Should You Tell Your Children About The Affair?

When it comes to whether you should tell your children about the affair, that’s a tough one! You really have to know your children, as to whether they could handle such information in a non-destructive way, and also if they are too young.

You need to be very prayerful and careful with whatever you decide to do. It could drastically change how they view the parent who had the affair and change how they interact with them in the future.

But it can also be a good thing to hear it from their parents rather than from someone else, which sometimes happens. These kinds of things have a way of shooting out of the darkness into the light. Your children, whether they are young or adult, may feel betrayed if they were never told from their parents and had to hear about it elsewhere.

Cindy Crosby, who wrote an article posted on the web site for Marriage Partnership Magazine gives the following advice:

“Children are your first priority here. Make sure you don’t injure them for life. Both of you need to sit down together with the child or the children, and both of you need to take responsibility for whatever you have contributed to the experience—not to the affair, necessarily, but for the tension that exists in the family environment.

“Does age impact this? If your children are under eight years old, they’ve already made up their own story. They are egocentric and will think they have caused the tension. If your children are teenagers, the kids probably already suspect the affair. Tell them the whole story: Dad had a girlfriend; Mom got involved with someone at work. Sharing the truth allows them to process the issue with Mom and Dad instead of guessing and keeps them from expending emotional energy checking on how well Mom and Dad are doing.

“That’s a lot of honesty. The issues for your kids are, ‘Will Mom and Dad make it? Will we stay together as a family?’ Do not lie. If you are not sure your marriage can be saved, tell them to pray; tell them you are seeing a counselor. Then, give lots and lots of touching and hugging and stroking and eye contact to your child. They need that reassurance.”

To read more of what Cindy writes in her article concerning infidelity, please click onto:

WHY AFFAIRS HAPPEN… And What You Need to Know About Prevention and Recovery

We’d really like to hear from you as far as what you think. Have you been in this place yourself or do you know of someone who has? Please “Join the Discussion” below and tell us briefly what happened and whether you think it’s a good idea to tell your adult children about the affair. It could possibly help someone else who is faced with this dilemma.

Before doing so, we’d like you to read the articles we have posted below that might help you in some way in your own situation. Please click onto the web site links below to read:

Several of these articles come from a non-Christian web sites, but they have some good information to consider. Please pray first for guidance from the Lord and then click onto the web site links to read:

SHOULD I TELL MY CHILDREN ABOUT THEIR DAD’S AFFAIR?

HOW TO TELL YOUR KIDS

SHOULD YOU TELL YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT THE EXTRAMARITAL AFFAIR?

SHOULD YOU TELL YOUR ADULT CHILDREN ABOUT THE AFFAIR?

HOW DO AFFAIRS AFFECT CHILDREN? (Part 1)

HOW DO AFFAIRS AFFECT CHILDREN? (Part 2)

We’re hoping by praying first and then reading through the various articles, the Holy Spirit, our Wonderful Counselor, will guide you whether you should tell your children of the affair and if so, what you should tell them.

This article was written and compiled by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International.

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Comments

54 responses to “Should You Tell Your Children About The Affair?

  1. (UNITED) I have a four year old daughter with a man married for 20 yrs. He is 15 years older. We have been doing this for 6 years. We’ve had 2 kids; our son passed after birth. We now have my daughter who was conceived after. His wife is aware of this and continues with the marriage.

    I’ve recently moved from my home state to his. We live 30 min away. He sees his daughter between our work schedules. His wife does not trust us to communicate as do I, so we don’t leave messages. I never had a reason to respect marriage. I grew up in a community where I didn’t see a lot of married men but worked in a bar where lots of married men came to cheat. I talked to them, listened to their stories and became sympathetic to them. Here’s the thing, they never tell you about the good times, only the hard times. I moved to a small town 4 hours away. I had to I believe I wasn’t gonna make it to 40. I left my family because I needed to find my path in life. That’s where I met him. He gave me a feeling that I never knew I allowed myself to feel, which was a weakness where I was from. He told me about his marriage and I didn’t respect it. I didn’t know how to begin how. By the time I did it was way out of hand. We were in too deep.

    I’ve never loved anyone. I’ve never given so much to a relationship. I’ve never been with a married man. He became my best friend. We continued a long distance relationship. I was learning more about God because he was a Catholic man. He brought me closer to God than I’ve ever been. He talked about not being able to leave his wife. He talked about getting an annulment. He talked and talked and eventually we agreed his daughter needed him and so did I. I’ve been here for 8 months. It’s not easier; I begged him to tell his wife. From day one I knew he was full of guilt. I never wanted to hurt his family. he was my friend.

    First I wrote him a letter telling him it was over; I couldn’t watch him hurt and I didn’t want to cause his wife any pain. That’s not who I am. I got caught up in his fantasy of lies. I’ve spoken to his wife. 1 time she hurt my feelings so I said something to hurt her. I blame myself for all of this. I’m very sorry. I love this man with all my heart, not for any of the reasons mentioned in this note. Now we have a daughter and she has a step mom who doesn’t trust for good reasons. My daughter comes first. We’re trying.

    I have to watch them repair their marriage. It hurts so bad. It’s my fault for allowing myself to fall for a married man. God, forgive me.

  2. My story is a little different. My fiancé and I started our relationship three years ago. I found out he had a year long affair with an ex girlfriend. 8 months have passed and we’re trying to make things work. He had four kids from a previous marriage and I have two. We haven’t told the kids but I feel they are viewing me now as an invite phyco because, pretty much I am liking at his phone and questioning him more. I’m not sure if we should talk to the kids when they aren’t “our kids” together. Please help!

  3. My story is a little different. My fiancé and I started our relationship three years ago. I found out he had a year long affair with an ex girlfriend. 8 months have passed and we are trying to make things work. He had four kids from a previous marriage and I have two. We haven’t told the kids but I feel they are viewing me now as a phyco because, pretty much I am looking at his phone and questioning him more. I’m not sure if we should talk to the kids when they aren’t “our kids” together. I feel that it could help us get through this if everything is out in the open. I think it may teach our kids that people make mistakes, and it’s okay to forgive. Please help!

  4. My wife took our boys with her 3 times while meeting the man she was having an affair with and told them not to tell anybody about it. They were 9 and 7. Her lover said you’re such a great mother and she actually believed it. I didn’t find this out until my older son broke down crying asking me “how would feel if your mother took you with on her affair and told you lie for her?” He still suffers from it and is seeing a therapist.

    When I got home I confronted her all she had to tell me was “I told you not to talk to him”. I told her that was child abuse and she didn’t think is was. She also states that the affair wasn’t her fault. He controlled her by sweet talking. I caught her three times and she just kept seeing him. She said they were just friends and there was never any sexual contact. Is she mentally ill or a pathological liar? The affair lasted five months.

  5. My husband and I have been together for 20 years. We have two beautiful children, a daughter 11, son 6. In my first pregnancy my husband had an affair, which the other woman got pregnant. They had a son who is 10 today. My children don’t know about the other kid. We want to tell them but we don’t know how to approach it after so many years. Any advice?

  6. I need advice. My ex-wife had an affair with one of her co-worker (bosses) that I was unaware of until I found the EPT test in the bathroom medicine cabinet. A little back round history, I had vasectomy in 1997 and produced a clear sample after a year of quarterly sample tests. The Doctor assured me that after that we would need no extra protection as he had cut, crimped and cauterized the tubes that carry the sperm and chances of regrowth were non existent. Jump forward 10 years when I find the EPT test in our BR medicine cabinet. We had a 15 year old daughter and my first thought was that, much to my horror, was sexually active.

    My wife, at the time, was doing dishes and I took it and asked her about it and if our daughter was “active” and she told me bluntly, “It’s mine and I don’t want to talk about it”. Later she tried to convince me that sometimes vasectomies can regrow and that we may be having our third child, at a time when our two other kids were 15 and 11 and we had been having unprotected sex for 9.5 to 10 years. The other two kids were planned and we had absolutely NO problem getting pregnant the 1st child was conceived after 1 cycle off birth control and the second child after 2 cycles off birth control.

    Her research online was all centered around 1 and 2 years post vas, I looked into it as well and contacted my doctor and he assured me that, aside from divine intervention, a 10 year post vas pregnancy was basically impossible. Not being a man to react harshly and in the heat of the moment I tried to prove or disprove her infidelity.

    Her pregnancy was a false alarm BTW. She showed her hand and I started remembering back to times when she was mysteriously late here and there, supported by little white lies, which in a trusting marriage I took as the trust. With my blinders off I then started my investigation. I couldn’t find one of her co-workers who would talk to me about any of it and I was friends with several of them. They absolutely avoided the subject.

    I moved out in late 2009, got an apartment and soon after a girlfriend as I am no good alone. PTSD has held me hostage many times when I’m alone. I had been conversing with an old female friend I hadn’t seen in almost 30 years, we had been GFBF in middle school and I had always had a crush on her even in adulthood I always wondered what had happened to her. She was in a crumbled relationship and couldn’t afford to get out of it as she had NO place to go. Naturally I invited her to stay with me since being alone isn’t good for me. We struck up a relationship and were married in 2012 about a year after both divorces were finalized.

    My ex blamed My new GF for the break and that was not the case. She has never admitted to her infidelity and I have been cautious of telling our kids. They both blame my new wife for the divorce too and it has grown to be more hurtful to my current wife than I can even convey. I always promised myself I would never tell my kids about their mothers affair but now they’re both adults and the oldest got married on August 1st of this year, another event my new wife was intentionally left out of as was I. I was invited and went but my daughter had an uncle, her mother’s brother, give her away.

    The wedding was beautiful but I wonder if I made the right decision to go since my wife wasn’t invited and my ex’s 4th new boy friend was there sitting in the spot reserved for the father, AKA me. I was in the front row but on the far outside end.

    Should I tell my daughters why I left and let the chips fall where they may or leave it as it is? This situation is driving a serious wedge between my new wife and me. She feels as the girls will always blame and hate her for breaking up my marriage to their mother but the truth of the matter is that their mother carries the majority of the blame but will NEVER admit to any wrong doing.

    Help Please before I lose a second wife to conditions I feel I have no control over. At the moment I’m torn between my daughters and my new wife, neither of which I can live without. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Personally John, if it were me, I would tell them. I’d pray about it first to see if there would be a check in my spirit, but I believe that erring on the side of revealing truth is a better way to go. This is not about placing blame, but in getting the whole truth out there. I have to say though, that I would not go into details, and I would be careful not to make it a bashing session (now or ever) concerning your ex. This is the mother of your children. She did wrong, and she should be straight-forward and admit it. But as the father of your children, you should not go into name-calling, playing a blame game by telling your children more than they should know. They don’t need that. It will only make things worse.

      As someone whose father committed adultery, left us for a long time, and devastated the family, I can tell you first hand that revealing truth is good (not revealing more details than children –even adult children should know); being handed basic truth is helpful. Let them decide what to do with it. I would have felt HORRIBLE if I would have found this out later in life, perhaps after my mom had died (in your case it would be you), and I wouldn’t have had a chance to straighten out my misconceptions of what happened in the breakup of the family.

      I later forgave my father, and up to the end of his life, we were fine. But if I would have found out later, I wouldn’t have been able to ask questions (if I would have had any) and I wouldn’t have been able to put the past away properly… I’d wouldn’t have had the benefit of being given the truth. Deception (even well-intentioned deception) is not a good thing to keep propping up. Your daughters are big girls now, let them work through the truth of it all, and hopefully, it will come out better than it could otherwise. Again, truth is healthier to work with than perpetuating that, which is not true.

      I have no doubt that your motives were heroic in not telling your girls at the time, and I commend you for that. But they aren’t “girls” any longer. They SHOULD be able to handle the truth. But again, I caution you not to go into details. It will only muddy the truth and cause further problems. Obviously, your wife wants to hide from the truth. I get that. I can see why. But that is NOT a healthy way to approach family matters. When someone messes up (and this is a BIG mess up) they should fess up, ask for forgiveness, and do what they can to clean up as much of the mess as they can. You aren’t doing this to make them hate her, but rather, to give them truth, that they should have known before.

      So, find the right time and place… possibly with both daughters there at the same time (and your current wife NOT being there), and tell them the truth, in as kind, and straight-forward of a manner as possible. Apologize, and ask for forgiveness for any part of the break-up that you caused (again, revealing truth). Tell them that you aren’t telling them so you look better than their mom, but that you realize that as adults, they should have the whole truth… not just shadows of it. Own up to your part, and tell them that you want to proceed into the future as a father who is upfront and truthful with them. They aren’t children any longer, and you don’t want to hide things from them that may be important for them to know.

      As for what can happen, when and if you do this, I don’t know. Hopefully, eventually, it will make things better. But even if it doesn’t, revealing truth, when it comes to these types of things, seems to be a better way to go. Just handle it lovingly, compassionately, and honestly… giving grace to them if they go in an unhealthy direction with it for a time. They may need to work through these difficult issues in raw ways. But prayerfully, they will later put it all to rest and work with the truth they now know in healthier ways, giving their parents grace, as it was given to them. I hope this helps.

  7. Hello, I am a 50 year old wife and mother who is fairly successful trying to balance my life in all pertinent arenas. My husband knows that I struggle with identity a bit as my mother gave her all to my middle sibling who was born out of an affair that mom had back in the 1960’s. I wasn’t aware until cousins and other family members on my mothers side told me when I was 26 years old.

    They understood why I fled the house right after high school graduation as they termed our house was full of “Nancy Worship.” Sorry to sound poor pitiful me but I couldn’t go to baseball practice or join a team sport as mother made excuses of being too busy with Nancy’s basketball games etc. I love my sister but sometimes resent that she grew up feeling self entitled from being spoiled.

    Putting all of this aside, my husband has listened to me whine on occasion but knows that I have accepted the inequities of my childhood. He does want me to tell my sister who her real father is (now deceased). Members of his family also confirm this so I am sure. His reasoning is that on her real dad’s side, there are health issues involving kidney diseases and lung issues.

    Despite my sisters self entitlement idiosyncrasy’s and such, I do not want to hurt her in any way and will accept advise on this issue. While mom and dad are living, I feel that this could do more harm than good on too many people involved, yet my sister has a right to know.

  8. My husband had a brief affair while in the military 45 years ago and although she informed him she was pregnant he choose not to believe her. OW has since passed away and the individual resulting from said affair has surfaced. After a brief phone conversation about health issues, etc, a decision needs to be made about telling our three very grown adult children and a possible visit. I’m afraid our children will lose all respect for their father. Is it fair to the individual from the affair to not be recognized by her biological family?

    She doesn’t seem to be pushing for recognition. I learned of the affair shortly after the fact and forgave him but am having a really hard time with the resurface of the pain and added stress from the individuals existence. Am I being unfair? Having some real problems really forgiving!

  9. My husband and I had been married for 13 years. He had been a loving father to our 2 children and husband to me, but little did I know that he was in an adulterous affair for the past 4 years. I noticed he was less affectionate for the past 4 years, cold as a stone -physically and emotionally at home. When out and in front of friends, he reverts to the same caring person everyone loves and admired as the model husband and father.

    When I found out about the affair through his text messages, I was devastated. He had always reassured me of his love for me. How can he do this to me? I cried out to God and commit everything unto Him. Just as Jesus had forgiven my husband, I choose to forgive him. I stayed with him as God hates divorce. I choose not to tell my children, age 12 and 8, as I deemed them as too young and want to protect them. My husband decided to have a clean break with that adulteress and came back to the family. However, the damage had been done.

    It has been a month since the expose and I am still finding my way to healing. I thank God that He is with me all along the way, giving me comfort and strength. My children must have felt the tension between my husband and I. They were nervous at times and they were not able to verbalise why. I have to keep praying with them and reassure them that God wants to keep our family intact. However, at times, it’s difficult when anger and pain caught up with me. I’m having second thoughts about telling them the truth and as to why mummy is sad at times. I ask God everyday if I should tell my children but the mother instinct in me (not sure if it’s God’s will too) will prevent me from telling them.

    I fear that I will break down anytime and seeing my husband everyday is not helping. I understand that forgiveness is a process and I can only pray all the time for the strength to carry on.

  10. No, please DO NOT tell them. My adult child is so angry, he will not speak to me. It has been years. I have lost everything. I have been punished enough. But now I have lost the one thing that means the most to me. He is scarred for life. There was no benefit to telling him. Despite what everyone says, adult children CANNOT handle it, & you will never get those years back.