About Affairs

25 Dec

How Do Affairs Affect Children? Part I

In this post I will address how children are effected by their parent’s affairs. In subsequent posts I will discuss the effects on adult children of affairs and offer suggestions for parents involved in affairs on how to best support their children through this difficult time. You may also wish to read about “Children of Affairs”.

Unfortunately, it is frequently true that when caught up in an affair your relationship with your children is altered in the direction of disconnectedness.

In other posts I have talked about the trancelike state of consciousness that one inhabits during an affair. In this altered state links between actions and consequences dissolve; in the euphoric bubble you inhabit you believe you can pursue an illicit relationship and no one will be hurt because you believe that you can control everything and so prevent this from happening. However, this is a grandiose assumption that more and more requires you to lie to, manipulate and avoid intimate contact with your family, sometimes with irrevocable results.

Many couples I see who are trying to work on healing from an affair are devastated not only by how destroyed their own relationship feels, but also by their children’s reactions. Other couples are in complete denial that the children are effected at all; since the children are showing a lot of support and understanding. In fact, children can get pulled in and become the source of comfort for either spouse. They can be manipulated into taking sides and vilifying one or the other parent. In many of these cases, the long-term effects on these children are not considered and the couple may be surprised years down the road with the amount of rage that the child has about what happened and how they were drawn in, and treated as another adult rather than the vulnerable child that they actually were.

There are reactions that occur while the affair is going on, but before it is disclosed, and reactions once an affair has been disclosed.

Before Disclosure

If you think back to when you were a child it is easy to remember how much more you knew about what was going on in your family than the adults around you thought you knew. Children are tuned into the nuances of their parent’s relationships in ways that might be surprising to adults. I have heard more than once about a 2 or 3 year old becoming alarmed when mommy and daddy aren’t talking and actually trying to physically pull them together, while urgently pleading “daddy talk mommy.” Many betrayed partners, when looking back, can recount exactly when the affair started, even though there wasn’t “disclosure” until much later. The change in their partner’s affect; “you were acting like you were on acid” “you just turned off to me, overnight” was obvious, but the meaning could not yet be expressed. Children feel these changes too, and for them they have suddenly lost the parent they always knew, someone else has taken their place and this is very frightening. An anxiety with no name sets in, this anxiety can follow children throughout their entire life time and leave them with not being able to feel safe in their most intimate relationships.

After Disclosure

Catherine Ford Sori has delineated children’s reactions to affairs according to age.

Younger children might not fully understand what has happened, but nevertheless can be traumatized by the change in the emotional climate in the home. There is a sense that something that was whole that was the foundation for everything else has been severely damaged if not destroyed. These younger children cannot put this into words very easily, but instead usually develop regressive problems such as physical illness, clinging, bed-wetting, thumb-sucking, fire setting, temper tantrums or night terrors – in fact, anything that seems an appropriate response to the fear that the family is about to be wiped out. Conversely, the child may start trying to be perfect, completely hiding the intense anxiety that is eating away at them on the inside; if the parents are preoccupied with the fallout from disclosure the child can feel abandoned and no longer loved. When thinking about young children It is important to keep in mind that the younger a child is, the more the family is experienced as if it is the whole world.

Older children may also regress, but they also have more access to language for what they are thinking and feeling. The older a child is, the more capable he or she is of abstract thinking, so worries about what is going to happen to the family and how their lives will change or who they will lose if there is a divorce can surface. They may withdraw or act out in an effort to get their parent’s attention, stop the affair, or prevent a divorce. Shoplifting, vandalizing, getting into fights, running away from home, acting hyper, setting fires, and even threatening suicide are common reactions. “My parents will realize they have to stay together if they see how disturbed I am.”

Preadolescent and adolescent children: The older a child is, the more apt he or she is to get drawn into the conflict surrounding the affair by one or both parents. They may be asked to keep secrets and/or expected to chose sides. Asking a child, overtly or covertly, to take a side is like asking a child to lose that parent. This always has severe consequences. Keeping secrets from one or both parents can create a terrible guilt and sense of self as destructive.

Adolescents continue to develop their capacity for abstract thinking. They are highly aware that they are preparing to enter the adult world and therefore questions of values become paramount. They are extremely sensitive to hypocrisy; when a parent’s actions are exposed as opposed to his or her stated values that parent falls off a pedestal. And when a parent falls off of the pedestal it changes the child’s whole conception of who their family is and thus, their sense of who they are. Identity and moral development are impacted negatively. Frequently, up until this happened, there was an unconscious assumption that one behaves with integrity as a matter of course. Suddenly, the very people who have ingrained this in you have demonstrated this is not the case.

Adolescents are also developing sexually, they are entering their first relationships and struggling with their own experiences of infatuation, falling in love, physical intimacy, boundaries and trust. They look to their parents to demonstrate how all of this is handled. They want their parents to behave as adults, as role models, not as peers. If there is no ideal to strive for, it is very easy to fall into dysfunctional relational patterns that can become entrenched such as promiscuity, dishonesty, insensitivity, self-devaluation and an inability to trust. Furthermore, the experience of real love can become intertwined with the expectation of abandonment. Relationships can feel doomed, what’s the point of trying?

Adolescents can also act out in other ways, such as substance abuse, truancy, apathy, low achievement, or running away. They can become emotionally unstable; anxious, rage-prone, reckless, depressed, and/ or extremely disrespectful. They can engage in self-injurious behaviors to try to get the parent to chose them over the affair. If the parent refuses to end the affair the adolescent can become truly suicidal.

As adolescents move farther out into the world they need to know that their parents will be okay without them, otherwise, they can remain in a regressed guilty state their entire lives. It is natural for parents to feel sad as an adolescent becomes more and more involved in their own lives, with their peers and is around the house less and less. An adolescent who cannot do this because their parents are too injured by the separation will carry guilt about normal experiences of separateness into other relationships and may never feel truly free to develop their own unique life.

100 Responses to “How Do Affairs Affect Children? Part I”

  1. 1
    Anonymous Says:

    I believe that an impact on the child(ren) is inevitable in the case of an affair, but you make it sound like there’s absolutely no hope for your child following a split due to this. I think your article was very negative and should concentrate more on solutions than scaring parents to death!

  2. 2
    admin Says:

    Thank you for your comment. I will soon be writing on ways to help children through this difficult time to minimize their distress.

  3. 3
    Anonymous Says:

    My step-daughter was forced to be invovled in the lies her mother told her father. She is now 16 and seems to be secretive about what she does. I would appreciate more ideas of how to handle the after affects.

  4. 4
    Anonymous Says:

    What if one of the children involved is the child who was conceived as a result of the affair? How is this child going to be protected? In this case, mine, my child is the result of the affair. He has two with his spouse. She does not know, yet everyone else does. How can my daughter be protected as well as her siblings. I am contemplating on how to end the affair now. I do not now how to do this without harming the relationship he is trying to build with our daughter. All of the kids are less than two years old. He is a wonderful father, but obviously a questionable man. I never thought I would be in this position in my life. My exhusband passed away, and our daughter is now 10. I need to be a better person for her. She is one reason why I am suffering with my actions now.

  5. 5
    Anonymous Says:

    My wife had an affair with a married doctor with four children. One of his kids was suicidal in the hospital when they started the affair, another was either in rehab or about to enter it. The affair has precipitated the break up of two families and caused immeasurable pain and suffering to me and my two children. I cannot imagine how this must have effected his kids considering their conditions prior to the disclosure of the affair.
    My six year old daughter is having a difficult time with it all. She is not aware that we will likely lose the family home and she will have to change schools and daycare.
    Adultery is an extremely selfish act, especially when children are involved, as it clearly has life long effects.

  6. 6
    Anonymous Says:

    Please don’t overlook adult children. I am 37 years old, and my father’s repeated affairs have ripped our family apart. He refuses to accept any responsibility for any pain he has caused me. Even though we are adults, we are still their children.

  7. 7
    Anonymous Says:

    I was looking for writings about the effects an affair would have on children, who are forced to keep and cloak the affair from their Father. From my own experience I can tell you…the children get pretty messed up and they stay messed up. Unless they find someone to talk to. I am not a therapist, I lived this personally. It is selfish for a parent to force children to keep secrets. It is cruel. It is controlling. Which that my Mother was. Myself and my siblings all have had lasting lifeling grief from this I am sure.

  8. 8
    Anonymous Says:

    I am currently having an affair and it is the best time for our marriage in a long time. I am much less frusterated with it, and we are happier partners.

  9. 9
    Anonymous Says:

    My father had an affair when I was 13, and the effect it had on me was so profound and huge that now, at 20 years old, I still don’t regard him as my dad. He and my mother patched things up and are together now, and live with my 2 younger siblings while I study away from home, but that period in my life was a rude awakening. My younger siblings were too young to understand, and the way I found out was, the first time, by overhearing a conversation and the second by receiving a text my dad had meant for the woman he was having the affair with. Needless to say, I play men for all they’re worth, feel guilty for moving away to college everyday and have no intention of getting married and ending up miserable like my parents. In my opinion, it affects children more than the adults involved.

  10. 10
    Anonymous Says:

    My dad brought the mom of my best friend into the hotel room that i was staying in when i was in grade 5, i am now grade 11 and have kept it a secret and i feel like im using this as an excuse to make myself feel better when i know i am under achieving. Any suggestions?

  11. 11
    Anonymous Says:

    My father started having an affair with a co-worker, who is now my step-mother, when I was about 1 1/2 years old. My mother did not find out until I was about 6 years old. Now I am 24 years old and in a serious relationship that feels like it is about to end. I am so afraid of being cheated on, and my self-esteem is so low; I just don’t feel like I am good enough for my partner and am fearful that because I am not the prettiest he will find someone better than me. The very thought of him wanting another women more than me, gives me a panic attack. I have actually turned into a maniac, and have realized that he actually prefers women w/ a different hair color then mine. It sounds so silly when I type it, but the feelings are real, especially because my father cheated on my mom with a woman who was a different ethnicity and hair color than my mother. Actually, my boyfriend is slightly more attracted to the type of woman my father had an affair with than girls that look like me. How can I get past this? Because my father cheated on my mother, I feel like I don’t know what love really is. It is not enough for him to tell me that he loves me with all his heart, instead I would prefer to be sexually idolized like the women he really fanatisizes about. Is there any hope for me?

  12. 12
    Anonymous Says:

    I am so glad someone is addressing this. I was 22 when I and my sister discovered that our father was having an affair. It was 2 am in the morning and we heard him in the kitchen saying sweetheart to someone else on the phone. I remember saying “Please God not that, let it be drugs or gambling, but not that”. My mom was clueless until he confessed to all of us a week later. I remember screaming and saying I can’t believe you put your___ in another woman’s ____, you are only supposed to do that to mommy! I was enraged! I can still feel the adreneline rushing. My mom just sat there quietly sobbing then she started yelling. But I was the one going off! I thought my parents were perfect! They told me they were both virgins when they were married, so that was my goal. Unfortunately, 2 years later I lost my virginity. If that hadn’t happened I know I would have remained a virgin. I felt as though my dad had died. He looked so different. My mom kicked him out for a month or two. I even had the locks changed. My hair started falling out. I was scratching my scalp and totally unaware of my scratching until one day I parted my hair and their was a bald spot about the size of a CD. I had to get steroid shots. My dad did not believe that I could be that upset. When my parents reconciled I was not ready to forgive. I became very disrespectful, I just didnt care, I would come home late at night and sometimes the very next day, I just didnt care. When I lost my virginity (23)I felt like crap. The guy told me he would marry me so I gave in. Then he told my that I didn’t bleed when we had intercourse (my first time) and he ended it with me. At that moment, more of my hair fell out. It finally grew back(after more shots) and my family and I are all reconciled. We also went to counseling,all of us. Thank God for counseling!I am even a happily married newlwed of 2 yrs. But those events almost caused me to call of the engagement when I believed my fiance would do the same thing to me that my dad did to my mom. I did not want to tell my dad’s business, but I had to tell my fiance the reason why I would not trust him. It was like a lightbulb went on when I told him. I’m so glad I did.
    Thank you for allowing for these posts and continue to do research on the effects of adultery on children and adult children. People seem to think we are invisible, but it affects us throughout our lives too. If you know of an adulterer who has kids, please make them read my post. Maybe then they will get a clue!
    - Female, 30 yrs old, MD

  13. 13
    Anonymous Says:

    My 44 year old husband is having an on line affair with a woman from Oregon, he met her in a chat room in July, she met him at a business meeeting in September, and she flew to town in December for a 4 day tryst. He moved out in November. My children are overwhelmed and afraid to ask him why? His father did the same thing to him. He is acting like a 17 year old and my 13 year old son knows it is wrong and wonders why his father does not think it is wrong. How can he give up his kids and think only of himself. He thinks that seeing the kids 1 day a week and daily texting is a relationship. My father left my mom when i was 40 and i still am dealing with it. What is wrong with men in this era??? How can they just walk away from a 16 year marriage and 2 kids 15 and 13???
    45 yo female, MN

  14. 14
    Anonymous Says:

    Thank you for this article. I wish I could have read it years ago to use as a road map for my life. I never realized that what I felt and how I reacted were completely normal considering the circumstances. At 5 years old, instead of confronting the situation, I ignored it until my father forced me to condone his affair with a woman who hated my mother. Because his affair lasted until his death when I was 15, my issues with him have never been resolved. It has now been 4 years since his death and I still pretend like everything is fine and will stop at nothing to protect my mother. I can only wonder that if I had seen this article earlier I could have steered my reactions into a better direction. Instead I am now consumed by regret and anger and incapable of trust. I still just want to know why?

  15. 15
    Anonymous Says:

    Well i am going through a tough time this may not be on the subject but my nan is having an affair and i dont know what to say to er i want to but i will just get very angry at her and i dont know how to put it across to her??

  16. 16
    Anonymous Says:

    my husband had on and off again affair with a marriage and family therapist. She knew he was married and selfishly they both continued the affair. My children found out and my son wanted me to never for forgive him. He wanted to move and face whatever hardships we had to. He has had a hard time forgiving his dad. He says he can’t wait to graduate and leave home. My daughter idealizes her father. This woman was of a different nationality and I wonder the affects of that on her self image like the above post said. When you cheat it is not only on the spouse,but on the whole family. Everyone is robbed of time, affection,finances,and trust.

  17. 17
    Anonymous Says:

    this is very cool to do this for the parrents

  18. 18
    Anonymous Says:

    All good stuff and thanks to everyone,,,, my thoughts whe it first happened it was like a vacume cleaner trying to suck me over, and out of who i am,,, some months have past,, it shocked my world,,, but to the kids it was a earth quake,,, i hope if any reads this please,,, be there for the kids,, they need the stable one,, and no one gave us this job to be the stable one,,, but we own it,,, i was told to move on,,, after some thought and long talks,,, being the best parent i can be is moveing on,,, the kids and i are now moveing on together,, even planing our first Christmas,, well really theire Christmas,, yes i am actually letting them decide,, what and how it will be,,, so yes move on with them,,they need you and youre time,, thanks from Colorado

  19. 19
    Anonymous Says:

    well i am currently going through crisis and finding my families current affair to be so overwhelming. I am 22 years old and still living with my parents. My older sister and support has moved out so I feel very alone. I was 13 when i found out about my fathers affair with my mothers best friend. My father is a very emotional man and my mom is completely opposite. I grew up being told to toughen up and never cry. I have never heared my mother say i love you and never heard my mother say those words to my father either. For these reasons i understand why my father would look elsewhere. Its inevideable, everyone wants to be loved. I still cant forgive him though. I am extremely close with my dad so I am stuck in a hard spot. After about 5 years of knowing about his affair, with my moms best friend whom always comes to my house and family functions, i finally had the courage to tell my sister. We suspect that my mother knew of this affair because she would make allegations to him but she has not done anything to stop it. She may be in denial, not have sufficient eveidence or feel to dependent to leave. After about 9 yrs of holding in this secret, we have recently found out that mother is beginning to have an affair aswell. This angers me beyond no end, more than my father and i dont know why. I think it is because I heard my mom tell this man she loved him over the phone, and those are words she was never able to say to me. She is so nieve in thinking that i dont know about her affair. She talks on the phone in another room, asks me how to delete messages on the phone, etc. She has even asked my how to spell i miss u. (My mom is portuguese and not very good at spelling english). What do i do??? I cant take it anymore. Everyone in the house knows about the affairs and walks around pretending it doesnt happen. My sister and I have approached my father and he denied everything. He said the marriage is fine and that this women is just a family friend. After i told him i know everything, have seen emails, heard conversations he continues to lie. I told him that i hate this women and no longer want her in coming to the home. Rather than respect his daughters emotional plea and wishes, he brought her over 4 weeks later and has since come three times in the past 2 weeks. Please help me I cant take the constant reminder and tonight im loosing my mind. My boyfreind and sister tell me to ignore it since they have made their choices in life but i cant go on. I live with my parents and hears conversations EVERYDAY. Im reminded and asked by my mother to help cheat although she conceals her actions. I cant imagine forgiving and forgeting. I just want my family back and feel like noone understands what i am feeling. I am currently graduating University and rather than being happy i am more depressed than ever. I have begun having physical signs of anxiety and fear my relationship wiith my current boyfriend of four years. I cant trust him and feel like im scared to marry him out of fear that he will do the same later on in life. Please offfer me advice. I dont think talking to them will no longer help because they deny everything, my mother is so unemotional and would dis-own me. what else can i do for my own sanity?

  20. 20
    Anonymous Says:

    My family has broken up due to an affair and my parents didn’t force their arguements upon me, make me chose sides, tell me secrets etc. They acted in my best possible interest as best they could. Yet still i went through three years of minor depression (, receded to act immature, closed myself off, was sullen and felt horrible most of the time). I now have a huge mistrust in people and find it truely hard to open up to people, to the extent that for those three years i chose not to go out or have friends over (,luckily now out of the depression i am in a more capable position to deal with my emotions and the situation). My mistrust is that that this is the first real time ihave taked of how the affair affected me. I am putting this post on here as i believe it paramount that parents should know that what they do in an affair will be devastating beyond believe, and what is visible to them once the child knows of the affair and split is only the tip of the ice burg to what is running through their adolecent mind. (I was thirteen at the time). I found the description of the affect on the adolescent near perfect. As i luckily had parents that did not use and abuse me in the battle of the affair. Yet i still had many issues, so an adolescent who is abused by the parents, like telling secrets by parents to them etc. will cause huge implications in the adolescence development for their entire child hood till 18 and maybe beyond that. It will affect their personality and their friends. The only way i got out of my depression was the complete cut off from my dad who had the affair,as this was the poisonous parent, which had made me question morality, trust and friendship.

    A childs/adolescents trust is strong in their parents but so fragile that once broken it shatters to a million pieces and will never be fixed to look brand new, but will always be fregmented and chiped if rebuilt.

  21. 21
    Anonymous Says:

    I need an answer I just just did something that I might of screwed up, I told my daughters of my affairs I have had and not sure if that was right. I told my 13 year old daughter and she was understanding and she told me she is not mad. But I have been reading responses from other people who have been through it and im worried. My other daughter is 15 and she was upset but told me she is not mad at me. My husband knows of these affairs and tells me that he cannot stop me and so I have continued a little more. He does not give me the right attention to help our situation so thats why I have continued a little. But now im worried that screwed up by telling my daughters about my affairs. Please answer me if I screwed up my daughters.

  22. 22
    Anonymous Says:

    My dad 36 met a girl 22 on Twitter. He talked and texted her and called her his spoulmate. In the months since it has been better. I read this article because he is going to a concert out of state alone this week. It scares me that this isn’t what he is really doing. I am 18 and even though my parents are working on it, my mom went on happy pills, I’ve already experienced EVERYTHING except suicidal underneath the adolecence section. I withdrew, began acting immaturely, i’ve been contemplating doing sexual activites with a guy friend, I’ve drank, I tried cutting even though I’ve always been vehemetly against it, I even get panic attacks from anxiety. I’ve always been very close with my parents, I’m the oldest, and I’ve always been affected by their arguements even when I was 3 or 4. I can’t descibe the hurt and pain this kind of mistrust puts on a child

  23. 23
    Anonymous Says:

    I am in a relationship with a man (45) who is from a family who’s mother had an affair with one of his fathers friends. He was about 12 when all this happened in his family. The friend was also married. They both left their spouses for each other. Now you have to remember what era this behavior was occurring. The shame and secrecy of something like this was monumental in society. (b His father then went on to remarry a woman 15 years his junior only to end up in yet another divorce…but not before producing yet another child…(the step-brother).
    We have spent 8 difficult years together.
    I come from a background of parent’s preparing to celebrate 50 years of marriage and they still are close to the same friends I knew as a child.
    Our backgrounds are polar opposite.
    I have only recently been able to come to terms with knowing I may have to leave inorder to protect my own emotional happiness and well being. I have tried to help him recognize that the anger, distrust, blame, and lies he projects toward me is not because of me or my life.
    I am seeing first hand what his parent’s choices have done to his emotional health and intimacies. I have chosen not to gather with his “families” at all….. only to again be attacked with anger, blame, and
    insults to my family. I know where this pain comes from. It is very sad to see….and as a woman of compassion I feel for his pain. However, I also know that if he continues not to hear my concerns and chooses denial over accountability, I will need to move away from the relationship….and that means allowing him to again feel abandoned.
    If anyone is in a similar situation, I suggest you first ….DO NOT threaten to leave if things don’t change…..find a way to say first…you are not leaving…Otherwise, they hear abandonment. Tell them you know they are in pain and are angry because of things in their past……If you can reach them with calm and loving understanding, they might be able to not only respect you but,feel trust for you. They first need to know they will not be abandoned. Intimacy has become their enemy…. Intimacy is pain for them, it’s distrust, it’s abandonment….are you following me on this?
    If I do leave this relationship, I will know I had tried to show compassion,trust,love, and all other healthy emotions you can offer to the most intimate person in your life.
    Good Luck to all those hurt by situations like this…If I can offer advice with a great sense of compassion for those who hurt…..let someone in that truly wants to be there. Find out first of there own childhood. Did the same things happen? This IS NOT a reason for relating and falling in love…on the contrary, this could become toxic for you both!
    Look beyond any yearnings to have someone/anyone in your life. Look long and hard at their ways of handling emotional issues of intimacy.
    and most importantly yourself….Know if you betray the trust, begin to blame,develope secrets,….you are not recognizing the pain within yourself.

  24. 24
    Anonymous Says:

    my dad died the day i found out he has been cheating on my mom for the past ten years. He was my hero, but now he is only a zero. That hurts

  25. 25
    Anonymous Says:

    i just found this out today,i am 16 and i dont even know who i am any more

  26. 26
    Anonymous Says:

    When I was 10 I found out that my mother had an affair with my pastor. I am 19 now and I haven’t believed in anything in 9 years. I have never had a boyfriend because any time a guy i like gets close to me I become physically ill and have to end things before they even start. I mean, who wants a girlfriend who has to run to the bathroom to have diarrhea every 10 minutes they are with them. I have never let my parents know that I know about the affair and I fear it would destroy them if they ever found out. The day I found the letter in my dads sock drawer was the last day i ever believed in love, God, or truth. I became a machine, and barely spoke a word until high school when destructive drug use finally allowed me to stop feeling so hurt. Numbness was better than constant pain. I held state records for cross country running before the age of ten, however once the apathy set in I never cared enough to run again. I was the smartest kid in all of my classes but I stopped caring about school and did just enough to squeak by. I didn’t brush my teeth or hair for six years. I am a poster girl for what a careless affair can do to a potentially wonderful human being. Never have an affair- you are essentially murdering your child. I will never be normal. I only stay alive now because I love my younger brothers (who do not know of the affair and are too young to remember the fights) more than anything in the world and unlike my mother I can foresee the consequences of rash actions.

  27. 27
    Anonymous Says:

    I was a young girl (10 or 11 years-old) when I found out/sensed that something was amiss with my mom and that she was having an affair. The worst part was that no one else in my family knew…neither my dad, nor my sister, so I had to hold on to this secret all by myself. In my 20′s I confronted my mom and she admitted to me that she did have an affair, and it wasn’t until I went to therapy in my mid/late 30′s that I realized how traumatic this secret was. My parents are still together, and a few years ago my mom told my father. He was hurt and shocked, and although they’re still married, he’s “checked out”, and my mother basically loathes herself. I rarely come across information from the child’s point of view, specifically the child who knew of the affair when the other spouse didn’t know. I’m shocked at how blase so many married couples are when exposing their children to their affairs. My dating relationships have suffered greatly, yet I am determined that this trauma will not stop me from having a great marriage myself one day.

  28. 28
    Anonymous Says:

    I am currently involved with a man and have been for 5m…I am divorced and his divorce is final next week…we did not get involved until after we were seperatate…but we were all friends before (me and my ex and him and his soon to be ex)…we each have 2 children (7yr, 6yrs, 3yrs, 2yrs)….We have just let the kids know that we are “dating” in the past month…we havent seen any backlash from the situation but his ex wife is certain that us being together is going to scar the children forever and we are all going to hell…any suggestions as to how and ease the transition for the kids…I know they will have questions but I feel if we are strong and happy and support them we can get them thru this feeling happy and secure. This man and I are planning to marry and have a future together. I dont want to hurt my kids but I love this man deeply. Any advice would be very helpful

  29. 29
    Anonymous Says:

    My father had an affair with his secretary, who also was a babysitter for my sister and I. The affair went on for appx 2 years before it was disclosed. I was 14 when the divorce was final. A few months later my father married his mistress and I was basically forced to accept it and act like nothing was wrong. Nothing was ever discussed about the incident with my father. They are still married and I am 27 years old now. I have suppressed many memories from that time. It’s almost like there is a span of a few years that I almost have no memory of. I have now been having many emotional issues with this that I have never really had. I am suddenly very angry and upset. I have dreams about it and wake up crying. I can hardly look my father or her in the eyes now. I do not know what to do about this. Do you have any advise about what is going on with me and how to fix it? Thanks.

  30. 30
    Anonymous Says:

    The impact never ends. I am a 55 year-old woman and I am dreading attending my high school reunion because of my mother. She had a long running affair with the father of one of my classmates. This affair, never admitted at the time, destroyed my homelife and turned my house into a battleground. My parents were always fighting and my mother was always sneaking around. We kids suspected the affair but my mother did not admit it until a few years ago when my sister suffered a mental breakdown of sorts. Even then, she was not repentant. She is an extremely arrogant person who thinks her refusal to “care about what other people think” is a strength not a weakness. When my sister and I finally confronted her about the affair, she told us we had no room to talk because we had dated losers. We were single, we told her when we dated “the losers”. It was hardly the same thing. Both my mother and the other man have been involved in politics and have an extremely high profile in my small town which makes the sordid mess even more humiliating because we have to deal with the hypocricy of my mother acting holier than now all the time in public. I escaped all of this for many years but now it seems that the resentment and embarrassment are coming back. When my mother had surgery a few years ago, this man had the nerve to phone my house and leave a message asking how she was doing. It is as though we are now — after decades of lies — supposed to “know.” I am so ashamed and I really do not wasnt to see my old classmate, who also, I suspect, has been traumatized by this. She moved to another country but is back for this.

  31. 31
    Anonymous Says:

    I am stuck in the middle of my mum and dad for the past 6 years. My mum asked me to lie to dad about where she had been and bribed me or blackmailed me with money to lie… It got to a point where I was drunk and broke down in front of my dad and told him….I have now moved over 100miles away from them on my own in Another city bcd I cent take it and it is just getting worse….,my mums going to divorce my dad, and is still seeing this man who is married aswell.my dad has no one, his parents passed away not long ago,z he has no brothers or sisters, he hasn’t got that many friends, so he has no one to talk to and he has devoted all of his life to my mum, and everything he has done in their 26years of marriage was because of her to make her happy…. And my mum at the moment is in a depression mode and cries every night and is being horrible to my dad and I hate it I don’t know who to be worried about the most… It ticking around in my head…. I feel like since I was born, all the Christmases, all the good things we have done together is all fake, I cnt trust my own mum anymore I can’t trust people because ip seen what can happen between them two. I cry all the time wondering what to do, I stress myselfmout everydqay tryi not to think of it, what’s dad goin to do when they break up, what’s going to happen to their house which my dad has made perfect for my mum and been crafting for the last 19 years since we lived their, what’s mum going to do is she going to find another partner? Will she try and get together with the man she’s having an affair with? I also feel angry all the time I want to just hit that man who my mum is having an affair with If I ever lay my hands on him I wouldn’t know what I’d do…..I’m only 19,and this all started when I was13 , so these are the e,emotions I am feeling, so whoever this lady is who has written this it is all true,

  32. 32
    Anonymous Says:

    My ex-husband left our 25-year marriage for an affair and it was devastating to me and my two children (ages 16 and 21). We were a close family and the loss is unmeasureable. My son (21) talks to his Dad on ocassion but rarely sees him (and they live a block apart). He tells me that seeing his Dad just reminds him of all that he’s lost. My daughter has refused any contact with him for over a year. I’m sure this is breaking my ex’s heart but he continues in his affair and drifts further away. On the surface, we’re all doing ok. Kids are doing well in school and social life. But the affair ripped apart this family – nothing could have been more damaging and we were so undeserving of that. I have to believe that if my ex could turn back the clock he would because no bubble could insulate him or us from the unspeakable pain his affair has wrought.

  33. 33
    Anonymous Says:

    Hello

    I just turned 50 and still HATE my mother for her affairs she had during my childhood and adult life. She did have a very hard life and was divorce for decades before meeting her second husband during an affair.

    The last affair (the guy she married) wife was on her death bed.

    He said if she got well, she would leave my mother and go back to his wife. How sick is that.

    I have not spoken to my mother in over 15 years (until this year when SHE called me). He second husband died and she needed my support. She was like a scared child.

    I did not help her. I told her to leave me out the obituary because I did not want to be associated with that family.

    I do not trust people after her affairs.

  34. 34
    Anonymous Says:

    After 16 years of marrieage, my ex husband left our family 3 years ago for another woman. Their affair had been ongoing for quite sometime and both of them were married with 5 children between them. The hardest thing for me to accept is that my ex wants to re-write history and says we should never have been married. he is so hurtful and controlling now…was he never who I thought he was…is that possible? Our three children were devasted though our youngest understands little. Our older two knew her and her family and are very morally grounded. They have chosen not to have him in their lives at this time. We are getting along okay…have a new home(after having to leave our marital home). The children seem good and tell me often that they are…am I to believe that or not? In these posts it makes me wonder if I need to be pressing them more and push them toward reconciling with their father or something…please advise. This has been the saddest time in our lives…how can people act this way?

  35. 35
    Anonymous Says:

    My father had an affair and at least three children with the woman. He was a playboy and a party man. He was very handson, and five years younger than mom. Mom made the family, kept it together met our needs. She relied on her Baptist faith. Father never went to church. My mom was orphaned at an early age, my father was abandoned by his young parents who were parents to soon. Both mom and dad are dead now. Only one of us ten children are in a successful relationship with a partner, of the five girls and five boys, only the youngest brother has a wife. We all have had relationships and all have children, but the relationships did not last. We all hated that man and his cheating and the shame we felt because it was known by the community in which we lived. Now one of the children from the affair wants to be acknowledge by our family but noone can accept him. Some of them even invaded his funderal and set up front. Our father had the affair that brought him into the world, not us. He lives on the street and is mentally ill, it’s best he finds his way with his own family. This is how parents cause children to suffer even in death.

  36. 36
    Anonymous Says:

    I can’t stop taking in all your experiences. I am trying to figure out how to handle my situation. I am a mother of a 1 yr old, and my husband had an affair for our whole 7 year marriage and basically lived a double life. He has a 1 yr old with her, too. They are only a few weeks apart. How in God’s name am I suppose to handle this so my daughter and this poor little other child can grow up emotionally happy, stable, and “normal?” The other woman is insisting I wrecked her family, like I’m the homewrecker. I didn’t know they were even together. I think she’s saying this in writing so she can turn her kid against me when he’s older. She actually wrote that I was evil because I attended the visitations and she claimed I was attending in order to cause her pain (??). I attended the visits because they were at my house where my husband lives. I was trying to be supportive of the situation. These poor little babies need to grow up with stability, security & LOVE. How can I achieve this? I have withdrawn and emotionally checked out. Should I check back in and give it another go?

  37. 37
    Anonymous Says:

    Hi, I am trying to decide if the time has finally come to explain to my 16 & 18 year old sons why I do not like their father or step mother, & why it is so hard for me to trust them. We divorced over 14 years ago & my husband married the woman he had been having an affair with for 5 years. I have struggled with co-parenting since then, but there is so much stress around different parenting styles & finances. I ask myslef why I want to do this now. I don’t think it is about getting back at my ex, or making my children dislike him. I would explain that what they did was wrong, & hurt me, but that does not mean they are bad people or bad parents. I guess I just need to relieve myself of the pressure of not being able to be honest about things. My 23 year old daughter knows the truth, & I have thought about asking her opinion but I don’t want to put the stress of making the decision onto her. If I ask myself why I haven’t told them yet, there are probably 2 main reasons: I don’t want to destroy their relationship with their dad; but mostly I am afraid of the anger etc that my ex & his wife will erupt with, as I know my sons will tell them. I have no doubt their father will lie about it, & they will abuse me for bringing the boys into adult affairs (pardon the pun). Then my sons will have to choose who to believe which I am not sure will be good for them. So I guess it is about me. But I am SO TIRED of all this. I am ready to tell them to live with their father full-time so I don’t have to deal with him anymore.

  38. 38
    Anonymous Says:

    My precious daughter, at the age of 15, walked in on her father making out with my best friend when I was out of town. I will NEVER forget the moment that I received a frantic text message from her telling me what was going on and how they were trying to make her believe that she didn’t see what she saw! How dispicable of them both! My daughter is now 18 years old. I have tried and tried to make the marriage work because her first reaction was to ask me not to divorce her dad. As time passed after her discovery of the affair, things got worse and worse for her. She is now disrespectful and wants to move out of our home. I am working on helping her with her feelings and I have every intention of making a life just for the two of us now. My advice to all of you that are selfish enough to continue an affair when there are children involved is to stop. Just stop it. The children are the victimes here. You have no idea what your selfish actions are doing to your children and how all of this will affected them for years to come. Shame on you! Shame on you for taking their innocence and security from them. Shame on me for not dumping the jerk…

  39. 39
    Anonymous Says:

    I am currently having an affair online through email and skype contact. We are both very much in love with one another and have been together for several months now. We talk online as often as we can and as often as it is safe to do so..although we are both still taking enormous risks. She has two grown up children; I have a young child and another who is grown up and now lives independently. WE want to be together. The difficulty lies in the fact that we are thousands of miles apart, and our lives are very different. The pain that will be inflicted upon our families is balanced against the pain of never being together. What should we do?

  40. 40
    Anonymous Says:

    Every child is different. My 12 year old son has been deeply scarred by the lies of his father associated with his affair. I have encouraged him to express his feelings and he does so with a maturity way beyond his years. If only his dad could open his eyes and ears to his sons needs he would be able to move on…but his dad dismisses his emotions very coldly, his role model has vanished, he feels abandoned by his dad who seems wholly unable to accept any responsibility for our sons fragile emotional state.It breaks my heart to see him so vulnerable.
    My 10 year old daughter has seemed almost relieved by our separation,forgiving of her dads unfaithfulness and equally comfortable in either of our company.
    At this point my son seems in greater turmoil than his sister, but I worry that my daughters feelings have been bottled(as were my own in similar circumstances as a child) to trouble her in later life.
    As the faithful parent I see my role in providing the unconditional love and constancy that they both deserve. Sadly my loved up ex partner seems to have little time for our son, openly treating our daughter more favourably and creating further conflict by so doing. Where my ex has expressed a lack of understanding and commitment to our older child I am beginning to question how much I should continue to encourage him to spend time with his dad as his time with him seems to be only further making him feel unloved. If only he could have waited to get into a new relationship until we had separated all this pain need never have been…

  41. 41
    Anonymous Says:

    my mother and biological father were together for only a few years when my mother found that she was pregnant with me, my father stuck around until i was around 2. before he left my mother and i he took us both to a resturant where this women who he was having an affair was working. my mother had no idea until they had been seperated for years. my biological father passed when i was eight years old i am now 16. i have a step dad who i regard as my only father. i have very little/ nothing todo with my biological fathers family. when he passed i have never seen my mother in such pain ever in my life stil till this day. he had another daughter and a wife they live in Ireland. His other duaghter is 9 the same age as my other sister (born to my mother and step father). my mother speaks of him when i was younger foundly but my grandfather has a different story to tell. its never easy to hear your biological father is a terrible person but his mistakes will never go away as long as i or my mother live.

  42. 42
    Anonymous Says:

    “Anonymous Says:
    I am currently having an affair and it is the best time for our marriage in a long time. I am much less frusterated with it, and we are happier partners.
    October 14th, 2009 at 12:06 pm ”

    I seriously hate you.

  43. 43
    Anonymous Says:

    My stepson is struggling with his father’s remarriage to me. His parent’s marriage ended after multiple affairs on his mother’s part. He is so angry and blames my husband for so much, to the point that he now prefers to live with his mother. I know that we haven’t handled things perfectly, hindsight tells me that. I don’t think he’s aware of his mother’s actions, although I know he must have been exposed (my husband travels quite a bit and the affair that ended their marriage was with his ‘best friend’). After reading some of the postings, I can’t help but wonder if some of his attitude (depressed, angry/sullen, withdrawn, expects that gifts or money are owed when he feels like he’s been wronged) is a result of what he’s been exposed to and maybe even any guilt he feels. I hurt for him, but am not sure how to handle the situation without causing further distress to my stepson or possibly harming my marriage.

  44. 44
    Anonymous Says:

    Number 39…You need to cut it off! No contact and be open and honest with your spouse. You end one relationship before you start another…live with no regrets. Do everything and anything to get your marriage on track..If that does not happen then divorce and start a new relationship. Your married lover needs to do the same..No contact.

  45. 45
    Anonymous Says:

    Hi I grew in a family where my dad had an affair, my parents never split up and it was really hard for us to cope as he tried to conceal the affaur for years but we all knew. Your article was very helpful as it explains maany feelings I had as a young girl and also my sister was quite rebelious and got into a lot of trouble as she was my mother confindent, and you clarified the emotional and damaging effects of this. My parents are still in denial that this family dynamic affected us, we are still healing.

  46. 46
    Anonymous Says:

    I am 34 now, and am realizing how damaged I was/am due to my inability to face the wrongs done to me and work through towards healing my point of view about my life. – My dad had multiple affairs when I was a child. The head trip his authority and demands for respect did to my sisters and I was severely emotionally abusive. He actually took us on outings with his affair partner and expected us to think it was “ok” and to treat him with respect, and even not tell our mom. He passive aggressively threated us, manipulated us to not tell her. Our mom was actually suffering cancer at the time and undergoing cancer treatments in another town. They never said they broke up, only that she had to stay in another city (and took us with her) in order to get the treatments while he worked in our original city. No one ever addressed our feelings. We were dragged through the mud of what he was doing. And the pain my Mom was going through was… It was atrocious. In my adult life, I have been unable to attract and settle down with a man. I am 34 and not married. I didn’t start the family I dreamt of having. Deep down, I think I have to work through this garbage, the truth about the damage it did. And only then may I be ready and attract a fruitful relationship. I feel like my life was robbed from me. I feel exploited, used, and distrustful of men in general. I got into 2 really bad relationships that not surprisingly involved me being disrespected and used. My self esteem never really fully bloomed. When I was 27, my life was on track. I thought I’d finally found the one. Then my whole world shattered when he just casually changed his mind and cheated on me. Then I got into a verbally abusive relationship (of course he wasn’t that way in the beginning but I should have been able to avoid a person like that). I found myself thinking how my mom thought. Why can’t I be good enough for someone’s love and loyalty…I finally realized I needed to be good enough for my OWN! I have been practicing spirituality, learning better discretion and avoiding negative energy/bad men. My life is improving and I believe I will finally have the life I’ve dreamt of. And if I don’t get married at least I will have my own love, integrity and loyalty to the truth. I am taking back my life. To the person who wants to have an affair and thinks they can get away with it and also drag their kids through that mud…you have no idea how irresponsible you are…the reprecussions are many…and you will bring on horrible bad karma for yourself. Don’t do this to people. GET A DIVORCE. And make sure that everyone officially knows and understands that you have a new life now. Give some space and time for children to process things in a healthy way before you go on. Behaving selfishly on these things is WRONG.

  47. 47
    Anonymous Says:

    Thank you for all these comments this has helped me so much. My husband of 25 years left his family for a woman 16 years younger then him. We have a thirteen year old son and we are both devistated, but what makes our story even harder is my husband had his affair when our oldest son was in the hospital battling cancer. He was 19 and later died. So not only did we lose our son which was devistating enough we had to deal with the affair also. We are both having a hard time with everything and can’t understand how a person can go from wonderful father to the monster he is now. He has been so mean and selfish. All he says is that he wants is to be happy. My son will not talk or go see his father and i cant blame him. The one time we needed him the most he left us for some young girl that dont even know what being a woman and a mother means. I hope and pray that one day we will be able to put this horrible time behind us but right now its very hard to do. His dad shows no remorse and believes he is doing nothing wrong and my son should want to be around him and respect him but it doesnt work that way. And please tell me how a thirteen year old is supposed to be around a step mom who is not much older than him. She hasnt had life experiences like we have she has no children and has never lost one to a terrible disease. My son and I are getting counseling but how do you get over someting like this ever.

  48. 48
    Anonymous Says:

    So I do choose to speak about it on a random website where I see my exact story played over and over again. It’s been almost 5 years I guess since it all started, and about 7 years since the initial deployment to Iraq (as a civilian this time). My father was usually deployed at various points troughout me growing up, as he was a member of the Special Forces group with the Army. This time he didn’t come back though. I am 31 now, and am married and have my own kids, 1 and 5, that he has never met. My mother didn’t deal with it very well, and she decided to move in with me when it all came out. She is remarried now too. Seemingly they have both moved on, and I have not. My old dad now has 3 new babies, younger than my kids, and I have no contact with him. I was raised to be honorable and confront life with what came, but he and his new family (she’s younger than I am) started their life about 16 hours away. As an adult, I probably could have made a little more ground if I could have confronted him, or even if he would have tried to explain anything to me. My feelings, rational or not, are that I was replaced.

  49. 49
    Anonymous Says:

    My name is Joe, I’m 23 and in my first quarter of university at UC Davis. My father disclosed his affair to me over the phone this summer before leaving to school. I had always suspected this because he told me how unhappy he was with his marriage (my mom has bipolar disorder). When he told me this over the phone, all though had suspected this, I was shocked and extremely hurt. More over, he told me to keep it a secret from my mom and brother (who is 18). He told me because his indiscretions caught the attention of his superiors at work; the woman he cheated with was a coworker. What was particularly disturbing was that the woman was 23, my age! I was disgusted quite frankly. But I am the type that clams up and takes pain into myself out of fear of hurting other people. Well I carried that with me, pretending like nothing happened for the summer. A few months later and I don’t even speak to him or my family anymore (do to more extreme drama the ensued just 2 weeks before I left for school). We just got into an argument tonight because I told my brother and to cover up his tracks he lied and said that he never had an affair and was testing his trust in me. WOW. Anyways, I’m not trying to scare anyone who had been unfaithful and wishes to tell their children, but do take into account that your affair could ruin your relationship with your child. As a side note, you owe it to your partner to tell them about your affair if you haven’t done so already. It is cruel to allow your spouse to believe that you’re husband/wife of the year while you were betraying their trust.

  50. 50
    Anonymous Says:

    So happy i found this site. I found out my father was having a affair over nine years ago, in one fell swoop my happy life stopped. I have never divulged this secret to anyone except a best friend and my current partner of six years. The depression, feelings of guilt and anxiety never leave me. The worse thing is no one ever did find out, it was clear after a year the affair had ended (home on time, not secretive with his mobile phone) and I somehow managed to go forward. My parents are still together, seem very happy (obv everyone argues) and even run a successful buisness together. I moved city, i think subconciously to get some space and am so jealous of my other two siblings who don’t have this huge worry. My mum and dad call regularly and I even go home once a month for fear of them asking why i’m not around. I love my mother beyond words and I didn’t say anything because I couldn’t bear to see her alone. I wish I had, there was an oppourtinity when I could have told her, selfish as it might seem, at least then I could pass the problem on. Its my sisters wedding in a few weeks and all i think off is the moment my dad gets up to say his speech and I’ll have to sit there with a smile plastered on my face when I really want to scream at him for effectively ending my life and creating this huge emotional rollercoaster. I would ask for help or advice off people from this page, but really my choice is simple. Tell my dad or mom I know what happened and ruin a family or don’t say anything and at least save some happiness that I haven’t caused the same pain to everyone that I feel everyday.

  51. 51
    Anonymous Says:

    As an adult whose Mother had an affair, with my Father’s Brother In Law. I have long suffered anxiety, depression, substance abuse and many emotional and trust issues. I don’t think my Mother truly understands the damaging effects this had on me. To this day I still at times feel like my childhood was cut short somehow. Superficially my Mother and I have a good relationship, but it is very superficial, and she still tries to have a stronghold over my life. My Father and I have a more genuine relationship, but it’s very shallow. As I don’t have much trust in him either. These issues presented over 20 years ago, and from that day on nothing has been the same for me. I function well in society, but mostly live to please others. Because I believe deep down if I could have pleased my parents enough, maybe this wouldn’t have happened….. Maybe? I don’t really know. But it’s damage done, the scars have healed, but the hurt never stops, and the wonder never ceases. In a lot of ways both of my parents still treat me like I am the age I was when the affair occurred. They both very much keep me in the dark over things, and are ridiculously generous. I gather there’s nothing I can do to resolve these issues, but to all those who have experienced similar, I completely feel your pain and understand your anguish.

  52. 52
    Anonymous Says:

    I am 20 years old and this year I found out that my dad had an affair. My parents are still together and working it out, and I often feel that even though my mother has forgiven him I will never be able to. For all of you who think that your kids seem okay with your affair or that older kids and teens are mature enough to not be effected, its just another selfish lie you can add to your long list of selfishness and deceit. I used to view my dad as a superhero and a role model, and now I look at him and picture him fucking some slutty woman. He is now only a whore to me who put himself first and tore our family to shreds. You people who post on here abput having affairs disgust me… IF YOU ARE UNHAPPY WITH YOUR SPOUSE GROW SOME BALLS AND DIVORCE THEM BEFORE SEEING SOMEONE ELSE YOU OLC LOSERS.

  53. 53
    Anonymous Says:

    My friends husband of 8 yrs had an affair with her friend. Their child was 6 at the time. The husband is marrying the mistress now since the divorce is final. Dad had the child propose marriage to the mistress with him. The mistress/wife wants to be stepmom. I worry about the damage this father has done to his son. Before dad walked out, mom and dad never argued. Life was normal for the child one day, upside down the next. He knows dad had a relationship with this woman. He knows the woman was moms friend. He now has to visit this woman taking moms place with dad. He knows how much this has hurt mom. What does the future hold for this boy as he grows into an adult?

  54. 54
    Anonymous Says:

    Number 52. Good for you! Just because your mom forgave him,doesn’t mean you have to. After all, he betrayed you too, and only you can decide how a person can treat you. My husband of 9 years just cheated on me. Our kids are 7,5 and 4 and I can already see the intense pain it has caused them. I am trying to be strong for them, but am really struggling with staying with him or leaving. My kids life will change drastically, loose the house, move far away, they loose their friends, for what? So he could stroke his ego? What type of man takes so much from his kids, so he can feel good about himself?
    I’m having such a hard time seeing a good future for me and my kids after all he has done. I want the best for my kids, but am not sure how to get it now.

  55. 55
    Anonymous Says:

    The abouve stories definitly resonate with me. I come from a military family and my dad was overseas most of my young life. Everytime he left my mom had an affair. I can can go back to my earlist days around 3 or 4 yrs old and remember what happened. my mom never tried to hide it when I was real young but she did when i got older even though I always found out. One of the last affairs she had was with a friend from high school who was living with us. My dad also wasalcoholic so when he got drunk all that stuff my mom had done came up.Its hard to believe they stayed married until my dad died when i was 44 yrs old.It was a horrible marriage. I have been in recovery for 25 years now and am grateful to be sober. The issues surrounding my family of origin have been very difficult to look at but slowly the layers still get peeled. definitly the most difficult thing for me is intimate relationships. Thanx for listening.

  56. 56
    Anonymous Says:

    I am 20 years old and I found out 5 years ago that my divorced mother was seeing a married man with two children (one of whom I found was my age but in the other school) and that this had been going on for 10 years at the time, 15 now. My dad left my mum when I was too young to remember and has repeated affairs and flings with girls in their 20′s. I’m not bothered about my Dad, he is not in my life enough for his actions to hurt me but to grow up on my own with my mum and suddenly find out that she is not the person that you thought she was and that the neighbours knew of him, that he had been in the house hiding when I was for the past 10 years was destroying. What was worse was that my mum continued and continues to make me lie to my family so they don’t find out. I realise I am 20 and do not need to do this anymore but I feel obliged. Furthermore, this man has been in my life so much that I have at times, a fatherly relationship with him.

    However, I suffer greatly with trust issues not only with those around me but I don’t trust myself. I suffer anxiety problems, I cannot talk about this with anyone, or do not feel I can. Even when I am away from home and at Uni it follows me. I feel an enormous sense of guilt. That I am contributing to this affair, that I did not try to stop it.

  57. 57
    Anonymous Says:

    My husband of 27 years had an affair with our friend/co-worker. Even though I was willing to try to save the marriage, my husband was not. It has been seven years since he left, but our adult children continue to struggle with the anger they feel about their father’s affair. His affair contradicts everything he taught them about honesty, character, morals, etc. Dealing with a selfish hypocrit has been very difficult.

  58. 58
    Anonymous Says:

    I am 22 and recently found out my father had been having a three year affair with a woman living only 20minutes away from me. I also found it I have a two year old brother. I also discovered this the night after I threw my parents a suprise wedding anniversary party for their silver. It seemed soap like and something I still can’t comprehend. I found out as he left his email account logged in on my computer and discovered the photos and emails from her. I have been on a rollar coaster of emotions, the hardest part was my mother knew as well and as a young adult I felt there was a lack of respect. I was also expected to accept it and remain close to my dad. I have been told I have my own life and this situation doesn’t involve me, but it does? I have no other sibling except this half sibling who I have only met a few times. I love my dad but find it very hard to even look at him. It wasn’t even the affair part that really angers me but the fact he told my mum about the affair and the pregnency and yet carried on seeing her. This other woman is also not a nice person, she has written horrific things about my mum ( who is a sweet loving person who has a brilliant career and has done everything for me and dad) and advertised them on social network sites such as facebook. This woman I also ran into one night and I confronted her in a mature way, i decided as much as I couldn’t bare this person I want to develop a relationship with the child as it is not his fault and I want him to grow up loved by everyone, it is what he deserves. My dad is still continuing to talk to his ex girlfriend from 30 years ago on facebook as well. My mum does not deserve this and there is evidence to suggest he is still seeing this woman. The night I found out he drove to the other womans house and told her he was leaving me and mum and going to be with them. I don’t know who he is anymore, I don’t know why mum is with him when she could be with someone who respects her and loves her. I don’t know how my dad looked me and mum in the eye while he was with her and it has been four months since I found out and am only now struggling with the shock. When I drink I end up crying at the end of the night, I sometimes break down for no reason when alone, I don’t know how to adapt to this new life with these people in it. The family I thought we were is now changed forever and I don’t know how i can ever forgive him for that.

  59. 59
    Anonymous Says:

    My substance abusing ex cheated on me while I was at my overnight second job.. the girl was in my house… kids caught her …A week later I threw him out and we divorced.. my ex is in jail now..he met her in rehab and they still betray me by talking to her. I do not feel right about having kids that do this. My 19 and 20 yr old I told them to leave and never come back…They are so disloyal. I have 4 kids and 2 are loyal…. I feel like the older 2 will eventually have the younger ones befriending this junky too. I read all posts and I dont see it where the kids turn on the mom. I havenever had a substance probem and I am a good hard workign mom. I do not beat my kids. They are always fed.. They have cell phones computers …I have 2 jobs an go t college onlne.. I pay for everythingI never get a penny from anyone. Noteven the dad. What do I dooo I am hurtttt so much

  60. 60
    Anonymous Says:

    I was eight years old when I found out my Mum was having an affair. This man was suddenly always around and my Dad seemed oblivious. I was so afraid the family would split up I felt I had to keep it all a secret. Reading this article is like looking in a mirror. As a teen I started taking drugs, starting fires and running wild. I felt like nothing mattered anymore as ‘everything was all a big lie.’ My two brothers have always regarded me as the troublemaker in the family – and still do today. I’m 45 now, I’ve suffered repeated bouts of depression and I have never had a successful long-term relationship – my self esteem is so low. My mother has always known that I knew of her 10-year affair but has never once asked me if it has affected me. She says she ‘doesn’t regret a thing and would do it all again.’ The biggest joke is that we’ve just discovered that my Dad had a child before he married my Mum and kept it a secret his whole life. Secrets, lies and hypocrisy. It’s such a terrible burden for any child to carry. People are just so selfish.

  61. 61
    Anonymous Says:

    Anonymous Says:
    I am currently having an affair online through email and skype contact. We are both very much in love with one another and have been together for several months now. We talk online as often as we can and as often as it is safe to do so..although we are both still taking enormous risks. She has two grown up children; I have a young child and another who is grown up and now lives independently. WE want to be together. The difficulty lies in the fact that we are thousands of miles apart, and our lives are very different. The pain that will be inflicted upon our families is balanced against the pain of never being together. What should we do?
    March 1st, 2011 at 7:54 am

    -People like you make me sick. Both of you are so selfish and ignorant for continuing this knowing that both of you have families and still living with them. Do you know how hard is it for a child or even as an adult knowing your parents are cheating and living a double life. PLEASE PLEASE I beg of you cut off your affair and discuss your sentiments with your wife and cut off contact with that other women. YOU DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH PAIN YOU WILL INFLICTED ONTO YOUR CHILDREN.

  62. 62
    Anonymous Says:

    My wife of 21 years told me on January 28th the she loves me but is not in love with me anymore. She said she was not going to have sex with me anymore. She told me the next day that there was not another man in her life, that since her brother died in October she is looking in the mirror that there has got to be more in life than what she has. Her sister also died of brain cancer 4 years ago(at 54) and with her brother passing away of a heart attack at age 53 along with our oldest son going off to College I believe my wife is in the middle of a classic mid life crisis. On April 22nd she finally told me the truth and that she has had an affair with another man and that she is in love with him. He is getting a divorce from his wife of 25 years and they think they have found their soul mates. Even though they haven’t dated, haven’t gone to a movie together, haven’t paid mortgages, been to plays, concerts, etc..these two grown people actually believe this life they started based upon lies, deceit and destruction is going to make them better people. Our youngest son is now aware that she is looking for a place to move and he is very upset at what might happen with his life. Until now, he has been the best student and overall the best kid anyone would hope to have. She is being so selfish that she really doesn’t care about me anymore but she says she loves her sons. As much as I want to save this marriage becuase I feel once this infatuation is over with this guy she will find the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence, I have to realize there may not be a way to save this sinking ship. I want to be there for our sons who will be so confused over what has happened to their parents in such a short period of time…I am at a crossroad in my life..I will be 56 next month..not wanting to lose the love of my life and be a single Dad but at the same time, do I want to continue to love someone who feels like I am not the one for her anymore. I never thought this would be happening to us..really thought we had a great, secure marriage until January 28th…any suggestions??

  63. 63
    Anonymous Says:

    Number 50 I am really sorry for you. Yours is the situation that most closely mirrors mine, and probably the hardest one to deal with. When your one parent does not know and you are the only one keeping the secret it magnifies the pain and heartache that you already feel from the infidelity to such an extent that sometimes it’s hard to even go on. I also have two siblings who do not know and realize that we are looking at each other from across a certain line. I have made a decision after long and careful deliberation, agonizing, heartache, and advice-seeking from online sources to not disclose my father’s emotional affair to my mother or anyone else. I am 30 years old and if there is one thing I have learned from reading countless articles and sources is that there just is not a one size fits all solution or plan of action for such an event. Every family is different and possesses it’s own unique circumstances. There are so many websites and resources out there yet sadly, there are not enough perspectives from adult children who have decided not to disclose. The simple and undeniable fact is that in some instances honesty is not always the best policy and I feel like I want to punch anyone who would dare try to convince me of such and that their idea of full disclosure would be the way to go for my family. When your family could face issues of financial ruin, destruction, parents that may be physically or emotionally unable to carry on living any quality of life after learning of this, siblings who are happily getting married and expecting baby nieces and nephews who need and depend on their grandparents- the decision sometimes makes itself. The destruction would simply be such that it would ruin so much for so many people who mean everything to me. I did however disclose what I knew to my father. He was beside himself in agony, insisted that he had ended it even before I revealed what I knew to him, falls over himself to dote on my mother and each and everyday lives to repair and “atone”- or so this is what he tells me. My father has been the greatest and most devoted father to my siblings and I and while I live everyday with the issues a child goes through when they discover this, I stand firm on the decision I made not to reveal it to my mother. He never asked me to lie or keep a secret, the decision I made was my own. While we keep up a relationship for appearances to the family, my father and I do not have much of one personally. I love him yet cannot trust him at this point in time and I express this to him. I feel like it’s some duty I have to remind him at regular intervals. He agonizes over the loss of our relationship and what he has done to me. I know he is remorseful beyond words. It may be stupid, I may find out years later that he continued to do it (because you really just lose all trust no matter what they say), my mom may discover it, or he may choose to disclose himself at a later point and it will all come back to bite me in the ass… however at this point in time I have made the firm decision not to disclose and I stand by that. I took a chance (and let me tell you it’s a bloody HUGE chance) on the possibility that he really did make a mistake and that he is living everyday to make up for what he did as he says he is. Perhaps it will all come out one day and maybe it won’t. However if there was a chance I could spare my family from the destruction it would have faced, my mother the mental anguish, my nieces the sadness, my brother the confusion in the belief that humans (even superhero fathers) do make mistakes and have weaknesses that we can all learn lessons from and learn to value and cherish how valuable we are to each other- I would take it. I will continue to take this chance. My decision is my own and only I (and others who have been through this) truly understand the reasons for making them. I will not let it direct and overcome my life. I will not allow myself to be a bitter and jaded person anymore.

  64. 64
    Anonymous Says:

    About three years ago my ex husband had an affair and left me after 25 years of marriage. Although I was hurt and angry, I did everything possible to make sure that my two children maintained a relationship with him and I never said anything bad about him to either child. I made sure they understood that he left me, not the children, that relationships are complicated things and that being morally judgmental is not a healthy way to move forward in life. Because of that, both of my children are extremely well adjusted and they have strong healthy relationships with both parents. I also have been able to move on in a very positive way.

  65. 65
    Anonymous Says:

    About six years ago my ex husband had an affair with a married woman, we had been married for 18 years, at first I was devastated, and when I did find out he was in total denial, in fact I confronted them both one day and they both denied there was an affair and he in fact had his girlfriend believe I was mentally unstable, at the time of the affair I was half way through a law degree whislt supporting him in his business and caring for our 4 children. I did not have any mental problems, all I was doing was fighting to save my marriage. After the breakdown I realised my ex husband had been a control freak, and in fact my 2 older children (his step=children) seen how stressed I was during the entire marriage and also could see the control he had over me. My ex was also a conman and a charmer, the woman he is with is an ex-stripper and still married to her husband and shares herself with my ex and her husband, she also has two boys who want nothing to do with her. The worst thing is my two youngest children have chosen to live with there father, mainly because he has a continuous flow of cash and owns a property, I had to sell the family property to pay the debts I was left with as well as the business debts my ex had left secured by our property. I am now in a situation where I am lucky to see my two youngest children once or twice a year, they never call me or answer my text, and when my daughter does make contact it is only for money. My daughter recently lost her job and is now working for her father and his girlfriend not only is the father a control person so is the girlfriend, the children are totally controlled by them and it hurts so much that I do not see them, they are actually now young adults aged 18 and 23. My 18 year old son has put on so much weight since living with his father, and I worry so much for him, he is anti-social and spends all his free time on computer games, he works in a sheet metal business which his father organised, my son has no say in regards to his occupation and does as his father says. My son told me once he would never forget what his dad did to me and the way he left me, he witnessed his father trying to drown me in a swimming pool (knowing I could not swim) and choking me around the neck, all because he had to get away from me at the time to see his girlfriend, it hurts me so much that not only did I lose a husband but I also lost my children and that in itself is so very painful. I do not understand how a man like this can be supported by his children and forgiven for his evil ways or accept a woman with no morals who continues to live part time with my ex and her husband, this behaviour is not a healthy environment for my children to live with and it concerns me how they have now closed the door to their maternal parent and accepted the fathers affair. I have learnt over the years to forgive my ex husband but I am again starting to build up anger within myself because I did nothing wrong in our relationship yet I am ostracized from my children as though I was the one who had the affair. I lost my children, my home, my lifestyle and my law degree because of this man. Now my two oldest children are living interstate and I am left without no children in my life, although my older children call me almost every 3rd day and I at least get to see them every 3 months. Has anyone been in a situation like this or married to a charmer and conman who has the ability to manipulate people and convince them he is the victim.

  66. 66
    Anonymous Says:

    First off, let me just say how comforting it is to read all of you guys’ stories about your struggles with parental infidelities and to be able to relate to what you have gone through or are still going through. But to those of you who write about currently having affairs and being in love, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Fuck you.

    I am 20 years old, and a sophomore in college. I just found out that my mom had an affair with a guy a few months after I was born. My mom has always been my best friend, my biggest supporter, and I loved her so much. But this news is way overdue! My parents ended up divorcing when I was 7, but being so young, I didn’t know the reasons why. My dad recently moved to another state because of a job promotion and I went to visit him this summer. He told me what happened and I was floored. My mom has always made my dad and stepmom out to be the bad guys. After learning about this, I broke down and apologized to them for all the grief I caused. They told me that they knew it wasn’t my fault- that my mom was brainwashing me and I didn’t know. My dad and stepmom kept it a secret for 12 years. I’m not angry at them for doing that, because my dad told my mom he was going to tell me when I turned 18, but my mom told him she was going to tell me. BULLSHIT!! What is worse is that the man my mom cheated with is now my stepdad. I have lived primarily with my mom since the divorce, so I always saw him as a father-figure. Well, not anymore! Even moreso, I am the only person on both sides of my family who did not know about this. Needless to say, I was/am beyond hurt. My mom once told me that sometimes I may need to put my feelings aside and make a decision that is best for myself. But, who is she to tell me that when clearly she didn’t follow through herself? I am going to confront her when I get home for fall break. My dad is driving 7 hours to come pick me up after I tell them and I am spending the rest of my break with him. The fact that my mom couldn’t sit me down like a grown-ass woman and tell me this is heartbreaking. I feel like I am going to suffer a lot of emotional turmoil from this. I don’t blame my dad for telling me- since finding out it has brought me closer to my dad and to my stepmom. I know with the help of my (other) family and friends, I can get through this, but it is going to be a long recovery.

  67. 67
    Anonymous Says:

    I am 36. My parents divorced when I was 13. My father had multiple problems. He wasn’t close to any of his 3 kids. I have forgiven him for his failures. For ex. he was disbarred for embezelling (sp?). My mom had an affair, which he informed the kids of years later. She did this when I was maybe 5 yrs. old. It was only one time. At some point when I was older, it was discussed between us. She said it was wrong, but mainly justified it due to my dad’s distant behavior and her need for affection. I found out as a married woman with kids of my own, that when they were separated, but not quite divorced, she met with this man a second time. It’s shows me that she wasn’t sick to her stomach and truly remorseful. Otherwise, how could she be with him again? I once confronted her about this and she said the sin she committed was against my father, not the kids. As a 36 year old woman, I am not close to her. She cannot relate to the pain it caused me and how greatly it affected my ADMIRATION for her. How can you be close to a parent you don’t admire? You can’t. She wants to be close and can’t relate to how this still affects me 20+ years later. I wish she would have left my father with dignity, instead of having an affair. I would have had so much respect for her, and would probably had the relationship with her she has yearned for. I am a Christian, and struggle with the need to forgive her, as I know Christ would have me. It is just so hard.

  68. 68
    Anonymous Says:

    my mother had an affair with my father’s brother 10 years ago. somehow my father found out. he used to be a very quiet man. an ideal father. but since knowing this he has changed. he comes home drunk. shouts at my mother. both me and my sister are studying in colleges. my mother calls us and narrates her plight.i am really broken . my family is no longer the same. i am feeling so helpless. can anybody help me?

  69. 69
    Anonymous Says:

    My mom had me w her bf s husband …. the three of us know and he’s still with his wife and three sons he has no intentions of telling his wife .. and family iv hung out with my whole life .. in just the dirty secret … i wouldntmind so much if i didn’t have such trust issues …… i get serious rage from him and his stupidity in 30 now and his been screwing around the hole time… don’t get m married if ya want to screw every one pretty simple

  70. 70
    Anonymous Says:

    Three of my oldest four children, 15yr. old son, 14 year old daughter, 11 year old son, 9 year old daughter, just found out my husband is having an affair, and has been having it for a long time. Two of them can not even look him in the eyes now. It is unbelievable to understand that my children will suffer this lifelong pain because of the selfishness of my husband.

    Four unbeleivable beautiful souls will now go through the same torment and pain that I have all my life, as my father cheated on my mother and they divorced as well. I was determined not to be divorced. I lasted 22 years with this man, who wasn’t even home to help accomplish the children in the evenings.

    Unbelievable. Unbelievable the pain and devastation this will wreack all their lives.

    To top it off, he belongs to a very conservative religious organization. He is a knight in another. He is a particular religion, and always attends church. Now I know why my older son has also lost his religion. And my daughter too already.

    What devastation he has brought to our lives. And not much remorse. He blames it all on me. My heart aches for the beautiful children I brought into this world, and the troubles they will now have because of his selfishness.

    I will pray every day for them to be healed, and will also get them some counseling.

    I do believe I need to move out, and restart somewhere else, for my own sanity, but this would also be difficult on my older son, in 10th grade. Unbelievable the devastation his selfishness has caused.

  71. 71
    Anonymous Says:

    I am. Needing some help with an situation that I find myself . I was married for 28 years and 22 yrs ago I had an affair with my husbands best friend the affair lasted about 2 months I felt so guilty that I told my husband we went into therapy and worked through the issues. He has never once brought it up and thrown it in my face. I have three adult children to this man recently separated from my partner and now he believes that I should tell my children what i did as be believes that the reason he doesn’t have a relationship with his children is because of the affair. Is this true ?…. I thought that in telling him all ose years ago this was over he now believes that my children will act out this dysfunction in there relationships … Can someone please advise me on what to do ????

  72. 72
    Anonymous Says:

    My husband had a 10 1/2 week affair about 4 1/2 years ago…we had been married for 16 years but together for 20…my kids were 13 (son) and 11 (daughter)..My husband cut off all ties with this women, took two years off of work to be close to me to help me with the devastation and the pain…I never told my kids although I am sure they must know something..I was deeply depressed for two years and even still my moods are quite sporadic…I am bitter and angry that my husband has done this to me and our family and our life…everything blew up that day I found out…I decided to try and forgive him to keep my family together..I didnt want to hurt my kids the way I was hurt so I have been just trudging along hoping I am doing the right thing…It has been exhausting!

  73. 73
    Anonymous Says:

    My Father had multiple affairs when I was young. My Mother looked the other way. We all knew what was happening. I am now 57. I was never able to trust a man again and repeated the pattern by becoming involved with cheating men who I thought would ultimately love me if I accepted their weakness. I spent 10 years with an abuser who was ultimately jailed for his physical abuse and, after I ended the relationship, stalking. If there is anyone out there who thinks there is only one victim (the person who is being cheated on), think again. It echos down through the generations and destroys lives. My life was forever changed by these selfish acts.

  74. 74
    Anonymous Says:

    My father had multiple affairs when I was a child which I never realized I knew of, but must have sensed that things were not right with our family. My mom always maintained a sense of surface calm and we seemed like the perfect military family but underneath the tensions between my parents spilled over into alcoholism on both their parts. My mom recovered but my dad continued the pattern of affairs and drinking throughout their marriage until I caught him with another woman when I was 22 and my mom was out of state taking care of his mother who was dying of cancer. I never really realized how much this affected me and made me mistrust men completely. I did not have any really long term relationships until I met my husband at age32. I married him because I loved him and thought I could trust him to tell me if he wanted to be with someone else. My husband was divorced and had his own trust issues because his ex cheated on him then left him for another man. This caused a gradual emotional distance between us. He did not trust me fully because of what his ex put him through. And I had great difficulty opening up to him about my feelings because of my past. I felt him really distance himself about 6 years ago and confronted him about another woman which he denied and I never found solid proof because his mom died and we were both grieving. He deployed after that on and off for 3 years basically abandoning my sons and I in his grief. Upon his return last year I found solid proof of 2 emotional affairs with old HS girlfriends then of the physical affair 6 years ago. He says is sorry and wants to work things out but I am still heartsick about his betrayal and basic abandonment of his family during the affair and afterward in volunteering to deploy. I have come to realize how much both our pasts played into our lack of communication in our marriage. I acted just like my mom. In my mind I really deep down knew he was unfaithful but I was so frozen with fear and responsibility for keeping our family together that I failed to follow through after confronting him about my suspicions More than once. The final straw was just prior to his last deployment when he was home on leave. I spent the whole time he was gone trying to stop loving him and get my life together so I could expose his affair and leave him upon his return. For his part he was completely shocked when I confronted him with proof and did not back down. If I had done this years ago, things might have been different. We both know that our sons have been affected by my husbands lack of involvement in their lives over the past 5 years. They were in 4th & 5th grade during his affair and jn middle school through his deployments. Ive realized that my husband was very critical of me & the boys during his affair as well as just being gone physically & emotionally. Also my younger son, now 13 found an affair recovery site on my computer. That I was reading and asked if my husband was having an affair twice. I told him I was looking up info for a friend but pretty sure he knows im lying. I hate that they will have to go through the feelings about their Dad that I did about miNe and hope my husband still has time to forge a good relationship with them since he missed those formative middle school years.i do not want them to have to go through the pain that affairs cause families as adults.

  75. 75
    Anonymous Says:

    My mother had an affair. While my parents’ relationship was not healthy and I didn’t care for it, I still didn’t like the idea of her doing that. I much would prefer her moving out of the relationship and onwards with her life. She told me that she had an affair, and told me who. I was 19 at that time and didn’t like to be around him anymore. I don’t have other issues but it scares me that I can be capable like my mother, having an affair. I do wish for a solution to this so please post a solution. I will find a therapist when I can but I prefer reading a solution and have it toss and turn in my head for the betterment.

  76. 76
    Anonymous Says:

    My ex partner had two beautiful children already we had been friends for yrs prior to deciding when we were both single to try at a relationship it had many ups and downs but alot of ups we went through a particular rough patch when I was pregnant with our first child unbeknownst to me he had an affair with his ex partner resulting in a child being concieved. I discovered this devastating news 4 weeks after giving birth at which time my life was pure happiness my whole world crumbled down . I dont know where I was but for me being a family was the most important part of my life he played the part well crying begging for forgiveness guilt over how a seperation was bad for the children involved and we decided to make a go of our life together. He chose never to see the other child explaining to all it would be too hard on the other three already in the world and although the pain was very raw we seemed to get throuhh each day then a massive bombshell a happy one but I fell pregnant while breastfeeding my daughter .I now have two beautiful girls a yr apart they are my blessings and I truly believe they have saved my sanity. He left 7mths ago and 5mths ago announced he is now seeing the child he denied for 2yrs.he has short frequent visits with my children and has the other 3 everyother weekend . I hsve tried to keep my girls in a bubble to ease the hurt on them its hard I smile all day and think all night…their father is very controlling and since he has left I have found the old me and gained incconfidence I have had no mental health issues I dont know how I will thank my girls till the day I die for giving me the strength I needed to be their mummy. My ex is now desperate for all the children to be together my oldest is being assesed for autism and I know any change in routine will destroy herso I have told him that it’s not even crossing my mind yet. But he is running the guilt trip of how his oldest daughter is being disruptive at school and crying for me he wants me to have contact with her again but when I asked 7mths ago he said no and now the situation is so complex I don’t wantthe children hurt but protecting my own is all I can think about .seeing all three is out of the question and singling the other two out is unfair too I just think he needs to focus on being a father seperately to each family and allow the children to decide when they are old enough. I will never hide the fact they have half siblings but I believe they should have the choice to have contact not be forced.advice needed confused and hurting and I know he still is able to control me emotionally but he never sees this I wont allow it.

  77. 77
    Anonymous Says:

    My step dad cheated on my mom, she feels she can never trust him again,but all the weight was put on to my shoulders. I understand that she’s going through a lot but that fact is their making me chose a side. My mum went through a lot with my real dad because he was very abusive towards me and my brother. My mom feels suicidal and sometimes wonders what she did wrong to get all of this in return. Me knowing my mums story she’s had a rough 36 years but is still struggling and I don’t know how to help I’m just an 11yr kid.

  78. 78
    Anonymous Says:

    My husband of 25 years suddenly came home one night from working in Singapore announced he was leaving (said no woman involved) and quite literally packed up 25 years of us up in 40 mins and fled to Asia where we found out he was already starting to build a mansion with an filipino he had met whilst working away. We had been putting offers on homes ourselves not less than 4 months before and i and my son were completely blindsided to say the least. He denied a woman for first couple months then admitted bit by bit but has never been back to face us to tell us the truth. it is now not about the affair with my son, (hes 24) but he almost lost his life 3 years ago, has major heart conditions, one leg and his dad will not, even though he earns a tax free fortune, pay any maintenance (im a housewife with autoimmune issues) and he has completely denied us any financial assistance and can get away with it cos we cannot enforce it where he lives now. He is happily telling his family I have a beautiful mansion and altho i feel a bit sorry for them, its not my concern anymore!! He then wonders why, on the obligatory xmas day email, my son does not respond. How can he assume he can respect him, when we have all been through hell and back and yet his dad can dismiss us and disrespect us so massively with absolutely no conscience about it at all. He will not come back and face anyone or even close bank accounts and completely refuses to comply with his financial obligations and yet promised on my sons life he had hurt us enough and would settle the financial agreement and trust him he would not rip us off. My son will not even have his name mentioned in the house and yet my ex thinks he entitled to just walk out, leave us with nothing and expect no backlash whatsoever!! Can anyone please explain that to me cos I cannot believe another human being could deliberately make things harder for those he has loved and spent most of his life with!!!!???? Even a mid life crisis does not explain his completely despicable behaviour and the annoying thing is he can afford to pay us off but cos hes living abroad he knows I could spend thousands chasing him and still not be able to make him pay it!!! I really really am struggling with the lack of disrespect he is showing!! Any thoughts please would help me understand or make some sense of this. He did tell or beg me to move on and luckily i have now found a wonderful man and not a boy and he has got a hundred times worse since he found that out. Can it just be that although he begged me to move on, my turning the tables on him and firmly closing the door for his “back up” plan have disturbed him???

  79. 79
    Anonymous Says:

    I told my adult daughter about father’s affair to prepare her for any eventuality that might follow.I dont know if I did right or not

  80. 80
    Anonymous Says:

    I got married for ten year’s when I was 17 my ex an I had two boy’s & two girl’s my ex was having affair with different woman he also has a drinking problem his very stubborn person both of my son’s were just so small 7 and 6 year’s old when they show there dad with other woman in between my 2nd son and my daughters he had kid’s with two other woman some how I knew I had to end it when son told me about how he seen his dad with other woman it really bothered him he wasn’t doing well in school I had to put him counseling it for two months after four months later their dad showed up my house to see them my son was still mad his dad told me he didnt want to see him but there dad just keeps coming over I let there dad pick them up to spend some time with him, there time I let him take my boys for few months out of the winter but he has no respect of my son’e he still does it front of them we been separated for two years still this day my boy’s tell me how they feel and what they think about there dad but there that alwasy question WHY? Mom I try to explain it to them how life is for them to understand i know they just small there now 10 and 8 i try talking into them to not let ot get to them but still i know it still hurts them but im trying my best keep them happy as much as i can just few day’s ago my kid’s n I were at restaurant for lunch there dad was there to and my daughter show her dad for the first time with other woman seeing on her face was something that I knew she didn’t like it I know it not right for kids to see things like that but if she asked me I’ll try my best to the explain it to her about life for her to understand I am a single mom right now but I’m trying make my kid’s and I life batter for us
    Sofia 28 Eagle Pass, Tx

  81. 81
    Anonymous Says:

    Just found out my whole family life is a LIE. I’m 36 and my stepdad has been my mum for 33 years. We found out yesterday that he has a 19 son we have to pretend that we don’t know until stuff get sorted. I HATE my stepdad right now but know I will have to forgive him.

  82. 82
    Anonymous Says:

    My father cheated for years and it came to light when his mistress started calling my house and she will wait until my sister or I would pick up. I was 14 at the time. When I confronted my dad, he yelled at me and told me to leave him alone that it was his life and he could do whatever he wanted. Time passed and he convinced my mom and move back home. Then he lied more and promise her a new start in a new city. We all moved and expected everything to be better. 3 months later, he lefts us in a new city and since then we only see him 3 – 4 times a year. He always supported us financially but he completely forgot about us. He has a new family and it just feels like he replace us. I am 28 and I still cry and feel depressed on holidays and birthdays. It has been 13 years since I celebrated my bday with him. Therapy has help me cope but it still hurts having a father alive but who acts as we are not.

  83. 83
    Anonymous Says:

    a year and a half ago, my ex-husband had an affair with a co-worker in the very small town we live in. I wanted to work it out, but he kept in communication with the other woman and was very unwilling to do the work it would take to fix our marriage after so much damage caused, and we ended up divorced. The other woman was also married with 2 young children and they are also now divorced. All four adults still live in this small community, and most people know what happened.

    My ex-husband and the other woman have kept very secretive about their relationship, over the past year while divorces were pending, and embarrassment was high, not being seen in public or admitting they have been seeing each other. My children are 9,11, and 13 and because we have been so careful, so far, they do not know about the affair or the other woman. It has been the most devastating thing I could ever imagine, but I have never blamed their dad, spoken ill of him to the children, we have remained friendly, and we have only told the children that we love them, we had adult problems they don’t understand, it’s not their fault etc.

    He has been overall a very involved dad (spending quality time with them, coaching, involved in school and sports, fun), and good to me, as far as paying the mortgage so we can stay in the home, flexible with co-parenting, helping each other out, etc. So far so good.

    However, he has now decided to come out with this woman as his girlfriend. He thinks he can introduce the children and they will continue to be in the dark about the affair, and just believe Daddy has a new girlfriend. I am horrified by the idea of my children ever meeting her, then finding out what happened and having that memory of knowing and hanging out with the “woman daddy left mommy for”.

    After reading so many of these comments, I don’t know what to do. I have been arguing with him about not introducing them, and if he insists on still seeing her, keep doing it in secret– easy enough as the children live with me and only see him on weekends. He is not agreeing to that, as he thinks if they do find out, the children will be ok.

    Should we tell the children the truth, and let them know and deal with it now? or keep it a secret and hope they never find out (which seems unlikely). I have been under the belief that if they are ever to know the truth, I would rather they figure it all out as adults when would hope they could handle it better, not pre-teens just entering the teenage years. However comments above like the 20 year old who just found out about her mother’s affair, and she is so angry that they kept this secret from her– make me wonder if I should continue to shield them from the truth. Their Dad’s take on it is that he’s still their dad and loves them and will be there for them, and they should know that he is human and made a mistake, and meet this woman.

    I am so terrified of my children knowing the truth, and following in his footsteps, or going through all the other emotional trauma listed above. Is he right in wanting to tell them now, or am I right in wanting to keep it a secret from them?

  84. 84
    Anonymous Says:

    *Reply to above*

    I wouldn’t lie. If they grow up and find out that you were keeping the secret as well as their dad it could cause more harm than is needed. Obviously this is slightly biased towards my own experience (number 56) and that every child/adult is different.

  85. 85
    Anonymous Says:

    Number 83…you’ve done nothing wrong so don’t start now. Tell your kids and set the exam of honor, honesty, accountability, love , forgive but don’t forget, right and wrong. I admire you are working on not talking badly or putting the kids father down but teaching them their father and the other woman have been selfish and betrayed God and their families as well as friends, coworkers, etc. is continuing to teach them the values you and their father was teaching them prior to his affair. The damage when people have affairs or do other wrongs are good people compromise their own integrety by not verbalising the obvious. In your case your husband and his mistress was selfish and they are trying to pass their relationship off as something right. More people to speak up about right and wrong and hold each other accountable. I admire that you are trying not to be judgemental. Remember when you talk to you children and tell them the wrong that has been done and also I encourage you to be honest of how hurt, scared, angry, worried you are so your kids don’t feel they have to bury their own feelings. Sounds like you had a great family….I’m sorry this happened to you and your children.

  86. 86
    Anonymous Says:

    My mother had an affair with our family doctor who was also a close family friend. Apparently it went on for a while. I was 15 when I found out and my brother was 17. My two younger siblings then aged 11 and 8 never knew what our mother had done. My parents never got divorced over it but since then they have argued tirelessly throughout our years at home and even now they are 65 years old. They are constantly angry with each other about one thing or another. My father told me he has never been able to trust her since.
    An affair can affect families for an entire lifetime.
    I am 33 years old now and a mother of four children. I think a lot about my mother’s infidelity since becoming a mum myself. She has NEVER spoken about it to me and I believe she may still think her actions were justified as my parents already had a rocky relationship long before the affair.
    All she ever said to me when the affair came to light was that I was never allowed to mention it to my grandmother, which I never did.
    Last night I received a text from one of my younger sisters. It read “Did something happen between mum and dad years ago that has affected their relationship all these years”? She told me that our father recently told her to never betray her husbands trust. My sister is now suspicious about our mother.
    I cannot reply to her because I don’t know how the truth will affect her. She is 29 years old.
    After all these years of suppressing the truth about what happened I fear it is all resurfacing again, and my feelings of the anger and disappointment I felt towards my mother 18 years ago is flooding back into my life. Is that normal and is it right for my sister to know the truth??
    I feel angry with my mum because she has never apologized to us for her selfish actions and I believe that has a lot to do with her arrogance. I don’t think she realizes how much her affair affected her children. Please could I have some feedback…
    Im not sure if I have completely forgiven her, I am confused with how I feel lately.

  87. 87
    Anonymous Says:

    we found out my dad had an affair about 2 years ago, i thought i was further along in the forgiveness process then i am. i am still so full of rage that i cant feel the bottom of it and i hate it, we were so close before, i’m pissed that i’m going to be the one to talk to him about it, isn’t the parent supposed to approach the kid when she’s upset? i’m 27. whenever any topic comes close to relationship my dad changes the subject now, we used to talk about everything. ive been projecting my anger at my partner that i’m so in love with, i think i’m always afraid that he’s going to leave me, but i can tell the depth of my anger when its actually meant to be for my dad. i guess its just nice to write out here and feel seen by all of you

  88. 88
    Anonymous Says:

    Hi, have just come across this article. I was 11 when I realised that my mum and dad were splitting up because my mum was having an affair with a man from work for at least a year. I remember the very months in great detail of what was happening and how my dad found out, and even the arguments they had when I would lay at too of stairs listening. The one particular one was the night my dad caught my mum red handed and threatened her with and wooden mallet and then hearing there argument in detail about the whole affair. As an 11 year old it was very scary and frightening to see. The next day my mum dad said that they would be giving it another go so then he went to drive us to school but happened to forget something so drove back to find my mum on the phone the the man she was having affair with. As you can imagine my dad went mental and said to my mum he’s going for an hour and when he gets back she should be gone. So my mum in tears took my sisters with her but I said I didn’t want to go as that home was all I ever knew. Rather than sagging me with her she just left me there on my own in that house.

    I’m asking whether the affects I have felt as an adult, now 27 are from this? I have major trust issues, need a lot of attention and affection and struggle to cope with trust.

  89. 89
    Anonymous Says:

    My mum took me away with her boyfriend affair and his daughter on weekends. I was not only aware but a witness an accessory after the fact. I was in my early teens.
    I have never gotten over the hurt hate and pain..worst of all I have transferred all those feelings to mum current boyfriend (she is now divorced) and I can’t even talk to him. I am paralized with fear. It hurts mum so badly. Its illogical but its real.

  90. 90
    Anonymous Says:

    I am 13 and just found out today that my dad has been cheating on my mom. He was my role modek! He was the perfect dad, but I just randomly found out that he has been dating a younger woman for 7 months! He cried when he told me, and so did I, but then he just left the house! My mom and I talked and now we are at their best friends’ house. They are also mad. Earlier, the great aunt of mine that I haven’t spoken to for 4 years due to her reaction when my sister died came and is willing to help. My grandparents on my dad’s side were here and they didn’t address anything, but my other grandma is driving here from Oklahoma now.I took a day off from school today in fear of having to tell my closest friend. Also, my dad works there. I don’t want to see him right now. I’ve been reading articles like these, though, and am now worried about how I will turn out! I’m only 13 and now this man whom I thought was perfect has betrayed both me and my mom! I thought my family was super close, but I guess not! I was best friends with both of my parents, but now I’m questioning everything, because Dad said he’s been lying for 13 years, aka my entire life. I’m so confused!!!!

  91. 91
    Anonymous Says:

    Hi, I found out my dad had an affair when I was 12 , I found certain texts, emails etc. I knew there was something wrong at the time and I guess you could say I searched until I found out what was wrong. My mom and dad are still together but my mom still has trust issues and doubts my dad. I’m 16 now and I’m really shy , have never been in a relationship or even been close to a boy and I feel to shy and uncomfortable to even want to be in a relationship. I used to be confident and had loads of friends but I feel myself that since I found out I have become closed off , lost a lot of close friends and don’t even think I will get married and have kids when I’m older. It wasn’t until tonight my mom was comaining about my dad or whatever and I told her I knew everything and she seemed sort of shocked but I’ve always known. When I see other people my age , confident, in relationships I think that maybe if I had never known about the affair I too would be less shy, low self esteems etc ..

  92. 92
    Anonymous Says:

    5 years ago, I bought my wife a very expensive 20th Anniversary Diamond Ring. When I gave it to her, her reaction was just odd. She’s a crier … she cries so easily it’s annoying. She cried when I asked her to marry me, and she cries every time I give her flowers or a card. That night, she just seemed like she couldn’t breathe or speak. We went on to dinner and seemed fine, so I blew it off. 5 weeks later, she declared that she was not in love with me and had not felt so for five years. If you had asked me, I would have guessed those previous five years were the five best years of our 20-year marriage. I was devastated. We have four kids and no real money and neither of us wanted to divorce, and yet she seems to think that it’s just NORMAL to fall out of love. I asked her what brought this on, and she told me that she has had an emotional affair with a family friend ten years younger than she for about 15 months. No sex, but definitely something she sought out and perpetuated. She decided to end it, calling him, telling him it was more her fault than his, and he needed to take care of his wife and kids and stop all contact. Although she really did do the right thing, it did nothing to improve our marriage. We have never been on the same page sexually. I’d consider myself rather conservative, but she just feels that sex is a chore … she felt that way since we were married and it was painful the first few times, and never gave it another chance. Through therapy, counseling, friends, books, etc., she never gave any real effort to fix it, and I just gave up. Even our kids were conceived through IUIs. Between years 15-20, after HAVING the babies were done, she seemed to gain a lot of confidence in herself, and take care of her body, and things just really improved. These are the same years she claims she fell out of love with me. About a year later, she was still fighting off her feelings for this young man, and I honestly wished she could be with him. If I couldn’t light her fire, then my thought was, “Let him light it … I’ll have no trouble finding someone who would appreciate me.” Well, I got involved with my old high school/college girlfriend that I literally hadn’t seen in 19 years. She was separated and going through a divorce. We fell madly in love and have had this affair going on for four years. My wife and I don’t fight anymore. We are better parents, and we are better friends, and we have thrown in the towel on finding a sexual compatibility, and I find myself loving her … but now I too feel as though I’ve long since fallen out of love with her. Through several means, my daughter found out about my affair and I recently found out her mother had admitted her emotional affair.

    I’m not someone who didn’t give it a good long try, I’m someone who stuck it out for 15 years before it even improved. Then at year 20 I felt like we had what it took to go the distance, only to be shot down to reality.

    I now have no guilt whatsoever about my affair. She and I are in love. It hasn’t lasted 4 weeks, or months, it’s been 4 years. It’s real. It’s difficult, as we live 300 miles apart, but I fly and have an aircraft, and am able to see her around once a month. It’s become a don’t ask don’t tell situation between me and my wife and my daughter and there’s no one on here who’s gonna tell me I’d be better off divorced. There’s no one on here who’s gonna tell me that the passion in my marriage could be or could have been saved. I gave a sincere effort. My wife gave an insincere effort. She admitted to that and used those words.

    So sometimes, it’s just not the evil situation so many think it is. Sometimes two people who may have chosen wrong when they were mere kids getting married have valid reasons not to divorce … in my case, four kids. Maybe in several years, when all are grown, we will. Maybe we won’t. But cutting off the love and passion and all the things we were created for would not make me a better husband, father, or role model. It would make me miserable. My wife is perfectly content to have no sex. She likely only had it at all out of a sense of guilt or obligation. At age 46 I learned that I could be appreciated for my softer side, for my being a lover, for my being romantic, for my being charismatic. I’m married to a woman who doesn’t appreciate any of that. She appreciates my sense of humor and my love for the children and my steady work and income, but she couldn’t care less about being my lover. I’m going to enjoy my girlfriend and she will enjoy me, and as my kids grow older and likely find out the truth, I’ll have no trouble explaining to them why they don’t have to live through the same crap their parents did.

    Girls, if sex isn’t important to you … for your sake, don’t get married. Period. Boys, if children aren’t important to you, for the sake of taking on the huge responsibility of being a father, then don’t have them. Ask your girlfriends to their faces how they feel about sex. Ask them if they experience some pain, would it turn them off, or would they fight through it. It’s only fair.

  93. 93
    Anonymous Says:

    When i was twelve my parents got a divorce. We were told that it was both of their decisions and that they were just taking some time apart. within a week my mom was seeing someone and within a month had us living with him. For years there has been mistrust and hurt and depression. My sister and I have taled frequently about all the anger,hurt and resentment. However now, after being with her husband for 26 years she has met someone else, had an affair and left her husband. They have 3 beautiful daughters. They are doing what kids do and trying to accept. The oldest is having the most difficulty. Now my mother has decided to accept this new person into her life. I have not and will not because i know how the kids are feeling. My sister is so infatuated with this guy that she has completely forgotten all the years of anger and hurt and justifies all of it. It breaks my heart. She doesnt even realize that the kids are confused and hurt. she continues to put this guy first and her oldest wont even stay with her. It is tearing my family apart and i am under constant pressure to accept this guy. I refuse to for my neices sake. I want them to know I am on their side. Any advice? also for parents who cheat… it is devestating on your children and rips their world apart. For their sake… dont be that selfish!

  94. 94
    Anonymous Says:

    I just found out that my father started an affair when I was 9 years old. He fathered two children from this 12 year affair that he had. My brother and I are shocked beyond belief that it carried on for so long. I thank God that my mother has passed and to my knowledge never knew about the 2 children that were brought into this world. My opinion of my father has changed from being my hero to being a low life. He currently has no remorse or no consious about having this affair. I am happily married and I am very grateful for my husband. As for my so called Dad, I have lost complete respect for him. He certainly isnt the person I thought he was.

  95. 95
    Anonymous Says:

    I just found out my mother secretly had a relationship with another man, my father was ofcourse furious but didn’t result to violence. What heppened was that 5 months ago my mother met a man on facebook, they chatted with each other daily for 2 months and had sex multiple times for the past 3 months she tells us. She begged my father for a second chance while she said she would stop contacting the other man.
    My father gave her another chance, but I feel as if this will never work ever again. My father even spoke to me the way he felt, he stated he felt that suicide would have been the only option if I didn’t exist.
    I don’t see why my mother decided to cheat on my father, he’s a good dad after all, and I have never seen my parents fight at all. I honestly blame my mother, she knew what she was doing was wrong, and she went at it for 5 months without telling anybody. She makes the excuse that my father constantly asks for sex every weekend. That’s really not a legitamate reason to cheat on my father, especially when he is the one bringing the food on the table, she was just looking for an excuse so that she may shelfessly pleasure herself by sleeping with that other man. When I first heard the fact that she cheated, I swear my heart stopped for more than 2 seconds and felt weak as if I have been starved nearly to death.
    I’m glad this topic was pointed out, now I understand why I feel like I can’t trust or even hate my mother.

  96. 96
    Anonymous Says:

    Thank you for writing this article. It’s incredibly accurate. I’m seventeen now, and for years I’ve felt off about future relationships, marriage, and the overall idea of life long commitment. I also feel like I’ve lost my father, even though he is very much present. After reading this article I feel practically diagnosed, making it easier for me to move on and hopefully develop a healthier view on relationships.

  97. 97
    Anonymous Says:

    I’m glad I read this. For 27 years I thought I was crazy for feeling the way I do about my mother and her affair.

  98. 98
    Anonymous Says:

    Marriage is a form of insanity. Why does society believe that 2 imperfect people can form a Hollywood fairytale? My advice would be that once someone decides to cheat after being suckered into a marriage with kids, is to simply divorce and leave before the cat gets let out of the bag. Daddy is tired of mommy and I still you Tyler and Hayleigh. Find new happiness and send the kids some dough. Theyll get over it. don’t be stupid and tell them you’re having an affair. after reading these posts, it appears it REALLY screws them up…

  99. 99
    Anonymous Says:

    Affairs are a tough thing to deal with. My ex was a serial cheater for 20+ years but I have never let our kids know. (My girls strongly Suspect but I cover for him). The reality is that it was an unhappy marriage and should never have gone on that long. We were terrible role models for the kids of what a healthy relationship is.

    Now my ex is in a healthy loving relationship and my kids see that. That is much healthier all the way around. We are also much better parents to our kids without the personal crap between us.

    Kids need to understand that what happens in a marriage should stay between husband and wife. Affairs should NEVER be discussed with the kids. I do agree that if you feel like you are going to cheat, that an honest discussion with a spouse is needed. And affairs are not about sex for the most part. If something wasnt broken in the marriage, people wouldnt have an emotional void that needs to be filled elsewhere.

    People make mistakes every day and yes they can hurt others. Kids need to
    Understand that moms and dads still love their kids no matter what. Definitely explain your anger and disappointment with your parent. But please move past it and live your life. My kids are now older, and yes frame their relationships by what they saw in their parents marriage. Hopefully they will be stronger and not make the same mistakes. I agree with commitment and responsibility 100%. But there also needs to be a point where one needs to look at personal happiness, and weigh it against responsibility. My ex and I realized that being happy in our individual lives made us better people to those we loved and especially our kids.

    Staying in a bad or toxic relationship is the worst thing for all involved. Marriages sadly do end. Doing so with dignity is ideal. Unfortunately some people do not realize the depth of their unhappiness until they feel happiness again when they meet another/right person.

    Kids – please try to forgive your parent!! I know it is hard, but in the long run you are missing out on the love of your parent. The energy you expend on hating the parent will only bring more pain to you. Everybody deserves to be happy in life. Life is to short to stay angry. Is your mom or dad a good parent? Do they love you? Do you have fun doing things with them? Do you have fond memories of life before the breakup? Then the relationship with both parents should continue but in parallel.

    My kids are glad that we are a separate but loving family now. They know that both of their parents are happier. And life is calm and peaceful for all of us.

    I wish you all love and peace!

  100. 100
    Anonymous Says:

    This is the first honest report I have yet to find that demonstrate the ‘personal’ impact of secrecy and deceit upon children and family systems – involved directly with infidelity and cheating. It appears to be socially acceptable that a significant number of our population cheats and minimizes the impact upon their own families. There are more books on how to conduct an affair without getting caught than even open discussion on the consequences to those left at home. In other words this notion “If no one knows it won’t hurt anyone.” is deadly-false and debilitating for the bystanders. Can we educate people to become more honest? Tell the truth bravely? Dare to dig into primary relationships and even agree to disagree? If your marriage isn’t working deal with it directly and if if fails end it compassionately? Are we teaching our children to create a false fence and jump over it when their partner isn’t looking? If our parents secrets of infidelity are not brought to light will our children either marry a cheater or become one? At least if they are give the facts with compassion they can choose for themselves. Otherwise doesn’t this continue in the family system?

    I believe in telling the truth. I have three daughters and they will- for the rest of their lives wonder about infidelity and have issues with trust. But at least they have the family truth as best we can give them. I believe we live in a cruel fog without the truth. I hope my daughters grow to love boldly and honestly and demonstrate compassion for others. In the light not sneaking in shadows.

    I have not read all these entries but truly appreciate children and adults commenting on how infidelity impacted them directly. This topic is easily dismissed and sexually acting out individuals can more easily be regarded as returning prodigals while the REAL impact of their secrecy and deceit upon their families is minimized by our culture (my observation).

    Thank you
    Jane

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Susan Berger is a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA and Walnut Creek, CA (lic. # MFC21193) | 121 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118 | 1415 Oakland Blvd, Ste. 100, Walnut Creek, CA 94596
photography by Bethanie Hines