Parenting during an affair

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.  wpid-Photo-20150430020223204.jpg

 

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5 thoughts on “Parenting during an affair

  1. I was wondering if he ever answered why he couldn’t stay away. When he made those promises you’re sure he meant at that moment. Why did he not keep them, when he knew deep down what those promises meant to saving your family, and what could happen if he broke them. How the hell did she ensnare him back, when he saw full well what he had to lose and what he had to do?

    And how did he win back your trust now? Surrounded by family and love ones, he’s his old self… Of course it’s easy to be yourself when you don’t have temptation in front of you. What did he do that made you decide he’s stronger and more trustworthy now and that he would be able to fight in the future for you, when he clearly failed over and over again at the time despite knowing full well the consequences of what he did.

    Sorry, I don’t mean to ask these hard questions. But it just seems like you’ve figured it out or at least been able to understand/see clearly through the situation to be able to forgive him and heal a great deal from all this. This isn’t meant at all to challenge you at all or trigger you. Please let me know if these questions are offending you.

    1. I don’t think I answered how he won back my trust again. First let me say that when the temptation of her was still there he found it nearly impossible to stay away from her. She became an addiction. And like any addict he tried hard to stop, but fell short when presented with his addiction. But, once the cycle was broken, I immediately saw more clearly what was happening. Don’t get me wrong, he struggled. But, in his struggles he became transparent and vocal with his struggles about her. The reality was he missed her. But, he told me he missed her. And I decided to listen to him (hard as hell) instead of judging him. It was only understandable that he missed her, he had spent a great amount of time with her. And there was some backsliding by him. He had moments of weakness. And he probably leaned much more heavily on me than I did on him during those times. But, he won back my trust because he committed to making it right. And I knew that she was becoming his past. I could feel it. I am not sure why it happened or why he let his guard down. She was infectious. He was vulnerable. And that’s just the black and the white of it. Would he ever do it again….in his words…are you crazy? I guess I just saw it from his side. I know I’m weird and not having the normal reaction. But, sometimes if you see things from the other side, you start to understand things that aren’t explainable. Maybe I will address this in my next blog.

      1. That makes total sense. It might not necessarily be a romantic interest, but there are people that are just naturally charismatic and draws people to them. I know some people like that, and they make you feel good to be around them – privileged, special… but it doesn’t mean I want to be with them. But in that moment, you get so caught up in the “friendship” that you don’t realize just how crass or immoral or selfish that person is. Sometimes its just so hard, even when you see things clearly, to feel negative about that person because they are so skilled at drawing you back in.

        thanks so much for clarifying. and I totally respect your views. I’m a big believer in putting things in context – thats what we all do! So I guess what really made the difference was that he knew he was addicted, he knew she wasn’t what he wanted and he tried hard to quit. Like he was pushing her away, but the feelings are still there. And it was a struggle inside of him. It was a process, but he was determined to make it right. Like drug addicts – it’s fine when they never did drugs. But once hooked, it takes a lot of self discipline and will power to quit – and even then it’s a process. Because the brain naturally craves it.. and there will be a withdrawal period

        I guess that’s the biggest part – his heart was in the right place, trying to quit. He couldn’t do it on his own, and so he leaned on you. Even in his addiction/affair, you were still both a team.

        I can also appreciate his sentiment of never doing it again. I think until it happens, it’s one of those things you “know” the consequences to, but not truly feel it and understand it. I think in the future, even if he gets caught up in an addiction again, I think by actually going through this process, his knows for certain this fear of the consequences would outweigh any addiction in the future. Furthermore, he would be much more aware of the process and choose to avoid it before it even comes close to what had happened to him before.

        Thanks so much for sharing and your honesty. You are a great inspiration.

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