldn’t have my husband in his life, who models every day what it is to be a good man, who treats his mother right. I’m sure my son would’ve been just fine with just me, we were doing pretty well on our own. But THIS is the life I wanted him to have, the intact, loving, respectful relationship I wanted modeled to him. I’m sorry it’s not with his bio dad, but that wasn’t possible (his father is mentally ill). There were years I tried to make that relationship work. Thank God we don’t always get what we want. Thank God for reinvention. Thank God for new beginnings.

We have to hold to the vision of a better future in those painful, early days when our kids are hurting. Don’t falter and fuck the guilt mongers. It’s out there.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Thanks for addressing this issue, ChumpLady. It definitely is one that rears its head when you are deciding what to do. I know I had a couple friends who with noses in the air, sniffed that I should stay for the sake of the kids, that I should fight for my marriage. But eventually I came to the realization about how seriously unhealthy that would be, not just for me, but for the kids as well. I want to look back on this horrible chapter and be able to show to my kids that yes, their mother is worthy of dignity and respect, and its your right to stand up and say no, I’m not okay with that.

    I am hoping that the future holds a better man for me, but even if not, the kids and I will be happy living a truthful, honest life.

    • Sorry about those “friends.” They either haven’t lived it, or are threatened by your strong example of not taking it.

      Your kids are lucky to have such a together mom! 🙂

  • An appendectomy sucks, too. You know what sucks worse? A burst appendix, peritonitis, and long dirt nap.

    Sometimes the cure involves pain.

  • I’ve struggled with this a lot because my kids, particularly the older one, were absolutely devastated by the divorce. They literally went from one day things were fine to overnight dad moving out and finding out he was a cheater. It was an enormous shock and what made it worse was that their father kept talking up how fab OW was, that they needed to ‘just get over it’ (from the first week he was saying this), raging at them when they would argue or express their pain, being unbelievably cruel to them and all sorts of other nasty behaviour. The result is that one thinks he’s a pathetic dickhead and the other will do what his father wants because he thinks his father will withhold his love otherwise. And his father has done that, withheld his love and affection, telling his son to not say he loves him when said son has told OW she’s a dumb bitch or whatever. It’s been horrible, but it’s also that behaviour that made me realise there was no saving anything, because he was nuts.

    My kids hate all of this stuff, they hate going from house to house, they’re embarrassed by what’s happened. STBX naturally blames this on me for being open about his affair (he should be grateful I didn’t tell the kids about all the other OW I found out about). It’s crazy but one thing I’ve done is use this as a learning tool, telling my kids that when someone treats you badly you have the right to say no, to set up your boundaries strongly, to not allow yourself to be treated like shit.

    But it still sucks to see you kids crying literal puddles of tears because their father wounded them so deeply. I’m not sure I can ever forgive what he’s done to them.

    • Nord:

      It sound like your STBX has a personality disorder. Withholding affection is a common tactic of people with borderline or narcissistic personality disorder.

      Have they been to counseling, that may help them see that what your father did and is doing is not healthy for them, you, or him.

      Also, you might talk to the counselor about apprising the children of daddy’s other affairs. I think honesty in all relationships is important and it will help them see daddy more clearly.

    • My ex has treated his kid like dirt. She is 14. We both experienced bomb drop together, he moved out couple days later and into OW house with her 5 year old. Then ex spent the next few weeks telling our daughter how great the OW was – just like her mother only much younger and better (anorexicly thin). My daughter called the OW a whore, has refused to ever meet her and my ex response is emotional cruelty. As long as she refuses his shit sandwich he rejects her. She sees him at best every other week for an hour, although hasn’t seen him I the last
      month as he is punishing her for calling the OW a whore and him a skank looser. Of course it is all my fault for poisoning her opinion of him. My point is I am personally sick of people telling me children need their father. Screw that. My ex is an emotional looser and has been ignoring his kid for years – except when it was on his terms for narcissistic supply. My daughter was shockingly well
      aware of his lack of parenting skills (unlike me who was busy spakeling excuses for his sort ass) and so said good bye to garbage. And honestly, she is far better off with him out of her life because who needs a shitty father who doesn’t give a crap about you. As she said – “life hasn’t been any different since he left because you have been a single parent for years. The difference is I get all your attention now so actually it is better for me.”. Somehow my daughter is so wise beyond her years. She said divorce him now (why didn’t I listen???) but I listened to those idiots who said I should worry about a teenage girl not having her precious father around and how it will damage her flor life. Every child needs both parents. She has been right to toss his sorry ass. I hate to admit it has taken me 6 months longer to reach the same point. He left us disrespectfully and wanted divorce from the day he walked out the door so he can marry the OW. It took me time to process what happened – lots of amazon book reading (I’m a scientist so can’t help myself!) and I was diagnosed with cancer 2 days before bomb drop. Now 8
      months later I wish I had filed
      first and got to list adultery as the reason (yes it turns out he was a serial cheater, which he sometimes admits to and sometimes doesn’t ). He also now claims that it was only “emotional infidelity” and somehow that makes it ok – plus I don’t believe him anyway. The story keeps changing. Irreconcilable differences pissese off – he is an adulterer, plain and simple. As you can see, I have finally hit the angry stage. I hardly see or communicate with him – and that has been from the start. He saw me after several months recently and I told him what a shit he is and he informed me he doesn’t like who Knjave become – meaning not his old shit eating doormat. The final rant I have is that he kept telling me he couldn’t lead a celibate life any longer (yes, it was ALL MY FAULT!) and he deserved happiness – really? Does he actually know what celibate means? Clearly not. Also this dogturd thinks that sex=love. He doesn’t believe in physical contact otherwise. No touching (I’m too hot), no hand holding (no public displays of affection) because that physical contact stuff is for emotionally oversentive people – just sex when he wants it. Thank god he glitter goggles are off and I can try again.

      I too sacrificed my career for my ex (university science prof who needed to change things up every 4 years which meant hanging jobs or moving or both ) so it was impossible for me to keep my science career going. I stupidly put my eggs in his basket. But since Dday I am in remission for my cancer, have been handling being a single parent well (although was already doing that), dealing with the revelation I was married to a serial cheater, I have rediscovered
      myself, I lost 53 pounds and look and feel great, I took up fencing with my daughter (nothing like hitting people with a sword), we got a puppy (fantastic distraction), started volunteering with my daughter at an animal rescue, continued my poor paying adjunct prof job, started packing up the house, joined a church (and found tons of support there), AND found a wonderful full time teaching job that will start in September. I found I have a great support group, including some unexpected people and learned that others were dogturds too (old friend and godfather to my daughter whose wife had cheated on him 6 years ago). He actually uninvited my daughter and I for a visit and then uninvited us a week before the scheduled visit and instead invited the Ex and OW up to visit in our place 3 months after Dday and doesn’t think there was anything wrong with that! Really? you thoughtless prick.

      OK, I’m done. Thank you CL for this web site and helping me understand what a chump I have been!!’ Wish O had found you 8 months ago.

  • Yeah really. Like the cake eaters really care about their kids.

    They care soooooooo much that they are out banging other people while the spouse is at home helping with homework, giving the kids baths and dinners and attention.

    When I outed the OW to her unaware loyal spouse, she initially lied to him and swore on her kids whom she routinely left with her husband for SUPPOSED girl’s nights out, and girl’s only spa trips, that I was crazy jealous wife with an over active imagination.

    The dimwitted OW didn’t count on the fact that I made sure I had concrete evidence to show her innocent trusting spouse.

    • Yeah, well, Sara, they do care about presenting a false image to the outside world. And losing custody, particularly for a woman, is a sign that the parent was unfit. These NPDs do not want anyone seeing that and will fight like hell to keep up that image.

  • For the men divorcing, especially where there was a stay at home mom cheater, the decision can be pretty tough. Essenntially, you are leaving your kids behind, in the hands of an undiagnosed disordered woman. That is scary and hard, and gives one a lot of second thoughts.
    As I see it, one of the problems is this presumption” that the stay at home parent(male or female) is the primary caregiver, and that gives that person such an advantage in custody. Most of these abusive stay at home parents are pretty good at presenting a false image and fighting for one’s kids take a ton of $$m which many of us did not have. Also, the odds of winning are so small.
    I envy those who were in a position to take their kids with them. I was not.

    • I agree that the decision tree for men who have been cheated on is particularly awful. Often the best you can strive for is 50-50, but I don’t think that’s a solution many children can abide with, shuttling back and forth between two home. My lawyer used to say “I wouldn’t want a dog living like that.” It’s a terrible thing to not grow up with your kids through no fault of your own. But I still err on the side of leaving. They’re all such hard, hard choices.

      What incenses me about these sort of divorce guilt articles is the assumption that you must stay and work at the marriage harder — as if such a thing was “winnable” if you’re dealing with a serial cheater or personality disorder. It puts the blame on the victim — the parent having to save themselves and the kids. And not where it belongs — the person who checked out of the marriage truly — the cheater.

  • Well, I sort of , perhaps. rationalized my decision to leave without the kids. I thought that at least , with part time custody, they would have a safe haven to come to if they needed it. And, now that they are 10,12 and 14, they can tell me if they want to leave and the court will listen.
    But, I had no shot at full custody, according to my lawyer.
    This is why it is a bad idea to go with the stay at home parent model, in my opinion. If the stay at home parent cheats, you are hosed as regards custody.
    Why any man or woman would agree to letting the other stay home(which is much, much easier that going to work, despite all the bogus propoganda about how hard it is) is beyond me. I did it and it was the stupidest thing i have ever done, except, perhaps, for marrying my XWs.

    • I was the SAHM and I’m fucked financially, because I spent years supporting and guiding his career while mine went into the ditch. And he was cheating the whole time. I’m fucked. Anyone need a really fun, cool, SAHM who is trying to rebuild her career? I give good home!

      • Nord:

        I am so sorry.

        It depends on the state or country you live in and how long you were married and whether or not you live in a fault or no fault state.

        Still, in all states in the U.S. you should have at least gotten child support which typically includes the house you and the kids lived in while he cheated and you two were married?

        If you were only married a short time, most states give a Stay at home mom, a few years of alimony so they can “rehabilitate” their career or learn a new one.

        In some states, the wife can cheat and still end up with more than the loyal spouse, in others they wouldn’t but would still get child support and the house if one was owned, at the very least.

      • As a SAHM- one who came to that agreement with my spouse , prior to having children, and making sure that we had financial agreements in place to protect both of us, should our marriage not succeed, I am absolutely offended at Arnold’s opinion of SAH parents.

        Until you’ve done that job, and done everything that it entails- I’d be quite careful about deciding what is much, much easier in life. Being a stay at home parent isn’t bon bons and soap operas. It’s hard work, and you have to sleep at the office. Only a person who hasn’t done it at all would denigrate it the way Arnold chose to.

        Every parent has to decide what path is the right one for their life , their children’s lives, and their marriage. For some families, that’s a SAHP. For other families- it’s not.

        Until you have stood in those shoes? Try harder not to sound like a fool.

        • Being a SAHP makes you very vulnerable. Isolde, you were so on top of things and prescient to have a financial agreement in place should things not work out. I don’t know many people who have that sort of protection in place. And they should, because it’s hard work and there’s no pay, no social security, no IRA, and not much in the way of status or appreciation (“Great mac and cheese mom! Well done!”)

          Cheated on men have one set of crappy decisions, SAHPs have another set of crappy decisions. I think we should all respect the pain and challenges of each other’s paths.

          • Great.

            So Arnold showed respect for my path by calling it much much easier than the “bogus propaganda” how, exactly?

            I do show respect for people who choose differently than we did. I was careful to state that in my objection.

            Does he?

            I am surprised at your reply to me, CL. Truly.

          • Isolde, I’m in no way implying that you were not respecting Arnold’s path and AM implying that he’s not respecting yours. I AGREE SAHP is hard and worthy work, and shouldn’t be dissed.

            I hate when commenters (*not you*) get into pissing contests on who has it worse. Infidelity is a crap situation for whoever finds themselves in it. I especially hate when it descends into a gender war. (Men have it worse, women have it worse, men are cheaters, women cheat too… blah blah blah).

        • ITA, Isolde. I was a SAHM for several years and recently returned to work part-time. Working is far easier. I deal with adults, have time for a cup of coffee, and even have some moments of down time. My life was not like that as a SAHM of young children; I was lucky to get a shower in on certain days, especially when they were infants. I have younger colleagues who were THRILLED when their maternity leaves were over with– they couldn’t wait to get back into the adult working world and away from the less-stimulating world of baby care. They were tired of being covered with spit up and not having a moment to themselves.

          I wanted to be a SAHM, and though it wasn’t easy, it was my choice, and I don’t regret it one bit. However, my STBX and I had also planned things this way, and he led me to believe that we’d be partners for life so that my financial future would be okay even though I was taking a financial hit professionally. I was fortunate in that I was able to return to my job part-time, and I will be back full-time next year. I think what really stinks is that there are people in this world who want to SAH with their kids and are given the impression from their spouses that they’ll be supported while they do so, and they won’t have to worry about their financial futures. It’s one thing if your spouse dies or loses his/her job, but it’s a whole different situation when that person deliberately lies to you and abandons the M, making you vulnerable and reneging on that security.

          • BTW– to reply to the original post after that little threadjack:

            The kids were basically the ONLY reason I had second thoughts and considered R after DDay. I felt guilty and like a total jerk for wanted to end it, especially when STBX gave me a half-hearted, “Are you sure we can’t work things out?” My first instinct upon finding out was to run like hell, and I’m glad that I listened to it.

            The other thing I find sort of ironic is how we’re told that we’re supposed to stay together and try to avoid divorce at all costs, especially from religious groups… yet, adultery is one of two situations described in the Bible that IS grounds for divorce. I think a lot of people’s religious values drive their beliefs about M, which is totally fine, but if that’s the case… um, well, God is on your side in this one!

          • Agree. My STBX deliberately lied to me about what was going on in our marriage. We talked long and hard before I agreed to certain decisions and one thing I was very clear about was that should I agree to put my career aside for the benefit of his that meant he would be responsible for my financial future. Now he wants to act like those conversations never took place or are somehow invalidated due to his dick. It’s gross that someone can behave that way and I do hope I live long enough to see him experience some of this pain and betrayal.

            I will never understand how a person can make those sorts of commitments while fucking around the whole time, knowing that it will eventually bring the end of the marriage.

        • Sorry if I offended you , Isolde. It’s just i have done both and the stay at home gig was many times less stressful and easier for me. This is especially true once the kids are in school.

          • Arnold, I’m not really sure what you’re asking, and I’m not here to start a religious discussion. I’m only saying that adultery is grounds for divorce according to the Bible, a religious text that many follow. In that sense, perhaps one who feels that divorce “goes against God” might not feel that way in the case of adultery.

        • I know, my STBX says that stuff all the time. When he had a week of vacation since moving out that he took with the kids (he just stayed in town) he told me that “his vacation is what I do all the time”. Um, no. Until you have done it day in and day out for weeks, months, years, there is no comparison. When you do it for a week it’s a nice little break. Not to make it sound miserable, but it can wear on you at times. Especially now that I don’t have another adult coming home for me to talk to or share some of the work in the evenings (though there is also less score-keeping and resentment). And I have little adult interaction during the day as well. And most of that adult interaction I do get usually involves talking about kids and is interrupted by kids. That’s probably why I visit these websites…

        • SAH is impossible for me to do, way too hard; not because the work is too hard, it isn’t. It is essentially running a business if you do it the right way, but it is too isolating for me, and I always felt bored, actually. Isolde, I take my hat off to you (and other SAHPs) because the few months I tried it were absolutely soul killing.

          Going out to work at least gives a person a change of scenery and the opportunity to interact with other adult human beings on subjects other than childcare and the running of a household. It also allows a person to have an identity that is independent of “caretaker of house and family”.

          Moreover, the way that it can cripple a person from a “back-to-work” perspective (not just in the case of infidelity, but in the case of a spouse dying) is just brutal.

          I don’t think that there is anything easy about being a SAHP. It is a tremendous self-sacrifice in the service of others.

  • FWIW, my experience is that my youngest son had a difficult time seeing his cheating mother for the lying loser she is during the 1.5 years that we shared custody 50-50.

    After my son chose to live with his mother and see me only every other weekend, and later when he moved cross country with her and her new husband (affair partner 3, or 6, or 10?), he became better at seeing her flaws and appreciating the relationship he and I had.

    Kids don’t stay kids forever. Most kids will always love both their parents and will want a relationship with each; however, as they get older, kids tend to figure things out. Who tells the truth. Who does what they say they’ll do. Who considers what’s best for them. All to say, the story doesn’t end with whatever flavor of craptacular injustice the betrayed parent must accept at the time of divorce.

    • Nomar said: “whatever flavor of craptacular injustice the betrayed parent must accept at the time of divorce.”

      I like that sentence. Very creatively worded.

      Yes, the “craptacular injustice” heaped on all betrayed spouses man or woman, after divorce, along with all the other indignities of being cheated on and being the last to know, never ceases to astound me.

  • I too took time off from work because of an ‘agreement’ with my cheater: my mother was slowly dying, and my daughter just entered middle school. I was on grant-based work that I didn’t love so it all made sense. Then I decided to shift careers–just when the recession went into high gear.

    A lower-paying profession, tons more graduate training (I already have a Ph.D.), and now….after I finally landing what is considered a ‘decent’ job in my new field (although not supporting, and no benefits): ta-da! cheaterland emerges. Great, just great.

    I am trying to figure this one one out, whether as a middle aged woman (53) with two careers already behind me I can even contemplate re-starting, or WTF?

    So, basically, I’m fucked by his fucking. and lying, Oh! the lying. Asshole.

    • This is why I think it is foolish to give up a career to stay home. Odds are fairly high you will be divorced at some point, and you have lost ground.
      The SAHP gets hosed if the breadwinner cheats. The breadwinner gets hosed if the SAHP cheats. I do not think anyone should rely on their partner such that one gives up the ability to earn a decent living if things go south.

    • Well thank goodness you’ve got a job in your field and are highly educated. I know it’s scary, but I hope that translates into all sorts of options for you. If you’re not divorced or divorcing, maybe you should ride that ride until you can land a job that supports you? Have you spoken with a lawyer? Often the earning spouse has to pay insurance, spousal support for a number of years, especially if it was a long marriage.

      This is what’s so egregious about the cake eating — they bank on your vulnerability and your protectiveness of your kids. You’ll keep the status quo because they’ve ensured that your choices suck.

      But I do believe that once you do the hard work of getting untethered, you can captain your own ship. It gets better. Losses are recouped, because you’re directing your energies at yourself and not the cheater.

      I know it’s terrifying. Sorry you find yourself in this position!

    • Vera, I feel your pain and just how awful it is to get fucked over at middle age. I made those decisions with him and we talked long and hard about the ramifications to me and my career should I set it aside so he could take opportunities in his. He talked a great game and assured me that ‘we were in this together, a team, blah blah blah’. Well, turns out he was cheating the whole time so while he was mouthing platitudes to me he had no real intention of putting any effort into the marriage. He wanted me there at home, taking care of everything so he could soar, but he also wanted to screw around.

      So now I’m fucked and he still has his career and his income and everything that ‘we’ worked for, except he doesn’t want me to have any benefits from it now. I hear ‘get a job, take care of yourself’ all the time, nearly a decade after I last worked. It’s a mindfuck.

      • Nord said: “He talked a great game and assured me that ‘we were in this together, a team, blah blah blah’. Well, turns out he was cheating the whole time so while he was mouthing platitudes to me he had no real intention of putting any effort into the marriage. ”

        Crikey, Nord, I hear this so often from betrayed spouses both men and women that I am starting to wonder if it is a clue to a person being a cheater or potential cheater.

        My spouse repeatedly told me the same things and expanded on it by saying I had the right to nix any spending because we were a team who made decisions together. Of course I didn’t get included in his decision to spend a lot of our money on his cheap, parasitic OW, and or his decision to hide money we BOTH earned in a secret bank acount, or the burn phones he bought or the credit card with the bill going to his office.

        Nor did his OW’s husband get any say on her decision to use her husband’s money to primp at the spa prior to each tryst with my cheater spouse.

        Well some team we had with me being totally in the dark about so much of OUR MONEY.

        Maybe we should do a survey to see how many FAITHFUL spouses use the “team speak” versus how many cheaters use “team speak:

        Come to think of it, although I put up 50 percent of the money for our businesses and worked my butt off, I never referred to us as a “team.” It was simply understood, in my mind. So no need to mention it ad nauseum.

        In retrospect, i think the “team speak” sounds somewhat condescending because it really should already be assumed that two married people are a team.

        The “team speak” thing is just another cheater mindfuck, IMO.

        • I think you’re on to something here. It seems that ‘team-speak’ is a way of keeping yu sucked in, keeping you gobbling up their bullshit because it just sounds so good and so right and just so damned wow, aren’t we a great couple…we’re a team!
          I was in several relatively serious relationships before STBX and I never heard anyone say that. We were a couple and it was assumed we’d put each other first. The fact that STBX needed to say that sort of thing…and say it early on…definitely makes me think there’s something to this, as in it’s another manipulative tool to get you onboard with their charming words without having to actually walk the walk.

  • Great post Chumpster. I swear, we could have a dozen like it where we discuss the effects that infidelity and divorce have on our kids – and never exhaust the subject.

    I wonder if anyone is in my situation? DDay for me was January 18th, 2010. My son was six – just started 1st grade. I had hoped his mom would go back to work PT to relieve the stress on me. She had other plans. Turned out I sucked, and she wished she had never married me. Is this not the classic NPD kibble eating ego thing? Of course I sucked! How can anyone be perfect enough to satisfy you when there is no way anything is ever going to be enough to feed your ego and ginormous sense of self worth?

    OK, she wanted out. And to be sure of it, she had an exit affair. I immediately moved out. Back to mom’s. At age 50… Sigh… It was a good safe place though – for both me and my son. At the time, we told him; “Daddy is living with Grandma for a while to help her…” She was an 85 year old widow and actually did need a hand and was thrilled to have DGS staying with dad so much.

    By this you might be able to see that I made it clear from day one that 50% custody was going to be non-negotiable. My kid has been great. He never twigged at all and loved being with me where ever we were. I always told him that too… “It does not matter where we are, as long as we’re together…” He repeats this to me to this day. I did not waste time at Mom’s. I allowed myself about two weeks to be sad, then started saving money for a new home and getting a divorce and the finances done, Done, DONE!!!

    Later that year, after I admittedly, made some half hearted humiliating and fruitless attempts at counseling and making some of the horrible, wheedling, scraping noises many of us poor pitiful critters make about reconciliation, while on the road to recovery, we told DS we were divorcing. But we agreed to not tell him why. It just did not feel right to me to expose an innocent child to his mom’s cheating.

    Who else has this same story? DS is now 9. Happy, well adjusted, doing great in school, an aspiring musician with really healthy thumbs – (Thanks Super Mario), and he loves both his homes and both his parents. That’s what we shoot for, right?

    But he still does not know the real reasons for his parents split. I’m not going to tell him. What she does/did is “meh” to me now. It was her balls up, let her explain it to him is my feeling. But it does make things difficult at times when he realizes that I go to great lengths to avoid the OM/AP/STBH, or gently try to steer conversation away from his mom.

    Recently, she accused me of portraying myself as a victim to our son. Here was my response; “One last thing, because it has to do with (DS), not you. I don’t have to “portray” being a victim to him. I am a victim. I work hard to portray the opposite to him – the picture of a strong, resilient and most of all – principled human being. Why on earth would you think I would want him to see me any other way? Are you and (OM/AP/STBH) going to model that behavior for him as a part of your future “permanent” plans? Sure hope so…”

    I really hit a flat, smooth, straight piece of road around Thanksgiving. That bit I just copied in – was part of a longer message where I made it clear that I was done talking to my XW about shit that did not, could not, matter any more. I swore off being stupid and made the jump to fully recovering chump. That, and finding the Chump Lady community the very next day – have been so uplifting for me.

    Yes, I still have feelings for the mother of my son. Yes I will always be a betrayed spouse. But I am first and foremost, a survivor with great skills at re-inventing myself. I am the dad of the best kid in the world. He deserves the best dad I can be.

    For myself? Sure, I sucked. Who doesn’t? (Other than people with NPD). But you know what? There are sins of omission and sins of commission. I can tell you no ifs, ands or buts, whose mistakes I’d rather live with as I get on into my later years…

    To reiterate, if you had kids, and you did not tell them the whole story, how did you do it, and how did they take it? Or – did you just let them figure it out for themselves? Thanks Chumplings!

    • Curious how other folks weigh in. My son was 9 when DDay hit. I told him what was going on, it was pretty unavoidable. I tried to do it in rated G, age appropriate terms. As in, when you get married you promise to be each other’s partner. You’re not allowed to have boyfriends and girlfriends…

      The cheater was my second husband. I do believe in telling children the truth. NOT bad mouthing their parent, but being factual. As in, mom cheated — not mom is a whore. I think it is far better that children understand that there are deal breakers in life. That if you do something that is a deal breaker, there are painful consequences — family’s break up. As hard as that is, I think that’s better than letting them think there is some nebulous force and people just mysteriously “fall out of love.” How scary is that? How random? Better to know there is a cause.

      Children love their parents regardless. And as a young kid he has no point of reference, no life experience. He understands lying. If your ex is truly an NPD (see the comments in the last article about kids and NPD parents by David), your son is going to have some serious navigating to do.

      I also don’t believe in keeping the cheater’s secrets, or maintaining their image for them — something NPDs feel very entitled to. We’re so used to doing that job for them, spinning, explaining them to others. I imagine if you have kids with an NPD you do it reflexively. Part of decolonizing your mind is stopping doing that.

      All that said, it’s your decision and it’s very personal the how and the when of it. I’m sure others can weigh in with more authority.

      My son’s dad isn’t a cheater (that I know of any way), but he has a mental illness. I divorced when my son was four. I have always told him the truth about why, in age appropriate ways, that his father is ill and has problems with decision making. He loves his dad. Only now as a teenager is he starting to clue in and see the bigger picture. And really, I don’t expect him to really get it until he has kids of his own one day. Also, sucky people tend to suck even more over time. They don’t cope as well as us chumps. My son’s dad has been doing a downward spiral for a decade. My cheating ex is still cheating (according to a profile from some other scorned woman). They tend to be consistent in their suckitude and the kids DO figure it out. Patience. And “meh.”

      Good to hear you’ve got such a great, resilient, wonderful kid!

      • Chump lady:

        I am with you. The kids have the right to know the truth.

        I think it is far more frightening to think that the parents just suddenly fell out of love.

        Everyone knows cheating is wrong in a marriage, even a nine year old.

        I am flumoxed by how many betrayed spouses avoid telling the children the truth.

        Also, not telling the truth immediately gives the cheater too much of a chance to spin their ever ready web of lies and to character assassinate the loyal spouse.

        I would go one step further and show the kids the proof of the cheating.

        I agree though, don’t say mommy or daddy is liar, a cheater, a whore and a thief. Those things can be said here, but let the kid draw his own conclusions about the cheating mommy or daddy’s behavior.

    • Bede,

      I just have to say what a great attitude you have. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the whole bit about portraying a “principled human being”. Right on!

      I don’t have any wonderful words of wisdom – I’m only a year out from d-day myself. I have two kids, 8 and 11, and all they know is that their dad made some huge mistakes and broke his marriage vows. I told them that every person has their own “trust bucket”. The bucket is filled through their lives one drop at a time by being trustworthy and honest. If you betray someone’s trust, it is like your trust bucket was kicked over and emptied, and you have to refill it one drop at a time again. However, I did tell them that not only did their dad dump his bucket, he stomped his to bits as well, and it can’t be refilled. They don’t know the specifics, and I haven’t even had the “birds and bees” talk with my youngest yet, so I don’t want to have that be the introduction to the subject.

      I, too, believe in living a just, ethical life. Just basically being GOOD. I’ve always taught my kids that your actions matter, choices you make are important, and the things you choose should make you proud of yourself. I fully intend to tell them why their family broke apart, but not until they are in their teens. I really do feel like it is something they SHOULD know, have a right to know. It’s a life lesson on how NOT to have a marriage, how NOT to treat people. Look at what devastating consequences his actions caused to so many people! I want them to know just how very WRONG it is, and to learn from their father’s tragic example.

      But not yet.

    • Oh and that “victim” thing? She was just taking your temperature. Seeing how much she MATTERS to you. She would love for you to wear ashes and sack cloth and mourn the loss of her. That’s what she means by “play the victim” — she’s central in that drama. And it’s also a veiled threat that you better maintain her image, something NPDs feel entitled to.

      Kibbles, kibbles, kibbles.

      Don’t try to explain it to her. You may as well talk to a post.

    • Bede, I told them right away that dad had met someone else and so he was moving out. STBX was enraged and remains enraged, blaming me for hte kids thinking he’s not a very nic eperson. Too bad. My therapist agreed that they should know the truth and that I should be honest about what happened with everyone. I have not told the kids he’s a serial cheat but when they ask if he’s done it before I give them a line about their father not always being respectful of the marriage.

      It’s a tough one but I’m glad I told the truth. No more lies, half-truths or any more bullshit in my life. I did that long enough.

  • My kid is 20 going on 21…so I told her what was going on. Kind of unavoidable actually, since she was 2 weeks in the US prior to leaving for a year in Europe (jr year abroad). Thank God for that! On the other hand, how incredibly selfish and cheater-like of her father to need to tell me 2 weeks before she left. I mean, right? There was no particular reason that anyone can discern. It just felt right to him, so he said “I slept with XX” at reunion last summer (also: cheaters are both predictable and banal. But I digress.)

    Up to me to figure out the 2+ years of intense EA with texting and photos…lots of photos; the CraigsList postings; the Ashley Madison account; the Adult Friend Findar Account; the HelloCupid account, etc etc. Up to me to research the Verizon and financials. Yecch.

    Need a shower now.

    Anyhoo, given daughter’s age, I let her knowing the broadest outline what was going on, and why I was completely catatonic and/or falling apart. I mean, when you’re a mom, you do your job if at all possible, right? She know’s that her dad is a cheater, and a liar, and betrayed me, and his actions have devastated me.

    She doesn’t much like or trust him, although I think she still loves him.

    She does not know the extent of his lying or about the porn consumption (watching girls his daughter’s age getting raped ! yay for human trafficking!)

    But I figure she’s old enough, and should know the deal. He wants me to shield him. Fuck that noise. I don’t play it up, but I don’t cover it up either. He also, said he waled away from not only me, but her, emotionally (when she was 16) because he didn’t like his suburban ‘baggage’ so he stopped actively parenting. Nice, huh?

    I keep saying, sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

    • Yes, they always want us to keep protecting them and are shocked when we don’t play along. As I told STBX ‘you had my protection and backup for 20 years and you pissed that away with your dick so tough shit, now you have to deal with me being truthful and open’. He does NOT like this at all but them’s the breaks.

      And yeah, the baggage. I heard that claptrap as well ‘too much baggage, need a clean slate…’ There were any number of times where I felt overwhelmed by life and boredom and other normal feelings in a long marriage but you know what? I sucked it up, got on with things and knew those feelings wouldn’t last forever. STBX, when he felt that way, grabbed a sidepiece to make himself feel better.

      It’s two different ways of dealing with the world and sadly we hooked up with people who take easy options for ego boosts, rather than dealing with reality and making it bettter.

      • Yes Nord – two different ways. I attempt to subtly show my son that there are two ways to live life and to follow through on relationships and expectations others have of us as well as what we expect from ourselves.

        “Love is a condition in which another person’s happiness is essential to our own…” ~ Jubal Harshaw, (Robert Heinlein – “Stranger in a Strange Land”) I would go further and say that that “condition” is precisely what makes everything else about love unconditional.

        We all seem to break down into two general categories of principles: Those who look within and and those who look without. Those for whom the highest form of love is love of self, and those for whom the highest love is love of others – the Cheaters, and the “Easy Marks” as CL calls us…

        My XW was clever; she told me that she felt a divorce – so she could be with the OM would be best for her and therefore, best for our son too. “It would be terrible for him to see his mom so unhappy staying with his dad”. When I WTFed her asking her if she was serious in thinking that breaking up our family was a good way to show she loved her son or could possibly be good for the kid, she stormed away, as angry as I had ever seen her in 13 years of marriage.

        I guess we all have a chance to raise our kids to be critical, effective thinkers and to put two and two together and come up with four. I and many of us chumps have to model above the line behavior for them because our cheaters did not – and might not – do the same. That’s what I’m trying to do. I have a chance to make Mom’s words come true; I can try to show my son that life without marriage is better for Dad at least – but the fulcrum of that lesson will have to wait until he knows the full story. “Not yet” is what my heart and mind tell me…

        My cheater is marrying her AP, who in turn left his wife in an almost Gingrichian fashion… when she was sick almost to the death and needed him most. I have taken bitter/sweet comfort from some of CL’s musings on the life they can look forward to. I hope my son will not witness another of Mom’s relationships hit the rocks. He likes this poor guy. I sure don’t! I could project forward on their relationship too and perhaps see sweet justice. However, I know “meh” is the best route.

        Meh. Such a great concept. Sometimes it’s the smallest words that imply the deepest meaning… Meh will see me many miles down my road. And in the meantime, I have a son to love and respect – and raise to be a good, kind, and outward thinking man. People talk about different definitions of revenge…?

  • I told my kids. Thier mom was moving a guy in who had no compunctions about sleeping with a married mom of three young girls. They needed to be warned.
    They made his life miserable and the relationship disintegrated in 18 months. So, telling them had the desired effect.
    No editorializing on mom, just the facts.

  • I’ve noticed that some of the folks who decide to keep the cheating from the kids hold themselves up as superior to thise who told.
    My sister in law, for example, has never told her son that his dad(not my brother, as he is her new husband) serially cheated on her. And, she thinks this is , somehow, of benefit to the son.
    Well, the son is 25 now and is bound to find out what everyone else has known for years. I think I would be pissed if I were him. Everyone knew but him. Nice.

    • This is a huge conundrum for me. My kids are little– the oldest is 8– and their father is very much a presence in their lives. I’m assuming that he’s still with the OW, but he hasn’t introduced her to them yet. They don’t know that she exists. He didn’t move away; I chose to leave the marital home because it was poisoned by his behavior and way too much house and property for me to keep up with. The kids are with me because I’m the primary custodian. He does NOT want me to tell them– basically ever– and for right now, I’m inclined to agree. I have told the kids that we have “grown-up problems that we couldn’t work out” and that it wasn’t their fault.

      I have pretty much read/heard from every source that telling them the full truth at their ages is not appropriate. If he had left us and started bringing the OW around, then that would be a different story. Of course I would explain what was going on; I wouldn’t want them to think that I was leaving the M so that STBX and the OW could live happily ever after and that their behavior was okay. But… when there’s no visible presence of the AP or a spouse who actually leaves to be with an AP… AND the children are so young… ?

      I won’t lie to them when they’re older. I just feel that telling them right now will only result in two things:

      1. My little children will become confused and upset, and they’ll start having a hard time dealing with their dad.
      2. STBX will be furious and do something vindictive. Our process of separation has been as amicable as possible so far, but I don’t doubt for a second that he could turn on me in a NY minute and make my life hell.

      Again, to be clear, I won’t lie to them if they ask when they’re older. I just don’t see much benefit to telling them as elementary school/preschool-aged kids.


      • Moving On:

        Just my 2 cents and worth nothing more than that, really.

        IMO, it is important for the children to know the truth. As mentioned in the article, it is likely so much more frightening and confusing to think that mommy their primary caretaker, just suddenly, for no good reason, fell out of love. Saying it is “grown up” problems as some do, is likely even more confusing. It says nothing and the mystery can set their imaginations on fire.

        Why isn’t it important to understand that the cheating spouse hurt the loyal spouse because he broke his wedding vows. A wedding vow is a commitment. I know there is all this published hogwash about monogamy being impossible but that’s hooey.

        A promise is a promise and a commitment is a commitment. There is honor and self respect to be had for sticking to your commitments or if things are really that bad in a marriage take the legal solution and seek a divorce.

        But the cheaters chose to cheat. In doing so, they become liars, and thieve taking assets and time from their spouses and children.

        Why shouldn’t they know this. Why should the loyal spouse be held responsible in any way for the “grown up” problem excuse. The children if they only hear the very broad claim that Mom and Dad divorced due to grown up problems, they may blame the wrong parent or they may blame themselves.

        Keeping the truth from the kids may be a part of the conspiracy of silence that allows affairs to flourish in the lack of light and secrecy.

        With my STBX’s affair, I later learned that too many people I knew already new about the affair, yet they all remained silent, keeping me in the dark, and robbing me of choices, and allowing the affair to continue behind my back, while I sat at home oblivious.

        Wouldn’t telling them the reason be a concrete lesson in right and wrong and consequences of lying and deceiving someone you are supposed to love and promised to love.

        Grown up problems may sometimes cause a divorce and if that is the case say so. If cheating caused the divorce, the kids have the right to know what kind of parent the cheating parent was because believe me a cheater takes time and money away from his/her children, when they engage in an affair. That time or money should have been focused on the children,

  • This Willard Harley fellow writes a lot about whether it is best to tell the kids. You might try reading his stuff, not that he is the final word on this issue.
    I still have some recriminations about having told when my kids were so young. Not sure what effect it will have on them. It is a very confusing issue.

  • my kids are very young…. I found out about the cheating when they were 8 months and 2 and a half. When their dad finally moved out about 8 months later, they accepted that he has his own home as they would anything at that age. It was just their new normal. Even now (just over a year later), I think they think most, if not all, families have “two homes”. It’s bittersweet to me that they will never really get to experience a “normal” childhood, but it has saved me a bunch of questions… that I know are coming. There are some I should even preemptively address (I’m just now starting to think I need to point out that some kids have parents that are married and some have parents that are divorced… but part of me still doesn’t want them to know they are “different” or even hear them use the word “divorce”). But at least I had some time to come to (relative) peace with all this before I have to really tell them much.

    But my plan is also not to tell them why until much later. I just hope I can trust the people that know to not say anything first. But I will tell them later. It is the truth and I will not lie to my children for the benefit of their cheating father. But in my case, my cheating ex also isn’t bringing the OW around. He may still be sleeping with her… not sure… they continue to work together very closely which is annoying. But I don’t think he will bother marrying her, so I guess I’m okay.

  • One thing occurs to me as I read the comments – especially CL’s words. I like issues that look black and white, and I get so tired of stuff that has more aspects than a cat has hair and wheels within wheels and stupid shit cheaters say…

    That being said, 99% of us BS/Chumplings are better off without our cheaters. If it’s not better on the other side yet, it will be. But our kids are another matter entirely. They need both their parents. They need to be able to love them and respect them and be loved and respected by them.

    This is the line we “Boni” have to walk. My XW’s “trust bucket” is empty. I don’t have much confidence in her ability when the chips are down and “it’s I, Me, My happiness” at stake – to model above the line behavior for our son. And while I would be happy to dismiss her from my life – that is not an option for my the kid right now.

    Moving on was looking for thoughts? There’s one…

    • I chose not to hang my relational shit on my son. He was only 4 at the time, so obviously not a real good way to go about it.

      That said, he’d never known us to be a couple who actually acted like a happily married dyad. We slept in separate rooms almost all his life and he just accepted us in this sort of roommate model. I told him his father was no longer going to live with us but that he could see him as often as he wished. My belief is, like yours Bede, that a child needs both parents and I’m not going to be vindictive and try to poison the relationship that my son has with his father — which is a good relationship actually. My ex is a good father, he just wasn’t the right man for me to marry.

      Anyway, what I AM clear with my son about, especially as he’s getting older, is that it is never okay to allow oneself to be treated badly within the context of a relationship. We were watching Heartburn, of all things, the other day and he was questioning what was going on with the couple on screen (Meryl Streep playing Nora Ephron as betrayed spouse beautifully). I said: You do not ever stay in a relationship with someone who cheats on you. Even if you are married and you have made promises to stay together forever, it is not self respectful to stay in a marriage with a cheater.

      He’s going to have whatever relationship he has with his father based soley upon how his father behaves towards him. I don’t have to interfere with that (obviously if it would turn really abusive or whatever I would step in). But what I want to impart to him is that the most important relationship he is going to have is the one with himself. And if he doesn’t have enough self respect to disconnect from unhealthy relationships, he’s absolutely doomed to stick with them.

      • Thanks, everyone. I appreciate your comments. Dealing with the best way to protect my kids has been, by far, the hardest part of this entire situation. When my M was first starting to unravel, my father, who has been one of my staunchest allies and refuses to have anything to do with STBX anymore, said: “Their father will always be their father.” I have taken that to heart and made sure to safeguard his relationship with the kids for THEM because they still need him and love him. Does it suck that STBX doesn’t face some immediate consequences by having the kids disappointed in him? Yes. But, it’s coming. I’m not going to protect him forever, and I am not going to lie to my kids. And, like Kristina stated, I have modeled the right thing to do– I didn’t stay with a man who, for all intents and purposes, abused me. I suppose that I run the risk of having the kids upset with me because I never told them straight out what their father did, but at this point, I also only see it as “poisoning the well,” so I’m just going to take things day by day and see where life takes us. STBX may very well make this quite easy on me by bringing the OW around, and the kids will naturally have questions that I will answer truthfully.

  • At one point in my life, I taught English composition to college students. I did have one student oh so many years ago who wanted to argue that parents should stay together for the good of their children. I asked him if he thought that, if marriage were so sacred, why he’d want to have children witness the kind of dysfunction that exists in a bad marriage. Should parents stay together if there’s physical or emotional abuse? What does witnessing that do to a kid? I didn’t even bring up the matter of cheating.

    In retrospect, though, I might have looked deeper at my STBX’s family life. His parents lived in different cities, and his father came to visit on the weekends. There were always rumors of the OW. My STBX hated his father for pretty much checking out on the family from the time my STBX was 14, and he hated what his father did to his mother. He hated that his father was gone from his younger brother’s life when his younger brother could have used a father. I knew all that, and I naively believed that, since he hated what his father was and did, he’d reject his father as a role model.

    Fast forward a couple of decades. His mother dies. Does his father marry the OW? Nope. Not until 2 weeks before his own death. In the meantime, he’s borrowed money from the OW. He was retired military, and if he’d married the OW after my STBX’s mother died, the OW would have had military pension benefits. They weren’t married long enough. You can see what a piece of work his father was.

    Now, not even a year after his father’s death, my STBX has decided to walk in his father’s footsteps. His approach to conflict management mirrors what he saw in his parents: don’t talk about it. Walk out on disagreements. This means that we can’t resolve issues when they arise because he doesn’t want to talk about it. It’s all too much stress, and he should walk out. That means I get to eat a shit sandwich until he calms down enough–maybe a day or so later–where he’ll grudgingly admit that he lost his temper and I can start to talk about how we need to communicate better.

    Now that I see my STBX going down the same path as his father, I can’t help but think that his parents should have divorced for the sake of the kids. At least they both would not have had the horrible dysfunction of a sham of a marriage that their parents tried to pass off as the real thing.

    Infidelity is just another form of abuse that the kids learn to model. Hey, it worked for their parents, didn’t it?

  • A very interesting debate. Seems there are good points on both sides, disclosure vs not telling the kids.
    Bottom line is that a betrayed parent is put in a very tough position through no fault of his/her own. I can see why some feel that telling the kids does them a disservice. I think the same can be said of not telling them. Just really hard to know what to do, and the “experts” are all over the board with their different positions.
    So, how is a betrayed, who is probably traumatized and , perhaps, not operating on full candlepower supposed to know what to do?
    I think that either path is okay, tell or do not. We tend to try to defend our own actions and to feel we did the right thing. But, who knows?
    It’s done, in my case. The kids were told. Everyone was told. My kids seem okay. They still love their mom, which is fine with me.

    • Arnold

      You are right again. The bottom line is that the hurt spouse gets once again put into a very tough almost impossible position of whether or not to tell, when they are emotionally at the bottom of a pit.

      For my part, I am not saying trash the spouse or destroy the child’s love for the cheater.

      I am simply saying that how can telling the truth be seen as poisoning the well?

      I am flummoxed by that.

      IMO, the child can still be told that the father loves the child and will still be part of his/her life, but ONLY IF THAT IS TRUE because so many cheaters and narcissist either physically or emotionally abandon their children

      I do think kids model their parents behavior particularly when they are confused by it when young and the cheater seems to suffer little consequence.

      Arthur: I am truly glad to hear that you told your children the truth and they still love their mother.

      I am all about being fully informed so one can make appropriate choices. I feel kids need to be fully informed so as to draw their own conclusions.

      Also, if the cheater deserts them emotionally or physically while in the glow of their affair or new relationship with their co cheater, why allow the child for one moment to even have to ponder whether or not he/she is the bad one rather than the dad being the person who did a bad thing.

      Do we not all agree that cheaters are doing harm to their family and is that ever GOOD!

      My cheater took a lot of choices away from me by deceiving me. I see no reason to deceive the kids about what a parent did or does and thereby taking away their choices.

      Nevertheless I totally agree that the betrayed spouse is between a rock and a hard place and at a time when thinking clearly can be very very difficult.

  • It just felt right to me to tell. But , some folks judged me harshly for it, claiming I was damaging the kids.
    Tough position. The OM was on the scene, living with my three young daughters. Ifelt they needed to be warned. I also must admit i did not want their mom getting away with yet another lie(he is someone i met after the seperation).
    I really hate it when a felolow betrayed judeges another on this, as if they do not understand the difficult position the betrayed has been place in, and as if there is really a right or wrong answer to this. There is not. There are no studies on the effects of telling that i am aware of.
    Folks just go off making their own conclusions about the propriety of telling with no real facts or studies or analysis.
    The betrayed knows his or her kids best and, in general, has their best interests at heart. I do not judge others for not telling. But, I could not imagine keeping this dirty little secret to myself for years. It would leak out.

    • I agree, Arnold, everyone needs to make their own decision and not feel as if they are being judged. The injured spouse is already traumatized enough.

      After the affair the injured spouse has been humiliated enough, and is often harshly judged by morons who automatically assume that the cheater had to have gone outside the marriage because the spouse was a witch or a warlock.

      The injured spouse doesn’t need anymore judging.

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