Dear Chump Lady, My husband says the children should not be told of his affair

honeylieHi Chump Lady,

I am in the midst of the hurt, pain, and sorrow of my husband having had an affair (with his secretary 12 years his junior and she has 3 kids of her own). I found out about the affair when I read a few emails that strongly hinted at something going on between them. I confronted him. He denied it, then he had to confess because I caught him in a direct lie. At that time (5 months ago) we chose to work on our marriage (because he said he loved me and was very sorry for what he did) and we agreed to go to counseling. During the counseling he continued to lie and have contact with this woman who he eventually slept with again and came home directly afterward and confessed to me.

Needless to say I had no choice but to ask him to leave. We have 2 kids — our son just turned 15 last week and our daughter will be 17 in 2 weeks. We are separated and will divorce eventually. We have not sat down with the kids yet to tell them we are officially splitting up and divorcing ( I think they realize it but we need to tell them). He is seeing this woman and has met her children. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the kids need to know and what they should be told. They have each directly asked me what happened. I have told them that what is going on is not something I want or something I expected, but if hey want to know specifically what happened they need to ask their dad. Neither of them have asked their dad.

My husband (or ex I guess) feels the children should NOT be told about his affair and he does not want to tell them he is involved with this woman right now.

So I do not know what to do. I feel that my kids should be told the basic truth of why we are divorcing — the problem is my husband denies that the affair and his relationship is the reason for our divorce. He tells me his infidelity was the result of a broken relationship. He has informed me he was unhappy for 10 years. The only problem is he failed to ever tell me about his unhappiness. Yes we had issues and problems I don’t for a second deny that we were struggling — but I had no idea he was unhappy. I have many health issues that out a significant strain on our relationship. But his having an affair and his relationship is what ended our marriage very abruptly and shockingly.

I love my kids more than anything in the world. He has been a good father to them and I know he is an important person in their life. I do not want to hurt my kids but I also feel that they deserve the truth so we can start to rebuild form the pain and hurt. My concern is if we don’t tell them and they learn of it some other way (they are teenagers and they are not stupid) they will be more angry from not being told — and worst of all I do NOT ever want them to think would lie to them.

My husband and I (ex) are going to go to a counselor to help us try to get on the same page about what to tell the kids……I sure as hell hope we can get there because it is eating me up right now. I have tried very hard to separate my hurt and pain from the reason I want my kids to know — and that is a challenging task. But I do believe my desire to tell the kids is because I believe in truth and honesty — they are 2 very important morals I hold dear to my heart. I also believe this is a good opportunity for my husband (ex) to face the hurt and pain — be honest — and teach the kids the value of honesty and facing your mistakes and problems.

I would appreciate your input.

Sincerely,

Sam I am

Dear Sam,

Why do YOU think you are divorcing? Simple question. From your letter, I understand that your husband cheated with his secretary (points for originality there…), was discovered, was sorry, you tried to reconcile, and he continued to fuck his secretary.

Which, from your point of view, seemed to force your hand into a divorce you did not want. But then again, you didn’t want your husband fucking his secretary.

I suppose from your husband’s point-of-view, he confessed that he was fucking his secretary, he TOLD you he was sorry, and he is shocked at your decision to divorce him. Which is baffling when you consider his ten straight years of self-reported unhappiness. “Needless to say I had no choice but to ask him to leave.” I mean, you just handed him the key to release him from this cage!

From where I sit, it looks like you’re divorcing because you wouldn’t let him eat cake — i.e., have you and the secretary. Let him fuck around with impunity and suffer zero consequences. Let you wonder if you’ll be left, or if you can pick me dance him back in perpetuity.

You rejected that crap, Sam.

My husband (or ex I guess) feels the children should NOT be told about his affair and he does not want to tell them he is involved with this woman right now.

Who cares what your husband feels, Sam? He feels, he wants… NOT YOUR PROBLEM. When you divorce, you get to keep the truth. He can keep whatever it is he tells himself that lets him sleep at night.

Do you really think this man gives one shit about his children? That he’s not telling because of their welfare? Really? How’s that square with fucking the secretary, and meeting her new family replacement children kids?

No, Sam. He cares about impression management. And everyone maintaining the facade of his Goodness. Good people do good things. Fucking your secretary when married to the mother of your children? Not a good thing. Abandoning a faithful wife with health problems? Not a good thing. Promising to commit to your marriage and healing it, while fucking your secretary? Not a good thing. You want to make those choices and get that cage-free new life? Fine. Then you accept the consequences of those decisions. He needs to OWN his choices.

You don’t have to own them for him, or make excuses, or speak in euphemisms. You’ve got two teenagers. They aren’t stupid. Teenagers can sniff out hypocrisy at 20 paces. Tell them. As I’ve said on this blog a bazillion times, it’s not okay to gaslight children (“I have no idea why we’re divorcing!” “We grew apart!” “Love is a nebulous vapor that evaporates sometimes!”) even with the best of intentions — sparing them further hurt. Lying to them HURTS THEM TOO.

The caveat to this advice is do NOT editorialize (“Dad is a man-whore”) and do not slop your grief on to them, they have enough of their own. Face this adversity head on, be the sane parent, and assuage their concerns about how this break up will effect THEIR lives. Because Dad sure as hell isn’t doing that.

Talk to a shrink about this? There is no common core standard advice on this. Depends on your shrink. Some say tell, some say don’t tell. My feeling is that unless you have personally gone through this misery? Shut the fuck up. If you haven’t lived it, if you’ve never spent one miserable minute trying to keep a colossal secret from your children and Kept Up Appearances? Shut the fuck up.

All I can tell you from reading tens of thousands of stories on this blog, and getting letters from adult children still upset they weren’t told, and reading all the mightiness from sane parents? And the resilience of children who were allowed to form their own opinions and relationships with the cheating parents? Honesty is the best policy.

I also believe this is a good opportunity for my husband (ex) to face the hurt and pain — be honest — and teach the kids the value of honesty and facing your mistakes and problems.

Hahahahahaha!

Have you met your husband? Seriously, you’re going to Wait for Him to Do the Right Thing? How’s that working out for you?

Please stop chasing unicorns, and predicating your behavior on what the cheater wants or feels or Should Do. You’re in charge, Sam. Speak your truth.

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Kath
Kath
7 years ago

Bravo Chump Lady, bravo! You have written some excellent responses over the years but this one just spoke to me. Heed the wise words Sam and peace be with you during this painful time in your life.

Cheaters1
Cheaters1
7 years ago
Reply to  Kath

You want to know what makes me as f’ed up as the divorce? It is the constant battle and struggle to know what I should and should’t say to the ex, my daughter, his family, friends and public etc.
The stories are similar of how he came home out of the blue and said he was not happy..hadn’t been for a couple of years. Found out, after he moved out, he was having an affair. He denies it too. He said they hooked up after he asked for divorce. BS!
My counselor, lawyer, family etc tell me I am not the one to tell my daughter he is a cheater or I will be the one she will resent. All of the lies he told her while hiding his affair during the 8 months going through the divorce process are still my secrets. I want to expose him for everything he is. But, I have been told it will come back to bite me. So, when my daughter asked, if “the OW” was the reason for the divorce?”, I told her she would have to ask her father. However, I have learned she did find out the truth on her own.
I only told my family of the affair during the 8 month divorce process. My shitty lawyer led me to believe we could leverage it. So, I kept it quiet. (wasted thousands of dollars doing so)! I HATE LAWYERS BY THE WAY! Once it finally came out in mediation, there was no leveraging… in a no fault fucking state!
NOW, I tell everyone he is an adulterer, whose mistress just moved in with him 3 months post divorce.
I also told no one about the first affair he had when I was 6 months pregnant. (13 yrs ago) That is NO longer a secret either! You can only keep honoring someone who is honorable!
His family doesn’t even know about the first affair he had years ago and they believe him when he told them this was not an affair! I am in agony wanting to tell them about the first affair their beloved son/brother . I want to expose all of the lies he told to me, his daughter and them over the last few months. I was told they will all just resent me. So, I sit in silence and agony!

We are told not to give any kind of reaction to the public bc we look bad, bitter or weak. Don’t tell your kids or they will resent you. The church tells you to only speak in kind or don’t speak! Everyone is sick of hearing about your pain and hurt he has caused.
He wanted the divorce and walked out, He gets to have a lover, who is pretty.(She has no kids, so no baggage there). HE gets to keep a relationship with our daughter, HE gets the business and the financial stability, HE keeps the lifestyle i had a shitty lawyer and/ or the court system is f’ed up, HE has most of the friends, HE and the mistress both have families here (I don’t). He will likely be married in one year, no doubt! I can’t move out of state bc of our daughter. So there is no getting away from any of the stuff listed above! There should be billboards for liars and cheaters. But, no we just take it! I can’t take it!

Someone out there, tell me where the freaking justice is?
The shit sandwich is a freaking Big Mac!

Skinwalker
Skinwalker
7 years ago
Reply to  Cheaters1

Hi there cheaters1. I know how you feel. He gets a cloak of respectability, you get to be considered bitter and angry.

Here’s an electronic billboard to put him and his AP on.

http://ShesAHomewrecker.com

When I am feeling frustrated by all the things in your post AND the fact that in my position, I have to keep it to myself (for now), I like to look at the pics of the smug and simpering cheaters and laugh at them.

Skinwalker
Skinwalker
7 years ago
Reply to  Skinwalker

Haha! I was just browsing through the latest cheaters posted and there was one reported by a teenager warning people about a woman who has been trying to break up his parents’ 20 year marriage!

Skinwalker
Skinwalker
7 years ago
Reply to  Skinwalker

Kids know. I knew all about my cheater narcissist mom cheating on my chump dad and so did all my younger siblings.

Gail
Gail
7 years ago
Reply to  Cheaters1

I told everyone and anyone that would listen, friends, neighbors, dentists, store clerks, banks, town leaders, family… he sold the house he was trying to steal before the divorce and moved to another city!?????????????????

Renewed
Renewed
7 years ago
Reply to  Cheaters1

I told anyone that would listen including my church family. There’s a little thing that talks about expelling the immoral brother. A known practicing adulterer would not be allowed to hold any office or parade his ho around in church.
As far as telling his family and friends, I told them too. They were shocked, his reputation tarnished but they are still his family.
The children I told but they were not surprised because he was absent and crappy to them as well. It helped them to fill in the voids and now he has to develop a relationship with adult children.
No way will I keep his dirty little secret. I am known pretty much for telling it like it is. Some of his siblings including his mom wanted me to keep quiet. But the old heads in his extended family, particularly the women were not pleased and there were consequences initially.
Why are you helping him?

ChutesandLadders
ChutesandLadders
7 years ago
Reply to  Cheaters1

Cheaters1, you know THE truth, not the one he wants you to know. I would be as honest as possible with those who care about you. You don’t have to sugarcoat shit.

And let’s face it, he is shit.

Susan
Susan
7 years ago

How did, do you feel knowing you knew something but not sure what it was, then finding out and was furious about it? That’s the way your teenage kids will feel towards the both of you.

Explain to them honestly and fairly that their father became involve w another women, made the choice and that choice was to leave the 3 of you for her.

He is the one that is going g to have to look at his kids everyday from now on out, and that’s what he does not want to do.

Once you owe someone else’s issues, they become yours. You don’t need to carry around his lies. They aren’t very becoming.

the

Nyra
Nyra
7 years ago
Reply to  Susan

^^^Yes!
Cheaters1:
If the truth is ugly, that’s his problem.
Withholding the truth is also lying.
The truth will set you and them free. Tell them the truth because you love them — not to spite him
It’s what he did and is doing that hurt the family NOT them being told the truth.
Please check out Divorce Minister’s blog. He has some good insight & support as well!

unicornomore
unicornomore
7 years ago

Kids desere the truth from someone and they know they wont get it from him. If you don’t tell them the truth, they will feel like they cant trust you either and that is a terrible place for them to be. You are in danger of leading your kids to believe that you took the intactness of their family lightly and gave it up for NO reason – you have a really GOOD reason, without too much ax-grinding, please tell them.

I was, as you can see, a long term Unicorn…I was sure we could “save” our marriage…what I didnt know is that there was nothing to save and I was in it alone. I chose not to tell and when he died suddenly and I learned horrible things of his secret life, I had no ground to stand on with the kids on this topic, since I had not told them initially.

My older sons (now 28 & 25) were eventually told but my 20 yr old daughter still doesnt know and she makes snarky comments to me about how I took his photo down and replaced him after his death, so has no idea what I went through with her late father…I wish now I had told the kids something age-appropriate at the time.

Patsy
Patsy
7 years ago
Reply to  unicornomore

You know I think you should sit her down and tell her.

Chump Change
Chump Change
7 years ago
Reply to  unicornomore

“I was, as you can see, a long term Unicorn…I was sure we could “save” our marriage…what I didnt know is that there was nothing to save and I was in it alone.” This is exactly what I experienced in 35+ year relationship… Call me a slow learner.
I made Gaslighter tell my 17 and 26 year old sons the minute I learned about Schmoopie. Gaslighter wanted Cake. I had kicked their father out when he came home one time at three in the morning. He worked his way back into my life and we were in “wreckonciliation” when I found out about this Schmoopie. My kids were so happy that I had finally taken Dad back and that we were happy and together again, so that this was a very low blow. Of course their dad minimized everything- “I haven’t treated your mother very well”, and “it it only been going on a few weeks”. Ha ha. I discovered it already been going on over a year which means Schmoopie was in the picture well before Wreckonciliation started. I slopped my grief all over my kids, I’ve said and did all the wrong things in my grief while telling them the truth. Gaslighter was trying to rewrite history of course. It pains me when they spend time with their father and Schmoopie, but it sounds like their relationship with their Dad is very superficial. Somehow my kids can be mad at me sometimes, but I think it’s because I am the safe. They know they have me. I feel conflicted because I want them to see there father for what he is, and not play along with him while he pretends to be a good guy and destroyed our lives. He has proven to be a con man, a pathological liar and serial cheater. They know he has proven to be a serial cheater and that we are in a lawsuit because of unscrupulous business dealings. I don’t think they deserve to pretend that they were “unhappy” for 10 years without ever happening to mention it or get off scott free with their children thinking mom and dad just “grew apart”. Children deserve the truth and I admire those who are able to keep it short and sweet. I sometimes feel like the Bad guy because I don’t sugarcoat what is happening.

Dixie Chump
Dixie Chump
7 years ago
Reply to  unicornomore

Dear daughter, here is a gentle version of the truth. I waited to tell you because I know you had a very different and important relationship with your father than I did. Your memories of him can still be all those things, but I think you are old enough to understand he was also this other type of person. Such people exist in the world. Watch out for them. Love, mom

Her Blondeness
Her Blondeness
7 years ago
Reply to  Dixie Chump

So perfect, Dixie Chump. Someone needs to tell my stepkids this, who have never been told the whole truth why their parents broke up. All they hear are whispers and half truths, which is *not* the way to go through life.

oaktree
oaktree
7 years ago
Reply to  unicornomore

Maybe it’s never too late for truth, unm.

Merry Meh-hem
Merry Meh-hem
7 years ago

Thankfully, my child was grown and I was able to explain what was going on and why we were splitting. Also, she saw evidence herself, and Manwhore lied to her face, then introduced his whore barely a week after I left. All of that was bad enough, but coming at a time when I was fighting for my life….Yeah…. He’s pissed that he can’t control the narrative but unfortunately, he’s dealing with not one, but two strong women now. She believes 0% of his BS. He blames me, but he doesn’t realize she is an adult who saw it for herself. You can lie to a child and pull the wool over their eyes. Not so much with an adult. That is one fortunate thing here, in a sad way. I didn’t have to break her heart by divorcing her dad – he did. That makes two of us.

Caroline
Caroline
7 years ago

Just tell them simply and blandly. Get a time when you are fairly rested, calm and not emotional or hungry or in any way out of sorts and then just say ”I know this has been really upsetting and confusing. The reason your dad and I are divorcing is because he is having an affair and is unwilling to end it and I am not willing to be cheated on because that’s not what we promised to each other. It’s a deal-breaker for me.” This is truthful, it gets the point across in a straight, non-melodramatic way (don’t be shrill!) and it underscores that in life, there are boundaries and deal-breakers. This is a very valuable lesson to take in for anyone, that just doing as you please and expecting a consequence-free life is unrealistic.

Your husband cheated because he felt entitled to and lacked the moral character to be honest, to do the right thing and be fair to the person he swore up and down on a legally binding contract, to place above all others. You may well have faults, we all do. You did not break your end of the deal. He did. The end.

KB22
KB22
7 years ago
Reply to  Caroline

I second that this is excellent advice. Staying calm, cool and collected is the way to present the truth to your children. Your STBX doesn’t want them to know because he knows they won’t like it and he’ll suffer the blow back. Well screw him. As to his “I haven’t been happy for 10 years” (also not original) nonsense, just ask why he didn’t do you both a favor and leave back then, it’s a rhetorical question as he will never tell the truth. In fact NEVER expect a truthful answer from these defects.

Enraged
Enraged
7 years ago
Reply to  KB22

I cornered mine, until he reduced the gap to the age of our son: 2 years.
I asked him simple questions: why did you marry me, why did you buy a house with me, why did you make a kid with me if you were so unhappy?
I doubt cheaters will ever come to anything closer than that. I knew while asking him, that I won’t get a truthful answer.

Martha
Martha
7 years ago
Reply to  Caroline

Excellent advice!

Marie
Marie
7 years ago
Reply to  Martha

I love everything said above. This is the truth, the counselors have not lived a moment in this hell. The offender only cares about himself and his kids are the least of his concern. He will tell you otherwise. My ex was what I thought a good father but as soon as I kicked his butt out my kids took a backseat in fact, he turned on them
My ex was a repeat offender. I was not going to lie to my children and tell them we are divorcing because dad doesn’t like the way mom squeezes the toothpaste. He was great at being Mr good guy so no one ever knew he lived a double life, except the kids.trust me they know as prior nothing was said to them. I made him sit down with them and tell them the truth. I was sick of lying and covering for him for so many years. When I made choice to have him do this it was freeing! Years later he had yelled at me saying that it wasn’t necessary to tell the kids. I reminded him that it was the truth and the rest of the family chooses to not lie. The moment after he left my daughter looked at me and said you need to divorce him as he has done this to you before. Kids are smart as we never told them about his past infidelities. I will never ever live another lie for another human.

Merry Meh-hem
Merry Meh-hem
7 years ago
Reply to  Marie

Hear,hear!!

Martha
Martha
7 years ago
Reply to  Marie

Amen! Well said! I will never ever live another lie for another person again!!

theotherwhitemansburden
theotherwhitemansburden
7 years ago

Sam, the family therapist we saw said we should tell the kids in age-appropriate terms, right away. This was about two months after we had told them that we are divorcing for reasons that don’t have anything to do with them — “things that happen between adults.” Of course, that was my ex’s formulation.
I wanted to tell them without editorializing, but he said we should wait. And waited we did.
So the kids got to see a very angry mom who is all of a sudden doing a lot more self-care than they were used to, and no longer picks up the pieces after their dad and no longer plays both sides of the net.
And guess what conclusion kids draw from such behavior, in the absence of more information? Yes, the older one told his dad that he understands why he’s divorcing me because I have clearly become “selfish.”
Did my ex correct the kid? No.
Did he come to the family therapist with this story as if it justified everything he had done to me for two decades? You bet your ass he did.
So the therapist told him it’s his duty to correct the kid and tell both kids that he was unfaithful, so that the kids doesn’t blame me for the divorce.
My ex told one kid. He hasn’t told the other one to this day.
I did.
So, this is a long way to go to say: Tell them. Plainly, clearly, without editorializing, and without emotion.
They will feel enough on their own without us interfering with them.

Amiisfree
Amiisfree
7 years ago

I was just thinking as I was reading this, the only thing that would be helpful about a counselor determining what to tell the kids is a counselor being present in the room with you and the kids while you tell the kids. I’m not sure how, at this point, with divorce confirmed (and rightly so), a counselor will help you get on the same page.

Your relationship with your kids is between you and your kids now. He has his own relationship with them. They need an authentic you who they can trust. You need to be that for them.

He gave away his right to input in your family unit with your kids when he chose his behavior. He didn’t have to lie and sneak to have sex with somebody else. He chose his path. He may not want consequences, but that isn’t how it works. Life isn’t a cartoon. Jump off a cliff, and you fall. You don’t get to change your mind halfway down.

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  Amiisfree

I don’t think the psychological community is as well-versed on this issue as ChumpLady. In an ideal world, involving the counselor with telling the children would be perfect, but, frankly, many counselors will advocate NOT telling the children the truth about the infidelity (a huge mistake, IMHO).

I struggled with this myself at first. The developmental psychology literature emphasizes children of divorce retaining a positive relationship with both parents, reducing animosity between the divorced parents, etc. But the developmental psych research doesn’t contend with blatant dishonesty/betrayal by one parent, nor with co-parenting with the disordered, nor with children being gaslighted. CL is light years ahead of most divorce researchers and counselors, and for exactly the reasons she states:

-don’t gaslight the children. Remember how most of us felt when things weren’t “right” in our marriage or with our spouse but we had no objective evidence to point to? I remember the panic attacks, the gut feeling that something was wrong, the looming sense that then-husband didn’t really care for me despite outward signs that he was committed to the marriage? It was horrible. Children sense the disconnect between portrayed reality and reality, too, with fewer emotional and cognitive resources to deal with it. They deserve the stability of the truth.

-Children need one sane, stable, truth-telling parent. How will they feel if BOTH parents are lying to them? They will be more likely to feel destabilized, and to turn to someone (or something) else as a source of comfort.

Step 1. Chumps need to gain the narrative of truth within their families. Step 2. CN needs to gain the narrative among counselors and developmental psychologists to stop promoting lying and the emotional instability that results from it.

lovedandlost
lovedandlost
7 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Absolutely! And lawyers and judges too!

OutWest
OutWest
7 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Tempest,

I also advocate that by telling children appropriately we can help give them tools to move forward in their own lives. We can help our children break the cycles of narcissism, BPD, and general familial dysfunction. A big motivator for me was that I do not want my children to repeat the dysfunctional relationship they witnessed.

Isis
Isis
7 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

This was one of the things that tore me apart the most during “the end of my life as I knew it.” My daughters were in high school and were aware there was a serious problem in our family, but my partner told me that the fact that she was using again (after being in recovery) and having an affair was “private” and I had no right to tell them those things. She assured me that if I “threw her under the bus” by telling them the truth, she’d counter it, and I’d be sorry. Everything I feared came true — they accused me of lying, “throwing her out,” and being the cause of the divorce because I was “mean and controlling.” I had evidence but didn’t think it was appropriate to share sexually explicit texts and FB conversations making deals. I didn’t give them details about coming home for lunch one day and finding my partner having skype sex with the OW, and I didn’t tell them what kinds of things I found hidden in the storage cabinets in the basement utility room. But I told them she cheated and had a substance abuse problem, and I made every attempt at reconciliation and urged her to get treatment, because my daughters need to know what an unhealthy relationship looks like so they can protect themselves. My therapist agreed and no matter how angry my daughters were with me, I have always known I did the right thing.

OutWest
OutWest
7 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Chump Lady

I had read in previous threads that the cheater narrative would fill in, at the family level and in the community. What wonderful and powerful advice that was, to use my truth (the truth). I can’t thank you enough. Even now, three years later, my x is on the fringes of events.

My children were told in appropriate manners even though I was extraordinarily distraught. I have been careful not to bad mouth. His actions, true to cheaters, have only continued to provide evidence that he is not really interested in them as people, but rather accoutrements.

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Even when the chump broadcasts the truth far & wide, the cheater fills any remaining narrative with character assassination of the chump, or “there were marital problems” excuses.

Cheaters can be charming, slippery, and convincing little buggers. Fill the entire narrative yourself.

Chump Change
Chump Change
7 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Yep I broadcasted the truth far and wide and while I have learned that many others are on to his character, I think there are many people who don’t suspect how easily they are fooled by Pathologicals. These ClusterB’s are masters at social hiding and the Chump can often look like the crazy one because of the horrific, often covert damage and abuse they have endured. I did not realized I had been manipulated and covertly abused by a Psychopath my entire marriage until I was two years out.

Lifeisgood
Lifeisgood
7 years ago
Reply to  Chump Change

Same here. Married 16 years and did not realize the extent of abuse until 2 years out; when the fog started to clear up. The first bit of separation is all about surviving. Things always seem clearer from 50,000 feet away.

However, we must give ourselves a break. Chumps don’t have any frame of reference and have difficulty fathoming peole can really be that evil.

Chump Change
Chump Change
7 years ago
Reply to  Lifeisgood

It’s shocking to realize that they are (and we loved) true EVIL…

Enraged
Enraged
7 years ago
Reply to  Chump Change

It takes awareness to smell them. But I think it’s not our job to convince anyone. Just tell the truth and let it be. Life/karma has it’s own way of settling the score.

QueenMother
QueenMother
7 years ago
Reply to  Enraged

I like your moniker, Enraged! You rock.

LOL !!!

WhoamInow
WhoamInow
7 years ago

Princess Di said it best – “Three’s a crowd”. That says it in a nutshell – conversation over (marriage too) and allows the listener to fill in the blanks with their own observations.

Sorry you are a member of the club no one wants to join but know you are with a great group of folks here and keep coming back. Chump Lady and her nations of followers have great advice and can help you climb out of this mess.

Star Tingover
Star Tingover
7 years ago
Reply to  WhoamInow

Excellent response: “Three was a crowd.” I have been struggling to come up with a polite and succinct answer. Thank you

Marci
Marci
7 years ago
Reply to  WhoamInow

I agree…tell them “I didn’t like the fact that he had a girlfriend, who has three kids and is married to someone else”

My adult stepkids spent 15 years not knowing about their mother’s cheating. She gaslighted them and blamed their chump father for “abandoning” the family. She rewrote history. He was terribly wounded that his kids never wanted to stay with him or even visit, and he couldn’t believe their mother would lie to them. But then, he didn’t believe in badmouthing their mother to them “it’s not thei fault”…

My response? No, their mother’s cheating was not their fault, but that’s a different poimt from letting them know the facts. When stepdaughter’s husband one day recently made a crack about chump Dad having gone on the singles market…I told them all outright why their Dad moved out and divorced their mother…because she was fucking their tennis coach, in their marital bed, and let it carry on for over a year.

I noticed the shocked response, they all went quiet at the time, but since then, they have become a lot more respectful toward their Dad and actually come around a lot more to visit. He says he should have told the truth all along, oh, and cheater ex-wife’s BF just left her for another GF. Karma.

Free Vixen
Free Vixen
7 years ago
Reply to  WhoamInow

That’s a great way to phrase it to the media, but it might come across as a little cagey to kids. I’m a big proponent of clear and direct communication about these sorts of things.

Gail
Gail
7 years ago
Reply to  Free Vixen

Yes! My EX NARC Cluster B wrote my a Dear Jane letter about how unhappy the last 12 years of our 36 year marriage had been for him! The Ex claimed there was no girlfriend involved… he wanted me to move out of our expensive home… and he would send me payments! He wanted a 2700 sq ft house ? with 16 acres for himself… stated on the Bible no GF was involved! When I painfully looked at the situation and found his cell phone unlocked the skank mistress popped out! I told my adult sons..and … they didn’t believe me… my eldest asked him face to face.. then warned him if I catch you lying I’m done with you…you’ll never see me again! Guess what 2 years post divorce the sons are alienated from both of us! But I have learned to live with this as painful as it is…. the truth has set me free! My life before was all gaslighting and lies!

Cheaters1
Cheaters1
7 years ago
Reply to  Gail

Why did they alienate themselves from you? Did they ever say why?

That is why my counselor and family have told me not to say anything bc it would only result in my daughter resenting me.

This is ALL so messed up! Why do the lying cheaters who walk out on their family come out ahead in everything?!!

Goes back to the “Grin and bare it” expectation!
I am beginning to wonder if it matters anymore if you are a decent, honorable, moral person who honors their vows and family. NO one cares! They ALL still rally behind the cheater and the mistress!
You are just viewed as the angry bitter woman that should just get over it and move on when you keep expressing your emotions.

Gail
Gail
7 years ago
Reply to  Cheaters1

Yes it’s unfair but if you stay in it …….you die a thousand deaths! I rather leave broken, poor, and unloved then dead without a soul..at least I have a chance to start over again!

Anewwoman
Anewwoman
7 years ago

Tell them. Affairs start with a thousand little lies. Teach your kids that, while honesty can be hard, it’s so, so important.

ChutesandLadders
ChutesandLadders
7 years ago
Reply to  Anewwoman

Yup! My biggest regret is that I stayed with the loser when I first discovered him lying to me about many, many things. Cheating just happened to be the lie that was my deal breaker.

Had I left 15 years ago, maybe I wouldn’t be so financially fucked now.

What I know as truth is that my sons value my honesty. They know I am trustworthy and there are consequences to lying to me. Ask my son who no longer can live here. Hardest thing I ever did, but when you lie about your sobriety and the weirdos you choose to let into my house in the middle of the night, you’re out.

Funny thing is, son respects me more now.

Let go
Let go
7 years ago

My dear children, your father has been having an affair with his secretary. He lied to me until I found proof. We went to counseling to try to stay together but he kept lying and never stopped cheating. You two are old enough to manage your own relationships with him. This has broken my heart so I hope I never have to lay eyes on him again.

Chump Change
Chump Change
7 years ago
Reply to  Let go

Yep! It says it all.
My eldest was about to become engaged when Gaslighter blew everything to smithereens. Three years later he says to me “Mom we can’t get married until you and Dad can be in the same room together”. I said please don’t postpone your life because of your father’s and my situation. The ONLY reason I would be in the room with him would be at your wedding. Being around him or having any communication whatsoever is dangerous to me. I am advised by professionals to have absolutely no contact with him. I’m very sorry that this is what it’s come to. I love you.

Eilonwy
Eilonwy
7 years ago
Reply to  Let go

Absolutely. I like this phrasing. I like the inclusion of the fact that you tried counseling while he tried to continue lying.

He will continue to lie even after you tell them–he’ll be full of stories of woe and unhappiness. You can’t combat those, so don’t address those issues unless the kids ask, “Mom, did you know Dad was unhappy?” And then you can say, “No, he never told me, so it was never something I had the opportunity to work on or respond to.”

And, like many here, I can confirm that if you are not open about the infidelity now, you will regret it later. The first narrative, the one where dad was not at fault, will become entrenched in a way that you can never unseat without becoming equally complicit in the lie.

Some aspects of managing infidelity or a divorce are hard. There are not right answers about what to do. This is NOT one of those aspects. Being truthful to the kids is the right answer.

Let go
Let go
7 years ago

Oh, he might try to get hold of the dialogue and say you were not a supportive, loving etc wife. Tell them they lived in the same house and did they see a bad person. Chances are they are going to say “no” and that is when you tell them even adults try to find excuses for bad behavior and not only are you hurt but you are disappointed in his actions.
Allow them plenty of time to grieve. It takes adults about two years and kids many more unless they can be totally open about it. If you can’t handle it get them into counseling.

Doingme
Doingme
7 years ago

Surprisingly, my children were relieved when I finally filed. By that time they were adults. He had cheated repeatedly while they were young and took him to OW’S homes. My oldest daughter met at least 5 OW.

They are all about image control and what he wants is to maintain his good guy image. Once you tell them and file he will most likely abandon his own children regardless. They deserve the truth as he will distort the truth in order to avoid consequences.

Right now you need your own theraoist to help you through the discard. Avoiding the truth will give him the power and control he seeks.

Finally Free Heart
Finally Free Heart
7 years ago
Reply to  Doingme

I had a similar experience in that when the cheating became apparent to me, my kids were now adults. When I told them we were separating because Dad was unfaithful, they both said they had always believed that about him. They had some memories from years ago of him being with other women and taking them along on “dates”, so they could entertain or even babysit the other women’s children. They were totally supportive of my divorcing their Dad. One has maintained a relationship with him, the other hasn’t It is their choice. I must admit that I did some ranting and raving in the early stages of the separation when I fell apart, but now never mention their father and we have settled into a new normal for all of us.

Sugar Coated Lies
Sugar Coated Lies
7 years ago

I had this issue. My daughter was 13 at the time, and it came up in court after she refused to see my X triggering a long access case. I had carefully explained to her that her father had engaged in an affair, and that I found it unacceptable so ended the relationship. I didn’t go into the hurt etc as that wasn’t for her to deal with- I just gave her the facts. She asked many questions such as ‘how long,’ and I answered them to the best of my knowledge. I was not going to allow my own relationship with my daughter to be jeopardised or the narrative twisted against me. She also needed to know why at times I wasn’t at my best, and that my emotions were not from a simple amicable situation, which is what her father was trying to portray; it would’ve looked like I was crazy. I arranged therapy so she had an independent third party to work through her emotions with.

My X accused me of child abuse through parental alienation. The (UK) judge concluded that I did not owe a culture of silence to protect the image of my X. Teenagers are very astute, and at a time when she needed honesty, her father was trying to engage a campaign of image control. His need for looking like a Good Guy was not in the best interests of our daughter. My X argued that I had told our daughter purely out of maliciousness, and that I had estranged her from him by telling ‘poisonous lies.’ Thankfully, my daughter had written a statement to the court via her therapist which laid out that I had explained the situation to her but had not injected any emotions other than saying I wasn’t feeling my best. A court psychologist spoke with my daughter and concluded that there had been no ‘poisoning,’ merely a statement of facts which was very important for my daughter to understand the sudden change within her home.

I admit that I was probably very lucky to have an understanding judge, and this was in the U.K. so might be very different, but it does show that there’s a consensus amongst the psychiatric community that lying to your child to protect One parents image is damaging.

Martha
Martha
7 years ago

Absolutely 100% tell them. My ex was able to lie and smear me to his co-workers and friends. I wasn’t there and able to defend myself and tell the truth. He wanted to control the narrative of the divorce with the kids, too. The night we told them (and I had to make him do it with me), he started out with the bs about us “both wanting the divorce.” I did not at the time. Right away I had to start speaking the truth, because as we all know, cheaters never speak the truth. They live in their own distorted world of lies and half-truths. Why would they start being honest now?

My ex in the Divorce Letter said something like, “I’ll never say anything bad about you to the kids and you won’t say anything bad about me.” What in the world could he possibly say bad about me to the kids?!! And he said I was the one who was “controlling.” Well, since I’m so controlling, I took control! He didn’t want me saying anything bad about him to the kids. Screw that. He not only pulled the rug out from me, but he did with the kids too. They would have lived in a world of insecurity the rest of their lives thinking that all-of-sudden your mate just leaves you for no good reason when there was no prior signs (I can now see the red flags, but the kids never would have picked up on any of that stuff because I sheltered them from their dads lies and “friends”). I deserved the truth which I know I will never ever get from my ex, but I was able to at least give my children the gift of the truth. The truth didn’t come out the way I had planned, but once it was out, I was happy that I was no longer covering for the cheating liar. Over 20 years of stuff that I spackled over for him came out. It felt good to finally bring the truth into the light. The Cheater didn’t like it, but I didn’t give a shit.

Just like us, kids deserve to know the truth. I could care less that they look at their dad differently now. That’s not my problem. If he wanted them to think highly of him as they did before D-day, then he should have acted better.

Gail
Gail
7 years ago
Reply to  Martha

Very true… that’s why spackle! Our instincts tell us that if we expose them or don’t give them cake the will blow up our families! After the family blows up they will blame you if you don’t tell the truth right away! If cover for them your part of the problem!

Tiffany
Tiffany
7 years ago
Reply to  Martha

Amen. Your story sounds EXACTLY like mine. The weight of not having to explain away his absences and weird behavior and selfishness anymore was like a new breath of fresh air. I won’t ever have a truth, either – his story changes every day, so we no longer have any contact. I am sorry that you were in this situation but so glad that you sound like such a strong person!! Thanks for sharing.

Martha
Martha
7 years ago
Reply to  Tiffany

Tiffany, I’m sorry you went through this crap too. 🙁 I don’t feel that strong very often, but I can now look back and say, “Martha, you were pretty mighty there!” 🙂

mickeyblueeyes
mickeyblueeyes
7 years ago

Unlike Jack Nicholson once said, your kids can “Handle the truth” they are old enough to process what their dad has done. They need to understand that lying and cheating is wrong, on every level, and your delightful husband will try everything to maintain his image…don’t let him get away with it. Tell them once, tell them the truth and leave it at that, don’t make it an ongoing issue, if they come to you in the future and ask you more then tell them.

My 3 kids witnessed the whole meltdown with me and their mother when I discovered her affair. I sat them on the couch together literally 5 minutes after I discovered an email that was clear proof that their mother was having a full blown affair, cried and told them their mother has a ‘new boyfriend’. All 4 of us cried together whilst their mother stood there with the most pathetic expression on her face. When my kids asked if we were splitting up I simply said “Yes”.

I have some regrets that my kids found out amidst the fury I vented at the mother, but I’m also glad they know that she’s a liar and a cheat. 3 years later and my kids still love their mum of course, whether they resent her in any way I’m not sure. My eldest son (15) is certainly old enough to understand what she did, my youngest 2 (9) and (11) will work it out soon enough. Nothing more has been said about it, my kids know the truth and I’m concentrating on continuing to be a role model for my kids and that actions clearly do speak louder than any words or manipulation their mother throws their way.

Gail
Gail
7 years ago
Reply to  mickeyblueeyes

Yes ….I agree with the way you handled this! Sometimes the cheater can hide the affair partner and later introduce them to your kids as a post divorce boy or girlfriend! Pure evil….!

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  mickeyblueeyes

mickeyblue

Two of my kids found out this way. I found out and just went into that weird shock, numb, rage, grief, vomiting thing and they witnessed it all. I regret that to this day but forgive myself as I had no control at that point. They saw and heard far more than I would want them to but I just have to keep steady now. My eldest found out by text and FaceTime which also wasn’t ideal but he was away for three months and had noticed stuff.
So all of mine went through the rawest of trauma.
Interestingly though my STBXH was calm and focused but not enough to make sure the kids were safe or out of earshot or sight. The one who still had control didn’t use it to protect the kids but just stood there trying to lie his way out.
So the kids know exactly who he is. And they have told me to stop apologising for marrying him and for not stopping them hearing and seeing all that they did.
All I can do is monitor them as we go forward.

OutWest
OutWest
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Capricorn,

That is remarkable like mine went. And like you, my kids have told me that they are okay with the knowledge. They also learned that it’s ok to express emotions. When you are hurt you hurt. You dust yourself off and move forward. Life get’s better. As a therapist, the only way out is to walk through. I’m almost two years out and their father continues to prove that he is selfish and uninterested in their lives. Meanwhile, we have become a very fun family of three at our house.

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  OutWest

Out west you are fast becoming my hero’

little red riding hood
little red riding hood
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

^^ this

mickeyblueeyes
mickeyblueeyes
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

I’d like to be able to get into my kids heads to see what they really think of their mother. She’s a master of manipulation and spinning things, from the outside it looks as though she has a good relationship with them, but I guess kids love unconditionally and time will tell.

She always just said she had a “Bossy” personality, I used to think she was a “Bully” but telling her that seemed ridiculous and I knew she would snap back with a “Don’t be so ridiculous” comment, but that is what she is and emotional, manipulative bully and my kids aren’t equipped with the mental capacity to see through it all, heck I’m 47 and I’m only just beginning to see it for what it really was.

I’m sure your kids will be alright, they’ve got you for a mum.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
7 years ago
Reply to  mickeyblueeyes

For years, I blamed my dad for the chaos in our home because my mother was big on recruiting us to hate him. Then I figured out my mother was a narcissist and he was an alcohol abuser. I think both cheated. It took a long time but I eventually figured out what was really going on.

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  mickeyblueeyes

I appreciate that comment!
I have another perspective as the child of divorce when it wasn’t done to talk about these things openly. My parents divorced in 1976. My dad was working as far as I knew but then the police came to our house looking for this woman we had never heard of (I was almost 10). Things had been bad for a while between my parents. Lots of shouting and slamming doors. No one ever spoke to me or my brother about it at all. No one acknowledged anything was going on. Surreal. My brother and I would go sit outside our house while they raged inside.
Anyway. Turns out my dad had gone to work in Germany and had gone with his OW who had abandoned her family too. That was it he was gone. Didn’t see or speak to him for 2-3 years.
No one sat us down and told us anything. I can’t even believe it myself but we heard the word divorce and I guess I kind of knew what it meant.
Anyway. I worshipped my dad at that point. My mom was a psychopath with no empathy, cold rages and I looked like my dad. So I idolised him. Didn’t blame my mother. I was just generally afraid of her and tried to please.
When they came back my dad and OW were married and we played the game of speak badly of whoever you are not with. So OW loved to hear bad stuff about my mom. Mom loved to hear bad stuff about them. We just got screwed by them all.
Took me a long time to work out who my dad was. Probably 20 years. But I got there.
Your kids have you. You have a new partner I believe(?) and are sane. Your kids will figure it out sooner and as you can’t help but keep modelling sanity and respectful behaviour they will thrive.
And as I am learning with mine at some point I just have to accept who they are and they make their own choices.
I cut off from my family entirely. My brother has relationships with both but is a narc himself.
Just trust yourself. Your kids are very lucky to have you.

mickeyblueeyes
mickeyblueeyes
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Wow! quite a story Capricorn. Your mum was a psychopath and your dad was a narc! How the hell didn’t they murder each other?

My life was pretty typical, mum and dad, two siblings, happy memories and neither of my parents have any kind of disorder…It’s interesting to hear people’s stories of what it was like coming from a family that their parents have divorced.

My mum bless her said she was proud of the way I’ve handled the whole situation with my ex, I simply replied “Its because I was brought up well”

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  mickeyblueeyes

Mickey
I had a lovely grandma, fantastic teachers, and just one or two people every year who have significantly helped me in some way.
I was also lucky in that I seem to have a happy gene, a general trust for people and a cheerful nature. Not to mention some solid intrinsic values and a stubborn streak a mile wide lol.

Dubious
Dubious
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Wow, three years on, and the OW was milking you for dirt on your mom? Twisted. Mate poaching makes a person sick inside.

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  Dubious

Dubious
It’s worse than that. Both my mom
And the OWife loved hearing bad stuff about each other and quietly but surely bad mouthed each other right up until the point I cut contact with them all.
Funny thing though. My dad, the great sparkly narc has never badmouthed anyone but politicians. He acts appallingly (he is a serial cheat) but never speaks badly of anyone. Then again he doesn’t have to, the women were doing that all for him.

Little Mighty Me
Little Mighty Me
7 years ago
Reply to  Dubious

@ Dubious

I would say people who are sick inside mate-poach, and poaching that mate certainly does not help make them well.

Dubious
Dubious
7 years ago

Indeed

Donald
Donald
7 years ago

Who is this Melania? No sources–Bad journalism! Chump lady is failing bigly–I’ve heard Numbers way down . SAD! Little Marco, did your tiny fingers type the message by so-called Melania? TRUE AMERICANS WANT TO KNOW! Also, check out the discount rates available at Trump hotel in DC this weekend!!

DemHoez
DemHoez
7 years ago

Tell your children what you want to tell them. He ain’t running a thing but his mouth.

Not much else to say really.

tflan386
tflan386
7 years ago

TELL THE KIDS! The sooner, the better.

Ettabetta
Ettabetta
7 years ago

Long time reader, first time poster. Please tell them. I’m speaking as a child of a cheater. I really did appreciate knowing the truth and it did help me. I knew that there was something going on with my dad. As a result of watching my mother be destroyed by taking him back multiple times, I made iron clad boundaries of what I would and would not tolerate in a relationship. Cheating and other forms of abuse are not acceptable. As Chump Lady stated, he doesn’t want to tell them because he is trying to drive the narrative and not look like the morally bankrupt piece of garbage that he is. He is only trying to protect himself and the OW. After all, the future introduction might be a bit awkward if your kids knew that they were involved prior to your separation. Tell the truth and trust that he sucks. I could go on and on… but I will stop. Give your kids the gift of the truth. Please.

Lacy Brown
Lacy Brown
7 years ago
Reply to  Ettabetta

At what age were you?

I have a 7 year old and a 10 year old and I would love to tell the children the truth bc I think they deserve to know. However, I don’t know what age is appropriate?

jumper
jumper
7 years ago
Reply to  Ettabetta

Welcome Etta, ditto Dubiuos!

Ettabetta
Ettabetta
7 years ago
Reply to  jumper

Thank you

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
7 years ago
Reply to  Ettabetta

And of course, sometimes kids blame themselves or think it’s their job to “fix the marriage.” On top of the shit sandwiches of infidelity, divorce and AP’s who get “dream houses,” no one needs codependent kids who needed to hear the truth, told in a factual manner, with reassurances that they didn’t cause it and they can’t fix it. And neither can you.

Ettabetta
Ettabetta
7 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

Agree.

Dubious
Dubious
7 years ago
Reply to  Ettabetta

Welcome, Etta! Keep posting; love your voice here.

Ettabetta
Ettabetta
7 years ago
Reply to  Dubious

Thank you! I really wish that Chump Lady was around all those years ago for my mom. So glad that it is here now.

Paintwidow
Paintwidow
7 years ago

I have been speaking on this since I started reading here.
My kids are now 19 & 25, they were 17 & 23 at the final d day…..there were 4 of those. I went to counseling, lost weight, turned it up in bed, spackled my way through all those d days…..never told my kids a thing because we were working on it. Ha!!
When he asked me for a divorce on 12/31/14 to go be with his affair partner ( which I learned about a week later, at the time he told me he was just unhappy and wasn’t in love with me anymore.) I told my kids. Guess what? They already knew. Kids aren’t stupid and they live in that house too.
My kids are NC with the ex because after 3 sit downs with him where he wanted to “explain” and he lied instead they just had enough.
Now they get the text occasionally that he’s miserable without them and I occasionally will get one of his break downs over the kids if we need to speak about something business.
According to him, I am the reason the kids won’t have anything to do with him…..I shared details of the break up that poisoned the kids against him…..his and his affair partners words.
Want to hear my words? Fuck that….own your shit.My kids weren’t babies, one was a senior in high school and one was a senior in college.
More of my words?? If you are truly unhappy just leave, when you are married, it’s wrong to fuck other people.
It’s like the saying goes- If you wanted to be thought of more fondly, you should of behaved better.

Gail
Gail
7 years ago
Reply to  Paintwidow

Exactly mine stayed 36 years and was planning on taking all those years assets such as the paid off house and Lump sum cash from his retirement so Skank mistress and him could start a new life! If your older and your home is paid off they can buy another house without you knowing and when you divorce your marital home will be used as a divisible asset!! The laws are stacked against the CHUMP!

LiveForToday
LiveForToday
7 years ago
Reply to  Paintwidow

Yes STBX blames me for his relationship with his kids. They are adults.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
7 years ago
Reply to  Paintwidow

Brilliant, PaintWidow.

HappyMonky
HappyMonky
7 years ago
Reply to  Paintwidow

Thanks so much for this; struggling with the same.
I am being blamed for his kids not accepting the OW – they were 15 and 12 at the time he left so they are not stupid.
Good to know that others have to deal with this too and it is a universal cheater trick 🙂

Paintwidow
Paintwidow
7 years ago
Reply to  HappyMonky

I think there is a fine line here.
I was very clear about a few things:
1. I was invested. While the relationship may not have been perfect, I didn’t quit, he did.
2. When I discovered I was left for another woman I told my kids there was another woman. He sells it as he would of left anyway, he just happened to be dating someone at the time he immediately moved in with.
I said, ” I’ve discovered there is a current mistress and hes been seeing her for more than two years.”
If this is “poisoning” than so be it.
3. I was clear that I felt comfortable that I was an honest and loving partner and he was dishonest for most of our marriage. This made the relationship irretrievably broken. I did fully invest in counseling and every time I tried to fix my marriage I did so with a pure heart, although the infidelity did eat me alive.
4. While I gathered TONS of unsavory information on him, I didn’t feel it was necessary to share with my kids how many times he had sex with her in the park behind my house, hotels, etc. They knew he was unfaithful and that was enough.
I don’t know why it’s our job to protect these assholes.

Lulu
Lulu
7 years ago

This isn’t just about protecting his image… He’s protecting the OW’s as well because eventually, he might want to present her to your kids as his girlfriend while omitting the fact that their relationship started on your watch.

So if you keep your mouth shut, what are you supposed to do? Grit your teeth and smile when he inevitably brings her around? Look like you’re bitter and irrational because you can’t accept Dad’s “new” girlfriend? Allow your kids to be fooled into forming a bond with a woman who participated in the destruction of your marriage?

In my opinion, there is no option here BUT to tell your kids.

Roberta
Roberta
7 years ago

It makes me sick to my stomach that these assholes want you to “keep it secret” because they don’t want everyone to know what a POS they are! I tried that too at his request. Yep, it was okay for him to keep up his affair as long as I was the only one he and Schmoopie were torturing! I finally told everyone once I’d had enough. He was so pissed! My kids were adults and they unleashed fury on him and his little OW! I’m glad he suffered the consequences of his own actions and the destruction of his sterling “good guy” image. Don’t let him gaslight your kids too! That is so wrong!

M B
M B
7 years ago

15 and 17 is old enough to know the truth. “Your father had an affair with X. We went to counseling but he continued the affair, so now I’m divorcing him. Please understand that this is a difficult time for me and that I don’t want to go into more detail or talk about this further. I still love you very much and I will do my best not to vent or rant about this matter to you.”

Stephanie
Stephanie
7 years ago
Reply to  M B

This is so important. You gotta reassure your kids that you’re not going to badmouth their father. And remember that you’re not telling the kids for revenge, you’re not telling them to relieve yourself, you’re telling them because, as CL so aptly put it, they’re being gaslit, and that’s really unfair to them, and, frankly, emotionally dangerous. They’re trying to make sense of the world.
And do NOT use them as confidantes, either. That’s what trusted friends are for (in a limited way–eventually they will tire of your pain, so bring it here.) Your kids may want to vent, may have questions–resolve to be factual, without oversharing (they probably won’t want sordid details, anyway.) Reassure them that you will do everything in your power to keep this from adversely affecting them (try not to move them away from friends/schools, keep up as many family traditions as you can, BE there for their needs–and their needs are big at this age.)

You can do this. Take your power back. His opinion and demands no longer mean anything. YOU get to decide everything about your life and your truth from now on. It’s a little scary at first, but once you get rolling, there’s no stopping you. It’s actually pretty exciting and freeing to not be held down by someone who doesn’t care about you.

One more thing–he is NOT a good dad, at least not now. He lied to your kids about his free time and where he was going. He was NOT available to them, he did NOT share in their lives when he was off fucking the new woman. He has abandoned them. He is not around for after school chatter, for next-day planning, for inside jokes, to laugh with their friends. That’s real life, and it’s precious. He’s not there for it. YOU are. Cherish it. Trust your kids to know who is the available parent. You don’t have to point this out to them. They will trust YOU, not him. He is NOT a good dad.

liveandlearn
liveandlearn
7 years ago
Reply to  Stephanie

I admit to having a huge problem with this… oversharing with my kids. D is 27, S is 24. Son discovered email from OW many months before D-Day and Flotsum told him she was someone he’s known for many years through work, a co-worker. Son said nothing to me until six months later when now X announced we were separating. Son asks me is it because of the other woman? What other woman? I check phone and discovery begins. Son offers up OW name – all sorts of treachery I find. Affair going on about two years, much financial abuse. Of course, I had known we were not great, but thought I married a man of integrity. My mistake. All the narc behavior I suspected made sense. He’s an alcoholic, no impulse control, ADD, passive/aggressive, covert narc. I was given a litany of justifications: I didn’t like it when he drank, I didn’t learn his company’s accronyms, I didn’t contribute to the marriage, etc. OW is 20 years younger, was married when they started up, now divorced. She lives out of state so affair was easy with all his “business” travel. She is uneducated, been nowhere, heavy drinker, three kids. His mother was alcoholic so he found his mommy that would drink with him. His wallet was/is wide open so she has found her sugar daddy. I filed right after discovery. He claimed to not want the divorce, and was planning on retiring with me. He said he felt entitled to affair and that I’d never find anyone like him. All the same BS as other stories.
My grown kids go out of state, on Flotsum’s airmiles, to visit X, whore and her kids in dream house he bought for them. Hopefully he will decide to marry her and really show how fucked up he is. No fool like an old fool who thinks she’s God fearing, a teammate, and knows those accronyms, of course.
I feel betrayed all over again that my kids accept this shit sandwitch. I am guilty of expecting them to feel my anger at the abuse he doled out to us all. I confide too much in an effort to acquaint kids with his NPD. X is using them for image management. He’s sooo magnanimous to all. Especially the replacement kids and whore. I am seriously considering a distancing of me from my own kids as this does nothing to help me heal. OW works hard to win them over and I have very limited funds to compete. I am seriously distressed when they are under the same roof as whore and evil monster X. Am I justified in putting distance between kids and broken me? I am considering not seeing them for a year or two. So disappointed am I in their lack of integrity that they find no problem in accepting X and fuckbuddy golddigger homewrecker.
I feel jealous when I read of other adult children who have nothing to do with POS adulterer.
I feel like telling kids to call me when you have found your integrity and proper morals.
Hit me with a 2 X 4, please.

Gail
Gail
7 years ago
Reply to  liveandlearn

They damaged from living with him just like you are! I had to go no contact to heal also! My youngest was making excuses for him ” it’s a ma thing… he’s mad you took his money”! Fuck that BS,

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
7 years ago
Reply to  liveandlearn

Here’s my 2X4:
1. Your are not competing with your X in terms of money. No–you can’t fly the kids around on your air miles. But these kids are adults. If they treat you as “lesser” because you don’t have a “dream house,” then their values are not what they should be. But if they are just maintaining a relationship with their father, remember how many years he had you fooled. They are his kids; you were an adult partner. So if they are basically sound, it may take them a little while to figure out what he is.
2. You are not the one to educate the kids about narcissism, etc., in relation to their father. They will learn the long and hard way because he won’t change, and they discard kids and use them for impression management and show zero remorse.
3. Don’t talk to the kids about their dad. Just don’t. Remember CL’s advice about teenage kids sharing about AP and X–“Cool.” “Bummer.” “Wow.” I also like “pass the potatoes” and “Do you think we will get any snow/rain/thunderstorm. If the kids talk about their trip to see XH and the SecretarialBimbo he took up with, just say, “Cool. Bummer. Wow. Or “I had no idea.” Or “Really.” (do not inflect it as a question, make it filler talk.) and—–“Huh.”
4. And finally–take your focus off your X and his AP, as completely as you can. Block them on social media so you can’t see what they post.

Figure out where and when you start on the gerbil wheel of thinking about XH and SecretarialBimbo and design an intervention. The car got me all the time, so I started listening to talk radio or singing loudly to a good music playlist. I also had trouble at night–so I found cable stations like ION and TNT and TBS and HGTV that had stuff that didn’t require a lot of my attention but that would snap me out of “jackass mode.” This work is really important. The betrayal happened. It was a total devastating nightmare bitch of a life event. Now get out of the past and live in this moment, right here. Yoga helps. Meditation helps. Prayer helps. For me, running and exercise helped. Pinterest helped. Find out what works for you, what interests you, and focus on your life. Things will get better. And one day you will be grateful you aren’t living with a liar who has no regard for you or your life.

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

Loved
You are just fantastic. Your advice is always just so right and said just the right way.
I realised after reading this that I still kind of bad mouth their father, not too much and sort of subtle but that I can knock it off and trust that he will be true to form and be under involved with them. Thanks LAJ. I will be a better parent because of you.

liveandlearn
liveandlearn
7 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

Thanks, LAJA, I think it would help for me to stop the gerbil wheel as it is revving up, indeed. To have to have my children even near the OW who didn’t give two shits about their lives, scares me. I don’t understand why my kids are not worried about being with such evil people. I have to try to refuse to eat this shit sandwich. But, shit sandwich it is. I am grateful for not being married to and sleeping with the enemy I thought was my friend. After a year after the divorce, I am still feeling the effects of PTSD and experiencing anxiety attacks. I see meh in the windshield, but simply am not able to pull over to the exit and get there yet.

jumper
jumper
7 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

Thanks LAJA, great words of wisdom.

Her Blondeness
Her Blondeness
7 years ago
Reply to  liveandlearn

Liveandlearn, please don’t be so hard on yourself. Your hurt is understandable. Ex is buying your kids but eventually the funds will dry up and so will the good times. It may not happen in 100% of families, but I’ve seen it in several. The kids are actually taking Daddy for what he’s got and don’t give an actual crap about him. I know I would be sad to see my son take advantage of his dad that way, but sometimes your kids inherit or learn traits you’d rather they didn’t have.

Several posters made points upthread that you may find useful: Ask your kids not to talk about their father and OW. Be honest and tell them that it just hurts too much to know about it. If necessary, dial back on seeing them so much if they can’t honor your request. They may just start missing you and realizing your value once you aren’t there for them to take for granted.

Hugs.

liveandlearn
liveandlearn
7 years ago
Reply to  Her Blondeness

Thanks, Blondeness. I just so wish they could see X as the horrible person he really is. And when they are polite to the OW, they tell me they are showing her how well I raised them.
I did not raise them to have no integrity. I do not want them to be a doormat like I once was.
This is very difficult for me. I took my vows seriously.

little red riding hood
little red riding hood
7 years ago
Reply to  M B

^ this

Amiisfree
Amiisfree
7 years ago
Reply to  M B

This!

Portia
Portia
7 years ago

My exH was very concerned about what the kids would think of him — he said “I don’t want YOU lying to the children. I laughed and said, I have no need to lie, the truth will be sufficient. I told him I would not volunteer details, but if the children, or ANYONE else asked, I would tell the truth. I didn’t stop strangers in the street. I didn’t have a meltdown in front of “our” friends. Many of the “friends” had already guessed, or knew about some of his affairs any way. I tried to carry on my life in a sane manner, I am a private person and I kept most of my sorrow to myself. But here is another issue: How can I be a parent and not tell my children my truth, and how can I not explain boundaries. I think it is perfectly ok to tell children that when someone chooses to marry, they make a vow to love, honor, and remain faithful to their spouse. Lying honors no one. Love is not demonstrated by cheating. Those are important vows, and sometimes they are very hard to keep. So don’t get married for a frivolous reason. Explaining how difficult life can be is part of the package of being a parent. It also lets the children know when they are being lied to. The OW is not some nice woman daddy met AFTER he left mother. I don’t think they should be allowed to set up some big fabricated story where mother becomes the wicked witch that drove them from their happy home. In my case, he was rarely “there” in our happy home, He chose not to participate, he chose to lie, he chose to cheat, He can live with those choices — that is who he is.

kiwichump
kiwichump
7 years ago
Reply to  Portia

“The OW is not some nice woman daddy met AFTER he left mother. I don’t think they should be allowed to set up some big fabricated story where mother becomes the wicked witch that drove them from their happy home.”
Exactly Portia, that’s why the kids should be told the truth. Dad had an affair with Ms X, for whatever length of time Mum knows about (be specific, especially if it went on for a while, it shows how deceitful he was). In spite of this, Mum tried reconciliation, Dad continue fucking Ms X. Mum is divorcing Dad because she was lied to and her dedication to the marriage and the family was abused. Mum doesn’t not have to put up with lies and STDs. Lesson for the kids: lies and STDs are not acceptable. Don’t let yourself be abused.

MovingOn
MovingOn
7 years ago

Do not manage his image for him. Tell your kids the truth. Like CL said, you don’t have to be brutal about it. You can say, “You dad is in a relationship with his secretary, which violates one of the most important promises of our marriage, so I had to divorce him.” Feel free to add that you did try to patch things up but that he CONTINUED to “date” his secretary. Your kids will appreciate the truth. As my kids’ counselor once said, if the kids think that both parents are lying to them, they won’t know whom to trust. I know it’s hard and that you want to protect them, but telling them the truth is the healthiest thing that you can do for all of you. Been there, done that. It was hard, but I don’t regret it. Hugs.

Heissobroken
Heissobroken
7 years ago

My only regret was not telling my child sooner and allowing exhole to control the script. He actually went behind my back and talked to my child without me and I have no idea what was said but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t “hey buddy I’m fucking your aunty so I’m going to abandon you now ok?” We wreckconciled for a whooping 2 months and that time I made damn sure we both sat down with him – he was ten so we left the affair out and went with adult issues over the past 2 years my son is figuring things out and when he has questions I answer them. I’m keeping all my court papers (all 4 – 3 inch binders of them) and will one day hand them off to him and let him make up his own mind about what kind of man his father is – I’m done protecting that asshole and kids have a right (age appropriate) to know why their life blew up.

kiwichump
kiwichump
7 years ago
Reply to  Heissobroken

The traitor did this. He talked to the kids for months behind my back, telling them how we weren’t getting on and there were problems, while fucking the whore while I was looking after his kids. Result: no one is talking to me now. He and whore are walking off into the sunset and I have lost my family, my partner and all my dreams for our future as a family, step grandchildren, everything. His SIL believes the kids are not allowed to talk to me, she just saw him, he showed up with whore at her house for New Year’s Eve, unannounced as if nothing was going on. Just like the actress that plays his wife in his soap opera life has been replaced. Not one word about the change. I had dinner with SIL last night, she is fuming, but the whore cut him off his family for 7 years previously so they won’t risk that again.

heissobroken
heissobroken
7 years ago
Reply to  kiwichump

Hugs to you @ kiwichump – no one deserves that! The whore won such a lovely prize – a traitor and bullshitter – good riddance ❤️

kiwichump
kiwichump
7 years ago
Reply to  heissobroken

Thank you heissobroken. I am grateful to his family for being kind to me and seeing through the bullshit. It’s perfectly fine with me that they want to keep their sibling, in fact I have asked them to do anything they can to keep the peace with him so he doesn’t cut his sons off their only sane relatives… But it is very tough and painful because I miss the family life so much. So I really appreciate your message.

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  kiwichump

Kiwi
Your journey has been harder than most and you always write such great posts. Keep your chin up, they are not worth this pain they have caused.
Hugs.

kiwichump
kiwichump
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Thank you Capricorn,

had-it
had-it
7 years ago

Sam,
So sorry you’re in this mess and I sympathize with you wanting to spare your children the pain BUT I also agree that they are old enough to be told the truth.
My sons were 27 and 31 and thought their dad was the BEST. They talked to him every day. When I discovered the affair I did not give them all the wonderful and smutty details of the texts messages between Fucktard and his slut BUT my boys were taught to tell the truth and be responsible for your actions. That integrity and morals were a must in life. No way was I going to “pretty it up” to them, they deserved to know the truth. Plus we live in a small community where my fucktard was a public figure. Wasn’t 12 hours after I discovered the affair my oldest son was approached and asked was it true his dad was having an affair with a 29 year old. They deserve to know that what he did and with who.
If he was sooooo unhappy he should have talked to you about it, just like you’ve taught your kids.
He can spread all the bull shit he wants (remember he is a pro), its total impression management and if you’re like the rest of us you did that job your entire married life, then he fired you…. so not your problem anymore.
My fucktard texted me that he could just imagine the “poison” that I told our kids. Never heard the truth called that before but ok…. of course he didn’t have the guts to tell them of the affair, or that he married the slut or that they had a baby. So I can see now how totally concerned he is about them, he has not once tried to contact either of them.
The only one your soon to be ex is concerned about is himself.
Fuck him and the slut he rode in on.
Hold your head up and be there for your kids.
Many hugs to you!!!!!

little red riding hood
little red riding hood
7 years ago
Reply to  had-it

Poison = truth lol…

kiwichump
kiwichump
7 years ago

Yep, truth is poison to them.

little red riding hood
little red riding hood
7 years ago

My children found out on D day, when they saw me fall apart. I dusted myself off and reassured my children we were going to be ok. (Because at the end of the day, thats what kids really want, to know everything will be ok).
I told my children I will always tell them the truth, even if I look a jerk, I can own when I do something wrong.
Of course ex started damage control after about a week, he told my youngest (11 at the time) that mommy threw him out and he wanted to come back but mom said no.
I explained to my son that is not the truth. Has daddy called mommy? NO
Has daddy come to the house to say sorry? NO
Has daddy sent flowers? NO.
Your fathers actions do not match his words, and when actions dont match words, it is not the truth.
My children have learned a very hard valuable life lesson about people manipulating and lying.
I am 3 yrs away from him and I let my teenage children decide what kind of relationship they want with ex.
They understand that I only want peace and happiness in my life and that means no contact with him or his flying monkee family.
I am here for a shoulder to cry on and I am their biggest cheerleader but no where in my mom job description does it say, I will knowingly
cover for a narcassist to manipulate, lie and hurt them ,fuck that !!
Whats the saying….
If you want people to speak well of you, then you should have behaved better.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
7 years ago

This is a GREAT GREAT post about how to combat those “mommy/daddy won’t let me come home” sad sausage stories.

GetMeFree
GetMeFree
7 years ago

I tell my kids the same thing. Pay attention to actions and choices, not words. Do I help them recognize this when STBX sends them text messages full of words that he doesn’t follow through on? Yes. I just hope that is the right thing to do rather than completely let them figure it out on their own.

Should be noted that I also point out when he actually does make an effort, which isn’t too often.

heissobroken
heissobroken
7 years ago
Reply to  GetMeFree

^^^^^ this ?

Blindside
Blindside
7 years ago

My kids are a bit younger than Sam’s. They haven’t asked why we are getting divorced (yet), and I’m not going to go out of my way to tell them because I’m not even sure what I’d say. My wife of course is going with the standard “your father and I weren’t happy” (read: your father wasn’t a good enough husband in my eyes, so I decided to spend the last several years our marriage sleeping with a married guy at work).

The problem is that many of our friends know, and those friends have kids that hang out with my kids (and these folks had heard the rumors about the A before I even knew). I also know that a few gossiper parents in our kids’ grades know, so I’m sure that kind of juicy rumor is going to get around to the rest of the parents real quick. I’ve heard these folks talk about other parents in the past, so why would we be treated any differently?

So sooner or later, unless we discuss it with them first, my kids will probably hear about it from somebody else, and then I’ll have to deal with the blow back (and I guaranty I’ll be blamed by my STBX for it). I’ll just cross that bridge when I get there I suppose.

Infidelity – the gift that keeps on giving.

Aletheia
Aletheia
7 years ago
Reply to  Blindside

I simply said “your dad and I are getting a divorce.” When DD12 asked why, I said, “your dad has a girlfriend and that’s not OK when you are married.”

I also told her that “I read that kids sometimes blame themselves for parent’s divorce. Is there any part of this that sounds like it was your fault?” She said, “no” and I said, “good because there is nothing you have done or could have done to make this different. I don’t feel like it is my fault either.”

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  Blindside

Blindside–I agree with KarenE. If your children find out the truth about the divorce from others, it will upset their sense of stability much more than if they hear it from your mouth. Just the facts, but tell them.

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Blindside
Think about what you said. You have not told them anything because you don’t know what to say. They may find out indirectly and half truths from others and you are sticking to cheater narrative.
For their sake I think you will find it empowering to own the choices you make from now on. Fear of our cheaters can manifest in so many ways and it’s how they control us and situations. We don’t want to make them angry, we don’t want to make situations even worse, we don’t want to light the blue touchpaper as it were.
I would suggest now is the time you decide who you are and how you want this to go.
Tell them in an age appropriate way what has happened and what is going to happen next.
I’m guessing you are afraid she will cut off your access to them and mess with their minds but she will probably do that anyway. As it says upthread they will fill an information vacuum with their lies.
Do what your children need you to do. Everyone here will support you.
She has made unilateral decisions for her benefit. You can make unilateral decisions for your children’s wellbeing. Start with them as you mean to go on. IMO.
You also need to start putting down a few markers for her. And tell others the truth.
Why wait to cross that bridge? Build your own fucking bridge and cross that and maybe put a few bear traps on it.

Blindside
Blindside
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

You guys are right. It’s just like getting up the energy/nerve to divorce – it’s just something that needs and has to be done. God I hate all of this.

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  Blindside

Blindside
I’m with you on the hating all of it. It’s like I’m on some nightmare vertical sheer wall of a learning curve! Takes all my energy to just do normal stuff, having to file for divorce, sort out financials, renegotiate old patterns of thinking and acting is just exhausting.
Maybe though, your deciding to tell the children at a time and place and in a way of your choosing might help with your building a strategy for the way things now need to be for you own well being.
Sounds like she is used to controlling the narrative and everything else. But you have superpowers remember – you are sane, truthful, kind, loving, trustworthy, honest, empathic and not a dysfunctional lying character disordered cheat. Surely it’s time you stand up to your full height and take pride in who you are. Cheaters so often make us forget our mightyness and that’s why CL reminds us to go look for it (mine was down behind the sofa cushions…).
It’s your ball game now. You have the moral high ground (might I suggest a flag). Be mighty.

OutWest
OutWest
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Capricorn,

I remember that cliff. You have it. Your posts are well thought out. You are well balanced. Hold tight. Plan your first adventure.

neverwouldhaveimagined
neverwouldhaveimagined
7 years ago
Reply to  Blindside

Yes, the teens find out from others. Mine had a friend who saw her dad out with OW before I knew. I am so glad I told my teens the absolute truth. That way, they weren’t shocked when someone said something. They were prepared because they knew the truth.

KarenE
KarenE
7 years ago
Reply to  Blindside

Blindside, don’t let your kids find this out from gossip or teasing from other kids. That would blindside them! Let them hear this hard truth from someone who loves them and wants to help them – you! Talk to them about the fact that there may be gossip, and figure out together how they can handle that. Your kids need at least one parent who has their backs. Don’t wait for ‘we discuss it with them first’ – there IS NO MORE WE. As a matter of fact, there hasn’t been for a long, long time. If your (soon to be ex?) wife were that interested in the kids’ well-being, she wouldn’t have been fucking around, right?

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
7 years ago
Reply to  KarenE

Again, KarenE is spot on. And since “your father and I weren’t happy” is at best a massive lie of omission, epic proportions department, you need to get your narrative out there. “It’s partly true that I wasn’t happy, but that is because your mom was dating other people. Married people aren’t supposed to do that. So we are getting a divorce. I will answer your questions, if you have any, about what happens in divorce and how we will make sure you are OK.”

FromChumpToChamp
FromChumpToChamp
7 years ago

Sam, my husband did almost the exact same thing but about 24 hours after I found out about the tip of the iceberg of the affair (probably plural) he told the kids, 7 and 8, that he couldn’t live in the house because mommy wouldn’t let him stay because he ‘kissed a girl.’ I was furious. At the time I wouldn’t have told them, I didn’t want their innocence destroyed. After 2 false reconciliation attempts, loads of emotional abuse and isolation, a vacation with his ho-friend, extreme denial from me I finally decided I deserved better, and so do you Sam. Raise your children with dignity and morals, set that example. Teach them their are consequences for atrocious behavior. My priest and therapist said my children should understand that dad made bad choices and hurt people. Neither subscribed to that fluff that we shouldn’t tell the kids because they are part Dad and therefore will think they are part bad. They aren’t that part. They may have his eyes but it’s their choice to grown up to be a lying, stealing, selfish adulterer. Keeping the lie only protects, enables and normalizes the abuse of affairs. The truth will set you free. Once you all know you can move forward, you can grieve , you will let go of the lie of the person you used to love and you will be able to love someone more deserving like yourself, your children, your friends and maybe a new great guy one day.

insistonhonesty
insistonhonesty
7 years ago

It’s very simple.

“Dad has had a girlfriend – x-name at work – for at least x-long. I found out from e-mails between them and then he admitted when I confronted him about it. He said it was over, once I found out, and said he’d be working on our marriage in counseling with me. That was also a lie; he never stopped seeing her or sleeping with her. This is why I’ll be divorcing him- I cannot be married to someone who lies to me like this.”

There is absolutely no need to tell the children together and definitely no need to agree on what to tell them. They get the truth, in black and white.

heissobroken
heissobroken
7 years ago

Yep – love this ?

violet
violet
7 years ago

My X was very publicly outed so there was no way he could lie to our kids. I am sure he would have lied about what he did, after all, he had lied to me through out the affair. His own conduct prevented that from happening. Cheaters lie, it’s what they do, but we have no obligation to help them deceive their own flesh and blood. After all, the cheating affects the kids, too. Often, their whole world is torn apart and they have the right to know why. If we want honesty from our children, they should be able to expect it from us.

heissobroken
heissobroken
7 years ago
Reply to  violet

Absolutely bang on – I wish there was a like button!!!!

SolteraOtraVez
SolteraOtraVez
7 years ago

“He was a good father to them.” No he wasn’t! When you cheat, you cheat on your spouse AND kids. You can’t be a good parent and also be a cheater. A lot of us want to separate these out, but you can’t. He sucks. My ex also believes the exact same narrative: I was so mean, he had to cheat. It’s all bullshit.

heissobroken
heissobroken
7 years ago
Reply to  SolteraOtraVez

Right???? It amazes me what these assholes truly believe – must come from a cheaters manual that us chumps aren’t provided – JK nevermind I wouldn’t actually read the manual anyways because I am not disordered and morally intact – when they cheat their WHOLE family suffers and anyone who says otherwise needs a swift kick in the ass and to be shown the door.

coolbreeze
coolbreeze
7 years ago
Reply to  SolteraOtraVez

This! I keep telling myself what a “good father” my husband is, but that isn’t true. A good father cares about his wife, the children’s mother, and wants the best for her – because that helps the children. The emotional stress and turmoil I have been going through has taken a lot of energy from me, drained me to the point where I don’t have what I need for the children who need both of us very much. They are all tweens – part of the most important times of their development.
A good father wouldn’t put a good mother through this.

Thank you for that reminder.

Chump Change
Chump Change
7 years ago
Reply to  SolteraOtraVez

My sons both said “dad cheated on you he didn’t cheat on us” WTF!!!!?????

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
7 years ago
Reply to  Chump Change

That’s callous and entitled talk, there.

Chump Change
Chump Change
7 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

Damn. You’re right.

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  Chump Change

Same-sex children have it hard. Ask your kids if they like being in a divorced home? Splitting holidays, weekends, summer breaks among two households? No–well, their father put their lives as they knew them at jeopardy, too, and also prioritized the OW over them regarding time, affection, finances, etc. Ergo, he betrayed them as well, and I would tell them so in no uncertain terms.

Hugs, ChumpChange, that sucks.

Chump Change
Chump Change
7 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Yep. You’re right Tempest. It totally sucks. They are great adult sons, now 20 and 29. This has broken their hearts, and I’ve told them way more than I should have. I’ve come to believe that that’s a line their father has told them, l but it cut me to the quick. Then I remind myself that I am the one they have been with on the holidays for these last 3 years. They would be home for a week or 10 days for Christmas, and see their Dad and Schmoopie for a couple of hours at most. My older son just flew me out to New York City in October for a weeklong visit. During that time I overheard him more than once saying emotionally to his longtime love “but I’m not like my father…” when she was worried what he’s been up to on a trip to Las Vegas. We just returned from a two-week Mexico City and Cuba vacation that included my 60th birthday. It was magical. We had an Epic Adventure. I can only imagine what Gaslighter thought of that. I’ll be with them again this weekend at a 30th birthday party for older son’s girlfriend in Santa Barbara. Gaslighter not invited. I’ll have to try not to think about whether he sees his dad or not while he’s in town from NYC. I have a very hard time that my sons haven’t stood up to their father for his lies and gaslighting and lawsuits, but my therapist has told me “You actually expect your sons to stand up to a Psychopath??? You need to lower your expectations, they are being controlled by him. As are you. Remember, he is sicker than you are smart!” Controlled by him? Chilling. Apparently the Psychopath is always in control. What a sickening and scary feeling, but he’s controlling the narrative as best he can as in “I was unfaithful to your mother, but not to you.” I have to somehow trust that in time my sons will see who he really is. In some ways I know that they know. I just wish they would tell him off and cut them off ! I get jealous when I hear other kids cut the cheater parent out of their lives for good. Gotta let that go somehow.

GetMeFree
GetMeFree
7 years ago
Reply to  Chump Change

My guess is that their father said those exact words to them. My STBX has texted my kids telling them that “he left their mother, not them”. And he has done it more than once.

If they are spending their holidays with you and only seeing their dad for a couple of hours, deep down, they know how important they are to him. Give it time.

Peakyblinders
Peakyblinders
7 years ago
Reply to  SolteraOtraVez

You’re a shitty parent if you cheat on your spouse. You know that once your spouse finds out (eventually) the relationship will end. That means the intact family is also ending. What a-hole would do that to their own children?! A selfish, slimy low-down man/woman pod with no feeling. And women do that, they are even worse, IMO.

Stephanie
Stephanie
7 years ago
Reply to  Peakyblinders

A good parent doesn’t abuse the father/mother of her/his kids. It hurts the kids when one parent is being abused by the other.

In my case it spilled into contempt for me, which at least one of my kids was learning from his father prior to Dday. My relationship improved dramatically with my kids when The Coward stepped off. And it’s no wonder why. Mom is mighty. Dad is a flaming coward.

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  SolteraOtraVez

My daughter’s therapist told her, “He betrayed you, too.”

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
7 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Now that’s a therapist who knows what’s up.

Peakyblinders
Peakyblinders
7 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Absolutely Right.

GetMeFree
GetMeFree
7 years ago

3 years ago my husband cheated. He told me it was a one night stand. We decided to see if we could salvage things and went through an intense marriage program. We did not tell the kids. They were 10 and 12.

Fast forward 9 months and he had a paternity suit filed against him. She had moved away and he decided not to be part of the child’s life. I convinced myself that whether there was a child or not, didn’t change the sin. And if I had been willing to forgive and stay in the marriage, then that shouldn’t change. Plus, we had worked really hard to get back to things being “good” again. We decided not to tell the kids since this child would not be part of their dad’s life.

18 months later, he started to revert to past behaviors…going out after work, not answering his phone when I called. All of this starting changing again about 2 weeks before I found out I was pregnant (sooo not planned and should not have been possible). By the time I was 6 months pregnant, things were really bad and he walked out. 1 month after our daughter was born, I found out he had been involved with someone 21 years younger. There would be no reconciliation. Kids were 12 and 14. They were told this time that dad was involved with someone else.

As most chumps know, his story of the one night stand years earlier was a lie along with everything he said during reconciliation. The kids still do not know though about the first time or the child. They need to know. Their counselor thinks that it should come from me since they still trust me (and not their dad). However, she recommends waiting until after the divorce is finalized as she said he could use it against me (for parental alienation accusations).

My questions are:
1. Should I wait?
2. How do I tell them? I fear they will be angry with me (for keeping it from them and for staying with their dad).
3. What if they refuse to speak to their dad again (given how little they want to do with him now, this is a possibility)?
4. Should I rather try to force their dad to tell them?
5. How do I help them cope with this news?

GetMeFree
GetMeFree
7 years ago
Reply to  GetMeFree

Thank you all. This is so hard to know the right way to do this. Especially when I really don’t want to do this. And when this was not my doing.

KB22
KB22
7 years ago
Reply to  GetMeFree

Don’t wait. I would not trust their Dad to tell them the truth.I know this is not always popular but I am all for telling the kids, in a calm manner, and tell them this behavior is not to be tolerated by you or by them. So what if they decide to not want to be around their father. I think it is healthy being pissed off rather than thinking it is ok to put up crap and have a father who short changes the family he is supposed to love & support. No one should accept scraps. It is your job to lead by example. Yes they’ll be upset, but at least they have a mother that is caring, stable and has their best interests at heart. They’ll survive.

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  GetMeFree

GetMeFree–the cheater will never tell the full truth, and your counselor is correct–they deserve to hear it from you. If possible, tell them right before (or during) a counseling session to make sure they have a professional to process it with.

Give them the full, but condensed story from 3 years ago. Let the kids ask questions; they will only ask questions they are ready to hear the answers to (which may mean letting children ask questions of you one-on-one; what one child is ready to hear may not be great for another child to hear yet).

Sticking to the facts should not permit your X to win a parental alienation case, and I think it is hazardous to wait until after the divorce is final to tell them. If they are going to be angry at you, they will be even angrier if you wait 6, 9, 12 months until anything is legal.

(And if anyone does face a parental alienation suit for merely telling the truth, I can help you get an official letter from a psychologist advocating the merits of telling the children the real reason for our divorce. Just email me: tempest.ariel2014@gmail.com)

GetMeFree
GetMeFree
7 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Tempest-
Do I need to tell STBX that I am going to tell them?

If not, do I need to tell him afterwards?

I want it over with but the thought of laying this on them makes me want to throw up.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
7 years ago
Reply to  GetMeFree

GMF, let me second Tempest’s points. You don’t owe him any explanation. Let him navigate his relationship with the kids. If he comes to you complaining that you revealed the “love child,” tell him it’s better they learn it from you. Just remember not to burden the kids with your emotions. “Just the facts, m’am,” as they used to say on the old TV show “Dragnet.”

I would caution that if telling the truth now would impact divorce settlement for you in a negative way, I would wait. You can always tell the kids there are aspects of the story you can’t discuss because of the legal issues until after the divorce. Use your judgment on this. But in general, it’s always bad to keep toxic secrets in a family.

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  GetMeFree

No, you don’t owe STBX anything. Tell the kids, and let him navigate his relationship with them. (hint–he’ll probably fuck it up, but that’s not your responsibility)

Mehphista
Mehphista
7 years ago
Reply to  GetMeFree

GMF, I made Cheater tell Kiddo, with me in the room. I do not think you owe your ex ANYthing, least of all letting him know that you are going to stop gaslighting your kids. Yea, it sucks. But think of it as an inoculation against them going into abusive relationships.

And even after they are exposed, cheaters try to mitigate. Mine lied about the duration of the affair to ‘protect’ Kiddo. She found out (in the worst way, old sexts and texts on a phone he loaned her) that her dad hadn’t just been fucking her auntie, he had been since she was eight, not twelve. It hasn’t made any difference to the results-Kiddo and I moving across the world, but it sure as hell made a difference to Kiddo in how she deals with him (deadbeat) as regards financing college.

This is the start of a very hard slog for you-CL’s asvice and Tempest’s is right on the money. Everyone deserves the truth. The truth doesn’t suck, he does.

hugs,
Meh

louisvilleflower
louisvilleflower
7 years ago
Reply to  GetMeFree

Good questions GetMeFree! (I am having similar issues. See below.)
No way on forcing their dad to tell them. After DDay 2, STBX and I met with marriage counselor to discuss telling the kids we were separating. She recommended we do it in steps. First tell them about separation, then later talk about divorce. I forced STBX to tell them because I had done all of the emotional work of raising the kids their entire lives… I figured that he had blown up our world and he needed to deal with some of the fallout. Instead of sticking to the plan, he brutally told the kids we were divorcing, causing hysteria. He was unapologetic and said he wasn’t going to lie to them. Ha! He’d been lying to us for years, and he certainly didn’t tell them the whole truth.
You need to control the disclosure.

louisvilleflower
louisvilleflower
7 years ago

Wow, I need this post. This is something I have struggled with recently.
I know we all have different stories here. I have some circumstances that make this difficult and welcome any advice I can get from CN.
All 3 of my kids, ages 15, 13 and almost 11, are on the autism spectrum. My oldest child has cognitive delays as part of her autism, and she is emotionally immature.
After DDay 2, (2+ years ago) I abruptly kicked FuckFace out, my kids took it hard. In hindsight, I offered them no real explanation as to why (I was a wreck). My youngest ended up being briefly hospitalized for suicidal ideation. My middle kid came to hate his father – physically attacked him, threatened to harm him – it was a close thing that he wasn’t hospitalized as well.
I tried wreckconciliation after the hospitalization. STBX refused to go to counseling – said he needed to work on himself (ha!). We floundered along for a while until I found his online dating profile and correspondence. I told him to leave but he refused. He moved into the basement and lived there for 9 months. We told the kids that we had tried to work things out but couldn’t and were divorcing. After he moved I allowed him to visit the kids in the house. Changes in routine and environment are particularly hard for kids with autism. This went on for a while with STBX continually disrespecting my boundaries, culminating in arguments (sadly, in front of kids). When STBX became aggressive about me enforcing boundaries, I changed the locks and discontinued visits here.
He is out of the house, kids are doing pretty well. Their time with him is sporadic. But things are a lot more peaceful.
I have never told the kids about the cheating. All 3 kids are in therapy (for various issues connected to autism, and for help dealing with the divorce).
I am afraid to tell them. I feel like things are relatively stable for them right now, and I am scared (for them and myself) to jeopardize that. I don’t know how to bring it up.
I know that STBX is all about managing his image. I facilitated it my whole marriage. I am also terrified of letting him control the narrative. Even though he spends much less time with them, he is able to craft that time so they only do fun stuff. He (and his lawyer) have already accused me of trying to alienate the kids because I don’t allow him to visit the kids here and I don’t force them to go with him. I certainly don’t want to give them ammunition.
Help…

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago

LouisvilleFlower
I have no insight to offer as I have no experience here but I do know a bit about you from what you have posted. I feel very strongly that you can trust yourself to make the right choices when it comes to doing what is best for your children. There is no one who is better placed to make the important calls than you. Trust yourself and don’t worry. They have you, they will always be loved, safe and valued.

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago

Louisvilleflower–I think telling the kids is trickier when they have pre-existing conditions that might hamper their ability to fully make sense of the divorce or infidelity.

Tell each child, separately, that you are willing to answer any questions they have about the divorce. Kids will typically only ask what they are prepared to hear. Give them a bare bones answer to any question, then see if they request more details. One of your children may choose to find out more, another may prefer to not know anything (but may ask questions much later, after the divorce is final). Hugs!

Free Vixen
Free Vixen
7 years ago

It sounds like you’ve really been through the wringer. I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through. I don’t think anyone can fully relate to raising kids on the autism spectrum unless they’ve done it themselves, so I can only give advice from my own perspective. My son has sensory processing disorder, and while he is not on the autism spectrum, it’s a characteristic shared by many children on the spectrum. His brain circuitry gets scrambled and overwhelmed when there is too much sensory input, and at his current age (5) that includes emotional input. (Luckily he’ll outgrow it with occupational therapy.) When my son asked why his daddy doesn’t live with us, I worked really hard to keep emotion out of my response. It was a simple explanation of facts. Rules are easier for kids on the spectrum to understand than emotions (from my limited knowledge), so I would explain how he broke the rules rather than how he hurt you. Once they’ve wrapped their head around that, you can take your time building up to the more challenging and complex nuances of the pain it caused, if you ever choose to go there.

Good luck!!

Elisa99
Elisa99
7 years ago

” He has informed me he was unhappy for 10 years.”

10 years, exactly! How many time have we heard this one? And they all suffered in silence.

KB22
KB22
7 years ago
Reply to  Elisa99

Yeah, ten years seems to be the number that they were all miserable, but funny enough did not even consider leaving till you know, now. Not because some new side dish is waiting in the wings.

Marked711
Marked711
7 years ago
Reply to  KB22

Oh yes. It’s in their manual. My xw said exactly that, “I’ve been unhappy for the last 10 years”. My only reply was “why didn’t you ever tell me”? They’re all the same.

Champ
Champ
7 years ago
Reply to  KB22

It’s because they can only count to 10.

Peakyblinders
Peakyblinders
7 years ago
Reply to  Elisa99

Hysterical! Isn’t that the best! It’s my FAVORITE! Poor babies….

Suffered in silence my foot! They got right out there and started screwing around! Singing in the shower and prepping and primping themselves for their dates with FB’s. LOTS of suffering…

Champ
Champ
7 years ago
Reply to  Elisa99

Ah, yes!!! Happy Anniversary to them … they managed to survive 10 years with us … how brave of them … what martyrs. In tears, I asked mine, “Won’t you miss me?” and he said, “I wouldn’t have missed you 10 years ago.” We had been together 12.

Peakyblinders
Peakyblinders
7 years ago
Reply to  Champ

I agree with Free Vixen. I would be seeing RED

Champ
Champ
7 years ago
Reply to  Peakyblinders

I have six pages of cruel shit like that, before and after D-Day. Why did I stay? Because he said he loved me. He gave me pretty cards. Geez, I gave him cards, and not one sentiment in my cards to him was anything I didn’t agree with … so why wouldn’t he be the same way? Surely he must just be lost …

Like with an elderly dog who’s dying, I kept trying different things to keep him alive. Eventually you have to give up.

Today is the first day I’ve actually felt anger towards him in 3 years because of the lies and shit he’s said … it’s Tuesday. MEH = My Eternal Happiness … I hope.

Blown Away
Blown Away
7 years ago
Reply to  Champ

On Dday I was crying and I said “We should NEVER have gotten married…too young, too different!” He was attempting to comfort me and said” Blown Away, there were a few good years!” We were married 46 years and together 50!!! I had no idea decades were spent in a miserable marriage. The curtain was raised on his secret decades long second life as a serial cheater. I STILL cannot wrap my head around this three years later.

Champ
Champ
7 years ago
Reply to  Blown Away

What a stupid thing to say … I’m sure the inflection in their voice is on purpose. I said, “What about all those birthdays I gave you [boy, I was desperate, wasn’t I], what about that special one?” and he said, “Well, I liked THAT one” as if out of all of them, there was at least maybe one that met his approval. I told him I spent $50 on a fixing-your-marriage book, and he said, “Well, at least I’m worth THAT much.”

You can’t even begin to wrap your head around it … I was frustrated one day, maybe a year prior to D-day, and I said, “Did you want to break up? Is that what you want?” because he was being impossible. He said “Nooooooooo.” Well, this can mean, no he doesn’t, no he doesn’t want to but he wants me to break up with him so I’ll take the blame, or no, not yet, because he hasn’t lined up someone else. In my case, it was the latter two. And then it dawned on me … he had told me his first wife wanted to break up, and had suggested it, and so they did, and that she didn’t want him. Sounded believable at the time, and my narc picker wasn’t working. Years later, nope … she had probably said in frustration to him, “Do you want to break up?” and he took that as his ticket out of there. Also, I found out from one of his kids that his wife did want him back, and did the pick-me dance.

There are tons of things I’m comparing about us to his original story about his first wife, and I also have the benefit (?) of comparing me to the next person … he bought her the same gifts he bought me, he did the same things with her … he fits the pattern. He’s the victim because he’s just trying to find true love, and this time he’s going to make it work, so he told me … yet another cruel thing to say to someone you’ve devastated. I’m pretty sure when he picked me, he was thinking he’d try me out, and somehow the time just flew, and he stuck with me because it would be too hard to break up with me (as he found out … I was devastated). THAT IS LYING, ERRORS OF OMISSION, EVERYTHING IS WRONG ABOUT THAT … and when I say that, I get the blank stare from him … hence, finally no contact, which I should have done on D-Day.

Sorry to go on. It sucks.

Free Vixen
Free Vixen
7 years ago
Reply to  Champ

What a horribly cruel thing to say.

blondebarrister
blondebarrister
7 years ago

I told my 6 year old in an age appropriate way. I’m not sorry. It doesn’t seem to have changed her relationship with her father in any way that I can tell. I do hope that she is careful with trusting him in the future – he continues to lie to both her and me (shocking, I know). I have ever so slowly started to come around to accepting that this is not the person I knew or thought I married and there is nothing I can do to make him be a better person. He has to live with himself and look himself in the mirror everyday with the knowledge of what he did. He doesn’t seem to care but that’s on him, not me. I’m doing my best to accept and live my own life. I’ll never be the same person I was, and my daughter will never be the same person she was – and for that I will never forgive him. But hopefully, we can grow and have a terrific life.

StrawberryJellyfish
StrawberryJellyfish
7 years ago

I told my young daughter (I think it was right around her 5th birthday) when she asked why we were divorced. I told her “when two people are married they make a promise to each other and they decide certain rules that they promise to follow. They do that at their wedding. What happened was that your dad wasn’t following the married rules and broke the special married promise so we had to get divorced.” She seemed satisfied with that answer. Her dad is already married to OW. She asks me sometimes if dad is going to follow the married rules with her or get divorced. I said I wasn’t sure, that was his choice. She seems to think they will get divorced.

beenchumped
beenchumped
7 years ago

I wish I had more time to elaborate…. I had a 17 YO and 14 YO when I learned that my fake husband of 20 years was a serial cheater who’d had affairs since we met. TELL YOUR KIDS! My X threw a fit not wanting them to know. BS; it was just him protecting his image. Do NOT lie to your kids… their father is already a liar, they must know they can get truth somewhere and they must have a good example that truth is the right thing! My therapist as well as my kids’ therapists (3 in total) assured me this is the right thing to do with teenagers. I’m so sorry for you! I get so sick of hearing these stories– why is this awful behavior so damn common?!

Marked711
Marked711
7 years ago
Reply to  beenchumped

Because there’s no longer any punishment for it. 🙁

Renee
Renee
7 years ago
Reply to  Marked711

^This.

Dixie Chump
Dixie Chump
7 years ago

My child does not want to know. He knows the very basic truth that dad was spending time with other women, but he does not really understand what that means nor is he emotionally developed enough to understand the pain that ex caused. He certainly has no knowledge that his dad has a boyfriend … someone child has met and vacationed with, sadly.

It is my belief that children do not want to hear the explanation of what happened much more than once. They love the other parent and do not want to hear bad things about that person even if they empathize with you. So I am attempting to wait until my child is old enough to understand what I tell him. Ideally, he will have been in love with someone so that he can comprehend how it might have felt to be lied to all those years. In the meantime, ex is no doubt painting his own narrative. All I can do is wait until I think my child is capable of understanding the truth. In the meantime, I do my best to provide loving and solid parenting and to keep our relationship strong enough to withstand the upcoming difficult communications.

If my child asks a question, I have never ever lied to him.

Eilonwy
Eilonwy
7 years ago
Reply to  Dixie Chump

I agree that kids often do not want to know much. I’ve initiated some legal shifts in the custody agreement recently, and when I offered to explain what had happened and why, the kids said flat out, “We don’t want to hear about it.” I think they understand that the shift was necessary and at the same time they resent their father for making the shift necessary and resent me for following up on the necessity. From their perspective, every bit of the situation is terrible. Learning about the shitty things a parent did or is doing is so hard for kids who want to enjoy–even idolize–a parent.

This doesn’t mean we don’t tell them the truth, but it does mean we have to keep fighting the injustice of the fact that they will adopt cognitive strategies that are hurtful to us: kids will compartmentalize (enjoy each parent when with that parent); kids will behave strategically and milk each parent for whatever that parent provides (monetary excess from one and emotional support from the other, etc.); kids will often align by gender with a parent as they struggle with puberty.

The only healthy responses I know are to initiate discussion about the other parent as little as possible. Be noncommittal about reports on the other parent. And the great advice others have mentioned–set your own boundaries. Once a child is about 10, you can ask a kid not to talk much about the other parent. One caveat–if you have any reasonable fear that your child might be physically endangered by the other parent or the company that parent keeps, you need to suck up the pain and encourage chatter (this could be drunk driving, drugs in the home, a “friend” with a history of pedophilia, etc.) Many adulterers would never physically endanger their kids, but the flaming narcissists and addicts of various sorts are just another story.

My own sense is that many kids won’t really see the whole picture until their mid-twenties or until they are themselves parents. It gets better, but it doesn’t get easy as a parent.

UXworld
UXworld
7 years ago
Reply to  Dixie Chump

YES, Dixie. Mine are 14 and 13 and both have indicated that they don’t want to know the specifics, at least at this point. What I told them at the time of the blow-up was: “Mum has decided that she wants to lead a certain type of life, and she cannot have that kind of life and be married to me at the same time. So yes, we will be getting divorced.” That seemed to satisfy them (but not me, of course).

I had a discussion with a female friend of the family who divorced a drug-addicted ex-cop when her son was 6 years old (the cop ended up dying of an overdose two years later). She told me that her son, now in college, was somewhat resentful that she never told him “the truth” of what happened with his father, though he says he understood why she didn’t. Her words to me were: “You always want you child to know that you will be honest with them. It’s tricky with something as devastating as this, but they need to have confidence that you won’t bullshit them on matters big or small.”

So agreeing with that sentiment, and recognizing and respecting my daughters’ stated or implied needs about their parents, this is what I plan on saying to them once the divorce is finalized:

“I haven’t been able to say this to you until now because of legal issues having to do with our lawyers and the courts as we worked to get this settled. But here’s what I want you to know, and you can just leave it for now and ask any questions later, or you can ask me questions now if you like.

I told you when this started that Mum wanted to lead a certain type of life that meant she couldn’t be married to me. The reason it got to the point of divorce is that Mum started doing things behind my back with people I didn’t know, and whenever I confronted her about it, she lied. That’s what’s known as ‘deliberate deception’ and it’s the worst kind of thing you can do to any person, but especially someone to whom you’ve made the most important kind of promises about being honest.

You girls are getting to an age where you’re going to start having a lot of relationships with others — both boys and girls — and you need to understand how important this is. Not only do I expect you to act with honesty and decency with others, but you need to demand it in the people you choose to have in your life. If you ever become close to someone who isn’t honest with you, you need to seriously consider whether you can afford to have that person in your life.”

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  UXworld

UX
This is so amazing. You make me feel terrible!! As I said upthread when I found out I just went a bit (well a lot) crazy and although I don’t remember too clearly what happened I know that my boys (10 and 16) at the time heard exactly what had happened and what we were arguing about. They saw me just implode.
I read posts here and it’s so polite and should I / shouldn’t I tell and how to phrase it perfectly for their ages and shall we just sit down for tea while we just iron out this wrinkle. I just feel am I the only one who just lost it and could not keep my shit together! I was not able to function well enough to even think about my own kids and what they were hearing. I was so far gone with shock and horror.
The two eldest decided on NC for themselves and my now 11 year old is pretty much NC too. As my cheat has worked and is working abroad mostly their relationships were not close anyway. We thought they were but that’s another post.

Owlbaby
Owlbaby
6 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Cap, I did the exact same thing, and you know what? I don’t feel bad about it. My kids saw authentic grief and heart wrenching pain, and they understood that I was mourning…for myself, for them, for our family. They saw ONE of their parents demonstrate that the intentional destruction of a family by someone who had a fiduciary duty to protect that family is outright treachery, and it also showed them that our family truly is precious, not something to be discarded so callously. Our four were all teens at the time, and they also have gone mostly NC. Chin up, Capricorn. You were able to be authentically human in the midst of the hell he unleashed…and his shallow, sociopath self is just jealous since he has no sense of real humanity!

Gail
Gail
6 years ago
Reply to  Owlbaby

When I exposed his mistress that’s when things got scary and deadly for me! It ruined his plans on introducing her as a new GF after the divorce! You would have thought I unleashed the devil! My sons confronted him and he lied to both.. that’s when they realized that he betrayed them too! So sad to think a father or husband could be sooo evil to a family he created!

Owlbaby
Owlbaby
6 years ago
Reply to  Gail

Same here, Gail! I have become enemy number 1 because I “ruined everything” by telling the kids, which he says I “had no right to do.” I told him, if he can unilaterally decide to decimate our family, then I could unilaterally decide to tell them how and why. Not details, of course, but the basics. He had planned on a quickie divorce and then introducing her a few months down the road, with no one being the wiser. She was our mutual “friend” (a Christian life coach, no less). Now Asshat is so pissed because our kids will never have anything to do with her, and have told him he is not welcome at their weddings, since he has no respect for marriage and commitment. Like you, my Asshat will always blame me for “poisoning” them against him. Stay strong, Gail! These disordered fucks are just downright allergic to truth, poor things 😉

Special snowflake ha!
Special snowflake ha!
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Oh no, you are not the only one who lost their shit. Raise hand here! I screamed at my Stbx, that he could go fuck his whore and drop dead. My boys heard it all. However, only the youngest is still smoking the hopium pipe with his dad.

Keep in mind that my ex was always lecturing them on what a man should be i.e. Honest, truthful, faithful, committed, blah, blah, blah. Always made them (and me) feel like we never quite measured up. So, when the rubber hit the road, the two oldest kids realized how full of complete shit their dad is. That his words didn’t match his actions. They are pretty much no contact. The youngest, well, time will tell whether he can maintain a relationship with his dad. It’s all great now with Disney dad, but once the divorce is final and OW and her kids are in the picture full time? Who knows.

I do know that my oldest two were pissed that I even tried to wreckoncile. Very clear cut morals with them. You cheat, you are out. So, they have my back and I couldn’t have made it this far without them making me laugh, hugging me when I was down and just being great sons.

Your kids will be ok with the truth, they will be ok having seen you lose it. They will take that and realize that it’s not ok to intentionally hurt someone you promised to love, honor and cherish. Be strong.

kiwichump
kiwichump
7 years ago

Ha! The traitor was always lecturing everybody too! The importance of a moral compass, of an internal locus of control, blah, blah. Beware of a sociopath who has studied psychology at teacher’s college and been through many counsellors and psychotherapists…and writes letters to the editor in the local paper about a $2.40 reimbursement to local councillors for their costs, which they were entitled too, and describes it as a corruption of democracy, then grandstands because he refused to take his $2.40. What a fucking sacrifice…All ammunition to them to gaslight everyone.

kiwichump
kiwichump
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Nothing wrong with an emotional reaction to an awful betrayal. You are human, caring and hurt. Kids should understand that, they expect to be allowed to cry and wail when they are hurt, day in, day out. They have to learn that as adults, we are also allowed to express unbearable pain and to expect to be comforted by those we love and who are supposed to love us. They should expect to be allowed to express their feelings and to be supported when they are grown up too. This is a valuable lesson for them, Capricorn.
I lost it too, curled into a ball crying and wailing, and that’s been turned into parental alienation by the traitor and his whore. Not that I was a mass of pain and despair who couldn’t keep it in, that I was in deep distress and attacked by the love of my life. Well, they have now taught their kid that’s it’s ok to be nasty to the people who have cared for you for a decade, to be cruel and to be dishonest. One day it will come back to bite them, he will be cruel to them.

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Capricorn–let yourself off the hook. Finding out about infidelity makes you crazy, and you were left alone to sort it out. It doesn’t hurt for children to see how painful this experience has been for you. My 15 year old is NC with her father, and was in the house to see me break down time after time because yet one more piece of information about the X rolled out–a second affair, then an actual case of sexual harassment (where he drummed a student out of the program when she wouldn’t sleep with him), then the Ashley Madison hack (his email was in it), then finding out his current GF was also an AP.

She balked at hearing details, and would even get mad if she heard more than she wanted, but has emerged fairly strong. Mainly, she acknowledges that I went through hell, but wants me to acknowledge that she lost a lot in supporting me, too.

Chump Change
Chump Change
7 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Dear Cap, I’ve lost it with my sons more than once. They’ll say something that triggers me or something will happen and I just say what I need to say. I think it backfires sometimes and makes them react in defense of their father even though they both have told me on separate occasions that they’ve lost all respect for him. But they still love him because he’s their dad. I doubt their dad ever brings up anything real or emotional, it’s all superficial b.s. I just do my best not to talk about him, but sometimes things come up and I will react, especially after having some good wine. I learned that Schmoopie was telling my son and his girlfriend the timeline of their love story. It did not add up, surprise surprise. But no one spoke up. That made me very hurt and angry. I wish I was much stronger and that it didn’t bother me like it does. What is so frustrating to me is as a Psychopath he can deal with all of the swirling drama, trauma and endless legal issues he has caused without a care. He has no fear. He doesn’t give a shit about anything but himself and what he wants in the moment. When I see communications from attorneys, especially ones that he’s not paying that are coming after him (us?) it terrifies me. I wonder how he can keep all these plates spinning and keep Schmoopie in the dark thinking he’s a Prince Charming… then I remind myself he’s had a lot of practice – it took me 38 years to see who he really was and I’m still reeling from the discovery.

UXworld
UXworld
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

As my best friend 4a.m. 4ever told me in a fit of crisis: “Don’t ever apologize for having a human reaction to a horrifically shitty situation.”

Give yourself a break, Cappy — believe me, it took every bit of strength and restraint I had to pull it off, and I spent a lot of time wishing I’d done what you did.

Dixie Chump
Dixie Chump
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Cappy, when I found my ex around behind the garage smoking pot once again, I waited until we were back in the kitchen with child in the next room. THEN I let him have it. I did this intentionally because I was sick and tired of keeping his various addictions secret. If he didn’t want his child viewing him as a drug abuser, then he needed to stop abusing drugs. I don’t think we always need to keep their secrets for them. Don’t you dare feel bad about reacting honestly. We’ve all been there … our kids learn important things from all of these experiences.

OutWest
OutWest
7 years ago
Reply to  Dixie Chump

Capricorn

I imploded. I just collapsed. I barely managed not to scream and lose my shit. I went no contact and stony in the house, we co-habitated for 10 brutal months. But in public I broke down. Like Dixie, there were some phone conversations that my kids heard little snippets. Then I gradually told them appropriate info. Sometimes too much. It’s better. We’re human. You are strong. You have this.

Free Vixen
Free Vixen
7 years ago

To quote JC, “Lying is not a problem-tool.” Neither is withholding. The problems that came about through lying and withholding cannot be solved by more lying and withholding. I have committed to always telling my son the truth in an age-appropriate manner, and I am so grateful to Chump Lady for providing language that I could use when the question came up. My son is 5 and knows that mommy and daddy don’t live in the same house because daddy broke his promises to mommy. As he grows and asks more in-depth questions, I will answer them openly and honestly. If he was going to stay 5 forever, I would not have told him. I’m providing the truth for the older version of my son, so that he will have a foundation of truth upon which to build his worldview as he grows and develops.

My ex, of course, thinks that I’m a big ol’ meanie for having the audacity to expose him. I expect him to spin the same crap that there were problems in the relationship, he was unhappy for years (SO unhappy, in fact, that he married me mere months before D-day and after 10 years together), and that we’re both good people but weren’t good together (barf). Knowing my son, I suspect that eventually he will be the first to point out the flaws in ex’s logic. Knowing my ex, that will also lead to a troubled relationship between the two. But, as I read somewhere, I am responsible TO the truth, but I am not responsible FOR the truth.

KathleenK
KathleenK
7 years ago

Yes, tell your kids. You know how you felt when you found out you’d been lied to for years? That’s how they feel when they find out. And if you, the sane, honest parent lies to “protect” them, then they have NO ONE who tells them the truth. They need to know that truth is so important and we all need to be truthful. They need to know if they lie, they hurt people. Truth isn’t poison. They need to see your good character coming down on the side of truth. Always.

My kids are now 17 and 20 and have known the truth for 2 1/2 years. And yes it was a horrible bitter realization for them. My cheater X continues to spin and partial-truth the story to the kids. And he definitely blame shifts it all on to me. He was unhappy for 10 years!
He stayed for the kids! He’s actually the hero here! Yeah, and he begged me to tear up the divorce papers at our last meeting. It’s all about image control and they will lie to anyone and everyone. He would never dream of telling the truth because that’s his private business. I guess that’s how important his family was – not part of his special private business. Please tell them – omit some of the gorier details but make sure they understand the basic facts.

informal
informal
7 years ago

My first instinct when my DS asked why was to point out his abusive anger and neglect. He understood this because he lived it. I wish I also added that he cheated and that is also abuse by exposing and giving me STDs. He saw me crying after I got MORE information to digest and that was when I told him.
It makes me sick that after we left I actually took the kid’s to met him for a couple of meals because he wanted to see them. They would not go without me so I sat there and tried to have a conversation and join them in some way. It was the same old same old. They were sitting with someone who destroyed me and our family with only the partial truth. It was totally awkward, fake, and painful for all of us. I realized I am not responsible for their relationship and I don’t have to micromanage that ever again.
My advice is to tell the the WHOLE truth so healing and education can begin. Yes, educate them on personality disorders and the effect that cheating creates so they don’t have cognitive dissonance to deal with later in life. I’m not saying to “push” a formal education on the subject but be ready to discuss it when it comes up naturally or they have a question. Therapy is also useful so they can have an outlet in a neutral setting. Admittedly, there were times I have been biased.

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