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Tell the kids when they grow up?

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naivewife posted 9/8/2013 21:47 PM

Shortly after D-day 2, WH told his parents what he had done. His father confessed to him that he too had an A at some point. This really got me thinking about the whole "genetic" aspect of cheating, especially since we have two little boys. It pains me to imagine that my sweet little boys are somehow destined (I use that term lightly) to cause this same pain to themselves and their spouses. I asked WH if he thought he would have had the A if he had known that his father had made the same mistake and the pain it caused. WH thinks that having that knowledge would have quite possibly prevented it, as he was very much under the impression that only philanderers had A's and he was not a philanderer. By knowing that someone like his dad could do this, and knowing how it devastated his parents, he thinks he would not have gone down the slippery slope.
Anyway, long way to say, that after some discussion, WH agrees that telling our boys when they're older (just before getting married perhaps?) about what he did and his remorse and the pain that comes from it, is the best thing he could do for them - regardless of how hard it will be for WH.
The fact that WH will do this means a lot to me. I know how important it is to him to have his boys look up to him, so I know it's not easy, but it goes a long way towards showing me his remorse, and his desire to stop this pattern in his family. (He also found out that his grandfather on his fathers side also had a sketchy relationship past.)

1DumbHusband posted 9/8/2013 22:43 PM

Naive wife: I would just like to offer my story and say I think you guys are making the right decision. In my case, I saw my parents go through their divorce. I saw my dad leaving every night to go be with my (now) step mother. I saw the hurt and damage it did to my mother. The result...I caused my poor BS the same kind of hurt my dad did to my mom. Here's the kicker though, my dad never sat me down, never talked to me and was never really truly sorry for his actions. To this day, he blame shifts and blames my mother for their D. My father was very EU and is to this day. The difference for me has been that I do see how my actions have crushed the soul of my dear BS. Even if we do not make it to R, I fully intend to tell my kids how their dad screwed up so that they can learn from my mistakes. I think it's important to have those kinds of talks and life lessons with kids. It's the only way to stop the cycle from being passed from one generation to the next. Maybe if my dad had sat me down, I might not be in the situation I currently find myself.

TxsT posted 9/8/2013 23:21 PM

I made my husband tell our children. I needed him to own his actions and I needed him to be the one to say he screwed up. The children have been very supportive of both of us through this process but I have looked both of them in the eye and have told them what their father did was horribly selfish and horribly destructive. They know they will have to answer to me if I ever find out they have done this in the future. I think both of them respect how hard I have had to work to overcome this hell. I could not have gone forward without this action by my Husband.


avicarswife posted 9/9/2013 00:13 AM

I don't know if a family history makes it more likely. But if that is the case it should be me who is wayward.
My father had a 8 month affair several years after my mother and he married - which we kids knew about as my mother would bring it up. He then had another EA and 2 day affair years later. My brother in turn had several affairs on my late SIL - who was one of my best friends. WH and I vividly remember the impact and the agony of it for her.

Infidelity in my husband's family - zero. His dad was a faithful husband for 55 years - they died within 3 months of each other. WH has 3 siblings and to my knowledge all of them are faithful spouses.

Our kids know already - home life has been rocky! They are aware that WH has screwed up in a big way. But given that he had several affairs and one was a LTA I often wonder if that may be a "risk" factor for my sons.

GraceisGood posted 9/9/2013 09:20 AM

We all have to do what we have to do, and in our case, our kids will know as well.

My reasons are different, because my H did not come from an infidelity environment, but I did and he knew the pain it caused me (my bio dad cheated on my mom and all his other wives as well) and we discussed it openly and it made no difference in what he did just added guilt and a deeper desire to HIDE is all.

I want my kids to know because I want them to realize it can happen to them, they could be "torn asunder" by the one who promises to be faithful to them one day. I want them to be able to take care of themselves irregardless of their mates actions and to build a life they take comfort and pride in whether or not they have someone honorable enough to share it with them or if they have to go it alone.


bionicgal posted 9/9/2013 10:18 AM

We will tell him one day when it can be a lesson and meaningful for him. My mom was a cheater, and I knew it (she didn't know I knew) and it made me hyper-aware, because I didn't want to repeat it.

With upwards of 50% of people cheating anyway, I am not sure I buy any familial component. It is more likely poor coping/intimacy skills, which are largely learned, not genetic.

hopefullromantic posted 9/9/2013 10:19 AM

I think often the family history can be repeated not because of 'genetics' exactly, but because poor coping skills are usually passed down to the next generation, and it is poor coping skills which often lead to infidelity.

Which is all the more reason I think, to share that with grown children. My H and I agreed we would someday tell our children who were already grown at the time of the infidelity. My daughter was already married and both my sons married within 2-3 yrs after dday. We still weren't ready then, before they got married and I'm ashamed to say we still haven't done so. And by we, I mean him.

Rebreather posted 9/9/2013 11:37 AM

I think it is the healthy choice to tell them, really. I mean, who even discusses all of this? I am going to start giving Not Just Friends as my standard bridal shower gift from now on. (only sorta kidding).

I know several books point out that if you have infidelity in your family, you are more likely to do so. My husband's father had an affair for 10 years before he left for the OW. It devastated my husband when he was 12 years old. Yet he walked the same path. His IC has some interesting theories as to why. We both thought his anger at his dad was an inoculation against cheating. Turns out, notsomuch.

Our kids have a general idea, but we will tell them more when they get older.

niaveone posted 9/9/2013 11:56 AM

We live in a small town where the OW's daughter and mine have extracurricular activities in the same building, so yes, we have to tell them. WS wants to tell them to make them aware how badly he screwed up and how devastating it was for the family (DD's knew at one point Daddy was living elsewhere, but didn't know why other than we fought a lot). I, on the other hand, want them to realize *anyone* can do this *at any time* and therefore always be independent of your spouse. We were so co-dependant, I completely lost it when I found out. PTSD galore because I couldn't even fathom functioning without him around.

RippedSoul posted 9/9/2013 12:11 PM

So . . . when is "grown up" enough? I REALLY feel like my boys--15 and 13--are way too young to have the rug pulled out from under them right now. I feel like they need a male role model (even if he's imperfect). His actions may force me to tell them, but if that can be avoided, I want to avoid it.

That said, I DO believe they should know someday. But when is someday? 18? 19? 21? Before marriage?

shatteredheart7 posted 9/9/2013 12:11 PM

My kids know what he did to a point. They don't know all the details, like how long it lasted. But they have seen the hurt and pain that I have been through. He is not their bio dad, but has raised them for going on 12 yrs now. It took them a while to come around and even talk to him. They lost all respect for him but are slowly starting to respect him again as they see how much he has changed.

My parents have been married for 41 yrs, his have been married for 52 yrs. No cheating on either side. But for some reason his parents seem to think that it is ok that he cheated, I guess because I am such a bitch...

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