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What to tell Adult Children.

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Camalus posted 8/27/2013 07:45 AM

I am struggling with an issue I am sure many of you have had. I could sure use some advice.

What should I tell our adult daughter when she comes to visit in a few weeks? My inclination is to keep quiet as the WWs affair is an issue to be worked out between husband and wife.

On the other hand, my daughter has mentioned several times over the years, she has always wondered why her mother didnt take more interest in her activities when she was in High School.

Williesmom posted 8/27/2013 07:50 AM

Don't tell her.

I was about 30 when I found out about my dad's Affair. I carried that burden alone (my siblings didn't know). It was horrible. It is still horrible.

My Wxh knew about it, and he knew that I was devastated by it but had an affair anyway.

eta: I still can not stand to be in the same room with my dad, and everything that he does pisses me off. I have no idea if he knows that I know about it. It's a huge elephant in the room at all times.

[This message edited by Williesmom at 7:51 AM, August 27th (Tuesday)]

AStar posted 8/27/2013 09:20 AM

I read your story and my gut instinct is not to tell her. If it was recent, I would tell her, but it may be best to let sleeping dogs lie.
It's going to be hard- strength to you.

Lovedyoumore posted 8/27/2013 09:40 AM

We have not told our 2 adult children. They live out of town and I made the choice not to burden them. They were not around for the A or DDay.

My daughter is a young mom of 3 children age 4 and under. She and her husband have enough on their plate and dates of the A coincide with the birth of their second child. I do not want her thinking about anything but joy surrounding her life. She does not need her father's garbage messing with that joy.

My son is in a very strong relationship right now and moving toward marriage. He was away in college during the A and DDay. He does not need to be starting his life with our burdens. He is the only one of our kids to meet the OW at a service project. He thought she was gross, nasty, and had a high opinion of herself.

We are not trying to save face for my H. This is more about allowing them their lives without our problems interfering. Someday we may decide the time is right to tell them, but I do not see that happening.

Kids internalize everything. If knowing about an affair helps them, then tell. If telling would cause more or new hurt, do not tell them. I would speak to a therapist that specializes in family therapy after an A.

whattheh posted 8/27/2013 10:05 AM

I told my adult daughter (only child) right away. She was of course devastated but I felt it would be dishonest not to. We are very close and we used to talk about how great a person my H is(we both had him on pedastal). I wouldn't have been able to keep up appearances.

We are healing as a family. She felt cheated on too esp since she met and married while he cheated. Things are much better for us now but it was definitely tough for her. Her new hubby was extremely supportive of her and us. I think they have learned from us about how fragile a marriage can be and that it has to be taken care of and nurtured.

[This message edited by whattheh at 10:10 AM, August 27th (Tuesday)]

TxsT posted 8/27/2013 10:33 AM


Your daughter is enquiring about something that she obviously feels strongly about and has for quite a while. My gut feeling is she at least saw a change in her mothers behaviour during the time she is questioning about. Children are extremely perceptive creatures. They also want to be dealt with like adults, something us parents seem to forget.

I made my WS tell our children about his A. They too instinctively knew something was very wrong with me and I was tired of them thinking it was my fault, that it was me falling apart for no reason at all. Mine are 23 and 21. Amazingly enough our 21 year old is here visiting and he told me just the other day that he had suspected his father was having an affair all along. He was glad that he could now deal with his feelings in a more constructive way and know that what he was feeling was actually correct.

My main reason for telling our children was to feel safe in my own home. They had watched me struggle with being a single mom for years while my H traveled the world on a very regular basis. They saw me fall into depression and loneliness all for the sake of the job. They bared the brunt of my husbands absence, even when i tired hard to keep it from them. They certainly now deserved to know the truth and to know it was their wonderful father who had created my new living hell. This simple act made my WH accountable on a higher level for his actions. He feels the full weight of what he did now, as he should. The kids have now come to realize, through our discovery of our failings in our marriage that we have also shared with them, that even those you love can do really bad things to you. It has more importantly shown them that hard, honest work can fix even the worst of things.

It was very important for me that my children, both boys, know that this is not ok. That A's are created for reasons and that no one has a right to hurt another like I have been hurt. It was also a way for my husband to prove to me he was serious about recovering. Both of our children have been hugely supportive through our recovery and are great full that they know and that we treated them like the adults they now are.


1985 posted 8/27/2013 16:25 PM

I wouldn't tell her. So long as you stay together with your W, that secret is nothing your child needs to know. She doesn't need that added burden in her life and doesn't need to be put in a position of judging or choosing sides. If you divorce, then the equation changes.

1985 posted 8/27/2013 16:40 PM

I wouldn't tell her. So long as you stay together with your W, that secret is nothing your child needs to know. She doesn't need that added burden in her life and doesn't need to be put in a position of judging or choosing sides. If you divorce, then the equation changes.

vivere posted 8/27/2013 17:43 PM

Is there anything positive to come out of telling her? If not I would keep it to myself. I would not actively lie either so if asked directly I would answer honestly.

My father told me of my mothers infidelity many years ago. I wish he hadn't. Nothing positive came of it really.

avicarswife posted 8/27/2013 19:35 PM

My WH told our daughter about a week after D-day. Eleven months later when he thought I would kick him out after more TT he told our sons. He told them as part of his taking responsibility for his actions - he has been a big time blame-shifter.

I think it has been hard for my daughter (and her brothers to a slightly lesser degree) to know the truth. Prior to this we all had him on such a giant pedestal he had his own fan club at home.

I think it has made his relationship with his kids more honest. They see him as a fallible human being. They see him now trying to rebuild and restore our marriage after the mess he made. Yes it is hard - but I am glad they know. Until they knew I felt like I was living a lie with them.

I wouldn't have told them - it was his lies and deception to all of us and he needed to own it. If anyone but him had told them they wouldn't have believed it. I am glad WH was willing to genuine and honest with them.

jb3199 posted 8/27/2013 19:41 PM

At the least, TC, I would wait until after you confront your WW.

Your WW's behavior upon and after confrontation may have a huge bearing on if you wish to tell your daughter at that point or not.

gonnabe2016 posted 8/27/2013 22:17 PM

You haven't had a chance to hash any of this out with your wife yet and you have NO idea how your DD will react.

Lip zipped, for now, TNC.

If your DD brings up the "why wasn't mom more interested in me during my HS years" while she is home with you in a few weeks.....your response is "idk. ask her."

You need to address this with your WW first. And when you do, you make sure and tell her that your DD is upset and had noticed her mom's *absence* during those years and tell your WW that she needs to address that issue with your DD.

HardenMyHeart posted 8/27/2013 22:39 PM

My inclination is to keep quiet as the WWs affair is an issue to be worked out between husband and wife.

I agree.

Bobbi_sue posted 8/28/2013 09:29 AM

If you are likely staying together, I would not tell. It changes things in ways that can not be changed back, and this is not necessarily good if you really are going to stay together.

I did not tell my adult children. My two step-DDs knew before I did but that is another story.

I divorced my children's father for his cheating and our kids know that. Even though I have what I believe are very valid reasons for forgiving my current H for also cheating, I do not expect my kids to understand that I would D their father, but not their step-father for what would probably seem like the same thing, to them.

tushnurse posted 8/28/2013 15:00 PM

Given your particular situation, I think I would hold off for now.
You have yet to confront your spouse, she is ill, and has a ways to go with recovery from her illness, and You are in the role of primary caregiver.

If your daughter senses something is off with you when she comes you can chalk it up to the stress of her illness. If your daughter continues to press for you, then you may have to tell her. Although I really think that is your wifes job, after you confront her.

If she is doing fairly well with her recovery btw, I would strongly urge you to confront prior to her next surgery.

Broken6 posted 8/31/2013 18:55 PM

This is a tough question to be sure. I have 4 children, 3 teenage girls, and a young son. I did tell my oldest daughter (who was home from college) abut the A, because she heard us arguing and me yelling about a WHORE. I decided not to lie. He didn't want the kids to know, says he was ashamed of his behavior. I felt like she had the right to know especially since he ditched her for a trip one weekend in order to take a trip with his whore. He can lie and be deceitful, but I won't lie for him. Eventually I would like all of the kids to know what a lowlife this whore is, and what their father did, not only to me, but to our family. I asked him a question that he cannot even answer. If one of your daughters is married one day and your son-in-law cheats on her, what advice would you give her? Stay or leave. We are trying to work things out, but I feel like I can't get off this rollercoaster. Some days I think its going to be OK, other days I am angry that he brought this trailer trash into our lives, and other days I am so sad I just want to go away and never come back. I stay for my family, for my children. They are my strength.
I wish for you the best too, and whatever decision you make, I hope it will help you heal. BIG HUGS, HUGE ONES. I have found solace in this website.

Tearsoflove posted 8/31/2013 19:07 PM

All my children know. We felt that they needed to know that people are human and make mistakes but can also redeem themselves. We also know that, statistically, it was likely that one or more of them would encounter this situation at some point. We thought that their believing our marriage is a fairy tale with no issues (we married right after high school and have been together for almost 28 years) was likely to set them up for failure in their own relationships. Whereas, knowing that we've overcome some serious issues and are happy together might give them encouragement to look to us for guidance if their own relationships develop issues.

I believe we did the right thing with our approach, particularly when one of our children went through something similar but felt comfortable coming to us for both advice and support.

GSmom posted 8/31/2013 19:48 PM

I think each situation is a case-by-case decision based on the kids themselves and the

My first round with my WH's betrayal was to not say anything to my adult kids, a DS age 35 (then 30) and DD age 28 (then 23). My H, however, told our son that we weren't 'getting along' but he didn't tell him why. Even so, I kept it from my daughter and when she did find out several months after it all started she was furious with me. She felt I had kept secrets from her and treated her as a child, and she thought everyone else in our family 'knew' except for her.

This second round of what has actually been a continuation of the EA my H has been carrying on with an old HS friend, I told both of my kids. I started by telling them that there continued to be problems similar to a few years ago that had really never been resolved and I told them I was going to take actions that might cause their father to want to leave and live on his own. I also told them that if they wanted more information, I'd tell them because I didn't want to continue to keep secrets within our family. They both wanted to know, though my daughter asked more specific questions than my son. Both of them have said that it explains some of his behavior towards them over the past year, and that helps them see more clearly what was causing it.

I really have come to believe that keeping secrets like this is detrimental to the kind of relationship I want to have with my kids. I won't keep covering up for their father's lack of respect for me, our family and marriage.

It's hard. No one wants to hear that kind of information about someone they love, and especially a parent. But my son and daughter are both remarkable people and they are dealing with it well. We've talked and I've told them I am not asking them to 'choose sides' and that I expect them to love and honor their father, no matter what. But they can certainly be angry or mad or disappointed if they choose.

inmisery1 posted 8/31/2013 20:04 PM

I'm not going to volunteer any information, but I'm not going to lie for him. The way he's been strutting around here the past few years, when the marriage fails, hey will know the truth without me saying anything.

[This message edited by inmisery1 at 8:06 PM, August 31st (Saturday)]

jadasae posted 8/31/2013 21:33 PM

When I went into IC after when my marriage ended my counsellor made the observation that 'lies are toxic to a relationship' and I believe that includes lies of ommission. I didn't tell my children when my exWH had his first affair, turns out my oldest knew something was going on but wasn't able to share that burden for years, my middle child found out and it caused her grief she couldn't share because it was still a 'secret' at that time...when he had his exit affair I told my children the truth and it allowed them to share the burden that two already carried..the youngest needed to know all the truth as well so she could make sense of what was going on. Has it had an effect on their relationship with their father...yes but quite a lot of that is also due to his behaviour since. They still love him but they know his limitations and don't expect things from him that he can't deliver.....its good, they know it really is him not them...Truth is the only thing that gives them the right to make decisions for themselves, its tough sometimes but at least they are playing with a full deck of cards.

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