Ever wonder how infidelity affects kids?
My son’s perspective of my affair; 12 years later.
As I shared in my previous post, on the subject about children knowing about their parent’s affair;
I never wanted to write a post about it.
Heck, it’s hard enough writing about my own story sometimes,
I certainly didn’t want to look again at how I hurt the people I love the most.
I shared in that last post, why we eventually ended up telling our boys,
who were 16, 13, and 8 years old at the time.
You can read more from that post here:
“Should the children know you’ve had an affair?”
But when I had more and more people asking me to write on the subject of children
and affairs; I knew God was leading me to do it.
You can catch up a bit about me and my affair story here.
And read our amazing, miraculous marriage story here.
Never underestimate a ‘middle’ kid.
So, I found the courage to talk to my middle son about it, because I knew out of my
3 boys, he would be able to write about it the easiest.
Keep in mind, he’s 25 now and married to a beautiful woman that I love dearly.
So he’s far enough past the pain to write with more clarity.
I asked him how he’d feel about writing about his perspective of that terrible
season in our family.
He agreed and was very willing to do it, if it would help someone.
That’s my wonderful son, ladies and gentlemen.
(and I’ve got 2 more like that-shameless bragging)
So whether you’re a child of a parent in an affair,
the confused and hurting spouse, or
the unfaithful who’s lost their way;
I pray you’ll take his precious (& private) words to heart, and it’ll
help you in whatever place you’re needing that help right now.
But can I be honest?
Yet, if you’re a Mom reading this… you know…You KNOW!
When it’s about something causing pain to our kids–
most of us Mom’s go into Momma Bear mode!!
Yet, infidelity is its own beast;
and I’m so tired of seeing how good people are being deceived.
Mom’s (& Dad’s) believing the lie that their kids won’t know,
or they’ll eventually be okay if they end up with the affair partner.
Or, the lie that many Moms believe (like I did),
that their kids don’t need them as much anymore anyway.
So, if you’re a Mom reading this, I pray you open your heart
and think about your own kids 10-12 years from now.
What would they say?
Even if you’ve already messed up and were unfaithful, your story is not over yet.
How will the story be for them years from now?
Because the end result is in your hands when it comes to your affair.
If your heart is confused and you reason that you’re kids will get over it,
because ‘everyone’s’ getting divorced… think again.
It hurts them more than we realize.
You might also like to read overcoming shame of infidelity-6 ways to get free.
How does a mother’s infidelity affect her children?
1. When did you first realize something was wrong at home with your parents?
They would fight like clockwork almost. I just remember hearing doors slam and one or the other
raising their voices over each other. I remember assuming maybe this always happened and I never noticed as a kid?
Then it would get eerily quiet, and I would hear the garage door and someone crying.
My mom crying always disturbed me. Like it awoke some reflex inside of me to go in and hug her, but I knew I couldn’t.
The first time I heard my dad cry really confused me and scared me. It was one of the first times I remembered feeling truly helpless,
like I was alone with no one to protect us and lead us.
I remember thinking that if something was bad enough to make him cry (My dad never cried), what would happen to us?
2. Did you suspect your Mom’s affair before anyone told you?
No. I had not a clue. I had 100% trust and confidence in both my Father and Mother, and they in my mind were the last ones
to have any issues with each other. Growing up in the home that I did, watching their love for each other only increase
every day and every year; it was unfathomable to me.
(Debbie here: I wanted to add- it’s interesting to note that (years later as an adult) my oldest son told me he DID suspect (he was 16 at the time).
3. How did you first feel when you heard your Mom had/was having an affair?
I remember feeling stunned. Like I was light headed with tunnel vision; my world collapsing around me.
I had been around long enough to see other friends lose their parents to divorce;
so I put two and two together on what was taking place before me. More than anything though; I felt alone.
I felt like our needs and our opinions as their children meant nothing and that the decision on whether or not
our family stayed together was made when my mom made that choice.
To this day I still have not felt as alone as I did during that period of time.
4. How did the conflicts between your parents affect you personally? (schoolwork, relationships, behavior etc..)
I began changing my behavior from the quiet chubby kid who did halfway decent in school, to the obnoxious class clown
who couldn’t get a decent grade in his class if he was paid to do it. Instead of seeking the teacher’s approval as an authority figure,
I began seeking my classmates love and praise. Making people laugh has always been something I’ve loved,
and during this period of time it became my goal, my unquenchable thirst to be the center of attention,
the reason for everyone else’s happiness.
5. What was your main coping mechanism at the time?
Mainly it was avoiding the elephant in the room, staying quiet and making a fool out of myself at school
to escape the hellish question waiting for me at home; “Do my Mom and Dad still love each other?”
I ate when I was sad, and I remember some days going to sleep so early and other days feeling like I didn’t sleep at all.
Being a young 13 year old, I barely had figured out how to express myself let alone cope with a traumatic experience.
I listened to a lot of music alone in my room which helped tremendously with being alone with my thoughts, and becoming ok with it.
I know now that even though her choice may have hurt this family, her choices now lead her family and create an example.
She is still not perfect, just like the rest of us, but she strives daily to be better; and she is able to recognize it with God when she isn’t!
7. How do you think her infidelity impacted you now as an adult?
I have a conscious mental capacity when I meet imperfect people, that it’s ok. It’s ok to not be ok, and it’s certainly ok to be lost.
Jesus loves even those that are the most lost, so why can I not? No one is saying it is easy.
In fact the only thing that would come easy is to harbor a grudge against all that have committed affairs;
being that I had a front row seat with four free tickets.
But forgiveness is truly freeing, and I love my Mom and I know she hates what she did and wishes every day she can take it back.
I care more about my relationship with her now and in the future than I do about righteous indignation.
Can I just say, I’m so proud of him!
My hope is that you wouldn’t feel stuck in shame now that you may be thinking of your own
kids and family. But I pray that this would motivate you
to end the affair no matter how hard it feels to do now (if you haven’t yet).
What story do you want your kids to be able to tell one day?
It just may be the most important question you’ll ask yourself today.
Also, if you’re the wayward wife looking to end the affair or did, I encourage you to join my private facebook group of
non-judgmental, supportive women who understand the struggle you’re in but who also know
how to encourage you to be your best self.
(No affair words anywhere in it-AMA Women)
Just answer the 3 questions to validate you belong first.
This group is only for the wife who was unfaithful and wants recovery and support to end the affair and move forward.
Sorry, this is not for betrayed wives.
Marriage Helper Facebook might be better suited if you are a betrayed wife.