When your spouse has an affair and you have no children you only have to think about yourself and what is best for you. When your spouse has an affair and you do have children, you have to decide what is best for everybody. I struggled with this whole concept after I found out that my husband was cheating on me and on us. He hated it when I said “us”, but the truth is, when you do something that affects your entire family, it’s “us”. And in our case “us” encompassed a lot of people with a wide span of ages.
My oldest boy was 17 when he found out (by accident) and my girl was 14. These are the two I worried about the most. Not only would what he did impact them forever, but what I did about what he did. I don’t want my son to ever think it’s okay to treat a woman that way, and I don’t want my daughter to think it’s okay to be treated that way. And I didn’t want my children to grow up without their dad. I felt like I was in a no-win situation. None of us were going to win the prize in this scenario. All of this was compounded by the fact that I had recently told my daughter to make sure she finds someone like her dad. I was feeling the stress of an affair and the stress of parenting through the whole thing. My nights were sleepless.
I had hoped my younger kids, ranging from 11-8, would be oblivious, unscathed. But, kids are smarter than we give them credit for. Everybody in this house knew something was going on and it wasn’t good. And no matter how much I tried to hide my sadness, they picked up on it easily. To this day, my youngest, are my protectors.
Controlling your emotions around the people you love the most is not an easy task. I would flip-flop between wanting him to stay and wanting him to go and I didn’t always keep those thoughts to myself. I remember the day everybody finally knew what was happening. We were arguing and I told him to leave. He packed up some stuff and then gathered the kids to say “mommy wants me to leave”. I was ENRAGED that he was going to blame this on me. And before I could even help myself I blurted out that he should tell them the whole story about how he was having an affair! The kids were now crying and of course I was. He left anyway. At some point that night my oldest texted him to tell him he better fix this. He came home the next morning with some promises I’m sure he meant at the moment, only to forget them when he came back into contact with her. Her web was always waiting to ensnare him.
There were moments when I did not think I was going to be able to get through any of this. But, I set my goal on saving my marriage. I knew he would never leave and I knew my children needed him, well, the old him. So, as hard as it was, I looked beyond me and into them. And I hope that they understand that they are more important to me than anything else in this world and their happiness is imperative to my soul.
Everyday it is obvious that I made the right decision. When surrounded by his family, my husband has all but returned to his former loving self. Her presence in his life is something he not proud of, knowing she duped him as well. My children do not mention the affair ever, although I know it’s still there in their minds somewhere dormant or maybe even active. I believe they have forgiven him because he stayed and didn’t leave us. Inevitably, he made the right decision among a whole slew of bad decisions, to choose us over her.